Chapter 4 Ultrasonic West China


4.00 ULTRASONIC WEST CHINA

Dr. Delta: This meme construct is both infectious and virulent but to an unknown degree. 

 

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Patient seems tired.  Hair is unkempt.  The patient seems to be staring at a far away point while he is talking.

DG: In the last session you mentioned your plan to go to West China.  Why did you want to go to West China?

FS: West China was famous as a sex tourist Mecca.  Thailand had long ago gotten out of the prostitution business due to their economic prosperity.  I had experienced cyber-sex in Japan and thought it was time to have some fun with some real gals for a change. 

DG: But what about Erotron.  I though you were back together?

FS: Most of all I wanted to ditch Erotron.  We didn’t live together in Shanghai.  We both knew that was impossible but she did insist on hanging around and worst of all taking me to all sorts of Money Square functions and pretending we were a couple. 

DG: I wonder why she did that?

FS: She had her reasons.  I wasn’t getting any sex, just tons of boring meetings.  Besides she was putting on weight like crazy.  On the plus side her already ample breasts had become absolutely enormous.  She started crying all the time.  I mean she was an emotional mess. 

DG: Did you try talking with her about all this?

FS: Not really but over and over again she would say, “I need to tell you something”, stare in my eyes as though looking for something and then start a one-hour crying jag.  I figured West China was one place Erotron wouldn’t follow me to.  West China was considered a good place for men but no upper class Asian female would be caught dead there.

DG: You left Japan to escape Evil-C and now you were going to West China to escape Erotron.  Do you notice a pattern in your travels?

FS: I have no idea what you are talking about.  Fluffy and I crossed the border between East and West China and were driven by jeep across the Green Zone.  East and West China were like two parallel universes.  East China had pursued memetic capitalism.  West China had pursued socialism.  The two Chinas had evolved in a totally different manner. 

DG: Where did you stay in West China?

FS: I used the capital of West China, Xian, as my home base.  Xian had been the imperial capital of the first thirteen dynasties until the capital of China had been moved to Beijing.  Xian was the capital of West China now. 

DG: So West China was pretty different from East China?

FS: West China was totally different than East China.  The living conditions were primitive.  Many visitors said that visiting West China was like going into a time machine and visiting East China fifty years earlier.  East China had become ultramodern.  West China had stagnated.

DG: Was it really that bad?

FS: Worse, taking a crap in West China was the single most unpleasant aspect of living in West China.  West Chinese toilets were different from Western toilets.  A traditional Chinese toilet was a best described as a porcelain hole in the ground.  You squat over the hole and did your business.  Most Chinese rest rooms stink. 

DG: Sound pretty bad.

FS: It was bad.  The right to a good toilet was a fundamental right. 

DG: The right to a good crapper isn’t in the US Constitution, the Magna Carta or the UN Charter. 

FS: None of these great documents mention the bathroom situation because it was considered such a basic human right that it didn’t need to be mentioned.  It would be like having a law that states that humans had a right to breathe.  Over one billion of our brothers and sisters were being forced to squat over a hole.  The Western toilet was the throne of the common man.  The Chinese must be delivered.

DG: So how did you cope? 

FS: I had a few strategies.  Always bring some toilet paper with you.  Try to go before you go out the door, just like mom told you to.  I managed to avoid using a toilet for almost three weeks.  I was very proud of this accomplishment. 

DG: As you should be.

 

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: This anal retentive behavior is at odds with the extraverted nature of the patient.

 

FS: I didn’t hold the expat record, this belonged to an Australian who had mighty bowels indeed, but three weeks was a respectable number.  An expat would ask another expat, how long?  The other expat would reply with something like, “Three days and counting.”  When you first got to West China you were confused by these exchanges but later you realize that they were talking about how long you managed to avoid using a Chinese toilet.  You used an ultrasonic scrubber instead of toilet paper due to the shortage of water in West China.

DG: Any other problems?

FS: Physical problems, you would of course have to squat if you used a Chinese toilet.  This wasn’t as easy as it sounds.  If you couldn’t squat, and you weren’t alone, then you were in big trouble in West China.  I wouldn’t give up on the dream of living in West China just because you couldn’t squat. 

DG: What would you advise?

FS: I put a chair in front of me as an assistive device and started practicing my squat about three weeks before my arrival in West China.  There were physical instructors that specialized in teaching Americans how to squat but they were costly and in my opinion unnecessary.  The chair system works just fine but regardless, training is pretty important.

DG: Why was this training so important?

FS: You constantly heard about Americans who got into a squat but couldn’t get up.  They were stuck in some West Chinese restroom yelling for help. 

DG: Why didn’t someone help these poor Americans?

FS: Most of the West Chinese didn’t speak English, they assumed this was just another crazy American custom like rock and roll.  For all they knew Americans customarily say a few words before going to the toilet as part of their religion. 

DG: Why in the world would they think something so crazy?

FS: Well after all, some Americans say a few words before eating and thank God for the food they were about to eat.  Maybe Americans thank God for a good shit as well.  Some Americans were caught in this sad predicament for days, until an English speaking Chinese happened to walk into that particular restroom and saved them.

DG: Any other suggestions?

FS: I systematically checked the rest rooms of all the plusher hotels, bars and restaurants in your city.  Make a mental map of the ones that were Western.  If you had to go then try to hold it until you found a Western toilet that you scouted earlier. 

DG: What if weren’t staying at the hotel?

FS: A Westerner was always welcome in a Western hotel.  Chinese were looked at rudely.  If you did invite some rural Chinese over then you may want to have them read a Chinese booklet put out by the West Chinese government that explains how a Western toilet works.  Some Chinese would try to squat over the Western and toilet leave footprints on the toilet lid and this was messy.  There was also a Chinese poster from the West Chinese government explaining Western toilets.  You could tape this poster in the bathroom near your Western toilet.

DG: Sounds great.

FS: I would have gladly spent ten bucks for the definitive guidebook to good toilets in West China.  Also, I gladly paid more for a better toilet.  The West Chinese used a five star system to rate their toilets. 

DG: So what was a five-star toilet like?

FS: A top of the line, five-star, toilet might run you an e-money credit but really be a luxurious place where you could really did your business with style.  A one star place would be a mere one tenth of a credit and you got what you paid for.  I have decided that the ultimate hell was an eternity spent in a tenth of credit Chinese toilet. 

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The patient’s obsession with bodily functions and his invention of an ultrasonic scrubber as a solution once again shows that the patient uses imaginary technology to objectify and rationalize fundamental needs rather than connecting with them in an open and human manner.

DG: So how did you get around?

FS: How do you get around in West China?  You had a few options.  You could walk.  You could take the bus.  You could take a taxi.  You could ride a bike.  You could drive a motorbike.  You could drive a car.  You would probably use a mix and there were pros and cons to each way of getting around.  Lets start with walking.

DG: Okay.

FS: You were from America and you learned to walk by the time you were two, right?  Wrong, in West China you needed to learn how to walk all over again.  Walking in West China was an art that needed to be mastered.  Traffic was really bad in West China.  The Chinese only obeyed traffic lights marginally and basically you crossed by walking very slowly and letting the traffic weave around you. 

DG: Sounds dangerous.

