It’s Chinese New Year, and my obligations are few and far between. I decided to grab my cast net and do a little bit of fishing over past Gao Mei Wetland, at a bridge that I’ve caught some milk fish at before.

If you’ve read about my Squanto gardening, then you know that I’m usually capable of catching plenty of fish with a cast net. Usually, but not today. Today, I was throwing the damn thing about as well as Helen Keller might pilot a helicopter. This was not the kind of performance that I wished witnesses for, but Bridge Chode didn’t give a shit or a fuck about what I wished.

Bridge Chode is almost, but not quite, old enough to retire, and is clearly bored with whatever revelry is going on at home. He drives past, sees me fishing and decides to stop and watch. You might be thinking that this isn’t a problem, but the thing with old people in this culture is that they know how to do everything better than you, and are unashamed to offer criticism such as “you should throw it better”. It would be incredibly bad manners for me to tell an elder to “fuck off and get your own net”, and by “bad manners” I mean, he would call his sons to come ghetto-stomp me, so I often end up leaving when curious geriatrics show up if I’m not in a patient mood.

On this day, I’m not in a patient mood. By the time Bridge Chode shows up and peaks over the edge to see how my net hits the water, I have thrown 0/10 good throws and likely scared off all of the fish. I am not in the mood to listen to Bridge Chode tell me to “you’ll never catch any fish throwing like that”, and anticipating that he will, non-nonchalantly walk to the other side of the bridge to throw. Bridge Chode, with equal non-nonchalance, pretends that there is something on the other side of the bridge that also requires his attention, and follows me over in order to witness my next throw. I switch sides again, hoping he will take a hint. He does, but not in the way I want. He begins following me back and forth with greater and greater boldness, and less and less subtlety.

After a few rounds of trying to “catch” me throwing, he gets on his scooter and pretends to leave, but makes a U-turn onto the side I’m throwing at and just barely misses another disastrous throw. Again, he pretends to ride off, but hides his scooter behind the railing at the far end and RUNS to the other side to try to see my net hit the water. He is again disappointed.

At this point, I realize that my frustration with the net and my game with the Bridge Chode is making my throwing technique worse and worse; it’s time to call it a day. I return home with no fish, but a new misadventure story. And Bridge Chode presumably returns home with only the bitter taste of disappointment. By the way, Bridge Chode: Fuck off and get your own net.

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