Wednesday, 30 July 2014 Filed in: People We Meet
Let us say that you’re in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China. I know, why would you voluntarily be in Wuxi, right? I think we know how I feel about Wuxi - but just suppose you’re a German engineer and your company has sent you to spend a few long, desolate months in the town Lonely Planet described as a “typical Chinese urban wasteland”. I thought that was quite a polite depiction actually, I would have been less forgiving.
Anyway, you’re depressed (and why wouldn’t you be?). You’re desperate. You’re lonely. Did I mention that you’re a man? You probably also have a substantial pot-belly (if you haven’t already wasted away from abject melancholy). So, one night, you think you’d like a little company. You sit down in front of your computer and you google “Wuxi hookers”. What do you find? Well, you find a few gaudy looking sites promoting the many charms of young, nubile Chinese women in a similar state of desperation (although their desperation is driven by circumstances more fundamentally unpleasant than yours). You open a few and consider their offerings. Unconvinced, you click on the 7th or 8th link in the search results. You find yourself, not on a website selling sex at very reasonable prices but rather surprisingly on the blog of a pregnant Irish woman in Shanghai. You have no idea what happened. She doesn’t appear to be located in the immediate vicinity and she may or may not be an actual hooker. There are no photos by which to assess her suitability. She is likely to be overpriced anyway - European mother type is a very niche market. Either way, there is no contact number so you read a bit and learn all about gestational diabetes, toddler tantrums and the trials of hiring home help in Asia.
This maybe-hooker’s blog makes you think about your own wife and six children back in Gelsenkirchen - oblivious to the depths of your misery and isolation. You suddenly feel shameful and homesick. You abandon the idea of engaging the services of a hooker and decide to watch Despicable Me 2 on HBO instead.
And that, my friends, was my good deed for the year.
It is an alarming reality that if a person searches for ‘wuxi hooker’ on Google they will find my blog. It is alarming both for me and also, presumably, for them. At least it’s not the top result but rather a little way down the second page. This said, at least one person looking for a hooker in Wuxi has instead ended up reading my blog. I have been reliably provided this information by Google Analytics.
Google Analytics, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this most interesting and useful of things, is a free service where Google keeps track of how many people read my blog, where they’re located and how they come across it. In the beginning, almost everyone who read I’m a Grown Up had a direct link from me and at least 90% of these people were my mother. Now, as I write more about random things, the blog is starting to pop up on people’s search results. This means that more and more of the people who read the blog have never met me and have no idea how small my feet really are. People have read my blog in such far flung places as Peru, Iran and Kenya. A special big shout-out to my peeps in Russia’s Sverdlovsk Oblast.
And while the majority of people who stumble across my blog ‘organically’ i.e. via a search engine, have their privacy settings set-up in such a way that I can’t see what it was they were looking for in the first place…a few people (less than 5%) don’t have this feature activated and have given the Google (and me) full-access to the nature of their queries. This is a bit like looking into a stranger’s brain and, sometimes, it’s really quite disturbing.
For example, in the past six months, people searching for the following pieces of information have ended up at my blog:
‘wuxi hookers’ - the reason for this is presumably because I have mentioned both ‘Wuxi’ and ‘hookers’ at some point although, I would like to stress…not at the same time. It is very possible that after this entry, I might be the top result for ‘wuxi hookers’ in the future. Yay. My one piece of advice for people looking for a hooker in Wuxi is not to bother with the internet - just go down to your hotel bar and sit there for five minutes. Much more efficient.
‘can you eat percy pigs when pregnant’ - now while I have discussed both Percy Pigs and pregnancy extensively in my blog, I will admit that I have never directly addressed the question of whether they should be consumed during pregnancy. And for all those hungry ladies out there with a sugar craving I would like to put your minds at ease…of course you can eat Percy Pigs when pregnant. They are, after all, made from fruit juice. At the risk of insulting my readership I would also like to note that this was a pretty stupid question. If you can’t decide yourself whether or not it’s safe to eat Percy Pigs when pregnant, are you sure you’re ready to have a child?
(In a similar vein) ‘I am in my 33 weeks of pregnancy is custard and cake healthy for me’ - eh, no. Custard and cake is not suddenly healthy just because you’re pregnant although it’s unlikely to put your unborn child at risk unless, perhaps, you have gestational diabetes like me. Again, are you sure you’re ready (mentally equipped) to have a child? Are you the same person who was asking about Percy Pigs the previous week?
‘beak ka av neck sneer’ - I have no idea what this means but can only assume that it is Klingon which, bizarrely, does go some way to explaining why it might lead to my blog.
‘can you rub cod liver oil on your face’ - this is a perfectly valid question and I’m going to say that it’s a matter of personal preference although my own personal preference would be that I don’t smell of cod liver throughout the day.
‘flies and cool rooms’ - this is no doubt related to the post I once wrote on why flies circle in the middle of rooms. I’m afraid some things are just destined to be mysteries.
‘i am a 26 year old woman and for the past three days i have been extremely tired, fatigued and crave soft serve ice cream’ - this is like the story of my life, except for the 26 part.
‘how to let my inner child shoot herself’ - oh dear.
Based on the analytics provided by Google, I’m not exactly overwhelmed by the calibre of person reading my blog. Present company excluded. I love you all. xxx