Saturday, July 7, 2018

Honeymoon Blog Part I: Hong Kong and the Marital Opium Wars

Greetings, esteemed reader, and welcome back to my blog. Been a while since I last wrote, so let me catch you up on my personal life really quick so that what follows makes sense to you. Here we go:
1. I married a lovely young woman by the name of Rebecca Dominick a couple weeks ago
2. She's quite a catch, and I still don't quite understand what she sees in me
3. We're very happy together, but hoooooo boy we're more opposite than Paula Abdul and that feisty cartoon cat....which makes for some great blog fodder!

My wife is probably too young to understand this photo.
4. We're on our honeymoon as I write this: First two days in Hong Kong, followed by 10 or so in Sri Lanka.

Now that you're caught up, on to blog post #1!

Part I: Opium Wars, Noise Canceling Headphones, and My Imperialist Wife

Before European imperialists descended upon Hong Kong in the 1830s, Chinese culture was largely free of European influence. In 1842, however, the British expanded their empire, usurped Hong Kong, and changed the cultural landscape forever. At the time, European demand for Chinese goods--silk, tea, porcelain, etc.--was high, while Chinese demand for European bullshit was almost non-existent. Naturally, the Brits turned to the drugs to tighten their stranglehold and to have their way with the unsuspecting, peaceful Chinese. By getting Hong Kong locals addicted to Opium, the selfish Brits assumed, they would be able to exploit the Chinese, make money off of them, and enjoy higher quality tea and crumpets.

Historians now refer to this time period as the Opium Wars between Britain and China, and history doesn’t look too kindly on the Brits for this one. I mean, the Chinese were leading tranquil lives in a beautiful landscape, having never heard of Opium. What sort of jerks would go to great lengths to make them a nation of addicts?

In a shockingly similar parallel, the newly-founded Galvin Family (established June 9, 2018), began what historians are already referring to as the Noise-Cancelling Headphone Wars (N-CHW) less than three weeks later. Rebecca, playing the role of the oppressive British in this story, inaugurated the N-CHW somewhat peacefully by first asking me if I was intersted in obtaining a pair. I politely declined, informing her I was already struggling with the disease of more. In short, the disease of more refers to the unfortunate human condition that implores us to always want more than what we have. What makes the disease of more even more tragic, is that once we’ve obtained whatever we are chasing, that becomes the norm and we can never go back to the way things were. A few examples: heated seats in your car, smartphones, Pandora without commercials, air conditioning.

She seemed to understand me, but when a package of brand new N-CHs arrived at my door shortly before we departed for Asia, it became apparent that Rebecca was hell bent on making me an addict. begins

I didn’t know what to do. I knew I needed to prove a point to her, and that if I let the N-CHs through, I might very well be setting myself up for a lifetime of chasing ever shinier and fancier objects, gadgets and gizmos (psychologists refer to this endless pursuit as the hedonic treadmill). However, do I throw these things in the trash, thus starting this marriage/honeymoon off on a negative note?

I caved. Upon boarding the 16 hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong, I begrudgingly packed the N-CHs, popped them on, and proceeded to watch three delightful movies on the flight. Then, when it came to nodding off, I switched to the soothing sounds of Jackson Browne, none of them interrupted by background noise or that loudspeaker that tells you how to put on a seatbelt.

I’m ashamed and embarrassed to admit: Rebecca has prevailed in the Galvin Family Noise-Canceling Headphone Wars. Much like my addictions to my iPhone, my butt-warming car, and Amazon Prime, I can no longer go back to the days of flip phones, a lukewarm ass, and ambient sound.

Rebecca: 1
Sean: 0


  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of marital compromise. You each get a vote, however your vote counts for 49% and hers a mere 51%.

    1. Haha I'm hoping I can get to 49%! I think I'm around 20% at this point...

  2. Do what I do: wear them when she asks you to do something around the house. “I’m sorry, babe. I can’t hear you.”

    1. Dude that's brilliant. And this way it's kinda her fault!