FS: Well you could also shadow a Chinese person and just walk alongside of him and take advantage of his skill.  There were bicycle lanes, which included rickshaws and motorbikes.  Bicycles and motorbikes did go on the sidewalk on a pretty regular basis.  Don’t obey your natural instinct to jump when they sneak up behind you. 

DG: So what should you do?

FS: Stay still and let them weave around you.  If you walk competently in West China then you really knew how to walk.  West China was kind of the Grand Prix of walking.  Keep in mind, the Chinese invented kung fu, they were no slouches in the coordination area.

DG: So you drove in West China?

FS: Driving an auto was probably a bad idea in West China.  If you drove in West China you had to learn how to weave and honk with the best of them.  Parking was a major problem in West China.  It was pretty difficult for a foreigner to get a license and I really got the feeling that the government would just as soon not have Americans driving in West China.  If you had an accident then you were automatically guilty as the foreigner in any traffic accident.  Collision insurance was not common.  I tried to stay as far away from the West Chinese court system as possible. 

DG: Sounds like good advice in any foreign country.

You better believe it.  Finally, a car was a pretty expensive option when you consider the relatively low cost of buses and taxis in West China.  A car in West China costs more than the equivalent a car in the United Americas but buses and taxis were much cheaper than in the UA.  I thought it would be fair to say that a Chinese person that owns a car was wealthy.  This person probably had a government car or owned his own business or worked for a foreign company or was a gangster.

DG: So you walked?

FS: Not always, you could take the bus.  The bus system in a West Chinese city was pretty thorough.  The big problem was that all the bus schedules were in Chinese. 

DG: That would be a problem.

FS: But there was a solution.  You didn’t know the bus schedule and route?  Your city doesn’t have a bilingual version of the bus schedule?  Have a Chinese friend tell you about all the parks and other free stuff wherever you were in West China.  Have him write down the names of the places in Chinese and then get a taxi and point to the Chinese character and away you go.  Pay attention to any bus stops along the way and near where you wanted to go and then later you could avoid the expense of a taxi.  In general, I used all taxi rides as a means to memorize where the different bus stops were. 

DG: So they used Western numbers?

FS: Yes, thank God, Chinese on the whole used Western numbers and not their own version of numbers.  Buses got pretty crowded.

DG: Really.

FS: I didn’t mind it when I was sandwiched between two cute ladies.  Unfortunately I was usually crushed between two guys who couldn’t afford deodorant.  Some Chinese girls just flat out refused to take the bus, ever! 

DG: What did they do?

FS: They liked taxis that cost at least ten times as much.  Were there things that happen to cute Chinese girls on buses that they were not telling the world about?  The buses also stop operating after a certain time at night and usually didn’t go to the more out of the way places after dark.

DG: Did you travel outside Xian?  

FS: A little, seeing West China from the comfort of a tour bus was a pretty good idea.  You paid more money but the bus was air-conditioned and the guide generally kept the endless streams of beggars and vendors away from the tour party. 

DG: Well I suppose that is a service of sorts.

FS: I soon found out that key to enjoying a tour bus ride was to take over the back of the bus.  You could lie down and take a nap in order to recover from a night of drinking.  The key was to drive out the other passengers from the back belching, picking your nose and scratching your crotch.  You could always take a taxi.

DG: But you are not seeing the real country.

FS: Who the hell wanted to see the real West China? 

DG: In order to broaden you mind.

FS: Travel does not broaden the mind but instead provides details for our original stereotypes.  The taxi was a lot more comfortable than the bus, which could be pretty sweaty and crowded on the wrong night.  You could also hire a taxi to take you to another city.  The taxi drivers in Xian could give Hollywood stunt drivers some tips.  I didn’t know enough Chinese to tell them that my life was worth more to me than saving an e-money credit or two.  Even at one in the morning in the most abandoned section of Xian I had been able to found a taxi. 

DG: I would just ride a bike.

FS: You could ride a bike.  Keep in mind that riding a bike in West China was totally unlike riding a bike in the U.S.  People come at you from all directions and narrowly avoid a collision by weaving at the last minute.  You might want to practice walking in West China for at least a month before you got a bike.

DG: Sounds like a lot of third world countries I have been to.  Did you ride a bike at all?

FS: I declined the honor of riding a bike.  I went ahead and invested money in the Xian bus and taxi system.  I figured this was my contribution to third world infrastructure.  I also found the thought of risking life and limb riding a bike in West China terrifying. 

DG: But I imagine it was cheap transport.

FS: That’s true, you got a sturdy but not comfortable bike for less than 1,000 e-money credits.  I had yet to see a Chinese person with a bike helmet.  I had yet to meet a Chinese person who has fallen on my head and therefore required a bike helmet.  West China was a land where miracles occurred on a daily basis.

DG: How so?

FS: The fact that half the West Chinese population was not suffering from severe brain damage due to bike accidents was one of those miracles.  You needed to get your bike licensed.  Bikes were a serious form of transportation in West China, unlike the UA. 

DG: What about a motorbike?

FS: You could get a motorbike.  The weaving pattern of West Chinese traffic meant that you would in fact be able to go much faster on a motorbike than a car.  Maneuvers that would get you pulled over in the UA and given a life sentence would not even raise an eyebrow in West China.  Evel Keneivel would be a so-so motorbike rider in West China.  The same court caveats I mentioned about the car apply to the motorbike.

DG: Any advantages?

FS: You could park your motorbike in the same area as the bicycles and these places were everywhere.  Many West Chinese just plopped their motorbike anywhere they pleased.  I never saw a policemen write out a ticket for illegal parking.  I had often ridden on the back of a motorbike.

DG: Sounds like fun.

FS: Yeah, fun, the spasms and shaking usually subsided about an hour after I got off the motorbike.  When the West Chinese ask about the shaking, I explained that I was cold.  This explanation doesn’t work real well when I was also sweating in the 90 degree plus degree weather.  I had thought of saying that I had malaria that caused me to shake periodically.  I was not going to admit to a West Chinese citizen that an American was scared of a mere motorbike ride.  I figured it was my patriotic duty to look brave.

DG: How was this your patriotic duty?

FS: Years from now two generals in Xian may be deciding whether or not to ataque the UA.  General X says, “The Americans are brave and would defend their territory to the death.”  General Y would answer, “I heard that there was this American in Xian who was scared to death of a mere motorbike ride.”  General X replies, “I heard this story as well.  I say let’s go ahead and ataque.  The Americans are probably cowards and will back down.”  I didn’t want to be responsible for the loss of thousands perhaps millions of West Chinese and American lives all because I was scared of a motorbike ride.  West China has a slew of bicycle-powered rickshaws.

DG: Hard to believe there were rickshaws in your high tech Earth.

FS: Never underestimate the ability of bad government to halt progress.  As an American you would have to turn down about a dozen of these guys every day.  I really felt bad.  These men were obviously on their last legs. 

DG: You think?

FS: Absolutely, West Chinese didn’t choose to be rickshaw drivers.  Becoming rickshaw driver was an act of desperation.  There has never been a Chinese first grader who wrote an essay entitled “Why I want to be a Rickshaw Driver.”  Rickshaw drivers assumed that every American comes to West China to enjoy the fantasy of being driven around by some poor sweating geezer like some British Raj while looking at the splendors of West China.

