Warnings in February 2008

I moved again. You know how it goes. My former landlord’s son had a child. The landlord wanted to be closer to his grandson, so he wanted to move into the apartment we rented from him. It was understandable. The packing was not easy. It took time. It was snowing. The big blue truck came with a handful of strong dudes who got everything out of the old place and into the new one in no more than an hour. It was 250 kuai. Someone said that I got ripped off. I thought it was a deal. After a couple of days of swimming through the boxes, I took an afternoon to get the joint into shape. I broke out the DVD player and threw on Simon and Garfunkel. There’s nothing like a little Mrs. Robinson to get me going. My head was in the clouds. Hadn’t my friend whipped up a fantastic Moroccan feast the night before? If he could work a wonder like that, well then I could get this place looking like my home. The rain was on my head. I had to get a few things from Kedi, and I mustn’t have been paying attention. My foot barely hit the asphalt, and this tiny hooded girl screamed. “Mom! Look!” I froze, thinking that someone must have just run over a white kitten or something. “The light is red. We shouldn’t cross.” Her mom and I kind of smiled at each other. We waited for the green. I got a couple of things for the bathroom, and couldn’t resist a can of Mr. Brown. I love that heated box that warms up the drinks. What a cool idea. The refrigerator wasn’t on, but at least the coffee was hot. I warn you all not to be like me and walk out of the house with nothing but a T-shirt and a thin jacket.

I can’t tell you how many hot drinks I’ve had over the last month. I should have a platinum Kedi card by now. All this talk about Spring Festival confuses me into thinking it’s not going to be freezing outside. I’ve had days when I’ve shivered so much that I got a back ache. Maybe I’ll be a bit smarter in the year of the rat. The year of the pig didn’t treat me poorly, but I have had sharper days. What will the coming year hold? A couple of websites agree that it’s going to be a year of mobility for me. Didn’t I just finish moving? Since getting here, I’ve been in twelve apartments. Isn’t that enough? Year 4,705, or the year of the Brown Rat. Maybe it’s a year in which I will move up in life. Instead of moving house, maybe I’ll become a jogger. If that little girl has her way, I surely won’t be moving on any red lights. Whatever the stars say, I hope it will be a good year for you. Eat, drink, and be merry.

By Tim Hoerle