Monday, November 15, 2004

the usual frenzy

Too long since my last posting. Apologies. What with the shock of the election and the frenzy of trying to remodel a place and organize an exhibition, my little pea brain is pretty much fried. Well, what's been happening these days is...

For the whole of Nov 3 (I'm 12 hours ahead) I was glued to the refresh button on my browser window hoping that one of those center states would go blue. Then, I walked around for about 48 hours in shock and horror as friends who are currently living in the states emailed me one by one asking what I thought about moving to China. The saddest thing was that the results just demonstrates the sense of fear running through the country: fear of terror, fear of gays, fear of Muslims, fear of extremists, fear of everyone and anyone different. Tolerance? Pish, out the window. Now the pressure on the global fundamentalists gauge is rising faster than ever. The conservative government in power just pits extremism with extremism like 2 bulls interlocking horns. It doesn't matter the flavor of extremism, be it Christian, Muslim, Judaism, it's just going to keep spiraling up. What we really need are some extreme Buddhists to throw into the mix.

The word is getting out about this upcoming exhibition. I know because I'm getting random phone calls from strangers asking if they can participate in the conference. Not only are they asking to participate, they are asking in the most cryptic and polite way possible (in Chinese) and it took me 10 minutes of talking to them before I could figure out what they wanted. What a bizarre language. I know it's not fashionable to talk about linguistic determinism, but damn, it is so hard to draw a line of thought between A and B? Probably had more to do with this one individual than an entire culture, but sweeping generalizations are so much more grand and fun.

Knock me down a wall! Yes indeed-y bob, we are sledgehammer central at this new place. We've got this production going where 5 different workers bees are buzzing away hammering, drilling and sawing. All have questions. All are shouting at the same time (what was that about the Chinese language as unable to drop below a certain decibel?) The worst is that the rooms are bare so the echo in there is intense. They all are from Jiangsu province and sport thick southern accents. I'm surprised we can actually communicate at all. We've made progress: We bought a bathtub. We bought a sink. We bought slate for the floor. We bought some bathroom tiles. I make it sound simple, huh? You're thinking, it took you 3 weeks to buy 4 things? You, my friend, have not had the pleasure of design by committee. Not the best of all possible worlds, but in lieu of actual drawn plans and samples, I suppose we all balance each other out.

Oh, and in addition to that I've become completely obsessed with palm scrabble. I'm losing sleep. My justification is that it helps my word power, but I still have yet to use XI in a sentence.

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