DG: Sounds great.

FS: The problem was that there were about a thousand more rickshaw drivers than there were Americans.  I wanted to propose, purely in the interests of cross-cultural friendship, an answer to the rickshaw problem.  I thought the problem was basically marketing. 

DG: How so?

FS: Most of the rickshaw drivers were men.  I thought they should just hang up their rickshaw and got another job.  I would probably accept a rickshaw every day if the drivers were attractive West Chinese women, preferably in bikinis.  I suspect many men would enjoy this experience.  I may be sexist and wrong but West China had an employment problem and this was a first step in solving that problem.

DG: What else did you learn?

FS: Getting a ticket on a bus or train was another skill you would have to master.  If you wanted to buy a ticket then you were going to have to learn something about pushing.  The Chinese on the whole respect their elders more than Americans except when they were in line.  Strictly speaking there were no lines in West China.  Instead of a line you got a thousand Chinese, high as a kite on green tea, pushing towards whatever happens to be on the other side.  If granny gets in the way then just push her aside. 

DG: So you don’t respect your elders?

FS: Hey, granny would do the same to you if she had the strength and she wouldn’t blame you.  This was a Darwinian society and the members who were too weak or too old were winnowed out via this pushing ritual.  The key to pushing in West China was to work with the crowd rather than against the crowd.  Conserve your energy.  Use the energy from the guy pushing you from behind to help you push the guy in front of you.

DG: Sounds like kung fu.

FS: My Wing-Jutsu skills came in handy in West China.  Wing-Jutsu did not serve the purposes of self-defense in West China since there was essentially no violencia in this country; the guards with submachine guns on every corner seemed to keep the crime rate down. 

DG: So what did you use Wing-Jutsu for?

FS: Instead, I did use some of my marital art techniques to get to the head of the line one way or another.  You couldn’t use your hands to actually hit people but just about any type of pushing was allowed.  West Chinese line pushing was essentially a type of specialized wrestling were the elbows were your primary weapon of direct contact.  In my view, the West Chinese used their elbows in a haphazard manner.  The key was to press your elbow against vital areas such as the kidney of your neighbor so that the pain becomes unendurable and they were forced slide to the side and you took their place!

DG: Did you engage in other violent acts?

FS: Hey doc lets not be melodramatic, another trick I had was to put pressure against the tailbone of the guy directly in front of me until he dropped to the floor in pain.  I then jumped over him.  Unfortunately, the other West Chinese generally ignored a guy on the floor and happily trampled over someone rather than taking the trouble of jumping over him. 

DG: So the poor guy was trampled to death.

FS: My experience has shown me that the West Chinese were incredibly trample resistant and most West Chinese had been trampled in a line many times without any obvious sign of injury.  I got to the head of the line in record time and a West Chinese observer was obviously impressed.  He later asked me to show him some of my techniques.

DG: Glad to know you made a friend.

FS: I make friends wherever I go.  I thought the whole thing should really be organized into some sort of sport, kind of the West Chinese version of the World Wide Wrestling League.

DG: A kind of pushing show.  Why didn’t people stay in line instead of pushing?

4.01 McMickey

Dr. Delta: This meme construct is infectious, virulent and actualized.

FS: The whole idea of lines in West China only existed at American fast food chains.  McMickey was the informal hang out for the few Americans in West China.  McMickey enforced the idea of a line ruthlessly and would turn a customer back that elbowed his way to the front. 

DG: Did this happen?

FS: Every once in a while, somebody from the countryside came to Xian and decided to really go exotic and eat at McMickey.  The country bumpkin was of course totally unaware of the concept of a line and was absolutely shocked at this limitation on his personal freedom. 

DG: I think freedom has more to do with stuff like freedom to assemble, etc.

FS: The country bumpkin could care less about nonsense like the freedom to assemble and freedom of expression.  These tools of foreigners were interfering with his freedom to push and elbow his way to the front of the line.  Things got pretty ugly but obviously dealing with line breakers was part of the McMickey training and the line enforcer, usually the manager, was firm.  Corrective reality didn’t work for losing weight but ironically did work at McMickey’s. 

DG: How so?

FS: The goal of this hamburger chain had been to create a totally automated training environment i.e. they could just grab any teenager off the street and put them right to work.  A McMickey corrective reality program did just that.  The program acted as an ongoing manager and told the employee what to do step by step from making fries to cleaning the restrooms the McMickey way. 

DG: But what customer wants to be served by someone with a helmet on instead of a happy smile?

FS: The customers were at first put off by being served by someone with a reality helmet but McMickey soon sold the concept as a health aid since the McMickey filters were two-way and also kept germs from the employee from being exhaled.  People were pretty scared of germs on my Earth and this was a big selling point.  The facemasks of the McMickey helmets had the faces of the various McMickey cartoon characters on them and the faces were animated.  The kids loved it.

DG: Kind of like a high-tech hair net.

FS: Exactly.

DG: Did you always stay in line back in the United Americas?

FS: Not always, my favorite trick for getting to the front of the line in the UA didn’t work in West China due to my lack of fluency in the Chinese language but let me tell you my secreto anyway.  I rolled my eyes back into my head so that only the whites of my eyes show.  At the same time I grabbed my forehead like I had a terrible headache and would say very loudly, “Head hurt, and must not kill again.”  I follow this was up with some Frankenstein type body language.

DG: You think this kind of anti-social behavior is acceptable?

FS: Hey, this whole routine gets rid off just about everybody in the line ahead of me.  If you didn’t learn how to push in West China you didn’t get the ticket and you missed the bus, the train, and the plane.  You ended up a sad old man in some backwater of West China, never having gone anywhere, all because you flunked pushing.  West China had problems but there were some bright spots.

DG: Such as?

FS: I had never seen a Chihuahua in West China.  Any country free of Chihuahuas couldn’t be all that bad and this could be a very good reason to live in West China.

 DG: Again with the Chihuahuas.

FS: I did see other breeds of dogs but no Chihuahuas.  The Chinese seem to like Chows.  This was a pretty small dog but a very wise and sensible member of the small dog family.  Chows were not yippers or yappers but rather looked at the world sagely with a contemplative look.  I didn’t know if this attitude was peculiar to the species or a result of living in West China that seems to bring out the contemplative side of all intelligent mammals. 

DG: What about cats.  Did Fluffy have any company?

FS: I am afraid that Fluffy was pretty much on her own.  I only saw a few cats.  Cats in West China skulked around.  Rather like the nervous ducks in Beijing.  An underfoot cat in West China was a cat with a big footprint down its back.  Dogs definitely outnumbered cats in West China.  Anyway, the fact that I hadn’t seen any of Chihuahuas had been the single best thing about living in West China.  The West Chinese keep other things as pets besides dogs and cats.  The West Chinese did keep crickets as pets.

DG: Crickets?

FS: I was walking home the one night and I saw an interesting sight.  There were about sixty different cricket salesmen congregated in an open lot that was usually empty.  The men had strung about fifty bamboo cages together which then formed a giant ball which they balanced on the back of their bike using a bamboo pole over their shoulder.  At the top of the ball there were about a dozen empty wood cages that were much nicer than the bamboo cages.  All the bamboo cages were filled with crickets!  Take sixty guys with fifty crickets a piece and you got a nice little cricket concert going.  You could hear the crickets from three blocks away. 

