On How to Properly Instruct Old Chinese Doctors to Use Emojis chapter 3

Chapter 3

16.

The result of the pulse reading was that there was nothing serious, but Wang Dequan said I had a bit of a qi1 deficiency and asked if I often stay up late, if there were times my limbs feel heavy, if I get sick easily, and if I get hay fever. He described several things in succession, and they were all quite accurate. I listened to some suggestions he gave me and asked him about pulse types, and the remaining half of the meal came to an end this way.

At the end, he patted my shoulder and said, “Young people are very remarkable. Chinese medicine is a broad and profound branch of study, and it’s always good to be willing to learn more. Not only does it benefit your life and health, it also carries forward and passes on our traditional Chinese culture.”

I felt deep admiration and repeatedly said “yes.”

He then said, “You shouldn’t rely on the fact that there is no problem with your body now and wear it out. Past age thirty, it starts to go downhill. What I just told you are mainly some lifestyle and habit adjustments. If you want specialized treatment, you can come to me for acupuncture and moxibustion.”

I said “certainly, certainly”, then thanked him profusely.

It was a very rewarding meal, although I always felt like something was wrong as if I had forgotten something.

Forget it. I should first remember, which three herbs did I need to soak for the Sheng Mai Yin2 he had just recommended again?

Oh, it was ginseng, ophiopogon japonicus, and schisandra chinensis.

I’ll buy them tomorrow.

17.

I’d never been one to take advantage of others, and thanks to him taking my pulse and giving me health advice, who could still be shameless enough to be treated to a meal? When it was time to pay the bill, I wanted to grab it and pay for the whole thing or at least pay half.

In the end, when the waitress came over Wang Dequan took out his membership card and directly signed the bill, and I was just seconds off.

Although it was only the two of us eating, he wasn’t stingy at all and ordered many dishes. The cost of this meal could cover my salary for half a month.

Sure enough, he was a nouveau riche.

The entire evening, I was the only one stuffing myself so as not to waste food. Wang Dequan, however, was particularly restrained. He only picked up a few things from each dish and wasn’t gluttonous at all. It was clear we wouldn’t finish the last tableful of dishes.

I felt a bit distressed and said, “I told you we shouldn’t have ordered so much.”

Wang Dequan smiled disapprovingly.

I sheepishly said, “You’re too generous.”

Wang Dequan signed the bill without batting an eye.

He was very refined and even somewhat fit the model of a recklessly spending domineering president3.

This was probably the difference between rich people and us.

Except there was one similarity. After he paid the bill, he asked the waitress as if it were routine, “Bring some food containers and pack the leftovers, please.”

18.

As Wang Dequan carried the food containers, he asked me how I got here, and I said I took a taxi. He then said, “Then I’ll drive you home.”

So I stood in front of the restaurant waiting for him to get his car from the parking lot.

To be honest, I was quite curious and wondered what kind of car someone like him would have.

BMW? Considering he even asked to pack the leftovers, he didn’t seem to be such an ostentatious person.

BYD? He was a member of a high-end restaurant, so maybe that was too low.

Five minutes later, Wang Dequan pulled up in an electric sedan, the kind the old man downstairs in my building used to pick up and drop off his grandson every day.

He opened the car window and said to me, “Get in.”

When we were just chatting, Wang Dequan said the past couple of blind dates he had been on before had all come to nothing, and I now seemed to understand something.

They had probably reached this point, and afterward there was no afterward.

19.

I sat in the passenger seat and idly chatted with Wang Dequan.

Although neither of us were short, the car wasn’t as crowded as I expected, and it was designed to make people very comfortable.

I didn’t actually believe that he wasn’t able to buy a good car, he just must have placed importance on saving energy and being environmentally friendly. After all, smog and the greenhouse effect were very serious nowadays.

But he could definitely buy one with a bit higher specs. Why buy this kind of old-man car?

Or was it because the parking fee was too high? After all, in our area, there were some busy blocks where the parking fee for one hour was several dozen. Many people could afford to buy a car but couldn’t afford parking, so they simply didn’t drive. However, these kinds of small, home-use electric cars could be put in the bicycle shed or the public bicycle lots so they didn’t have those kinds of costly hassles.

I even made a conspiracy theory and wondered, it couldn’t be to test whether the date was after his money, right?

I pointed out the directions as Wang Dequan drove me to my apartment complex, then he politely said, “It’s late so hurry home. Thank you for taking the time to accompany me to dinner today.”

In an empty space, I saw the old man’s identical small electric sedan parked there, and I finally couldn’t resist asking this question.

He wasn’t upset and explained, “I have other cars at home, but sometimes I have to visit a patient’s home so finding a parking spot is too troublesome and it wastes time. There were times the patient’s family was in a hurry so I parked illegally and got a ticket. So, this electric sedan is more convenient, and once I got used to driving it I didn’t feel like changing back.”

