On the bright side: This is the second straight day of a perfect, bright, blue sky. No clouds, nothing, and visibility like I haven’t seen since I was last in .
But otherwise, fuck.
I showed up for class at 8 this morning, but instead of going to the classroom I went to the office to find out what was happening with this class that might still have three lessons. Nobody there. Brilliant. Eventually some flunkey showed up and opened the door. I hung around waiting for the boss. A while later one of the students showed up with a key for the classroom door. I asked him what was happening this week, but he had no idea what I was talking about. So I went back to the office looking for the boss and some hot water for my tea (there was no drinking water in my apartment when I arrived this morning). No boss, and the flunkey just said, “There’s no water.” She didn’t make any effort to go get any. Well, then she got off the phone and said, “Maybe there’s some water left over from Friday.” I opened one flask, and sure enough, it was full and still warm enough to brew tea. So I filled my cup and went back to the classroom. One more student showed up and I tried again, this time with a little more success, to find out what was happening this week. He assured me that this would be the last lesson and they’d be leaving on Thursday. So we chatted for a couple of hours, which was pretty much all that we could do, then I went back to the office looking for the boss. Not there. I told the others that the students had told me I’d just taught my last lesson. One of the people phoned the boss, who came back to the office and said, “No, you have two more lessons. But I haven’t arranged them yet. I’ll make the arrangements and tell you later.”
“When?” I asked, quite reasonably. I mean, the last thing I want to do is sit around twiddling my thumbs all week waiting for some mysterious lessons to materialise.
“I’ll call you this evening,” he said.
Fucking brilliant. So now I have to sit around waiting until this evening to find out when I have the last two lessons. And I suspect that none of the students will come to the lessons, anyway.
I suppose I could kick up a stink and throw my weight around and stuff. I mean the boss really is proving himself to be thoroughly incompetent and a major pain in the arse. But why bother? I’d achieve nothing. It is tempting to just pack up my stuff and go back to the real world and say to hell with it all. But that’s just going to be more hassle than it’s worth. I mean, it’s only three more lessons, and even that isn’t certain. The students might just refuse to have any more lessons with me. And if they don’t, chances are they just won’t show up for class. It’s frustrating, but depending on how things are arranged, I might be able to spend more time in Haidian than out here. We shall see.
And besides, I’d rather not go rocking the boat unnecessarily. This is only a very temporary situation.
And to make matters worse I forgot to bring any music with me.
The weekend, though, was good. I spent basically all of Friday at home on line. I decided early on Friday morning that I wouldn’t leave the apartment unless it was absolutely necessary, i.e. I wouldn’t leave until I’d run out of either food or beer. Fuck earthquakes or fires or shit like that, those aren’t big enough emergencies. I did the usual drink tea all morning. I reheated some garlic bread left over from the pizza we ordered the weekend before. About I grabbed one of the beers left over from the party with the students (there was stacks of it, thanks to most of the students not showing up). That was the last of the beers in the fridge. The rest had been put in the freezer, first of all to cool them down quickly for the vast hordes of students we had been expecting to show up, then they were just left there while I was out here in Changping last week. Early in the morning I’d put a few of them in the fridge to thaw out slowly. They hadn’t thawed fast enough. The first of the mostly-still-frozen beers exploded in my face when I opened it. I put it in the kitchen sink so it could sit their frothing away happily without dumping vast amounts of beer on the floor, then quickly cleaned up the mess, then put all the other beers on the bathroom floor where they could quite happily thaw with the vast amounts of condensation on the outside of the bottles happily dripping down the drain. Then I ran down to my colleague’s place to see if he had any cold beers left from the party. He’s not much of a drinker, so I didn’t feel bad stealing his share of the party’s beer, and I wanted something cold and safe to open. He gave me a bottle of Yanjing, a bottle of Snow, and a can of Snow. I thanked him profusely, promised to return the beers sometime soon, and ran back up stairs. By this time the exploded beer had calmed down enough to drink, although most of it was still ice, so I put the beers I stole from my colleague in the fridge and drank the exploded one. Having to wait for your beer to melt is a good way to force you to drink slowly.
Anyway, so I continued drinking and surfing the net until I eventually got hungry again, and, feeling the weight of beer on my stomach, decided McDonald’s was a good idea. It’s not often I think that way, but less face it, McDonald’s is good for two things: Sobering up and clearing a hangover. So I ate. Then I went home and continued drinking and surfing. All in all Friday was a very healthy, productive day.
