Chinese proverb: Liángyào kǔkǒu.
Translation: Good medicine tastes bitter.
Meaning: Advice most needed is the least heeded.
I’m currently caring for a dog who’s recently had surgery on his back, driver-side, leg. Today, I took him directly outside his apartment building to relieve himself; denying him his typical 30 minute walk in order to conserve energy for healing. As I’m waiting for the pup to do his business, I’m approached by a mature Chinese woman who, as far as I know, doesn’t speak any English. Language barrier be damned, she informs me by way of hand signals, that the dog has a generous red scar with stitches and a perfect square shaved into his left side. I want to feign surprised horror, “Oh my God, when did that happen!,” but I know that my sarcasm will get lost in translation. Instead I say, “He. Had. Surgery.” hoping that my poorly constructed, but loudly enunciated, English will translate perfectly to Mandarin.
She ignores me and moves on to drop yet another bombshell, via hand-gesture, when she notifies me that it’s raining outside! I gather at this point that she’s worried about his scar and the slight drizzle coming down. I try my best to explain to her that he still has to relieve himself regardless of his recent trauma and God’s obvious wrath upon Manhattan. “Just a short pee-pee walk.” is the simplest exchange I can come up with.
She lobs a few more characters at me, “雨 狗 伤口” before I decide that it’s probably best not to ignore ancient Chinese, unsolicited, advice. Luckily for me, the adorable pooch I’m watching delivers his personal flavor of soft serve just as I’ve made this decision. Everyone walks away a winner! The pup walks away a few pounds lighter. The woman walks away with another successful human interaction under her belt. And I walk away with a bag full of crap!