Friday, February 19, 2010

Wo Ju – Snail Space 蜗居, Episode 7

Back in the longtang, Haiping and Su Chun are eating dried noodles for the fifth time this week. Su Chun can't stand it, but Haiping says they have to persevere to save money for the apartment, interior decoration, and household appliances.

Haizai goes to Secretary Song's office, gives him the bid papers, returns the cellphone he gave her, and pays back the 20,000 yuan loan. Song's heart is torn open by being rejected. But what can he do? He calls Boss Chen and tells him off, that he interfered with Haizao.

Boss Chen is angry with Haizao. She retorts, "Mr. Chen! You only give me 3,680 yuan a month. So I only do 3,680 yuan worth of work. The job description was for a copyrighter. But what does that have to do with the 'communication of feelings' you are asking me do!? Does copyrighting including doing one thing under the cover of another (暗度陈仓)?Besides documents, fetching things, being a messenger, accompany at banquets, accompany singing, and accompany dancing, the only thing I don't do is accompany sleeping [i.e. sleeping with clients]. With that little money, you want me to sell my body to the company? If you have any more excessive requests, I quit!"

Boss Chen decides to raise Haizao's wages: "Feed the livestock a little more grass at night, and it won't (be able to) run (小蹄子要不加点儿夜草,还不跑了)".

Haiping's boss tells her and her officemate that they must each contribute 143 yuan (very little, he says, in Jiangzhou [Shanghai]) for the red envelop for a woman who got married. Haiping is very upset: "How many toys could I buy for Ran Ran with 143 yuan!?" Haiping complains that she doesn't even know all these officemates that are getting married all the time.

Haizao buys a job classifieds newspaper.

Su Chun pours hot water into his instant noodles. Haiping: "1-2-3. I am pretending it is chicken soup." She drinks. Su Chun laughs. "What are you laughing at? It’s delicious!"

Haiping decides to buy a bicycle to ride 7 stops, saving 1.5 yuan every day, or 33 yuan a month. "Not only saving money, but saving the environment." Her mind is running. Su Chun is amorous. He nudges her. Nudges again. "Let's exercise a bit. Protect the environment. You want to? (No. The old bed, it creaks and cranks. Everyone downstairs will here)." Su Chun rolls over, sighs. "Soon, I will become dried-out mummy. Not even one time per month. It depresses the spirit." Haiping: "Not having an apartment is the real depression of the spirit."

Haizao has been promoted, earning 5,000 yuan a month, and doesn't have to attend banquets or karaoke. She goes with Young Bei to the Shanghai Aquarium [where they have a romantic tunnel underwater where the fish swim all around. However, during peak hours, it is anything but romantic! Website is here].

Haiping's bicycle is stolen. She says her luck has been terrible this year. So she will go to the temple to pray. Su Chun "I told you so". Su Chun tries to light a cigarettes but gets cursed by Haiping, who says she inhales enough exhaust on the road. "Why do you always blame you unlucky things on me? I try to bend and work with you, but you are excessive. You are impossible to please. My this you don't like. My that you don't like. I have no roads left. Besides smoking, what hobbies do I have? After work, I come home obediently. I don't play majiang, and I don't drink. I have a strong ability to control myself. What right do you have to scold me for smoking? Is there meaning in that?" Haiping is angry. She says Su Chun has contributed nothing to their household. He hasn't made money, and hasn't got a good job. He leaves "to get a breath of fresh air".

Narrator: "Men... are very tired."

On the street, Su Chun meets Old Chen. Old Chen commiserates, "Actually, I am the same as you. At home, there is a lion from the east side of the river [a domineering wife with a temper, 河东狮]. We are in the same boat." Su Chun talks about how great he was, and regrets moving to the big city. "Those who leave their hometown become lowly, 人离乡贱." Old Chen laughs. "We are tragic. In this big city, in the middle of the night, we have been forced out of our homes to huddle at a newsstand, and regret the course our lives have taken. Actually I was just feeling sorry... for my wife. She is a beautiful flower, but now, in our situation, because of the pressure of life, she has become a violent person. If she had a car, and help at home, would she be so angry? In this materialistic big city, that she would be with me, a person with nothing, should make me appreciate her, accept her, love her, make her happy." Su Chun, "Why is it that, this big city makes 100 claws torment the heart (百爪挠心)? There is nothing that you can depend on. I admit it, living in this big city is exciting and busy, but so many things put you on your guard. For us men, there is pressure. For those women, the pressure is even greater." Old Chen: "Right, right, right". Ok, let's go home!

Haiping: We must 闭门造车, close the door and create a vehicle. Another Chinese (language) expression. Meaning: Divorce oneself from reality and act blindly; or, work behind closed doors.

Haiping: The old sayings are still right: A poor and low couple will encounter many difficulties.