I met this chick, Eva, when she was moving out of her flat in Sai Ying Pun and was selling off her fridge. She is around fifty, and is one of those Hong Kong Eurasians whose family had gotten mixed up with white people way back at the beginning of the British being asshole drug dealers and taking Hong Kong from China and then acting like it was such a big favour and then later on deliberately setting about alienating Hong Kong people from China in order to create a nation of Stockholm Syndromers and make more money for themselves–this is actually in the Public Records Office, check it out yourself. Is this a good time for a mic drop? No? Okay, I’ll continue.
When I called her to ask about the fridge, Eva interrogated me about my background, where I lived, what I liked to do, where I worked. She might have asked me how many teeth I had, too. Dudes, I’ve jumped into relationships knowing less about someone than she did about me. And then, after twenty minutes or so and while I was still talking, she abruptly declared, “I like you. You can have my fridge.” Then she barked out her address and said to come the next day and hung up.
It was boiling hot when I showed up at her flat, and a husky young German chick was there to pick up the washing machine. The flat was a mess, and there were towers of Chanel and Roger Vivier shoeboxes stacked against one wall. I was knocked up at the time, and Eva kept telling me, “Don’t strain yourself” while barking over and over at the German chick, “You’re a big girl, you can do it” as the poor creature tried to move the washing machine by herself.
In the end, my then-boyfriend and our van driver wrestled the washing machine down to the sidewalk for the German chick. I waited in the flat with her as she called for a delivery van, and every time I picked something up, Eva would point at the German chick and cry out, “Helga is a big girl, let her do it.” I would like to add, at this point, that the German chick’s name was actually Diana.
Eva took a serious liking to me because, as Doretta says, I am a magnet for tragic heiresses and socialites. She gifted me all of her condiments–there were a lot of fancy mustards and good-quality XO sauces–because she was moving to a serviced flat and wasn’t planning on cooking for a while, but she was really vague about her living arrangements.
Every time I saw her (she’d decided that we were co-parents of her fridge and would come over to my flat or meet me at a café where I would buy her a cappuccino) her story would change: she was going to move in with a friend in a month; she was going to live at her friend’s villa in Bali for the summer; she was going to spend some time in England with her ex-husband’s parents and see her son, who was studying at Eton.
The thing is, she wasn’t lying. She was kind of like Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire, she depended on the kindness of other people (fortunately not strangers) to live her life. Her type was really familiar to me: she’d come from a family that had just enough money to send her to one of the top girls’ schools in Hong Kong and then boarding school in England. There’s a lot of assorted privileges that comes with having money at the right time: education at the right schools, rich friends, good English (which is really important in Asia if you want to live like an asshole), and entitlement. But unfortunately, it often gets you used to a lifestyle that you may not be able to afford on your own.
If Eva had a better sense of self-preservation, she would have married a dude from a wealthy family or at least someone who was a banker. But she didn’t; her ex-husband was from an aristocratic family that had no money. But they were that kind of privileged poor that they spent most of their marriage at a commune at a Greek island and then lived in Johannesburg and then Montenegro before divorcing.
Y’all ever hear of that Charlene song, “I’ve Never Been to Me”–it’s like the shadiest humblebrag ever where this chick is talking about how some random housewife should be happy about her boring life because this chick had a really exciting life where she traveled around the world and drank champagne on a yacht and sexed kings and shit like that but it wasn’t worth it because she wants kids. Dudes.
It also has the funniest line: “I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free.” Subtle whoring, dudes, SUBTLE FUCKING WHORING. I really want to use that on someone one day. Imagine telling someone that, it’s like slapping them in the face with a suede glove.
Anyway, so Eva is kind of like that song narrator except she’s not dumb enough to say that she’d rather be a housewife with a bunch of kids and a shitty husband over living it up in Monte Carlo. Her problem is that she is getting old and has no savings, and it is getting harder for her to keep up her lifestyle. She was making money here and there doing style and interior design consulting for the nouveau riche, and in between inviting me to cocktails at Kee Club (kind of an upscale nightclub in Hong Kong that’s closed now) and private fashion previews, she kept asking me if I knew anyone who needed her services.
Eventually, I had to cut her off because she was getting too clingy and demanding, and I already had a newborn. I really wonder how her rich friends put up with it. I’ve seen enough people like Eva end up in disastrous situations once people got tired of paying for their asses. I guess she can survive until her son is old enough to take care of her, but damn, dudes, I would find it so fucking scary having to bounce from living situation to living situation and having nothing to your name except for designer clothes and shoes. I’m too bourgeois for this shit, mang.
With that said, you have to kind of admire her for knowing exactly that her goal in life is to hang out on a yacht drinking cocktails. Eva may never have “been to me” but then that’s not the destination she’s aiming for.