In the graffiti-laden alley behind The Michigan Theater, I had a run-in with an Ann Arbor element that University students often forget – local high school kids.

A run-in with the locals

I was standing alone, writing down snippits of graffiti for an item in The Michigan Daily, when six or seven black-clad teens streamed into the depths of the alley.

After a few minutes, three of them walked back toward me, the voice of one rising over those of the others.

“No, Jeremy,” a girl with black-rimmed glasses said. “Come with me right now. Seriously, I am just not in the mood for this today.”

A boy, presumably Jeremy, protested weakly in a high voice, while the last of the three kept quiet.

“I’m not kidding!” the girl said. “I have to go home now to clean my room so we can spend the night and get drunk tonight! Now put the vodka in my backpack.”

The girl leaned over so Jeremy could unzip her bag and place a paper-bag-covered fifth inside, and the trio took off in anticipation of a drunken high school sleepover.


Taiwanese tensions

There’s nothing that livens up a shitty first snow than slow jams and hot pot.

Enabling my friend Peter in his pursuit of the steamy traditional Chinese and Taiwanese dish (usually thinly sliced meat, vegetables, various seafood and noodles cooked communally in a giant pot), I followed a Taiwanese-American Student Association e-mail to an annual hot pot event at someone’s house.

Dinner was delicious, the soundtrack seemed to be solely Ne-Yo and the softer side of Chris Brown (or something along those lines), but the conversation (though I knew several people there) was, at times, awkward.

“Are you Taiwanese?” one of the girls in attendance asked.

Both of my parents were born in Taiwan. Girl, I wanted to say, my family moved from China to the island decades before Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek shipped over all those Ming Dynasty artifacts.

But Peter cut in first, joking, “Ugh, she’s totally from the mainland.”

“No, really, I’m Taiwanese,” I said.

She looked at me. “You’re kidding.” She looked at Peter, then back at me. “Wait, you’re not Taiwanese – you don’t look Taiwanese at all.”

Peter gave me an apologetic look.

I reasserted my ethnicity and warned that getting into a fight about this probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

I tried to suggest to Peter that we leave, but he wanted to eat more hot pot.


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