DG: Were they normal crickets?

FS: The crickets were different from anything I had seen in the UA.  They were much bigger and looked really tough.  I thought Chinese crickets could have had your typical UA cricket for lunch.  I made the mistake of staring at this spectacle too long.  The salesmen swarmed around me.  They all started waving crickets in their little bamboo cages.  Presumably, I was being shown some real champion crickets.  In theory you got two crickets and got them to fight each other.  Mostly, storeowners kept crickets for good luck.  

DG: What did you do in West China?

FS: I took full advantage of the sex industry of West China.  I like sexbots as much as the next guy but it was good to press some real flesh for a change.  I ran into a few sex shops in West China.  There seemed to be plenty of Chinese customers walking in and out of these shops.  I had yet to see a Westerner at either shop and these shops seem to be for local consumption.  These shops offered the usual assortment of dildos, lotions and potions. 

DG: No cyber-sex nonsense?

FS: No and the lack of any modern cyber-sex technology was strange since West China made a lot of this stuff.  I guess it was made for export only. 

DG: So West China was kind of a straight place?

FS: I don’t think so, less cyber but not more straight.  For example I had seen tons of strap-ons that means a lady could strap the dildo on and now the lady had a plastic version of a penis where nature neglected to put one.  I assumed Chinese women did whatever it was that ladies did when they strap such things on.  I understand that strap-ons were also popular with the gay community.

DG: Was there a gay community in this country?

FS: Yes, ultrasound was widely used to screen fetuses and previously female fetuses were routinely aborted.  After twenty years of female infanticide and there were twice as many men as women.  Female prostitutes became the highest paid wage earners in West China. 

DG: Ironic.

FS: Ironic is right, the shortage of women caused men to lose value at the cultural level and some families had even begun to use ultrasound to abort male fetuses since it was almost impossible for a guy to find a job. 

DG: Did you like Chinese food.

FS: Generally yes, one Chinese dish stands out.  You take fresh water shrimp and dip them in a wine sauce.  What makes the dish especially delectable was the fact that the shrimp were still alive.  The wine sauce was supposed to calm them down so that they were easier to eat. 

DG: So were the shrimp calm?

FS: The so-called calm shrimp were doing high dives out of the bowl and unto the table.  Given the size to height ratio this would be the equivalent of a human jumping twenty plus feet into the air.  I had never really had something squirm in my mouth before and your natural reaction was to spit it out immediately.  You bite of the body and the body stops moving as soon as you did this so the trick was to bite quickly.  The head keeps moving regardless.  I ate about a dozen shrimp this way.  Raw shrimp, wine sauce or no wine sauce, was pretty tasteless.

DG: Sounds terrible.  Were in the world did you eat this stuff?

FS:  I was the guest of a family and the dad, a real tough businessman type, would put the whole shrimp in his mouth and then remove the scales in his mouth.  This way of eating shrimp was pretty common in West China but this was the first time I saw this trick with a live shrimp.  I turned down the chance to eat dog.  The dog was dead at least.  I ate snake several times in West China.

DG: Really?

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Patient probably never really ate snake but instead had this fantasy due to his latent homosexuality.

 

FS: Sure, I also ate a lot of chicken in West China because it’s cheap.  Chicken in West China tastes like snake.  Eel was a common dish in Xian.  I didn’t think the shrimp were too happy about being eaten alive.  Do you suppose God was going to punish me for this meal? 

DG: Does God care about what we eat?

FS: Yeah, I doubt it.  I liked hot pot in Xian.  A hot pot restaurant could be spotted if you look in the window and you saw giant metal bowls built into the table with a propane container under the table.  The giant metal bowl had two compartments holding two types of soup.  A propane gas tank under the table heated the bowl.  You then added ingredients to the soup according to your taste.  The ingredients could include various vegetables, pieces of beef, pieces of pork and a bowl of little live shrimp as well as a bowl of live crabs. 

DG: Live shrimp?  Didn’t they suffer?

FS: I suppose, the shrimp really jumped all over the place in a vain attempt to escape their fate.  The crabs were the lumbering idiots of the crustacean world and seem oblivious to their fate until they actually hit the boiling water. 

DG: Any other exotic foods?

FS: The Chinese weren’t as big fans of pickling as the Koreans but did pickle things a Westerner would never consider.  I wondered why some Asian country didn’t pickle their dead since they seemed to pickle just about everything else.  There were still family shrines in China and photos of the dead ancestors.  Wouldn’t a pickled grandfather be more authentic than a photo?  Why had the Egyptians gone through the elaborate techniques they used for mummification when they could have just pickled the pharaohs?

DG: Did you do any cooking yourself?

FS: Not really but just going to a night market was a form of entertainment.  The one around the corner from my place was filled with live frogs twenty layers thick in a big basket having a giant wrestling match that they couldn’t win.  The chickens would flap their wings.  The turtles would desperately try to get out of their cage.  The partridges looked sad. 

DG: Sounds terrible.

FS: The worst was that I once looked at a giant fish, about four feet long, swimming alone in a big fish tank.  I could swear the fish looked back and tried to communicate to me via HKP.  I thought the message was, “Please deliver me, the fish god will reward you in another life.”  Entrails, pig heads and various unrecognizable pieces of meat hung everywhere.  This was free entertainment!

DG: Did you take drugs in China?

FS: Not illegal ones.  As far as I could tell, the two big legal drogas in West China were cerveza and green tea.  The bottom of the barrel restaurants, which I described earlier, would sell you a giant 650 milliliter bottle of cerveza, which I would refer to as the big bottle from here on in.  Canned cerveza was usually more expensive than bottled cerveza.  Imported beers were of course more expensive than the local Chinese beers.

DG: Did you drink a lot?

FS: Sure, what else was there to do in West China besides sex tourism?  There were a few really cheap beers.  The bottom of the line really cheap beers used bottles recycled using ultrasound and the bottles could be different colors and worn.  This appearance made me nervous.  There could be anything inside.  All of cheap beers tasted just fine. 

DG: What did the West Chinese drink?

FS: West Chinese drank cheap beers with other West Chinese.  They generally had bottles of something better when you come over in order to impress their American friend.  West Chinese didn’t really drink canned beers because of their high cost but drank the big bottles.  A West Chinese person would ask you, “How many bottles could you drink?”

DG: How many bottles can you drink?

FS: I had discovered that I tend to fall of the stool halfway through the fifth bottle.  I had never been able to finish the fifth bottle but enjoyed the attempt.  There was a rumor that the West Chinese were not drinkers.

DG: Was this true?

FS: I would say that West Chinese did drink less than Americans but this may be due in part to economics.  For example, most West Chinese women usually didn‘t drink at all but Chinese women who had better jobs and a little more money were more likely to imbibe.  Many Chinese men could hold their liquor.  I knew one guy who could easily polish over ten bottles in an evening.  If you were planning a party I would order three bottles per Chinese male.

DG: You mentioned green tea as a drug.

FS: There was always some green tea addict in the hotel room next to mine.  He would hack and cough all night long.  I slowly realized what the West Chinese were trying to do when they hack so desperately. 

DG: What were they trying to do?

