Friday, April 1, 2016

April Follies in Shanghai

Yesterday was April 1, and after hard charging all day against the cranky Internet here in Shanghai, by close of day my mind was doing what it used to do when I swam laps. I'd headed out to find dinner and interesting city scenes, one one one one two two two two, three three three three and so on. Empty. Nothing. Cranky sore back cramped legs, flap flap feet, subway squeeze in and out, sorry she spilled hot milk all over having turned her head to get what I was trying to say. Do you need the coffee machine? It doesn't sound like intelligible Chinese coming from a white mouth.

This morning the birds were chirping outside my window as they always do in the morning which is comforting and surprising both along this storied Suzhou River. One might have thought all life has been eradicated across the decades of environmental devastation that this locust population wrecked wreaked wrought. Down below out back next to the banknote printing center, there is martial shouting, calisthenic music trumpet drums, seeming aimed against the birds, to defend the currency. Against my sleep which makes me happy enough to be up, there is no comfort in sleeping anymore.

Now what, I read that this day of pranks has some uncertain provenance but all agree it is just spring hijinx, like Hillary with her e-mail and Trump with his run for the presidency which must be scaring even him in its seriousness so that he will idiot his way out, cuckoo cuckooooo cuckoooo. It might have been Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales who coined the joke by counting 32 days in March, or that might have been a typo which must be an anachronism at the same time. Marla preferred dandier men, and who wouldn't?

One imagines there once was a time when we were connected more viscerally to these seasonal markings, we would have known all around us even though not necessary to like them the all around us. It would have felt connected to the turnings of the seasons, guided by some robed patriarch to true it round and round perhaps, but we would feel the peepers rising chirping underneath our cloaks and know what did flow within our veins. Whan that Aprillllllll. Some memory remains.

Still any Chinese friends are away and sweeping gravesites this day this weekend whichever day the government designates while the Chairman is away stringing along his chain of acolyte nation-states who need his treasury's attention, counting beads, placing hands together bowing with that self-satisfied Buddha-look of content accomplishment. Rosary round the ring and then we will talk nuclear safety nets. The people have been advised to choose more environmentally friendly burial methods against this holiday and for how then will you care for ancestors tossed away at sea? Eternal souls are for ignorant Westerners.

What is it tugs away from that which flows in veins alive with salt and tides and seasonal risings? These screens that everyone smiles at on the crowded subway, I would like a different one for my Chinese identity, tired as I am of juggling devices depending on which language who I need to be that day. I would only pretend that there were someone on the other end, sweet WeChat moments, jokes the day along. Through Central Servers yet, and still.

It is not only the language which is so confusing. There are different conventions for making sales on the American and the Chinese websites for these devices. It would seem that tossing in a SIM-card slot is practically necessary in China even on absurdly large devices although you never do see those in the subways. The specs are ever shifting, and each model comes with fine print which isn't difficult to read because it's in Chinese. Fast and loose with pricing was an American game I'd thought, but there the website offers comparison shopping, fewer models, curated for American tastes and desires and price-points and our own peculiar ways to play the confidence game. You cannot find the same thing twice.

Though there is a certain kind of hormonal excitement which can be directed at these purchases it is worn down against the gaming done against you. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand there are not two shills in the popup stores who would give you the same price or the same device, they cannot afford to keep that many in stock and will probably sell you the one everyone has already been playing with. How could you possibly know?

Our FBI director is a straight shooter, so honest so tightly wound up in integrity yet ignorant of encryption plain on his face. One guesses he might not like Hillary he's been on her case for so long, and yet the honesty and integrity he might think that he has is of a different sort, really, than the kind we each exercise to believe even ourselves most of the time. I will have no God but Allah except when I think he might not be paying that much attention. If you had any ambition you would do it too. The cost in disappointment not to just simply too deflating after all that hard charging to get to this point.

I just wonder why I care? Multiple sizes of screens with differing collections of hardware chips and sensors and convenience thingies, each of which has a trail of integrity more or less so, but just trust the big brand on top, following satellites launched by Russia, first the US, soon China to locate each and every one of us each and every step we take and we thought it was for aiming weaponry. Money trumps even military politics one supposes.

I just took a peek and I am marching my average eleven or twelve or fourteen thousand steps each day which might approach over five miles maybe, and I can't even turn this counter off on my iPhone, the tracking of my day.

It is only for my convenience would the government care, would the advertisers, who would bug me most they pay so much money on my head trying to grab my attention get my desire and I do earnestly try to tell them that they are wasting their time I will not spend another dime on politics, so broken is my heart post-Obama on whom I blew my wad. I am not a threat or a promise to even a flea and so it's all just a waste of everyone's time and attention and shekels, Bernie, you may have my all if you will but win it for me. Yes let's make computer shaving gold pump wealth someplace other than into someone's vulgar priapal towers.

And yet I do persist, I live as though I have a countdown remaining to some average future date for demise and therefore still time to put off doing what I'd like to do, need to do, want to do, I have to make my living, and dammit they are holding the social security briefing while I'm away and so how can I ever know how many thousands of potential income I am leaving on some table because of my ignorance. Because it has to be so fucking complicated as some seem to enjoy they are so proud of their enhanced gaming techniques, their getting ahead, fuck that. Just tell me what to do and be done with it already.

I don't know about you, but I can't really even imagine Bernie doing things that it's easy to imagine Bill or Hillary or certainly Bush clan and nevermind Rumsfeld/Cheney and hell yes the Donald doing to feed their ambition. That's enough for me, and yet I don't have enough living to help Bernie's or any cause against the demise of all of us. I will March-out however.

That we have some twinkling semblance of reality remaining for that dream sworn with hand over heart who is already older than I expect to remain vital should be cause for wildest celebration, we had thought the American locust money swarms had eradicated such simple earnest believability. And still they twitter in our own skies too.

It was so simple once, I imagine, dancing at springtime sire, and only wondering what was behind those sparkling eyes and not something so complicated that you might have to expend a trillion word crossings byte by byte to even approximate some reasonably well-informed decision against what it is that you can't possibly trust. I was slender once. I must set forth I am only at 330 steps so far today, and miles to go, my mind must be out there somewhere, some one one one one one one one one.

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