Somewhere I made a list of really good blog post titles. This wasn’t one of them. Still, it describes what happens when the sun actually comes out for a whole day, the weather warms up, and both my bike and my camera are itching to get outside. Not to mention the fact that I haven’t made a dent in those 10 (OK, 7) kilos I vowed to lose at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t for lack of trying. One day I made the trip all the way to Xindu – about 25 painful kilometers each way through some of the most suicidally depressing urban wasteland in this part of the world. I taught in Xindu on Saturdays last semester, but I’d never made it there on 2 wheels. My legs and butt were screaming for mercy. And it began to drizzle on the way back. Did I rest when I got home? HELL no, I plopped myself down at the computer and hammered away at photos on Photoshop for hours.
I mentioned a sunny day. Coming from L.A., where the sun shines 99.9 % of the time, borrrring, I thought I would never miss it in a more cloudy clime. In Chengdu, we’re lucky if we get 5 really sunny days a year. Yes, a year. I should qualify the term sunny. The day after Spring Festival went out with a bang on the 15th day of the lunar new year, when the full moon was visible, the sun made a cameo appearance. The day was bright, and I felt warmth on my skin, but the omnipresent Chengdu haze still limited visibility and softened the shadows. There were no visible clouds, but neither was there a blue sky. Still, I hopped on the above-mentioned bike, camera bag slung on my back, and pedaled all over the place.
The good news is that I’ll commute to the new campus only 2 days a week, Monday and Tuesday, with my Wednesday classes both at the old campus, which of course is where I live. Now, I know you’re thinking, he only mentioned three work days. Dear reader, there’s work and there’s work. Classroom time is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s prep time, research time, staring-at-my-navel time, not to mention the hours and days I spend just maintaining my basic fabulousness. You over-50 readers know how hard that can be, even with a lifetime of practice.
Let me give you an example. When I was an alcoholic (OK, a drinking alcoholic, jeez), I was a perfectionist and a purist. Sure, there were the days when I mixed good vodka with Diet Cherry 7-Up, but mostly I liked unadulterated, pure alcohol. The other night I was at a club following a large dinner. The people I was with ordered a fabulously expensive bottle of Ballantine’s scotch. They proceeded to pour it over ice in a big pitcher, then – my god – dumped in two cans of Coke. I nearly fainted. When I could speak again, I asked the host what the f*** he was doing, pulling a low-rent stunt like that. Everyone in the world does it, was the reply. Well, I suffered in righteous indignation over my tonic water (I’m not breaking 18 years of sobriety, even for primo scotch), as I mused that my near-religious reverence for good hootch was still intact. You can take the alcohol out of the alcholic, but you can’t take the … oh, whatever.
In case you’re wondering what this has to do with fabulousness, maybe it’s just in my descriptive writing, or in my moment of clarity in realizing that I don’t have to give a %#*& what other people do with their money and alcohol. But if I still want to feel superior, it don’t hurt nobody, does it?
In case you’re wondering, it’s past 2 in the AM, hence my effusiveness. See, you’re keeping me up. Go home. Let me get some sleep. Oh, all right, I’m not doing it for you. As La Merman belted out in Rose’s Turn, it’s all