Friday, October 30, 2015

I am not really a coffee drinker, but my neighbor -- Mr. Tang -- likes to have a cup with me, and he takes such obvious delight in making it up with sugar and cream that it is really more like a cafe crem than real coffee. He likes confirming that he is pronouncing coffee the American way and who better to confirm such a thing than yours truly?  So it is that several times a week, in the wee hours of the morning, Mr. Tang and I stand on his patio/aquarium room and have a cup of joe. We use a combination of English and Mandarin, though he occasionally slips into a dialect of Shanghainese that would drive the Lord Jesus himself right round the bend. We talk about our scooters. He has two really big ones. I once gave him one of my LED lights which he is quite proud of and he usually turns it on to show me that it's still working. Mr. Tang and I love our LEDs, we both have them on our bikes. We both have twinkle lights in our homes, and we both have aquariums... we really are birds of a feather. But every time, just after I drink the coffee I get a sharp headache. What could be going on with that? I think he uses bottled water, the sugar looks alright, the creme is in those sealed cups like they have... I can't figure it out. I take two Pirin Tablets and feel better, so no big deal. It's worth it, frankly... I just love Mr. Tang. But, a little disconcerting.

I tried to tell Mr. Tang the bad news that I have to move, but neither of us really has the vocabulary for that. I found out yesterday. At least I THINK I have to move. I've been unable to contact the property owners -- they call themselves "landlords" even though there is no land involved and they are not my lords. This is sort of a point that I make when I am making points, if you know what I mean. -- Anyway, my housekeeper had been trying to tell me something for two days, but she only speaks that maddening Shanghainese dialect and I couldn't understand a word of it. So I went to a Chinese man at my school, and he called her up for me, but he had trouble understanding her too, but he thinks that the property owners want the flat back. And so I will have to move out of this lovely lane and probably into a building somewhere. Now that I have a scooter I can get from one neighborhood to another a lot faster than when I had to strap on my walking shoes and march through the city to get where I was going. But moving is a hassle, it's the middle of the semester, and I really think the property owners should just tell me instead of making me guess.

In other news, I have painted each fingernail a different color for the weekend, because if you are fortunate enough to have ten different colors then you should use them. I realize that this would get me labeled an eccentric in the USA, which is just another reason not to live there. I'd just wear it as a badge of honor anyway, and I know how that irritates some people. I had them all done up in business suit grey on Thursday, and it was a perfect match for my suit. I usually try to keep it down to two or three colors... but it's the weekend!

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