Then on Saturday morning we got on the bus for Yanqing. It turns out that an uncle and aunt who live in the county town were making the official announcement of their son’s wedding, doing the rounds and handing out wedding candy and baijiu to all the relatives. So when we got to the county town, we bought them some milk and fruit and jumped on one of the tricycles that serve as most of the public transport within the county town and rode out to their place. It was the usual mission convincing them to keep everything we’d bought for them, but after a few minutes’ heated discussion we climbed into the van uncle had borrowed from work and drove out to the village. It was the slowest trip out to the village I’ve ever experienced, but I’m not complaining, because he was by far the safest driver I’ve ever come across.
We arrived to see a huge crowd of people in the courtyard. I’m not entirely sure who they are, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them before and I think maybe they belong to Ma’s side of the family. Anyway, the uncle and aunt wanting to officially announce their son’s impending wedding didn’t know them, and didn’t seem entirely comfortable. But anyway, the candy was handed out and two bottles of baijiu left on the shelf, uncle and aunt hung around for a while, but they left pretty early.
But one thing was strange: Zaizai. Zaizai usually barks at anything and anyone entering the courtyard (or sometimes people who just happen to be passing the gate), but he’s never been known to bite anymore. Never. The crowd that we found in the courtyard had brought their poodle with them. Zaizai and Niuniu had been playing quite happily with the poodle all morning, but as soon as we walked in, Zaizai attacked the poodle. So Zaizai was locked up until they left later that afternoon. They were all upset at their poodle having been attacked and bitten, and they accused Zaizai of being too 厉害, but we protested that he’d never done this before.
And besides, it’s only a fucking poodle, not even a real dog, just some kind of mutant French rat. How bloody ridiculous can you get?
But Ba and Ma assured us that Zaizai is noticeably more厉害 when lzh and I are around. Good dog. He knows who his 主人 are and is ready and willing to protect us from packs of marauding poodles.
Well, after a couple of hours they left. Then I took Didi round to the local store to help me bring a crate of beer home. Then I got stuck into the beer. There wasn’t a hell of a lot I wanted to do apart from let off a bit of “I fucking hate Changping” steam.
I didn’t sleep so well, though, the kang was just too hot. Whatever, I made sure I slept a bit longer yesterday morning, then I got some tea and rehydrated and woke myself up properly. Then I got stuck into the beer again. I really didn’t give a fuck about anything, I just wanted to enjoy a few cold Yanjing Ganpis before I had to go back and face Changping again, and I did. In fact, neither of us was in any hurry to leave. If I could’ve stayed, I would have spent today up on the mountains behind the village instead of being fucked around by a hopelessly incompetent boss here. That would have been great. But no, we have to be all responsible and shit and show up for work like we’re supposed to.
Sometimes I just want someone to give me a huge amount of money so I never have to work again. Is it normal for a thirty-year old to have such immature thoughts? Probably. Probably most people just never admit to it. Let’s face it, workaholics are a total freak of nature, somewhat akin to psychopaths.
Well, there’s nothing wrong with spending large amounts of time doing what you love, and there’s even less wrong with having a job you love, but there’s a limit to how much time a healthy person will willingly spend on work and still enjoy it, even if it is their dream job.
Actually, I would say one of the most basic human desires is a level of wealth that enables us to stop working, and that this is an evolutionary advantage, because it is this desire that keeps us working.
There you go, that’s what happens when you drink vodka on an empty stomach.
Don’t worry, I’m boiling up some jiaozi even as I write.
Anyways, we left the village rather later than normal yesterday afternoon and got back about . I got stuck in to what was left of the beers from the party, but didn’t manage/wasn’t allowed to finish them all. There’s three left for whenever it is I can get back home again. Actually, it’s pretty good this way: I know there will be three cold beers waiting for me when I get back. We got off the bus at Madian, instead of Deshengmen as per usual, and got a taxi back, ‘cos Madian is closer to home and therefore a cheaper taxi fare. Idiot driver thought he was Michael fucking Schumacher. He wasn’t. But he got us home in one piece, fuck knows how.
Anyway, after a good weekend of doing sweet fuck all out in the countryside I’m stuck back in Changping for fuck knows how long. At least the weather is amazingly beautiful.
And I forgot to bring any music with me. Did I mention that already? Music is an integral part of my life. I don’t like sitting here in silence. I will accept the noise of whatever TV programme lzh is watching as a substitute, but I don’t like sitting in silence unless I’m out in somewhere natural. There’s something disturbing about urban silence, but noise in the natural world is an abomination.
Later Monday afternoon:
Aiya. So I felt tired and went to sleep for a while. But bloody hell was it hard waking up afterwards. I’m still feeling kinda heavy.
I suppose I should be cleaning this place up on the off chance I can leave this evening. Nah, fuck it.
Excellent. The boss just phoned me. At four I give the students a test. At a car will take me back to the world. Now I better try and pretend I’m sober enough to be giving a test.
And now I’m back in Haidian. I have no idea what the school expects me to do when, but what the fuck, I’m free of Changping. Finally.