The temperature in Hainan never dropped below 50 ºF even in the coldest days of winter, which was a good thing for a dozen of friends to get out there and get hammered. By a dozen of friends I mean my college buddies and I; out there means some random barbecue trolley owned by a man without a business license, or in some cases, did have one but still chose to flee from city inspectors as soon as they heard siren horns blasting from afar; by hammered I mean we picked a fight with city inspectors and got beaten up, because that is just what we would often do back in China – of course we didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t even be in America, but admit it, now there is a small part of you starting to believe that is a true story. Although to be fair, there is a great chance that we might have been beaten up because, and this is true, I usually woke up in the morning remembering nothing from the previous night – it was either the alcohol or the concussion, so the chance should be 50/50.
The barbecue trolley we frequented was called The Danzhou Brothers, they made the best barbecue in my university’s neighborhood and students just naturally put them on a pedestal from which no other barbecue vendors could seem to knock down. My friends and I went out for barbecue and beer just like usual: one A.M. in the morning, sitting at a rickety table under the dim street light; each of us had five beers (550 ml volume ones) to start with, talking mostly about League of Legends that we had just finished before the barbecue. Many of those friends came from the south, call me stereotype, but they sure as hell couldn’t drink like I did. They would usually, only because they have never played Vayne – a League of Legend character, complain that my approach to a team fight being too passive. On my end, it only took three beers before I ranted, “SHUT UP BIATCHES! I AM A BADASS ADC!” If you think that is bad, then it’s because I haven’t told you that one of my friends threw up after his second beer, three times, in his bed. There is probably one more thing you should know about him: his vomiting was something of a tradition in our circle, for there wasn’t one time when we went out for beer and he didn’t throw up.
I miss that; I am not saying that I want to get tipsy and act inappropriately on the street. I can still do that, but I just don’t want to be deported back to China before graduation – that comes after. Seriously, if I were ever to be ousted, let it be me being drunk, chanting “socialism prevails” in front of the White House while staring down – fingers crossed – Mr. Trump (I wrote this before he took office, joke is on me).
I miss my friends, the ones who knew they would throw up but chose to drink anyway. I look at adults’ life and there aren’t any occasions even remotely alike. I miss when people got together and there was no wall between me and the rest of them; when everyone could display their true self with no qualms as to how they might be perceived whatsoever. It was a simpler time, but it was also an immature time. Back then the things my friends and I needed to worry about were: can we get up early in the morning for classes? where is the best barbecue? and if city inspectors came, fight or flight? We lived recklessly because we were not yet taking on responsibilities; we were not yet facing with pressure from finding jobs; we weren’t even concerned with the fluctuation of USD to CNY. But now being a graduate student, especially being continentally away from home, with pressure from both life and school work, there is simply no time for me to behave like an immature kid anymore. And that is when I realized that people will always have that immaturity, it’s something we can’t shed from our identities. However, what separates certain people from others is the priority they sort out. We are defined not by what we are capable of doing – but by what we choose to do.
My midnight barbecue & beer hours seem to have ended upon my arrival at Boston, and I have been finding reasons ever since. After an arduous quest, I have been faced with a dumbfounding answer: Boston’s winter is just so much colder than Hainan’s and it’s just physically impossible to hang out under a street light for questionable barbecue. Even if it were otherwise; however, all food vendors have business license here in America, which puts city inspectors – if there were any, I really don’t know if they existed anywhere else besides China – in no positions to initiate a raid, which gives me no opportunity to pick a fight while hammered, and what is the fun in that?