Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 12: Help
When Zhang Siyi arrived at home, he heard the rhythmic music blasting in the living room before he entered the door. Upon entering, the delicious aroma of tomato beef sauce assaulted his senses.
Zhang Siyi stepped on the back of his shoes to quickly take them off. His looked around for the source of the fragrance: “Aha! You are cooking!”
“Why are you back so early?” When he heard the door, Fu Xinhui turned his head to see who it was. He was standing in the kitchen wearing an old, faded blue, plaid apron that looked like it was from a different era, with chopsticks in his hand and dipping them into the sauce to taste it. At first glance, his tall figure looked particularly funny, but the whole scene before him seemed so comfortable, he wanted to shout, “I’m home!”.
Zhang Siyi put on his slippers and went over to look what Fu Xinhui was cooking: ” Wow, homemade pasta? Did you make me some?”
Fu Xinhui took the plate and turned to hide: “No touching. I thought you were working late!”
Zhang Siyi followed and turned, “Don’t be so mean, let me eat too. You haven’t put the pasta in yet. Just add some more to the pot.”
Like a master with a dog on his heels, Fu Xinhui moved around trying to avoid Zhang Siyi with the pot in his hand. In the end, he gave up and made more. At this moment, Jiang Hai came back. Seeing Fu Xinhui’s cooking, he reacted the same as Zhang Siyi and asked for his share.
“Fuck you. It’s my food! Even if I’m at home, I’m not your babysitter!” Fu Xinhui, complained.
Zhang Siyi slurped up a mouthful of the red sauce.: “So good! You don’t have to look for work, just stay home and cook for us.”
Jiang Hai chimed in: “Your cooking is terrific. Stay home while we make the money to support you!”
Fu Xinhui laughed: “Fuck off! Both of your salaries combined isn’t even comparable to my pocket money!”
They all laughed together then sat down to eat. Lately, the trio rarely had time for a common meal. Jiang Hai went downstairs to the restaurant to pick up some additional seafood for them to eat.
Fu Xinhui had gone to the supermarket in the afternoon to buy ingredients for his dinner. Besides the Pasta and sauce, he also bought a few side dishes and drinks. As they gathered around the table to chat and eat, He placed the dishes in the middle of the table,.
“Why do you suddenly want to cook? “Asked Jiang Hai.
Fu Xinhui replied: “I’m tired of takeout and It’s nice to have a change”
While studying abroad they were exposed to a variety of different cuisine flavors. In order experience those flavors again, they thought they would have to cook it themselves when they returned. To their surprised, when they return home, they found out that the domestic restaurant industry was much more developed then initially thought and thus, they took the lazy way out and ordered takeout on a regular basis.
Zhang Siyi collapsed on the sofa and burped, touching his belly and said: “I used to think convenience store food was pretty good, but now, this dinner has reminded me of how inadequate they are. I won’t be able to use the microwave anymore.”
Fu Xinhui changed the subject and asked Zhang Siyi: “how was work today?”
“Exhausting. I was so busy all day.” Although busy and tired, Zhang Siyi felt very fulfilled. When he thought about all the work he sorted through today, he was full of accomplishment.
Zhang Siyi spoke of his three hours of work in the morning. Jiang Hai listened and commented: “It seems that your boss is quite good. The head of the design department I work for is unreliable. Training and practical experience wasn’t emphasized at all.”
Zhang Siyi was curious: “What does your real estate company usually do?”
In the industry, the real estate company was commonly known as “Party A” where Jiang Hai is located: “The real estate company buys land everywhere. For example, if the government has a commercial property, the company buys it and then asks different design departments to bid for the contract according to the rules. To put it bluntly, we are the ones who choose which departments can develop the property. The people calling the shots also have a professional background. Then whoever has the highest score will be chosen to use the design but if the people in the design department of Party A are not reliable, even with superb designs, they won’t win the contract and will lose money.”