I was a little surprised. “You’re also required to visit patients at home? Isn’t that too tiring?”

He said, “The clinic certainly doesn’t require it, and I don’t go often. But if a patient’s condition is too serious or if a child is too young, or if there’s suddenly an emergency in the middle of the night, why would you still hassle them? So it would be better to go yourself.”

I listened and was speechless for a moment.

Not until a while had passed did I say, “Hey, will we still keep in touch later?”

Wang Dequan smiled and said, “I respect your wishes.”

20.

As soon as I woke up, there was a WeChat notification that Wang Dequan had sent a message as usual.

I yawned and opened it. Blue sky, sunflowers, a kid holding up a peace sign, and a colorful font floated on top that said, “Good morning. A good day starts from my greeting.”

He had sent it at 6:30 in the morning.

What time did this person get up every day?

Whether it was his old-person daily routine or old-person emojis, I was already completely immune to them, so I casually replied with a good morning emoji.

Wang Dequan: Interesting. [/Smile]

Normcore: Interesting. [/Smile]

Oh, a mysterious smile and “interesting” were also included.

After dinner that day, it was production time for the January edition of our magazine so I worked overtime five or six days in a row. I didn’t see Wang Dequan again, but we contacted each other on WeChat every day.

It wasn’t like we talked endlessly. We were both busy with our own business after all. If there was something to talk about then we would chat a bit longer, and if there wasn’t anything to talk about like before, then we would casually exchange a few pleasantries.

To be precise, I was mainly the one who would find things to talk about, and Wang Dequan would patiently respond but never took the initiative to bring something up. This once made me very frustrated, and I wondered if he didn’t want to talk to me and only perfunctorily answered for the sake of saving face. But you had to say, he didn’t mean it that way because he would persist in sending greeting messages, one in the morning and one at night with a punctuality like clockwork.

He would only become talkative when talking about his area of expertise, so much so that he would start earnestly pouring advice into my ears. For example, with the heavy smog these past few days, my mother had been forwarding me various kinds of anti-smog lung clearing prescriptions. I asked him whether that was going too far, and I had just wanted to hear a “yes” or a “no.” In the end, Wang Dequan, who always typed exasperatingly slowly, replied with a lengthy voice message for the first time.

“These prescriptions should be viewed dialectically. They have the effect of moistening the lungs, but being anti-smog may not be feasible. Fritillariae cirrhosae stewed with pear and luohan fruit are both cool4 in terms of medicinal properties, and people with a yang5 deficiency must use them with caution. It hasn’t even been clearly distinguished if smog is hot or cold6, and it doesn’t consider a person’s constitution, so using a cold medicine to treat it cannot be justified…”

“If you must use it, you can choose a medication that nourishes the spleen and benefits the lungs, enhances lung qi, and resists exogenous factors. Or you could use a medication that promotes the dispersing function of the lungs, and it will aid in discharging exogenous factors. But ultimately, it certainly varies from person to person. To distinguish a treatment, I can’t give you a specific answer without having been examined by me…”

At that time, I was bickering with a writer about a manuscript so I didn’t bother to reply immediately. Once I finished, I switched chat screens and found that he was still persistently questioning, “Did you listen to it?”

The depth of his voice and the firmness in his tone almost made me think that today he had once again mistakenly grabbed the script of the next door domineering president.

I was mulling over how to respond when a large-bellied and large-eared Maitreya Buddha suddenly popped up on my screen. It radiated golden rays of light and was incredibly shiny, asking with a conspicuous smile, “Did you hear me?”

21.

I rightly pointed out that this was disrespectful to other people’s religious beliefs, so he then promised never to use this emoji again.

22.

After sending the magazine to the printing press and having a meeting in the editorial department about choosing the subject for the new issue, I could finally relax so I invited Wang Dequan to eat at HaiDiLao over the weekend.

When I saw his trademark Chinese-style jacket, I unexpectedly felt a kind of familiarity as if I were seeing an old friend. Obviously I hadn’t known him for long and in reality, this was only the second time we had met.

I laughed and teased, “Is this your special date outfit or have you just never changed?”

He glanced down at it and replied, “I changed it. It’s just that all my clothes are of this kind, and they don’t look very different so you probably can’t tell.”

… Even the way he spoke was such a familiar rhythm.

Wang Dequan was used to eating less at night, so I set our meal for midday and after we ate there would still be the whole afternoon to while away.

As we walked out of the restaurant, I asked him, “What are we going to do next?”

Wang Dequan gave me a blank and innocent look.

So, I decided to take him to the cinema on the top floor to see a movie.

Once we got to the ticket office, I pointed to the row of movie posters and asked him, “What do you want to watch?”

Wang Dequan still gave me a blank and innocent look.

I made the final say and bought two tickets for Time Raiders.

