Shanghai Lockdown Day 43 ”Tension Rising” story:
Warning: Mom, you may not want to read this. Ignore language.
So, that man—168-201 Roy—sent out this pic of me. He’s telling a community group of 374 people how my—“a male foreigner”—mask was only over my mouth. In his post just below photo, he adds an “@,” addressing this directly to a community worker—“…工作人员.”
This was indeed a direct attempt to get me into trouble.
Thankfully, another neighbor in post at 13:23 responds by writing something to the effect of as long as I’m not in a group of people, no big deal.
I came home from my run, checked phone and found my colleague’s notice: (see image on right) I was upset and then showed it to my girlfriend, Serena, who was on phone with her sis. At first, I couldn’t tell she was upset. But once she got off the phone…
Serena was charging outta our door faster than I could keep up. I told her a number of times to relax and wait for me. “Wait. What’s our plan?” We never really developed one.
Yes, we could’ve just joined that WeChat group, posted a clever retort, and kept it all under the lid, as it were. Except…the instigator had completely blown up my spot already AND evidently attempted to get me into trouble.
No, no, no. This could not stand. Not in these conditions when such a photo could actually get someone into real trouble.
Minutes later, we arrived at the center of our compound/complex at 168-201 Roy’s abode. I didn’t realize later until the fog of war lifted that Serena had begun by kicking the bottom of 201’s door. She also knocked, loudly.
Once the 40-something man came out, with Playboy bunny icon imprinted on shirt, he was relatively calm as we questioned why he took the photo. However, I think he was a bit upset about the door pounding. Our front doors are wicked thick. It can handle it.
He began in English, so is clearly well educated. He insisted taking of photo was for the community. For all of us. I was at fault for having mask slightly below nostrils. I was risking peoples’ health.
While clearly running alone, in gorgeous weather, never getting within 50 feet of his second floor balcony. Not to mention, no resident here has left this compound for 43 days (44 now) and we have all been tested a minimum of 28 times within this period of time. I’m fairly certain I’m not endangering public safety.
What a SIN!
He said he has kids and that endangers their safety. Something like that.
Things got s bit more heated with Serena’s retorts in Chinese. He obsessed over his door. Then he began calling someone as he said we could all go work this out at neighborhood office. We agreed, heatedly, and all rushed downstairs.
Once outside, during the short walk, the heated exchange became an inferno. Some things about how I am not allowed to run. Not allowed to go outside. Us reminding him of the many others outside. Is he taking photos of the Chinese people, too?? He insisted it was not about my being a foreigner—although he stated that clearly in his post.
He said, yes, he had taken photos of Chinese kids out playing.
Wait. That’s f—ing creepy.
Serena told me later what set him off outside: She said, well he and his family can just all stay inside forever and just die inside together in their apartment. Seems he doesn’t want to go out anyhow. But the whole death mention carries more weight in Mandarin.
At least twice, just across from the office, he lurched aggressively towards Serena. I walked between them but needed to defend our space. His was not quite an outright lunge, but it was getting too close for comfort and needed a quick response: like a cat arching his back or a dog’s bark, I made myself larger and unleashed volume from my voice which had been pent up for several years now:
“Back up fucker! Get the fuck back!”
Just a short bit later, another aggressive lurch.
“Back up from her or I’ll knock you the fuck out! Get the fuck back!”
“I will knock you out!!”
A man shouted down from his balcony that we were bothering him.
My colleague later told me we all echoed “through Yihao Town.”
Little roy backed up, backed off.
The BX-style had to come out.
It was all about the defense. Once we arrived outside the office, a platoon of blue smocks surrounded us. Roy called the police.
They never came.
Blue smocked community and health workers gave us each a bottle of water. Chinese-style, they were very calm and eventually brought Roy into their office, away from us. I had to restrain Serena a bunch of times from going right at him.
Serena was fierce.
Blue smocked listened attentively. They agreed he should not have taken my photo, nor distributed it to others.
Soon, they asked me what I wanted—“money?” one asked. An apology?
“I just want him to not take my photo and share it around in groups.”
We thanked the workers and walked away calmly.
A couple hours later, I was back outside stretching in a little exercise park.
Life finds a way…