a bad apple? perhaps. feeling a bit spoiled on couch surfing? absolutely.
I understand that when I offer up my floor to strangers, I potentially expose myself to all sorts of people. I understand that this is supposed to be a good thing but isn’t guaranteed to be.
but let me elaborate on why I didn’t like Ryan (and Ryan if you are reading this, …I guess I’m feeling mean and don’t care if you’re reading)—
to begin with, he was very critical of the Japanese in ways that didn’t sit well with me.
aw, but before that… he was just plain ugly in person.
but back to the Japanese. for one, in his emails he spoke lovingly of Japan and said that his language ability was intermediate (the site assigns intermediate to people that aren’t fluent but can talk about a lot of things and express their ideas) but in person he insinuated that all Japanese are miserable in their daily lives and spoke much much worse Japanese than I did (and I called myself a beginner).
Now, as a teacher who listens to people’s stories all day long, I think that claiming all of Japan is unsatisfied with their lives is bullshit. I know it is. Definitely not any more than Americans. and I told him so, he seemed to nod without listening. if you know what I mean.
it made me realize how protective I am of Japanese society and culture. and I thought that he would be a good challenge to my beliefs, so I didn’t give him a solid answer if he could stay with me. no solid yes or no (in my book). this was my idea of being generous at the time.
but then I got sick (which is why I wrote so little last week) and was sleeping all the time and not really wanting a house guest. so I told him to find someone/somewhere else, please. he wrote back saying “Please! Please! Please! I have no other option…. only for the 13th through the 15th…”.
and I caved and said, “ok”
so, back tracking again, when I met him for dinner the first time, he tried to give me a hug at the station and I offered a cold shoulder. for me, this is a ‘do as the Romans’ type of situation, unless you are particularly inspired to do otherwise. so no public touching. especially from a practical stranger.
the second time I met him he also tries to hug me in public and generally gets in my personal space more that I like. I feel that my body language makes it obvious that he’s pushing the line. every subsequent time, he also tried to hug me in public. and each subsequent time I felt more uncomfortable and annoyed.
and also something about being really over excited to see me all the time. Yesterday I taught 8 classes and returned exhausted but he’s waiting at the station, grin so big that I think he could catch a small bird in his open mouth waiting to pounce on me and give me an awkward unwanted hug.
a small bird
and there was a sleaziness factor too. so after the first night, he tells me that he was really cold. I don’t really believe him because I was really hot all night and worried that he was roasting too. but so, fine, heat rises… I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I give him another blanket and adjust the heater so it’s pointing down more and will blast him with hot air all night.
but he confides in me that he’s, “really scared of being cold again,”
ummm, he just came from a few months of winter in China…
and asks if he can “sleep with me without touching me”
you’ve got to be f*ing kidding me! first of all, I don’t know a single guy who actually would mean that and second, my tiny loft A, can’t fit two people, obviously without one being on top of the other, and B, is my only shred of privacy left. Plus, I’m not on vacation! I’m in the middle of my workweek and need my F*ing sleep. I’m not on some gallivant around the world, writing some seemingly insipid love story that will probably never really be a book (that’s what he claims he’s doing). and I am DEFINITELY not going to audition for a role in said insipid story. AARR. I’m annoyed but allow him to sleep on the floor rather than kick him out.
but here’s my favorite anecdote for the three night encounter… no wait, the anecdote will have to wait because he said 13th-15th and stayed 3 nights, not 2. tricky, I think. sneaky dirty slimmy trick. he left today, the 16th.
so while I taught like a maniac all day yesterday, he wandered around Tokyo seeing the sites. His travel included Odaiba, a newish addition to Tokyo. It’s a 100% man made island in Tokyo bay. It has a miniature statue of liberty and the JoyPolis. I saw it in August and wasn’t really impressed but was generally amused. as I usually am.
so Ryan is very not impressed with Odaiba. He says, ‘wow, they made a whole island but it isn’t all that special. I could make a way better island! Wanna hear about my island? Wanna hear about my island? Wanna hear about my island? Wanna hear about my island?”
“Sure Ryan! Tell me all about the island you would make!”
“OK! So, it would be smaller right, cause I’m from Seattle and it would be called BAREFOOT ISLAND,” he nods so vigorously and I’m sympathetically dizzy.
I raise my eyebrows to show my enthusiasm.
“Alright! So it would be like this island! and it would have all this grass! you know, so people could go barefoot!!!”
he pauses for emphasis. I keep my eyebrows raised, as if I’m equally (or at least partially) excited.
“OK! so it would be this island and it would have a bridge! I mean this island would be like a mountain,” his gestures make me think of a triangle, but I don’t interrupt to correct him.
“and it would have this bridge, right? and it would go from the top of the mountain to like the main land!” the nodding is accelerating, I wonder if his head could pop off. I figure it’s probably used to such seizures and I try to smile.
“so like the bridge, it would be like this,” he gestures an arch, “so that the boats could go under it,” the smile couldn’t be more manic, “ and not just the little boats but also like the sail boats! Wouldn’t that be great?”
“??????” I realize he is waiting for a response.
“Yeah, that’s great [because I can totally use this story to lampoon you later]!” I say sincerely.