Fu Xinhui, who was listening on the side, laughed ha-ha, and said to Jiang Hai: “Doesn’t that mean Zhang Siyi is there for you to abuse?”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Jiang Hai: “You can say this as a joke, but under normal circumstances, we are also very reliable.
After all, no one wants to lose out repeatedly. Its very labor intensive and costly. When small companies can’t figure out the problem, then the big designs companies are contacted. At that time, I can’t say who abuses who.”
After talking with his roommates for an hour, Zhang Siyi returned to his room. It was almost nine o’clock.
He reached for the drawings he brought back with him from work along with the “Architect’s Handbook” given to him by Zhu Hongzhen. Just after two pages his mind was not with the task.
It’s so hard. It’s so boring. I don’t want to draw.……
Stomach full of food and drink, Zhang Siyi was feeling lethargic at the moment. Although he was thinking about finishing his homework, he couldn’t muster up the strength to do it.
He suddenly thought about the message he sent to his friends this morning. Wanting to check the comments his friends wrote; he got his phone out. There were more than 30 postings and one private message from his mother asking about the details of his job.
Mom: “Son, did you find a job?”
Zhang Siyi smiled and typed back: “Yes, mom, I am going to work now!”
One by one, he answered all of his messages. Carefully, he scanned through all the messages again, hoping he would find something from his ex-girlfriend. Zhang Siyi was expecting her to respond to his post when she heard about his new job.
After thinking about it, he couldn’t stop himself from telling her, so he typed out a message and hit send. What wasn’t expected, was the screen that popped up: “XXX. You are not friends. Please send a friend verification request first…”
Fuck! She already deleted me? Not even a chance to be a friend?
Zhang Siyi was so angry that he immediately deleted her information and decided not to have any contacts with his ex-girlfriend. Not long ago, when he returned to China, he saved his living expenses to buy a Fendi bag for her. Thinking about it made him feel embarressed.
Shortly after dealing with his ex-girlfriend, his mother returned his message: “My son is awesome! How much is your salary? What department do you work in?”
Zhang Siyi didn’t like dealing with his father, but his relationship with his mother was very good. He told his mother the details of the company and the current situation.
He was excited to report to his mom about his job but he mother made him feel wronged when he reported his initial salary: “The starting salary is only four thousand and five. [Cry]”
His mother offered some additional funds as congratulations on finding a job. If it’s not enough Mom will go to the bank tomorrow.”
Zhang Siyi received the gift money electronicly, but righteously refused: “I told Dad that I would work and make money on my own. If you give me money without dad knowing, he will get mad at me.”
Mom: “My son grew up and I’m very happy, but mom is also distressed that you don’t have enough money to spend. Rest assured, I’m talking with you secretly so your father won’t know. I’ll send you some money and you can pay me back later.”
Having the support of his mom made Zhang Siyi feel really happy. He sent a few hugs and kisses to his mother and smiled. He continued looking at his phone to read the messages about his friends and classmates. In the blink of an eye, it was already eleven o’clock.
Zhang Siyi yawned and looked at the drawings, but he could not see it. Because of his mother’s support, he didn’t feel as pressured to work on the assignment. It was easy to make excuses. It’s not due until tomorrow night, so go to sleep today.……
However, he didn’t expect his house of cards to fall so suddenly. The next day Zhang Siyi woke up and saw the three messages his mother had sent him early in the morning-
Mom: “Dad is very happy about your new job.”
Mom: “But your father saw the money I sent you. He seriously warned me. I can’t give you any money, otherwise he will confiscate my bank card.”
Mom: “I’m sorry, but you have to take care of it yourself. I’ll be happy to come to Haicheng and visit you instead.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
These three messages once again ignited Zhang Siyi’s determination. “I will make a lot of money, just wait and see. Then my family will have nothing to complain about.” Zhang Siyi comforted his mother with a few words then bounced up from the bed to quickly brush his teeth.
