by phone-phobic Rach, friend of phone-phobic Rosie
We were standing right there in the middle of that bridge when Rob quietly chided Mboy6 for fiddling with the valuable-items-in-his(Rob’s)-buttoned-pocket. Apparently pickpockets are prevalent round these parts, not that we’ve become acquainted with any yet, and the fewer hands disturbing the wallet, the more likely it will be that Rob will notice if something untoward does happen at some stage.
What he didn’t realise this time was that M6 was trying to draw his dadda’s attention to the mobile phone, which was ringing. By the time the pocket was unbuttoned and technology extracted, it had gone silent. It was then that it struck us how strange it was for the phone to be ringing for us in China!
It was about as strange as hearing music just minutes beforehand – and not just any song; it was ironically “The Sound of Silence” – pulsing out of a rock. We had taken a second look, and yes, there were speakers in rocks at regular intervals along the neat manicured paths.
Now our own music restarted…..and Rob answered the call.
From the other side of the world, five hours ahead of us, came the voices of people, who are still talked about Every Single Day by the children.
Stopping in our tracks to try to decipher the cryptic message, which was breaking up over the airwaves in its quest to find us, provided the perfect opportunity for our newest fan club to congregate around us. Simply stopping is enough to ensure we make a spectacle of ourselves. Whether in the park or in a community square, when we grind to a halt, the rest of the pedestrian traffic slows too. But until we extend an invitation, the crowd hangs back politely. If you catch their eye, they look away. They position their bodies away from us, but their camera lenses are pointed directly in our direction….or there are the other sort, who pretend to be photographing the rubbish bin or lamppost nearby! Furtive photos.
All it takes is a smile, or perhaps making the hand signal for the number eight (thumb straight up, index finger out as if you’re pointing to your left) and the crowd becomes brave and brazen. All those lingering individuals suddenly descend on us, full of friendly questions.
And that’s exactly what happened when we “hung up” today. Hello. How are you? Where am I from? My children? And the question, which we now “recognise” even though we couldn’t repeat it, to which we standardly answer in Mandarin, “Eight children.” This is always greeted with head-nodding, thumbs-ups and repeating of the new information to those further back in the crowd……and on it goes…..
We didn’t really notice today….we were basking in the enjoyment of connecting with friends…and Rob was too busy laughing that the two mothers had predictably said not a word!
Thanks for thinking of us again guys.