it feels good

April 30th, 2007

The first summer storm. The air tastes delicious.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon sitting outside a row of “new” cafes over at Beiyu. “New” cafes because they’re new to me, although they look to be very well established. They’re in that building that houses the supermarket behind the garden just south of the basketball courts, but probably most people reading this have no idea what I’m talking about. Anyway, I ducked into one of the cafes, got a bottle of Tsingtao, went and sat at one of the tables in the garden, drank my beer, and watched the world go by. A lot has changed about this part of town, but the changes to Beiyu are purely superficial. It’s still very much the same place I knew five years ago. I finished my beer, and ran inside to get another, and took that one outside to drink. And then a third…. It was really comfortable.

Actually, today reminded me of summer in Dunedin in the deep, deep south of New Zealand. Not hot, but comfortable, with a cool breeze, perfect weather for sitting in a garden with a cold beer watching the world go by.

And in about half an hour I have to go and help a group of PhD students prepare to “serve” at some conference or something involving a bunch of foreign delegates. They want to know how to not make complete fools of themselves or offend the foreigners or whatever. You know, the usual inane questions about how to say hello and what questions shouldn’t be asked. If I ask them what to do, they’ll be able to tell me all the basics, I’m sure. I really can’t figure out why they want my advice. Especially considering I have all the social skills of a braindead brick that just smoked a field-full of weed. So, help me please (not that I’ll get any answers before seven, but whatever, for future reference, help me): How can I say politely- and the emphasis is on ‘politely’: Grow some balls, and a backbone, scrape together a bit of self-respect, and just be yourself. Don’t grovel at the foreigners’ feet. Don’t ask stupid, inane questions. Don’t be an arsehole (note: ordinary American citizens are generally not personally responsible for all that ails this planet, so don’t treat them as such. And everybody hates the English, but individual English people are generally just the same as you and I. And so on). Just treat your foreign guests as equals, meaning behave like you know you are their equal, because you fucking are, and don’t patronise them because they’re foreign (can you use a knife and fork? Wah! Really? That’s so amazing!). Basically, just fucking be a fucking man. Or woman, as the case may be. Alright, just be a normal human being. That’s all. There’s no magic to it, no special formula.

To sum up: Behave with dignity and self-respect, and do unto others…. ummm, how does it go? Before they do unto you? Nonononono…. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple.

Actually, I really don’t want to go to this PhD’s English corner. But what the hell, I’ll get a bit of money for my trouble. And it gives me something to do. I guess if I didn’t go I could sit here on my own drinking beer and watching the two DVDs I bought today. Oh yeah, lzh is out with her friends, which is how I could kill a couple of hours over at Beiyu drinking beer and watching the world go by.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good day, considering I had to go to the bank (that alone is almost always enough to ruin a day even before you’ve gotten to the bank) and the ATM that you can deposit money into still hasn’t been fixed. Still, I’ve never heard of the Bank of Communications being accused of competence. And I didn’t have to wait as long as I would’ve had I gone to the ICBC.

And I didn’t find the film I was looking for, although I know it is on at the Wudaokou Cinema (Note to the pirates: Some people do want to see Tuya’s Marriage), but I did manage to find a couple of good ones. And obviously the “crackdown” on piracy is over: The shop was back up to it’s usual wide selection.

So basically it hasn’t all been good today, but the day has been good enough that even going to the bank doesn’t sound too bad. That’s a pretty good day, in my books.

Although the apartment reeked to high heaven when I got back at five, and the fridge smells like it’s developing it’s own civilisation. I think lzh and I are going to have to have a quick clean-up before we disappear for the holidays.

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