Thinking about work, he took out the drawings and began to concentrate on the assignment. Zhu Hongzhen’s reference book was very good. Zhang Siyi found a lot of useful data inside to help him with the size of the plans.
However, Gu Yu’s set of pictures was very abnormal. The strange sized spaces on the plans were giving Zhang Siyi a hard time. It was difficult to determine the appropriate functionality of the plan. Some spaces were so narrow, you couldn’t even put a sink and toilet! People were crazy wanting to live there!
Without any constraints, at the office, Zhang Siyi patience was thinning. The inability to use software was adding to his agitation. Previously, he was eage to address the assignment, but now, in this early morning, he felt like his soul was sucked dry.
After lunch, Gu Yu also came over to check on him. He turned over the two pathetic drawings on his desk and while he said nothing, he gave a long: “hmm…”
Noticing Gu Yu’s reaction, Zhang Siyi felt the pressure of the assignment loom before him. As a result, he felt even more suffocated.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, Zhang Siyi only completed three pictures. He realized it would be impossible to get all of his drawings done before leaving work this evening. Gu Yu fucking dug a huge pit for him!
Zhang Siyi let his negative feelings from yesterday overwhelmed him. He regretted all of the time he took chatting online and ignoring his responsibilities. What’s done is done. Since his deadline was fast approaching, he could only admit defeat and seek advice from the director. Yes, Zhang Siyi remembers the sentence that Gu Yu said on the day of the interview — if you don’t understand, ask, don’t make your own assumptions.
He took a deep breath and messaged the director. “Do you have a minute, I need help with one of the plans.”
Gu Yu: “There is only one?”
Zhang Siyi stared at his response. Why did it seem like Gu Yu was laughing at him? Shameless!
Gu Yu: “Bring it all over.”
Zhang Siyi stuffed the picture and design manual under his arm and pushed the door open to Gu Yu’s office. When he sat down, he rushed to explain himself: “you can see on this picture there is only this place for the bathroom, but I checked the data in the manual and the minimum size door for a bathroom without a bath is 900*2100, or 1100*1800. It can’t be placed here. Not 100 in the horizontal direction, or 200 in the vertical direction; there is a door in the way…”
The more Zhang Siyi explained his difficulties, the angrier he got. It made him feel like his design talents were completely worthless. Clearly, Gu Yu gave him this assignment knowing he would have problems!
Gu Yu smiled and laughed at him and flipped through the manual in a pretentious manner. He gently spoke: “This is indeed the smallest size drawn in this booklet, but have you ever thought about a more extreme possibility?”
As he explained, Gu Yu took a pencil from the pen holder: “The reason why the ‘standard chart’ drawn in the book is called ‘standard’ is because it’s based on normal conditions, but what happens when the conditions are abnormal?”
Dumbfounded, Zhang Siyi said “oh.”
Under normal circumstances, only one toilet is placed the long way. Then the most suitable net width is 900.” Gu Yu took a pencil and steadily drew a few lines on the drawing. He drew a one-way door, and marked the size then looked at Zhang Siyi and asked, “Can’t that 800 be used?”
Zhang Siyi’s stared blankly at Gu Yu while inwardly, he thought: you’re fucking with me.
Gu Yu said: “The set of pictures that Du Rui gave you Included bathroom doors’ under normal circumstances. They are all 700 only because of that standard, but on this drawing, can’t 650 and 600 be used?”
Zhang Siyi was completely stupid.
Gu Yu looked at him and said seriously: “Do you know the biggest difference between the drafter and the designer? The draftsman is only rigidly making plans according to the norms and the standardized drawings summarized by others. Designers think and fix. Don’t forget, you are a designer: you have to question the rules and common sense.”
Last time he sat here, Gu Yu wanted him to use the standards to design bathrooms. Not less than forty-eight hours later, Gu Yu reversed the theory to make Zhang Siyi question the rules.
At the moment, Zhang Siyi just want to loudly yell. Fuck! why does it have to be so complicated?