How I almost got beaten up by gangsters

Boy oh boy this was a day!

When a day starts at 7:10 (AM that is, if you are not using the superior 24 hour system, because it confuses people) with a pick hammer and knocks on what feels like the wall that you sleep next to, then it is not easy to make that a great day, not to say that it is impossible.

So I jumped out of bed got dressed, put some cold water in my face, smiled in the mirror (I do that daily, I am weird), then swishing some oil, all over the span of maybe 1 minutes with hammering going on (and pick hammering). Then I found the source (not that I have not done that before). 3 floors down, 2 dudes renovating an apartment for like 1 month so far, doing the majority of their work at around 7 on random weekdays and most favourably weekends, where they start a bit later, at like 8.

I knocked the door. Not really. Like maybe 2 times before I smash the door with my hammer fist as hard as I can. It`s one of those (new) doors that look like solid metal, but they are actually tin can thin aluminium (I assume) and a thick layer of styrofoam inside, so I am sure this has a dent know. The two times before the door was not properly hinged in, so I was able to just scream away.

This time the door got opened by 2 workers that looked like they have been up all night, they looked less awake then I got from them starting their work day at 7 not having had their morning routine, but who am I to know, they might have swished baijiu and then swallowed it. Possible.

So out came my wrath with the force of 2 death metal singers and years of training on stage. It is by the way a misconception that Chinese cannot be loud or super angry, like some comedians seem to assume, at least that is what I remember from a Comedy Open Mic Night the week before on Monday.

Selected outtakes:

ARE YOU SICK IN THE HEAD?, DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?, DO YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE SLEEPING?, DID NO ONE ELSE EVER TELL YOU? OKAY, I CALL THE POLICE THEN.

You can tell I am HSK 88!

To my surprise another neighbour from below comes up the stairs and backs me up. Pleasantly I nodded his way, did that arm motion, one does before flipping someone off, but without the middle finger and just the hand swinging up (try it, it looks pretty cool) and strolling up to the apartment.

Cue to the rest of my morning routine, which is having a glass of water, two Chlorella tablets, a vitamin C tablet and a fish oil capsule. While doing this the two construction workers loudly discussed what could possibly make the neighbour and the foreigner so upset. (if you want to know more about people always renovating around you in China read the top comment in this reddit thread and have your mind blown)

Now you wonder where the gangsters are. Those were not the ones, this is just how the day started.

My morning routine then goes on to watching a youtube episode (this morning this one, that is a bit too harsh with the movie, especially as the swearing is fitting, the this dude somehow has issues with) while the water boils for some coconut powder, honey and turmeric. This should last until either a podcast or the youtube episode is done. Off from the sofa it then is and on to some weird yoga, push up, squat and stretching routine I have designed and then get the cat to not scratch the mat too much and brushing the teeth, cold water in the face again and kiss the two girls goodbye (cat and girlfriend that is) and on to work it is.

Then it is time to get my bicycle out of the pile of trash (from the renovation remember, that conveniently stays of days where people park bikes and scooters) and scooters and other rusty bikes it got trapped in. Headphones on and along the river while shouting at some suicidal drivers (on average maybe 2). The route is scenic and if the sun is out and the sky is blue it is amazing, it most of the time is, the shouting is really just me helping these people to maybe get one shock (or mild surprise) so they learn to hopefully not kill themselves in traffic.

Work is in an odd building. It`s on the river and has 22 floors. Most of it seems empty or under construction, but there is a LensCrafters there and some sort of tax bureau. Also: gangsters. Not the tax bureau, but the gangsters still have to wait.

The building`s elevators and floors are labelled 1 to 15 and then 16, 16 and a random letter, 17 and a random letter and of course 18 then 18 O. We work in the top floor. This odd naming somehow originates in a law that existed before that allowed buildings in that are to not have  more than 18 floors. Clearly they outsmarted the system!

So, a couple of months back, these gangsters moved into one or two of the offices on our floor. They are tatted up, they have beer bellies, usually black shirts, massive gold chains, short hair and they smoke a lot. Office time for them is usually watching something on their phone for maybe 1 hour a day sitting at a massive oak table, alone, while the fourth of formerly five fish in their aquarium stays afloat belly up. I ran into them a couple of times in a day usually they are smoking at the urinal or on the toilet passing the no smoking sign on the way to the toilet.

Sometimes you catch an elevator with them, while maybe one of them smokes in there with you. Today I was about to head home waiting with my bicycle in front of the elevator door.

The elevator reaches the top floor and before I can push in, the best looking gangster (no belly, a black button down shirt, showing the yakuza style breast piece he has and the gold chain), typing/playing on his phone pushes my front wheel out of the way and gets into the elevator first. I acknowledge this with a look of disapproval and a shaking head movement. His gangster friends join us in the elevator and the door closes.

In Shanghainese they discuss what a hubris ridden asshole foreigner that is, too poor for a black Audi, I might be and how they could take me out. Maybe next time. I chat to my colleague. Then a stare down happens, I look the handsome gangster deep in the eyes not saying a thing. Hours pass, I feel like fighting that battle in Hero with Donnie Yen) actually it’s just seconds, I lose the battle, I look up and above the elevator buttons, there is not much to see there, so the back of my head hits the wall of the elevator.

The doors open and everyone leaves the elevator. The gangsters walk slowly. I overtake 3 of them. Outside the good looking gangster smokes, opening the door to his black Bentley that he conveniently parked in front of the stairs instead of the parking garage. I carry my bike through the small spot between said car and a black Audi to head home.

This is the story of me almost getting beaten up by gangsters…

I haven`t blogged in a good long time and I got a marvellous keyboard that I yesterday learned to type on properly and typed this article out. There is a plan for this blog and no plan is real before put into action and this is the firs step, so there is more to come, more structure and more articles. I thoroughly hope you enjoyed this piece. At least I feel a relieved and relaxed after typing this out and maybe next time I try to break the intense state and maybe make a joke or present some oddball humour to the situation instead of the mental fight I had. So here is a great video from the amazing Charisma on Command guy on the mesmerising Tony Robbins (who fascinated me with two great books and an interesting Netflix documentary). I leave you with that and hopefully not with depression:

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