That’s the title of the soap opera I’m going to write when I’m successful enough to get my own soap opera.
As with every artistic endeavour I engage in, it’s going to be about me, mostly.
Because basically, I’m a really fucking gullible person. I try to come off all suave and with-it, and I have a pretty convincing eye-roll, but I’m one of these people that believed in the Bonsai-kitty hoax back in the late 90s and messaged all their friends to join the fight against putting kitties in jars.
Seriously. I could dig through all my facebook messages and try to find the angry, impassioned messages I sent, but it hurts me to be reminded of a time when I actually gave a shit about the suffering of other creatures.
Another example is this book called We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. If you haven’t read it, you probably should, because it’s like, good and stuff, and Shirley Jackson rocks my world.
But my reaction to the main character, a homicidal little girl who keeps her older sister in a pseudo-incestuous state of Stockholm Syndrome, was “Oh, her name is Merricat. I like her! I want to be her friend and help her nail shit to trees.”
Whilst the correct reaction would probably be to notice that it’s fucked up to nail books to trees, act paranoid around strangers, and POISON YOUR PARENTS WITH ARSENIC FOR NO REASON.
I gave this book to my boyfriend at the time after I read it, and the conversation where we talked about it went like this:
Fei: “did you like it?”
Boyfriend at the time: “OMG I loved it, that little girl character though, so creepy!”
Fei: “Really? Was she weird?”
BF: “Uh. Hello?! She poisoned her whole family and kept her sister and retarded catatonic uncle hostage in a crumbling mansion and the whole village hated them! of course she was creepy!”
Fei: “Oh, I thought she was pretty normal.”
All because I can’t help but be hypnotized by books written in the first person. To me, there is no such thing as an unreliable narrator.
There’s a way to describe people like me in Chinese. They call us:
没心眼 Méi xīnyǎn – No heart eyes. It means you can never see through the motivations of others. You stupidly tell everyone exactly what you’re thinking, can’t hide emotions, and are basically a lumbering idiot when it comes to intrigue.
There’s a somewhat related term 没心肝 Méi xīngān – No heart and liver. So like, the heart and the liver are really important, so if you really love someone, you call them your 心肝宝贝 – the treasure of your heart and liver. If you have no heart or liver, then you are someone without humanity or conscience, and you would barbecue your grandmother and eat her with a dash of Tabasco if you were hungry enough, even though she totally already gave you her kidney when you had late stage diabetes.
These two terms can easily be confused with another term involving internal organs which is 没心没肺的 Méi xīn méi fèi de (No heart and no lungs), because this can mean EITHER GUILESS AND CAREFREE OR UNNATURALLY CRUEL.
As in, “Sometimes I’m jealous of my dogs, they just play and sleep and eat all day. They have no heart and lungs. I wish I could be like them.”
or, “Maria chopped up the Mother Superior and then used her bloody femur to bash in the Sisters’ heads one by one, she has no heart or lungs.”
Good God Chinese. No wonder everyone hates learning you!
Back on topic.
They never worried about my 心肝, but my parents used to describe me as someone born without 心眼 because I would use really obvious strategies when trying to make friends. Like I used to just take shit from home and give it to people, and then be like “Here’s a porcelain Chinese figurine, let’s be friends.” And then I’d go home, and my mother would be like:
“Fei-ah. Where did that figurine go? The one I brought all the way from China? that my mother gave me before she died?”
“A bird took it.”
“Ai-yah. You gave it to one of those Mexican kids again.”
“Can you grow some 心眼 please?”
“What is a 心眼?”
“You know. 心眼!心眼!” <— My mom is a genius, but she’s a terrible teacher. Everything makes so much sense to her in her head that she doesn’t get why saying something over and over again isn’t a good way of explaining stuff. She used to teach me math like this “You know. Pi! Pi! Square root! Square root! Why don’t you understand it? Understand it!”
So I’ve never gotten a really firm grasp of what this term means, and even though I’ve actually looked it up today, I still can’t tell if 心眼 is literally a gross eye growing directly out of your heart, or two separate things you lack. I’ve asked four or five Chinese people about this, but all of them just laugh at my question.
All I know is, you don’t want small 心眼, or people will say you have 小心眼 (small heart eye), which means you’re petty, and stingy, and don’t see the big picture. And you don’t want too many 心眼, or else people will know you are someone who has 很多心眼 (many heart eyes), which means you aren’t to be trusted, as you’re pulling a long con on everyone and everything.
I asked my mother, “What’s the right number of eyes to have on my heart, and what size should they be then?”
And she sighed and answered, “That’s just the type of stupid question someone who has no 心眼 would ask!”
Anyways. I’ve tried a few times to install a few ocular apertures on my cardiac muscle, but the transplants have never held. The best I’ve been able to do is develop a healthy suspicion about governments, corporations and religion, but sometimes I wonder if that’s only because I’m still too damned gullible, and I’ve bought into the importance of being suspicious about these things too much.
When it comes to one on one interactions, I still tend to give the benefit of the doubt to people who may not necessarily deserve it.
When I was in high school, I worked at this Chinese restaurant called House of Egg Roll, and once this woman got angry at me because we wouldn’t deliver her free egg drop soup, so she said, “Fuck you! You Orientals are so cheap!”
At first I was shocked, then I was angry, and then I began to come around to her side, thinking, All the Chinese people I know are pretty cheap.
And then I felt bad about stuff.