The other night a friend and I decided to head to a beer garden and drink al fresco. It’s a nice way to spend a summer evening here. That is, unless you get talking to the guy that I ended up next to.
All seemed normal at first, said individual and I introduced ourselves and began to chat away. Before long we came on to the topic of pollution; a pretty common thing to talk about here. As soon as we started talking about it he became very involved in the conversation, leaning down, looking at me intensely. A little weird, but we’d all had a few beers at that point so I didn’t think much of it.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love this city,” I said “But if there’s one thing I’d change about it, it would be the pollution.”
“The pollution is what makes Beijing Beijing!” he replied
“Well, I guess it’s a big part of it but it’s not one I’d be sad to see go.”
“I love the pollution” he said, clearly getting excited, “I want to go to the most polluted part of the city.”
“Umm… what?” I said.
“I want to take you to the most polluted part of the city, just imagine it!” he said, almost quivering with glee.
“I want to find the core of all the pollution and throw a party there!” he said, reaching the crescendo of his excitement.
I didn’t really know what to say at that point. Anyway, adamant in his pollution lust he asked me for my phone number. I guess he wanted to go hoof exhaust fumes with me or something.
I found my voice this time.
“Not a chance, mate.” I said.
That was the signal for me to leave. The guy didn’t take his eyes off me until I was out of sight.