Gee Jazz Band,
Gee Jazz Band, (Photo credit: Pierre Marcel)

Ohh People, People, People… if it isn’t one thing it’s another thing…. yeah.. Houston, we got a problem.

Last night was a local BBQ  gathering at the country club by the pool.  There were all kinds of food stuffs, wine was flowing and even a jazz band was playing.   Right up my alley…. My kind of gathering.. I was in my zone.

Michael and I arrived a little early because the host was my good friend and we got in free.  I first saw our little group of regular friends and we were all standing around because there wasn’t really a free table for all of us; about eight.

Anywho, one of my friends found a table but there was a long guy sitting at it.   But out of all my manly guy friends and husband no one wanted to go over and asked him if we could use the table.   I told them … Don’t take his table include him in the mix, we can just meet him and join him at the table; he is all alone for Pete’s sake.    They were all… you go, no you go.…. So finally .. I said… I will go.

I went over made friends with the guy and then we all came over and sat with him at the table like friends and included him in our group.

That is how I am. My personality is sometimes bigger than life so when I see the person that is a wall flower and I make a point in including them in the gathering.  I guess that comes from just being the minority in an all white high school and feeling alone sometimes. I always want to save the underdog.

The more people came, the more they wanted to talk to me and just connect with me in some way.  Some foreigners from Italy came in… and they spotted me and headed straight for me.  I don’t speak Italian… however, my Spanish kicked in and we were rambling on like best friends… I introduced them to my group… and then some Ukrainians came.. I added them…. to the mix…Jazz band was on break .. I got them to come over and mix with us…. until we had a large group laughing drinking and having a good time.   With me in the middle, of course, leading the conversations.

It seems no matter where I go…. or who I am with I end up the leader of the group in some way.  Everyone waits for me to show them or lead them into what to do next.  It is crazy how that always happens… Like I have a sign over my head that said… Follow me I know the way, my Children.

While everyone was drinking, eating and being merry…. I looked around for my husband; as I always do in these kinds of gatherings.   I saw him sitting in a corner playing a game on his Iphone.   The biggest Wall Flower of the bunch.

Yes, my husband is very shy with crowds of people and with people he doesn’t know.   He tends to close himself off and just wander away from the group.  Leaving me there to banter and mingle with the others.

We are opposites…….I am the life of the party and he is the one that would rather be home watching soccer on tv.   I really didn’t realize it was so bad, until last night.   He is always quiet with new people around but usually we only meet one of two at a time and then he gets to know them and everything is fine.    But put those same people in a big group with other people… and we lose him.

I am really not sure how to deal with it.    I have spoken to him and asked him WHY?.. the answer I get is a little confusing for me….. He says…“He feels everyone is higher than him…. and the conversations are over his head…. even when you speak…. Your level of conversation is too high for me to follow”   This shocked me… because .. I honestly don’t feel we are talking about anything soo intellectual .. when we are discussing how spicy the beef is…what song the band is playing and just laughing and kind of making fun of each other…. but he felt that we were over his head.    Now mind you, I try to include Michael in every discussion… I give him lead ins on topics I know he is familiar with, but… he just doesn’t take the bait.   He tells me that in his heart he feels he is not the same as they.

Some of you might think it is an age thing.. Michael is 14 years younger than me…. but NO.. all of the guys in our group.. are Michael’s age or younger.  Only two of them are my age and they are still a couple of years younger.   Some of you might think they do different work….NO again… actually .. I am the only teacher… they do trade and manufacturing the same as Michael does. So, he knows more than I do when it comes to that field.

I have come to the conclusion that it is Michael’s low self-esteem that is the cause of this.   He feels they are wealthier than he is  and they have more than he does material wise… so he feels he is beneath them.

They never talk down to him and they always try to include him in everything… we never discuss how much one person has or the other person.   That is not my style.   But in Michael’s mind… As long has he isn’t wealthy, he is beneath them in his mind.  Michael has the impression that just because someone has a certain kind of car or a certain brand of clothes they are very wealthy.   I have learned from life in American it just means they have more debt.   In china, they do everything they can to show the wealth on the outside, even if they are eating only white rice at home for dinner every night.    Also, in China.. most of the younger people who are driving expensive cars and such were given this by their parents;who in fact saved their whole life to give their kids all their money.

Michael’s parents as poor farmers were unable to save money for him, nor buy him a house or a car like other men his age.  So… herein lies the under current of the issue with Michael’s self-esteem.   His parents didn’t give him the jump he needed to keep up with the others his age in China.  Thus he has some hidden bitterness against his parents and others that did get the help as most Men his age in the same situation have.

This is a problem that lies in many, many Chinese local men that come from a farming family and didn’t get the big pay off from the manufacturing boom.   Their mindset is that they are poor, they will always be poor… and their level is to low and they are not to hang around the rich.    That is not their place.   Michael feels he is not in his place…. and he doesn’t belong there.

Here lies a big problem….. I feel my place is where ever I want to go… and I will make it my place… and I will make you include me whether you wanted too or not.     The more local fame I get, the more people invite me to these swanky places, dinners, wine tastings, etc.   I still go to all the back street cafes, and wave at the garbage people on the street and joke and laugh with the Rickshaw guys….to me.. people are people. There are no levels in my mind.. only friendships… no matter the country you come from or the money you have…..   I am like water…. go with the flow.   Michael not so much.

So… came the heated discussion on what to do about this…. I am determined to take him with me on my rise to the top… and he is fighting and screaming along the way.   I want him to see that he is just as great as anyone else…. and he doesn’t have to have millions of rmb or drive a Benz to be included.   He refuses to listen to me.

How can I have a good time mixing and mingling with everyone when I know Michael is sitting in a corner bored out of his mind.   Ladies we all know what happens when the man gets tired of getting bored…… then he says…. it is time to go….. then you are arguing about when to leave…. I am the main attraction at most of these things… and he always wants to leave after an hour or so. Then we have a party argument.… you know the one when you’re smiling at each other… but under your breath fighting… yep.. that happens to us all the time.

What to do?  

Michael works 7 days a week, 13 or more hours a day… so I don’t get to see him very often…so when we get invited to these gathers it is the only time I have to do something with him together… and usually afterwards.. he has to leave again to check the factory… so If I don’t spend this time with him…. maybe i will only see him in bed or before he leaves for work.

Quality time is about non existant these days, since the new factory opened. He feels we will have all kinds of time together when we are old…. his views on somethings are just so warped in my mind sometimes.

He says he makes the time for the gatherings so I don’t have to go alone… but he doesn’t understand that if he doesn’t participate in the gathering with me… it is like I am  alone.

He liked it better when I didn’t know anyone and I just sat at home all the time waiting for him to come home from work.   However…. that is not my kind of personality.. I am not a housewife kind of person…. sooo…. we need to figure a way to make all this work out.  My local fame.. keeps me sane in China… or I would go crazy with boredom… so I can’t give it up.. and I cant keep it from growing . .. it gets bigger and bigger every year. But it is starting to make Michael a little crazy…he didn’t really sign up for this fame and doesn’t like the attention.

They say love conquers all…and we have dealt with some crazy stuff in our marriage so far….I am sure we can get thru this too……I guess…. we will see.. won’t we.

until next time…..