FS: They were trying to spit up some giant wad of green tea stuck deep in their lungs.  The wad wasn’t coming out because, when you drank ten cups of green tea everyday for your whole life, the wad gets pretty big and develops roots that spread throughout his lungs, until he could barely breathe. 

DG: So why doesn’t he stop drinking green tea?

FS: The answer was simple: he was hopelessly addicted.  The secreto to the West Chinese economy was green tea.

DG: How so?

FS: The West Chinese were all hopped up on green tea. 

DG: Was the green tea that powerful?

FS: Green tea has twenty times the caffeine that coffee does and they had special varieties created by the top secreto Green Tea Ministry.  You take one cup of this stuff and you were ready for the day.  Teahouses were the Chinese go when they really wanted to get fixed.  The upscale teahouse in Xian was a place where tea and every beverage imaginable could be found.  The beverages included many types of cerveza, wine, liquor, etc.  There was soft music in the background.  This teahouse was very relaxing after my hectic schedule. 

DG: Whorehouses and sex shows, what busy schedule?

FS: Total decadence is hard work.  The middle of the road teahouse was more common.  I wasn’t too impressed by the middle of the road teahouses in Xian, little food, no cerveza and the tea was almost as expensive as at the upscale teahouse.

DG: Were you a green tea addict?

FS: No way, you could order twenty types of tea but what American who hasn’t gone totally insane from living in West China too long, could really could tell the difference between twenty types of tea and/or care?  The really hard-core addicts carried their green tea in jars.  There was more green tea than water in these jars.  The normal dosage just doesn’t do it for them anymore.

DG: What did you do for money?

FS: I was always having some money trouble.  The Internet bars in West China were so primitive that I had trouble accessing my nanopayment virus.  The Chinese foolishly left their shoes outside their apartment doors and wore slippers indoors. 

DG: I think this is a Chinese custom.

FS: Chinese stupidity is more like it.  I would slip into an apartment and steal a few choice tennis shoes that didn’t look too used.  After I had gathered half a dozen, I would lay my wares on the street and sell them.

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The patient displays a persistent pattern of low-level criminality in his sessions.

DG: Besides bars where did you hang out?

FS: I sometimes ate lunch at a working class hotel across the street from where I stayed.  The place was really grungy.  The waiters ran around in half open sweaty dress shirts.  The customers did physical labor and looked the part.  There was no air-conditioning in their lives.  I loved the atmosphere and the food was great.  You could eat a full meal for less than five e-money credits.  The place was not clean.  This was where the laboring class of West China ate.  As mentioned, a laborer makes very little e-money in West China.  The laborers had to eat just like everybody else.  If you ate where the laborers ate then you could save some money and get to see a side of West China that not too many people saw.

DG: Was West China as authoritarian as China in our Earth?

FS: Probably less so, but more noticeably for me since the rest of the world on my Earth relied on more subtle means of social control.  West China was a land awash in uniforms.  There were people in uniforms everywhere.  At first this may alarm you, relax.  The guys you needed to worry about aren’t wearing uniforms. 

DG: Well that’s the case in any country.

FS: Absolutely, the policia wore green outfits with green epaulets.  The army wore green uniforms with red epaulets.  The court officials wore light blue uniforms.  There was a special type of policia that often marched down the street in single file and they had fancier badges than the regular policia did.  You might want to keep an eye out for these guys. 

DG: Did you any trouble with the police?

FS: I never had any trouble but the West Chinese said that you didn’t want to mess with the policia at all.  In West China, you ran into guys with red armbands with some Chinese characters on the armband.  They were a type of watchman.  The department store seguridad guys wore the most impressive uniforms.  Usually blue with lots and lots of gold braid.  I saw one uniform that I really liked.

DG: What uniform?

FS: There was a special unit of West Chinese female soldiers that wore a pretty interesting dress uniform.  It consisted of a red dress that was pretty sexy, a cute little red beret, and black leather boots.  Once when I was going home I spotted them goose stepping down the main square in Xian with fixed bayonets and you could get a pretty good gander of their legs since the Chinese did a variation of the goose step that in this case showed a lot of leg. 

DG: I am sure the goose step was invented to show a lot of leg.

FS: I’ll bet that is the case.  These gals could invade America any time.  If I got a choice of interrogators then I was picking some one from this unit.  I suspected that this was really some secreto sex policia. 

DG: How do you figure?

FS: I figure that they gave young girls in West China a personality test and saw if they had any strong latent dominatrix qualities and if they did they were recruited for this special unit.  If some high level party type gets out of line then they sent the gals in did to their job.  The problem was that this sort of thing turns on a lot of guys and so they start breaking small rules on purpose. 

DG: I’ll bet, any other uniforms?

FS: The railway guys look really spiffy.  They had red bands on their policemen style helmets.  There was a big gold badge in the middle of the cap that just oozed authority.  You looked at them and you just knew that the trains ran on time.

DG: How would you describe West China politically?

FS: West China was an old-fashioned policia state.  Living in an old-fashioned policia state was very different than living in the United Americas or Shanghai.  Cameras were everywhere in the UA.  Conduct in most of my Earth was regulated by the fact that privacy no longer existed.  There were very few actual policemen roaming about. 

DG: So according to you a really modern police state doesn’t have many police.

FS: Sure, the cameras saved money and prevented crime from happening in the first place.  Computers then analyzed the video data as it was recorded.  Going underground was almost impossible in the UA since sooner or later a camera would spot your face and the computer would inform the few policemen that were still around. 

DG: What about West China?

FS: West China was more backward and relied on old-fashioned snoops and a large policia presence. 

DG: Were there any restriction on you freedom of movement?

FS: Foreigners could only stay in certain hotels and live in certain apartments.  You were quite lucky when you got an apartment in West China because as a foreigner when you got housing you also got a guard, a curfew and a sign in system as well. 

DG: How did the Chinese justify all this?

FS: All this was for your protection.  West China had one of the lowest crime rates in the world and this makes the safety argument all the more ridiculous.  I was under the impression that fellow Asians, particularly Japanese were treated differently.  On the whole, the Asian foreigners had their own social circle and hangouts.  Westerners spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get around the restrictions.

DG: Sounds extreme, did people hate the government?

FS: Despite being a policia state, most West Chinese seemed to support the government.  Nevertheless, I thought the West Chinese needed guns. 

DG: To get their freedom?

FS: They didn’t need guns to overthrow the government.  I thought most West Chinese supported the government and would use their guns to defend rather than overthrow the government but the Chinese needed guns nevertheless.  The Chinese had two problems that would be solved if they had guns: rudeness and overpopulation.

DG: How so?

FS: The West Chinese could be very rude.  They would cut in front of you in line without hesitation.  They would yell at each other for hours.  If the West Chinese had guns then this wouldn’t happen. 

DG: I don’t see how one has much to do with the other?

FS: If you cut in front of someone in America they might pull out a gun and blow your brains out.  I thought this was ultimately the secreto to American politeness, in the back of our minds was always the thought that this guy might be a psychopath and if I tick him off then he might pull out a gun and blow my brains out. 

DG: I agree, an armed society is a polite society.

