There’s a new man in my life - Harry. I first came across Harry when we walked in through the door of our temporary apartment in Shanghai. Harry was lounging on the sofa slurping on one of those iced milky coffee things. It was not immediately clear who he was. He bounced off the sofa in his surfing shorts, flip-flops and t-shirt and bellowed ‘Hey guys!’ followed swiftly by ‘Hello cute baby!’ (presumably at Baby A). We still weren’t sure who he was but he hung around for the best part of an hour before leaving with a reassuring ‘You got any problem, you call me, okay?’. Okay.
Two days later I had a problem - I couldn’t work out how to dry the clothes in the washing machine. I called Harry. Harry came over later, I found him in the living room. I don’t think he knocked first. He just arrived in our living room and was poking around the place when I happened upon him all bouncy and Asian-surfer-dude. I brought him in to look at the washing machine. He fiddled around with it and squealed ‘Wha you do wrong, I dunno, I tole you how to do it. You need to do it like I say.’ I said I did it exactly how he say but it still no dry clothes. ‘Ay yah, I dunno. I cannot work this type of thing. I no do laundry. I know wha you need - you need muzzah *guffaws*. Muzzah do laundry!’. He disappeared then and came back half an hour later with a big metal railing which he told me I could hang my clothes on….”like Chinese muzzah”. Then off he wandered, not before pinching Baby A’s face and shouting ‘So cute baby!!’ far too loudly in his ear.
He is tall for a Chinese man and has a look about him as if he might ‘work out’. If they ever did The Real World, Shanghai - Harry would be in it. He doesn’t look like a Harry - he should be called Brad or Chad or Logan - something suitably flippy. Harry is flippy. He’s also very camp but I can’t decide if this is a reflection of his sexuality or just the number of hours he has spent watching Katy Perry videos.
A few days ago our internet was down, for the third time that week. Reluctantly I called Harry. He appeared in the apartment again some time later. I knew he was there because I heard a long, high-pitched ‘Helllloooo cute babeeeee’ emanating from the living room. Baby A was in the process of scurrying under the coffee table to get away from him.
I explained the problem we had with the internet. Harry flung his hand up to his forehead and threw his head back in anguish. ‘Why? Why? Why’ he wailed, somewhat unexpectedly and, I thought, unnecessarily. “I don’t know why this internet box no work. Every time I come look at it and it just no work some time later. I no understand why some things not good things. Machine is like people. Sometimes they just die. You think they ok and then they die. No one understand.” I nodded. “This box”, he continues, “it like broken person. It want to die. I no understand why”. We stood in silence for a few moments (it seemed like the right thing to do).
Suddenly Harry perked up. “You do like Harry way, okay? Take power out and then power in. Harry way make ok. Box might die, but you can make work again. Okay ba-bye”. And off he went.
We’re still not entirely sure who Harry is or what Harry does. We hope he’s not coming to our new apartment with us though. To be fair to him ‘power out, power in’ i.e. turn off/turn on, always seems to fix the internet.