Sunday, March 8, 2009

Guest Blogger Joshua DeLung: Gremlins in Chinatown

(Once again, greetings from Florida. While I'm on holiday I asked a couple of guys to take over the blog for me. First you saw Robbie Hibb's take on the I-World, now here's another talented writer named Josh DeLung. Today he's going to tell us about his experience in Chinatown.)

“Welcome to Wok ’n‘ Roll,” the stubby, aging Chinese woman at the counter said as I walked in the door to the restaurant.

He didn't give me any pictures to work with, so here's some bears.

I smiled and felt guilty about my internal chuckle regarding her pronunciation of the word rock, until I looked at the sign again and realized she had pronounced better than I could read — then I just felt more douchey.

However, my overall feeling since arriving in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown had not been one of overall excitement. My day of touring some of the capital’s museums, which I had not been to in years, had been astoundingly fun. I had initially been ecstatic about going farther from the mall to Chinatown. Of course, my idea of Chinatown had been straight out of the New York version portrayed in the 1984 film Gremlins.
I expected dark alleys, shady street vendors selling dog on a stick and — of course — Mr. Miyagi types in conical Vietnamese hats. In addition, I had hopes of finding one of these vendors with a mogwai to spare. For those of you who spent the ’80s hopped up on Mountain Dew and terrible pop music, a mogwai is the cute, furry creature that turns into a gremlin if it is fed after midnight.

Not a mogwai...this is a bear.

I know what you’re thinking. You thought mogwai turned into gremlins if they got wet, not if they are fed after midnight. But any specialist of fictional creature culture knows that getting a mogwai wet just spawns more mogwai (yes, mogwai is both the singular and plural form, you noob).

Oh, that’s not what you were thinking? You were thinking my aspirations for Chinatown were a little too much? Well, I realized that when I saw McDonald’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and BB&T all nice and shiny in Chinatown. The only difference? Kanji on the windows and signage.

Discontent, but resigned to the harsh realization that I would not find Gizmo (or even Stripe or Mohawk), I decided to try the only truly Chinese thing in D.C.’s Chinatown — the food. Believe it or not, the restaurants in Chinatown all had the same menu (yeah, just like every Chinese restaurant you’ve been to that isn’t in Chinatown), so I walked into the nearest one. And this brings us back to where we started this story.

I sat down to wait on my General Tso’s chicken and spider roll sushi (after reordering when the server mistakenly brought me Kung Pao chicken and a five-minute, broken-English argument ensued). Then, to my happy surprise, I saw a boy who was unmistakably a mogwai.

He was small, furry, and he had huge eyes and some brown spots.

Close enough.

I knew how rare this encounter must be, so before I could stop myself, I grabbed my tapwater-filled glass (with hopes of creating more of the cuddly critters) and heaved it in the mogwai’s direction. As it turns out, toddlers of interracial couples with hypertrichosis are not necessarily mogwai.

Needless to say, I took my meal to go, which tasted strangely like nostalgia and broken dreams. Next stop, Little Italy!

(Joshua DeLung is the writer of the blog Relatively Journalizing, and is a handsome individual with a crew cut.)

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Love the bears and the comment at the end. Thanks for the shot at guest blogging, Mr. Johnson. You are welcome to do the same any time.