Friday, April 3, 2009

Mr. Styrofoam Man

More ramblin' about China.
China is an interesting place, in that just when you think you have seen it all, up pops something that you would never expect. When I go to work, I sometimes stop by to pick up some Starbucks coffee in the morning. If I get there early enough, I get to see the Chinese old folks practicing their Kung Fu (although, it could be Tai Chi) with swords (or fans) right in front of the mall where Starbucks is located. Its a bit of a kick to see the gals out there swinging the swords or snapping their fans. Just recently, an old western guy has been trying to join in. The leader of the group has been very patient with trying to teach him the various maneuvers. I get a chuckle at watching this every morning. Apparently the western guy is making some progress, as his Chinese teacher was giving him a thumbs up on one of the things that he was trying to do.

This brings me to Mr. Styrofoam Man. There are these old guys that ride these beater three wheel bikes that some times are motorized, and sometimes are not. Mr Styrofoam Man rides one of these bikes and he has a mountain of styrofoam that is piled 20’ high. I do not exaggerate. It is just plain scary how high this stuff is piled. He has it all bundled up and it looks like a white mountain making its way down the street. Sometimes the stuff is piled on such that the white mass of styrofoam looks like it is about to envelope Mr. Styrofoam Man. When you look at him, he has this crazy grin on his face that is never changing. The truly scary part is that he is very quiet and does not stop. Nothing stops him. Traffic stops for Mr. Styrofoam Man, but he does not stop.

I was out to lunch with a colleague the other day, and I was coming out of the restaurant and I was about to cross the bike path, which runs beside the road. I looked right and then I looked left and there he was. He was barreling down the bike path at a good clip, and he was upon us in an instant. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had actually stepped out on to the bike path. Nothing stops him, and his ability to pop up out of nowhere is a bit uncanny. Truly an amazing sight.

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