FS: Yeah, I knew that I rarely gave someone the finger in America because I thought they might pull out a gun and blow my brains out.  When I did give someone the finger I was always ready to duck just in case this was the moment of truth.  I felt relieved that my head was still attached to my body after I had given someone the finger.  You get into a yelling match in America every day and I promise you that you’ll be shot by the end of the week.  Guns would make West China a more polite society.

DG: Sounds like an extreme solution.

FS: Extreme problems require extreme solutions.  The second big problem in West China was overpopulation.  The West Chinese government invested a lot of time, money and energy on family planning.  West China had a one-child policy.  West Chinese couples, on the whole, were only allowed one child. 

DG: Like our China.

FS: The problem was that even with the one child policy there were was such a big base population that it would be a century before the population actually decreased and in the meanwhile the population would just go up and up.  Stopping more West Chinese from being born was only half the solution.

DG: So what is the other half of the solution?

FS: You needed to do something about the West Chinese that were already born.  America on this Earth has had great success in curtailing its population through the use of guns and West China could learn from their example.

DG: That’s true.  As I recall homicide is the leading cause of death for young Blacks. 

FS: Right and if West China would let the citizens have guns then they to could have enjoyed the benefits of homicide as a major form of population control.

DG: I will have to assume you are kidding.  Were there any high tech outfits in West China at all?

4.02

Phoenix Corporation

Dr. Delta: This meme construct is infectious but not virulent.

FS: Yes, I visited the Phoenix Corporation branch in West China.  The Phoenix Corporation would freeze you when you die so that some day you would be thawed out and live again.  They only freeze the head because freezing the whole body costs much more than the West Chinese could afford.  Everyone knew that there would be robot bodies and/or cloned bodies in the future.  Who needed to freeze the whole body?

DG: What if there were no robot bodies or worse, you got the robot body and had to pay the bill for the body by being somebody’s slave when you are awakened.

FS: You have quite an imagination doc.  Sounds like a great idea for a novel.  You could get your whole body frozen but it would cost you four times as much.  They were a United Americas based corporation but had recently started a branch office in Shanghai.  The Shanghai office in turn had opened an office in Xian.  They had had to cut corners a little because most Chinese couldn’t afford the ten thousand dólares that Americans and Shanghai residents pay to have their whole body frozen.  Heads were kept in large vats to keep costs down.  At 1,000 dólares a head you couldn’t have the same quality standards you had in the UA. 

DG: Yet another flaw in your story.  The Chinese are into ancestor worship.  This system would make ancestor worship impossible.  Therefore there would be no customers and no such business.

FS: The Chinese like to visit the heads of the deceased on the days of ancestor worship.  The heads were rotated on a rotisserie so everyone got a view.  I myself was a card-carrying member of the Phoenix Club. 

DG: I thought you had money problems.

FS: I only could afford to get my head frozen.  If I got three more members then I got a whole body upgrade for free.  The Chinese were a hard sell.  I never convinced a single person to join the club.   

DG: Given the poor living conditions, how was your health?

FS: I got sick once.  I partied with three friends at the Indian Head Pub during Chinese New Year’s.  We had a big jug of Three Snake Wine from West China.  Three huge snakes, intertwined, could be seen clearly in the bottle, which accounts for the name.

DG: Why were their snakes in the wine?

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: I never heard of snakes in wine and this is probably another fantasy related to the patient’s latent homosexuality.  The other persons that the patient is having wine with are probably men that the patient has strong unrealized attraction towards.

 

FS: The snakes’ added flavor to the wine or so they say.  Three Chinese ladies walked by the window of the pub arm in arm.  The cynic of our group said they were prostitutes.  The mystic of our group said they were the three fates. 

DG: What did you think?

FS: I, the romantic of the group, said they were beautiful.  We heard a strange tapping against the window but no one was there.  It must have been the wind.  I ordered a meal.  My chopsticks broke.  We started drinking at six in the evening and watched twilight turn to neon.  We departed at night going in different directions.  We would never meet again.  In the pocket of my jacket I carried a broken chopstick, the only memento of that night.  A few days later I was sick as a fox. 

DG: Hung over?

FS: Maybe it was the Three Snake Wine.  It seemed like a simple cold but totally did not respond to over the counter medications.  I was advised by expats that many Chinese colds only respond to penicillin and it would just get worse and worse.  I truly thought I was a few days away from a major illness.  Try to imagine an extremely bad cold, which just doesn’t go away and you lose sleep appetite and slowly but surely got weaker and weaker. 

DG: So what did you do?

FS: I went to the hospital and they gave me enough penicillin to start my own droga store.  I felt much better within hours and totally better by the next day.  I had since found out the hospitals just give everybody a ton of penicillin for just about anything.  Someday there were going to be some seriously penicillin resistant diseases in that country.

DG: So you had to go to a hospital?

FS: Yes, the West Chinese found it amazing that I had never been to the hospital for a cold before.  The West Chinese themselves probably end up having to go to the hospital for a cold at least once a year.  Not all colds in West China were of this type and you could usually tell after two or three days.

DG: How could you tell the difference?

FS:  If your cold responds to over the counter medication like Godzilla being shot with a BB gun then you’ve got a Chinese cold and needed to go to the hospital.  Children’s colds were handled differently, parents were much more likely to take their children to the hospital immediately since they reasoned that penicillin couldn’t hurt and could only help.  I took Fluffy with me for company. 

DG: Did Fluffy have fun?

FS: Fluffy, like all cats, could see x-rays.  Cats didn’t have color vision so a x-ray machine just looked like just another light source but much brighter.  Fluffy informed me that the hospital absolutely glowed with x-rays unlike a boring Japanese hospital she had checked out for catnip.  Fluffy purred and told me, “Look at all the pretty lights.” 

DG: I guess Fluffy didn’t realize the pretty lights could cause cancer and just enjoyed the show. 

FS: x-rays cause cancer?  I couldn’t really see x-rays very well with my tetrachromatic vision although someone with pentachromatic vision could.  Squares with pentachromatic vision had been found to have a slightly different iris structure than other Squares. 

DG: How would the Squares know this?

FS: The science of iridology had been developed to find pentachromatic Squares.

DG: How do you explain the existence of iridology in this Earth?

FS: I don’t.

DG: I don’t either.

FS: According to the Chinese friend that took me to the hospital, Chinese hospitals in Xian follow a pretty standard pattern right down to the blue print of the hospital.  My friend totally knew his way around despite never having been to that particular hospital.  The signs were all bilingual i.e. in Chinese and English but nobody seemed to actually speak English.  The nurses soon noticed that I was not Chinese and suggested that I go to the VIP room.  A very important looking older nurse took a huge ring of keys out and led my friend and I into the sacrosanct room.

DG: The VIP room?

FS: Yes, the VIP room was a very pretty sitting room that looked like an earnest attempt by some Chinese interior designer to copy a sitting room he had seen in some 1950’s Hollywood film.  I sat there for about an hour and became suspicious.  It turns out the VIP room could only be used by select doctors and the next doctor who had rounds coming up and permission to used the VIP room was scheduled to show up at 7:00 PM.  Unfortunately it was 10:00 am! 

DG: Oops!

FS: Oops is right.  The nurse saw nothing absurd about having us wait all day in the VIP room in a hospital filled with doctors on duty that could see me immediately.  She had been given clear instructions to take VIP’s, and this includes all Westerners in West China, to the VIP room and she had done her duty.  Hers was not to reason why.

