As we approach Halloween, I thought I'd share this audio conversation with y'all. You won't understand a word of this audioblog post unless you speak Cantonese. Okay, well, you might pick up the following words: "Halloween," "ding dong" (doorbell chime), and "Supreme Court judge." The sound quality is poor, but if you just want to get a sense of my family and me having a good time during my first trip to Los Angeles last February, go ahead and listen to the gibberish:
(In case you're wondering, my Uncle Randy decided to use his video camera to record this conversation. He gave me a copy on CD.)
The woman whose voice dominates this audiopost is my mother. My dad pipes up a little bit toward the beginning, but it's mostly my mother. The other woman who chimes in from time to time is apparently a family friend whom I don't know well, and the male voice in the middle and end of the recording is my Uncle Tim, whose house we were staying in. And the hyena laughing? That's me.
I'm tempted to just end this post here, but I suppose some more explanation will be in order. In the process, I will embarrass myself terribly, but what's the point of a semi-anonymous blog if you can't make an ass of yourself on it?
Here is the story my mom is recounting in the recording. It is the story of my first Halloween.
I was somewhere between two and three years old, and my family had just moved to the States from Asia. They downplay Halloween where I was born.
We had finished dinner and were just sitting around, when the doorbell chimed its familiar "ding dong." Me being young and excitable and energetic, I ran to the door to be the first to open it. (I apparently often did that. It was a time of youthful innocence. Two year olds could rush to open to the door without fear that some evil person dressed in a black trenchcoat would snatch you out of the open doorway and remove you to his waiting car. I also used to race to be the one to answer the phone.)
Opening the door was my big mistake.
There in the door were a group of extremely tall (probably as tall as four feet!) scary people, including people with green skin, blood on their faces, unkempt hair, and scary bug eyes. (I don't remember, but I can only imagine.) My reaction, of course, is predictable: I had my living daylights scared out of me.
I let out a scream that only a two-year-old fag-in-traning can. Unable to decide whether it was safer to run forward or backward, I was was literally immobilized with fear for a split second (though, of course, it probably felt like a century). I was caught midway between trying to run and absolute mind-numbing terror. I can only imagine that I looked like Fred Flintstone gearing up for a sprint -- you know how he hovers an inch above the ground, legs working, but going nowhere, before he takes off?* Yeah, that was me.
Eventually, my legs took action and, still screaming, I turn tail and ran... straight into a doorframe. So terrified was I that I missed the door opening and ran into the doorframe instead.
On the recording, it's at around this time that everyone around the table is laughing hysterically. That word "kuung" you hear, is Chinese onomotopoeia for the sound of me crashing into a two-by-four. Oh, and "Supreme Court judge"? That's my uncle saying that this is the type of story that could really embarrass a guy after he's been nominated to the Supreme Court. (My entire family is extremely proud of the whole lawyer thing.)
A huge lump developed on my forehead, of course. Apparently, this was par for the course with me; I hit my head a lot as a kid, and the lumps on my forehead (immortalized in numerous photographs) proved it. (Actually, "you used to hit your head a lot" is what the adults tell me now about my childhood.** A not-terribly-nice variation on this theme is the notion that my head was so disproportionately large for my body when I was young that I had a hard time keeping my head up, and I had even been known to fall face first off the can for this reason.)
Okay, it's not as funny now that I've written it up, but hot damn, that was a funny story. But more importantly, it was was fantastic sharing that kind of a hearty laugh with my family. We don't do that often enough.
* I just realized I've used this analogy before, and for this lack of originality, I apologize.
** I still harbor a sneaking suspicion that my parents actually dropped me on the head on multiple occasions. It would explain a lot.