Meet Chinese Bob

By: leelefever on September 5, 2006 - 10:25pm

There is a very particular and interesting type of Chinese gentleman that I’ve been observing for a while now.  He is perhaps the Chinese everyman, or the closest I can find to the type.  He is an everyman in China, but to me, the American visitor, he is quite foreign.

I do not wish to comment on his character or personality as I have not been able to communicate with him in any meaningful way.  I can only comment on observing the multitudes of his kind from afar.  For purposes of creating a meaningful persona, let’s call him Chinese Bob.

Chinese Bob is about 50 years old, about 5’5”, has a mildly receding hairline and a serious look on his roundish face, sometimes with a hint of consternation.  His serious look is deceiving as he may break into boisterous laughter at any moment.  His physique is rather stocky, with a plump midsection and a thick neck that extends from his ears.

I’ve sat next to Chinese Bob in movie theaters, subways and park benches and can only describe the experience as a cavalcade of bodily noises.  Bob has acute respiratory problems, causing him to groan out throat clearing half-coughs every few minutes and burp loudly without conscience.  Chinese Bob can also been seen performing the very common snort-hock-spit routine on China’s sidewalks, again, without conscience.  This may be a symptom of his continuous smoking or general Chinese air quality.

You might see Bob while leaving an elevator.  He will be part of the group rushing into the elevator before you have time to get out. On the streets of China, you might recognize Bob on a hot day by his exposed belly – he may be the one walking around with his shirt rolled up from the bottom or unbuttoned completely. 

The one tried-and-true method of identifying Chinese Bob is by his footwear.  Bob always wears the same shoes and socks.  They are pointy-toed dress shoes with very thin, light-colored socks.  You might even see Bob wear these shoes with athletic shorts as he ambles down the street with his posture laid back and his feet flopping forward.

The other sure way to identify Chinese Bob is by watching him talk on a mobile phone.  Actually, it’s not something you observe so much as hear.  Bob will seem to be yelling into his mobile phone without regard for his location. You can picture him saying “BIG BUSINESS HERE.  I’m talking BIG business everyone, BIG TIME.  Bob is quite a big talker, I imagine.

I also imagine that Bob is a family man and a dedicated worker.  Despite his foreignness and actions that sometimes seem repulsive to me, I know that Chinese Bob, if I could talk to him, would be a friendly and helpful person who might try to convince me to have a cigarette with him as he tells me about English football, Yao Ming and the upcoming Beijing Olympics.  Unfortunately though, I don’t speak Mandarin Chinese so I can only assume that, on observation alone, he finds me equally or more foreign and strange.

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By: Mom (not verified) on September 6, 2006 - 5:08am
I think there are probably Chinese Bobs through out the world. Some people I know would fit into your description. Especially the bodily unconscience sounds coming from his body.Lee , I am sure you KNOW someone very close to you like this.  Go to the mall or Wall Mart and you see and hear lots of this. Funny, Love, Mom
By: pam (not verified) on September 6, 2006 - 10:30pm
I would like to see a catalog of the Chinese Bobs from around the planet. A field guide, perhaps, to the Bobs of the world. I am on the hunt for Austrian Bob from this day forward. I know that he smokes, he drinks a lot of beer, he's a bit overweight, he has a big meaty handshake, and he packs himself into a ski suit that is a little too tight when winter comes, his ruddy complexion made more so by the cold...