DG: Sounds like a very stupid lady.

FS: Not stupid but socially conditioned to be blindly obedient.  This was a very common trait in West Chinese over 40, total blind obedience at the expense of anything resembling logic or commonsense.  This trait could drive you a little crazy in West China. 

DG: I imagine, what about the younger Chinese?

FS: I am happy to say that the younger West Chinese could actually reason and realize that rules serve a purpose and rules were not just there to be followed without any connection to that purpose.  Many of the older West Chinese did drive the younger West Chinese a little crazy. 

DG: So what did you do?

FS: I asked to be treated like one of the masses and my request was granted.  The waiting area consisted of about twenty large rooms filled with doctors sitting behind a desk.  You basically peeked into each room until you saw one that wasn’t in a state of total pandemonium and then elbowed your way to a doctor at a desk.  As far as the Chinese were concerned, a cripple gets in your way then too bad for the cripple.

DG: Did you finally see a doctor?

FS: I was lucky enough to get a respiratory specialist.  I knew I was dealing with a respiratory specialist because someone had written this on a piece of poster board with a large black marker.  I was feeling pretty lucky.

DG: Why did you feel that way?

FS: Chinese doctors must be pretty smart because he was able to make his diagnosis with almost no questions and by listening to my lungs, which he noticed, were congested.  The fact that I was hacking all over the place probably also provided another vital clue that I had some sort of cold.

DG: I guess.

FS: He obviously felt no needed to take my temperature or find out my medical history.  The less intelligent doctors I was accustomed to back home ask you for all sorts of information and did a lot of tests that waste time.  No this was a doctor who could look at a patient and with unerring judgment size up the situation and write up the prescription.  The diagnosis and prescription were all written in the same notebook that looked a lot like one of those school kid notebooks except that it had a picture of a hospital on the cover that I didn’t recall ever seeing on a school kid notebook.  No needed for triplicate and records for this guy.  He had a photographic memory and would surely remember my case the next time I saw me.  I got my prescription written and he went to the pharmacy to see what I had won.  I got penicillin tablets and penicillin injections.

DG: That’s all?

FS: I also got a special decongestant tea that was excellent.  It totally soothed my system, acted as decongestant, and you didn’t have medicine head.  I hated medicine head almost as much as the cold itself.  He tossed in some bandages as well. 

DG: Bandages?

FS: Yeah, I was scratching my head as to what bandages had to do with a cold.  Maybe he figured I was an American, and as crazy as we seemed to be in those Hollywood action films, it probably wouldn’t hurt for me to have some bandages around the house.  He went to the injection room and I was asked to pull my pants down and got the injection in the buttock. 

DG: That must have been fun.

FS: A riot, there were about a dozen people in the injection room but hey I figured in West China do as the Chinese do.  I started to pull my pants down and the nurse got agitated.  I had pulled my pants too down and shown a little too much derriere for Chinese propriety.  I pulled my pants up partially and the procedure began. 

DG: You did this in crowded room?

FS: What choice did I have? The other Chinese had obviously never seen an American get an injection in the buttock before and made a circle around me and asked questions about who I was, where I was from, etc. my Chinese friend acted as a translator and I didn’t even notice the shot.  The penicillin started working dramatically within hours and I wanted to personally thank Louis Pasteur, wherever he was.

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Green tea is obviously a code word for some sort of other drug.  The patient may be hiding a stay at a mental institution in China or some other part of Asia with his hospital story.

DG: Did you do anything at night with Fluffy?

FS: Fluffy and I wandered around at night, in one of the better urban neighborhoods, around the Xian University of Architecture.  This was not the downtown which has all the four and five star hotels for the tourists but where the Chinese actually live and shop.  People everywhere were running around shirtless or in rags.  Many young men rolled up the bottom part of their T-shirt but didn’t expose their breasts.  I thought they should just go all the way and take of that T-shirt!  Groups of people squatted in circles like so many apes with nothing but conversation for entertainment.  The blocks were extra wide and filled with eating establishments which consist of plastic chairs and some type of stand with some soda, cerveza and a primitive charcoal oven in which various meats and vegetables were barbecued.  The streets were lined with trees, which cools the streets down and was attractive.  The lighting was a combination of flame, neon and motorcycle headlights.  There were very few street lamps in Xian. 

DG: Did Fluffy like Xian?

FS: Fluffy loved Xian because it was filled with roaches, rats and mice unlike super clean Japan.  She would get high as a kite on catnip and go on big time vermin safaris.  If she had a little dope then she would get the munchies just like a human and Xian was a smorgasbord of garbage.  Fluffy told me that humans weren’t two smart since we didn’t realize food tasted better after rotting a day or two.

DG: Kind of cat café culture?

FS: Exactly, this café culture would be more attractive except that the smell of decay Chinese food permeated the air since the garbage of these restaurants was swept into the street and left to rot. 

DG: Which made Fluffy happy.

FS: Yeah Fluffy was happy but not me.  Decaying Chinese food smells extremely similar to shit.  There was a slight difference between the smells that my educated nose could now discern but the difference was probably not obvious to the average Westerner just visiting Xian.  Roving gangs of children wandered about the streets in rags oblivious to their poverty and playing as they wandered.  There were gambling establishments everywhere which consisted of a run down room in which you could play either mahjongg or computer poker.

DG: Was there any elegance to Xian despite its poverty?

FS: Let me tell you a story that captures the elegance of Xian.  I saw a very well dressed, pretty young hooker in a beautiful evening gown squatting in the dirt and eating a stick of barbecued beef.  High culture meets ape land in downtown Xian.  For the record I had learned to squat expertly. 

DG: Good for you.

FS: Benches in West China could be quite filthy and you would get dirt all over the seat of you pants or that evening gown that you had to sleep with ten guys to get.  Squatting meant that only the soles of your shoes were in contact with the ground. 

DG: Lay down a handkerchief.

FS: You could carry around a handkerchief but pretty soon you had a handkerchief that was so dirty you hesitate to put it in your pocket.  Tissue was another solution.  You put the tissue down over the seat.  The tissue could also be used in the toilets, which never ever had toilet paper. 

DG: Did you visit even one museum?

FS: I visited the Banpo Museum that features the history of this area and was built in the 50’s.  Many people visited Xian and never saw this museum at all. 

DG: What sort of museum was it?

FS: Kind of like two museums for the price of one.  They had a temporary exhibit about sex and health obviously designed to scare Chinese into behaving.  There were entire corpses in giant see through containers filled with formaldehyde just like the little frogs in biology class but in bigger jars.  The skin had been carefully removed so that you could clearly see the muscles.  Other corpses had been partially dissected so that you could see particular organs. 

DG: How disgusting.

FS: Yeah, a French guy that wandered in promptly wandered out and puked his guts out.  What a sissy!  The exhibit of babies with genetic abnormalities had actual dead babies in jars with accompanying text above.  The actual stuff on sexual disease was pretty tame.  This just consisted of really gory pictures of organs and what not in various states of sexual disease.  The Banpo museum also had a matriarchal village exhibit that consists of a pseudo primitive village, which seems to borrow stylistic elements from any number of cultures. 

DG: In general, West China unlike the rest of your Earth was pretty backwards technologically.

