An Unexpected House Call

This morning as I got out of the shower and began to towel myself off, banging on my apartment door and voices directly outside of it startled me. I yelled for them to hold on for a second, and when they heard my voice they opened my unlocked door. Having had no clue who they were or why they were entering my house at 8 in the morning, I grabbed a nearby shirt and modestly covered my junk, as I began to yell at the group of four men and a woman who had nonchalantly walked into my apartment. In a flurried, angry mix of Mandarin and English, the phrases “get the fuck out!,” “this is my house, not yours!,” “close my fucking door!,” and “do you live here?!” flew out of my mouth at them. Taken completely aback by my hostility, or maybe just that a naked tattooed man was rushing towards them pointing and shouting at them, they stumbled and backed out of my apartment. I grabbed the door handle, and tersely said “please wait” as I slammed it shut in their faces.
After dressing myself I reopened the door, but before letting them in I gave them a lecture on how I pay for this house, and they can only enter if I tell them they can. I even included some stern finger wagging to show them how serious I was, and only allowed them in after they’d said they understood. Once inside, the main guy with an official lanyard hanging from his neck gave me a lecture of his own, saying it was my responsibility to keep my door locked, and because it wasn’t then it was my fault they came inside. I decided it was too early for logic and let it go. I asked what they wanted, and he asked for me and my girlfriend who I live with to show him our passports. He wrote down all of our information, including our VISAs. The single woman stared at me the whole time, a look of neutral disapproval on her face. The men besides the main guy with the lanyard were all older, and were dressed the same as the elderly maintenance men who gambled and drank in my apartment complex during the day. None of them seemed too put off by my ability to be polite host, or an angry nudist, and the oldest of them even appeared to be amused the whole time.
I’ve consistently missed or forgotten all the appointments for getting my gas and water meters checked during the whole 7 months I’ve lived in this place, and throughout the whole fiasco assumed they were from Beijing’s gas and water company, having finally decided to drop in unexpectedly to collect from these irresponsible foreigners. I had also assumed they needed my passport information for registration and billing reasons. None of them looked official or professional in anyway, and except for their lanyard leader, they looked like the dudes who had unclogged my toilet a couple months ago. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise once they were finished writing down our passport details, when I offered to show them into my kitchen to check the meter, they said no and informed me they were with the Chinese government’s department of immigration. You know, the people that could boot my ass out of the country for any reason whatsoever. Good thing I only ran at them naked screaming get the fuck out.
I’m pretty sure they found it funny that I was surprised, and waved it off when I apologized multiple times for the incident earlier. They informed us again that we need to lock our doors, and left without saying anything else. Needless to say I was sketched out, not even because I’d insulted people who could very easily decide to give me a headache of migrational proportions, but because where I come from, authority figures dropping by your house is not a good sign.
After contacting three different friends who’ve had places in China for the past 3-5 years, asking them whether or not this is abnormal and if I should be worried or not, they each responded with about the same thing; “nah, that’s pretty normal, it’s China.” One even responded that it could have been because I live in an area with incredibly few foreigners, and somebody had dropped a dime on us because we seemed out of place or didn’t think we belonged there. I bet it was those damn Vibrams, always stirring shit up. But moral of the story, when the day comes and government officials barge into your home, remember that’s just China. Just try to be dressed when they do.

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