Where are you from?

So. I work in a civil engineering department, but I’m a materials engineer. So I go wandering far and abroad to find the equipment that I’m used to. I find a Raman Spectrometer on the central campus, and I make contact with Comrade Zhang, the researcher who runs it. He tells me he’ll take a couple of spectra for me, but in a week the lab is going to be remodeled, so it’s a one shot deal. I can come back in september when the construction is done.

So I go down there, and I use it, and it’s… I mean, it’s a spectrometer. It’s only so much fun to watch. But, I get my data, and we leave. We’re waiting for the elevator, and Comrade Zhang turns to me and asks me where I’m from. I say, here, America, I’m an American. Where do you think I’m from?

And he laughs.

And he laughs.

And he laughs like I laughed when that moroccan guy told me the word in arabic for ‘breasts’ was ‘al titties.’ Hysterical laughter bubbling up from the very bottom of his soul. I ask him why he thought I wasn’t an American, and he laughs harder. He manages to get himself under control for a second and blurts out NOT HERE! and continues laughing. We get out of the elevator, and the last thing I see of Comrade Zhang is him, laughing, wiping tears from his eyes, wandering down the hall.

What the… what?

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