FS: Not in one particular area, while I was in Xian, I saw a store that had a pyramid of paint balls in the window.  I was surprised since I thought paintball was illegal in West China.  I found out later that the paintball gun was illegal but not the paintballs themselves.  Paintball was basically cops and robbers but you used paint balls instead of yelling, bang, bang you’re dead.  A paintball was a plastic ball filled with a non-toxic, easy to wash, red dye, which bursts all over you when propelled by a type of air gun.  The clerk was a Muslim. 

DG: Muslims in China?

FS: There was a large Muslim minority in Xian. 

DG: Did the government watch them as they do on our Earth?

FS: Yes, West China was big country and the communist government was always on the look out for new ways to monitor the population.  The Chinese imported a special category of microbots from East China.  The microbot resembled a red ant.  The red ants were equipped with a very powerful ultrasonic monitoring system. 

DG: Why ultrasound?

FS: The ultrasound could penetrate walls and monitor conversations inside a house from outside.  Planes went over West China and literally seeded whole areas with these devices.  The party had fully automated listening posts all over West China.  The listening post had computers that ignored all transmissions except transmission involving certain key words. 

DG: What key words?

FS: If the word freedom, democracy or Falung Gong was said then the computer counted this transmission.  The Chinese had special maps created once a week that showed the frequency of these words being spoken around the country.  The biggest problem was to create computer systems that could handle all the information that the ants gathered. 

DG: Sounds like the BIS Memetic Map.

FS: This was West China’s version of the BIS Memetic Map.  The ultrasound monitoring was bad for your health but that was a small price for control.  West China was a tough place to live in.  Ultrasonic showers were really hard on your skin.  Ultrasonic toilets were tough on your asshole.  Ultrasonic monitoring gave you headaches.

DG: Well at least Fluffy was happy.

FS: Fluffy, as I mentioned, loved the vermin but we had some problems.

DG: Such as.

FS: Fluffy met a male e- cat named Kenney in West China and they started spending more and more time together.  Finally, she told me that she was going to go back to East China with Kenney.

DG: Who was Kenney?

FS: Kenney had belonged to a family from Shanghai that had dumped him in Xian to get rid of him.  There was a catnip shortage in Xian and both cats loved catnip and agreed that East China was probably a better place for a fix.  I wished Fluffy the best and we parted ways.

DG: Sounds sad.

FS: I was sad. In my grief, I did something stupid.

DG: What was that?

FS: I had run into a vial of red death in my bathroom kit.  I had probably stashed it away in my toiletry bag and forgotten all about it.  I had never tried red death and feeling depressed I took some.

DG: Were you trying to commit suicide due to Fluffy leaving you.

FS: No, not really I was trying to cheer myself up with a new high.

DG: Did it cheer you up?

FS: Not exactly, I lay down on the bed and took the red death.

DG: And then what happened?

FS: I was transported to the dimension of the Omegas.

4.03

Crab Dream

Dr. Delta: This meme construct is extremely infectious and virulent.

DG: We will explore this “so-called” Omega dimension in our next session. Did you have another dream about your mom’s funeral?

FS: No I haven’t had that dream again. Instead, I dreamt that I was sleeping on a beach and a crab crawled into my ear and into my brain.  I was paralyzed. 

DG: If I say crabs what comes to mind?

FS: Juanita

DG: Juanita?

FS: Well she worked at the Pantera Loca Club and gave me crabs but of course this is before I met Zorra.

DG: Never mind, what else happened in your dream.

FS: Children starting putting sand all over my body and then built a sandcastle over me.  The sand hardened into concrete.  I became a man of rock. My eyes, nose and mouth were covered with concrete but not my ears.  Waves flowed in and out of my ears and I could feel the crab moving about inside my head and moving with the tide.

DG: And then what happened.

FS: My papá began to take the sand of my body and I was free He was wearing a blue coat.  He was stroking a Grey beard and had a wise expression on his face.  He put his hand next to my ear and the crab crawled out of my ear and up his arm and finally crawled into his ear.

DG: Then what happened?

FS: I woke up

DG: When I say crab what comes to mind?

FS: Virus

DG: Virus

FS: computer

DG: Father

FS: Boss

DG: Perhaps your father is trying to tell you something and the crab represents this message. What do you think your father is trying to tell you?

FS: I think someone is trying to tell me something but not my dad.  I do think there is something like a crab inside of me and it is supposed to get out one way or another.

DG: I think with time we will figure out what this “thing” is that is supposed to get out.  Whatever it is, you want to communicate it with the world.

FS: Well I want it out of my head.

DG: I think this desire is very healthy.

FS: Thanks.

DG: I see our time is up.

Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The crab represents the key to the patient’s delusions.  The patient thinks of the crab as a computer virus and given his obsession with technology this is not surprising but I doubt the crab is anything like this but more probably a key childhood trauma such as sexual abuse perhaps perpetrated by the father.

 

The red death experience may be an unconscious reference to the patient’s drug overdose that led to his comma.  The Omega dimension probably refers to hallucinations the patient had while he was in the comma.  The patient’s story is reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels.  According to the patient he has been to three far off lands with strange people with strange ways.  Swift was satirizing his current reality when he wrote Gulliver’s Travels.  Could the patient be doing something similar at an unconscious level?  His Japan seems to be a critique of how technology affects relationships at the micro level, particularly male/female relationships.  The patient’s East China seems to a critique of primitive mind control technology.  East China is also an example of a society that has changed in order to accommodate technology and therefore be more competitive at the international level.  West China seems to be a critique of using technology in a reactionary manner.  The traditional bias for male children was not changed by modernization but instead modern ultrasound was used to actualize this bias. 

 

The traditional authoritarian government was not destroyed by modernization. Instead technology was used to make the government even more authoritarian.  The example of West China shows that technology does not necessarily lead to a modern society but instead technology can be used to prop up reactionary regimes with disastrous results. 

Why is the patient so obsessed with technology?

 

Dr. Delta: I had a long conversation with Dr. Gamma around this time about his personal hygiene, lack of professional attitude and expressed a general concern about his well being.

 

MEMETIC INFECTION COUNTERMEASURES

 

The McMickey meme is extremely dangerous.  Fast food is a central aspect of the American dream and any meme that attacks fast food attacks the American dream.  Close your eyes and imagine a hamburger.  Imagine the smell.  Imagine the delicious meat slowly dissolving in your mouth.  Imagine your favorite fast food place and imagine that a giant bar of soap is cleaning the restaurant.  Actually going to a fast food restaurant and having some fast food right after reading the McMickey meme is highly recommended.

 

Ungaro: I lived in Suzhou China for a year.  I taught English as foreign language at Suzhou Railway Teacher College.  East China isn’t at all like what I experienced in China but the West China fantasy does bear some resemblance to what I remember about Suzhou.  I would say Gamma’s West China kind of describes China now while East China describes China in the future.  I suppose China could go in either direction and end up being like West China or East China.  I think there is zero chance of East and West China actually splitting up into two countries.

Gamma assures me he had never visited Asia until he showed up at my doorstep.  I really have to wonder were he gets some of these Asian centered stories.  Right about the time I read this session, Gamma was going through about six giant 1000-ml cans of Sapporo beer a day.  I wasn’t sure how to handle this guy at all.


 

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