I then asked if he was thirsty as I planned to go buy cola and popcorn.

Wang Dequan silently pulled a large thermos out of his bag and considerately said, “Do you want to drink some? I specially brought portions for two people.”

… In the dark theater, I chewed through a bucket of popcorn with mung bean soup.

I didn’t actually have any thoughts about the movie itself, and I wasn’t a fan of the original novel. I just followed the trend and watched what was popular in my friend group. But after we finished watching, I felt deep regret because Wang Dequan educated me for half an hour about how China’s laws clearly specify that all cultural relics remaining within the borders of the People’s Republic of China and within inland and territorial waters belonged to the state. Any unit and individual could not excavate them without permission. Those illegally excavating and possessing ancient tombs or cultural remains with historic, artistic, or scientific value would be sentenced to between three and ten years imprisonment. He made me promise that I would absolutely never learn from the protagonist in the movie and that I would preserve my moral integrity, refuse tomb robbing, and stay far away from all illegal and criminal behavior.

I was so tired.

Why didn’t I just buy tickets for Rock Dog?

23.

Afterwards, we went on several dates in a row. There wasn’t anything new, and we just ate, ate, ate. Obviously if there was something I wanted to do Wang Dequan would accompany me, but he simply had no romantic cells, and he was very methodical as if he were completing an assignment. Sometimes it would have been better not to bring him.

But I was also at this age, and I wasn’t young anymore. What I needed was not someone romantic but someone dependable. In this regard, the more I was in contact with Wang Dequan, the more I felt that he was quite reliable.

For example, there was a time we were at the subway station and we saw a young girl strenuously carrying a large, twenty-six inch suitcase step by step up the stairs. Without a word, Wang Dequan directly picked up the handles on the side of the suitcase and carried it up for her. There was another time at the park where we came across a father roughly scolding his endlessly crying child. Passersby cast them glances one after another, and only he stepped forward to advise them. He discovered the child had heatstroke and even gave them a bottle of Huoxiang Zhengqi Shui7.

—Don’t ask me. I don’t know how many things are in that bag of his that never leaves his body either.

These types of people in modern society would likely be ridiculed by many others, but I thought it was very charming when he was meddlesome.

And I felt no hesitation. Since we were blind dates, we were rushing to get a partner from the beginning. I now had the idea of wanting to catch this man.

Of course I wasn’t saying that my love for him was as deep as an ocean and that I had vowed to be committed to him. That would be too fake. But I quite liked him and wanted to get to know him, wanted for us to enter each other’s circles, and wanted to try being together, so this was a good starting point.

However, this wasn’t a one-sided wish. I was seeing him, and he was seeing me, but I still didn’t know entirely what he thought. If he wasn’t interested, then my feelings would be unrequited.

In addition, the problem of my asexuality was a large stone weighing down my heart throughout it all.

As our connection deepened, I felt that this fact could not be kept hidden, and it would be better to confess as soon as possible.

I couldn’t be blamed for not saying it earlier because this confession stage was very particular. At the very beginning when we didn’t know each other well, obviously it wouldn’t be fine to casually tell someone this kind of secret. Delaying it until the last moment when we had deep love for each other would be deceptive and add unnecessary pain. However, now was the best time to admit it. We both had mutual feelings for each other and were interested in going further, but we hadn’t invested too much emotion yet so we could promptly withdraw if need be.

But deciding how I should confess this to Wang Dequan was making things difficult for me.


Translator’s Notes

  1. In TCM, qi is “vital energy” or the “energy of life” and it is the vital fluids and energy that flow through our bodies. Any imbalance of qi will lead to disease or illness. A qi deficiency can take the forms of a lack of sleep, clean water, fresh air, mental stimulation, etc.
  2. Sheng Mai Yin is a Chinese herbal formula that can replenish qi and yin energies.
  3. The term used here describes a character in a certain genre of romance that is a rich, handsome, and powerful businessman/president that is overbearing and typically has a soft spot for a girl of lower social status.
  4. In TCM, herbs and food have cold and hot properties which affect the balance in our bodies (so if you are experiencing hot symptoms, you take cold medicine and vice versa).
  5. Yin and Yang are part of the foundation of TCM. Yang is associated with heat, and Yin is associated with cold.
  6. Diseases can also be distinguished as being caused by pathogenic cold or pathogenic heat which is what he was referring to about the smog being hot or cold.
  7. A Chinese medicine.


On How to Properly Instruct Old Chinese Doctors to Use Emojis

On How to Properly Instruct Old Chinese Doctors to Use Emojis

论如何正确指导老中医使用表情包
Score 9.2
Status: Completed Type: Author: Released: 2017 Native Language: Chinese
My mom assured me that my next blind date would be absolutely exceptional. We talked on WeChat, then he sent me an emoji: “To our friendship, cheers.”

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