One of these months, I’m going to warn you all that the drinks will all be on me. This isn’t that month. One of these months I’m going to warn all the beggars, except that fat lady who has been outside Paradise Rock for the past nine years, I’m gonna drop a kuai at the drop of a hat. I’ll warn you that I’ll be dressed well, get that tooth fixed, have more than one pair of shoes, repair my bag, smoke better cigarettes and not worry about an extra kuai on the taxi bill. I’m going to do that one of these months. This month I’m going to warn you to suck up to your landlord. I didn’t, and I’m miserable for it.
My landlord kicked me out. It wasn’t that I was a bad tenant. I paid my rent six months at a time, laid a hefty deposit and never called him. I might have pissed off the neighbors with some late night loud music. People probably didn’t like seeing me water the plants in the nude, but I’m sure the gate guards had a laugh at me stumbling back home every other night. My landlord called me with just under a year to go on the contract because his son got married and wanted the place for himself. I guess I could have whipped out the contract and made him really pay, but pushing that would have been like honking the horn at a green light—useless and time consuming. So I set out to find my ninth apartment here in Hangzhou and actually found one in less than ten minutes; last time it took me two months. Then it began.
I had to get the cement box finished and move all my junk. The good thing is that the place is five minutes from our office; the bad thing is that it’s the smallest place I have had since studying in Hangda in ’94, and I also have a lot of junk. After ten days of frantic work, most everything is done but the unpacking ‘cause there isn’t any place to put anything. The paint still stinks so I have to keep the windows open and sacrifice myself to the mosquitoes. Half my furniture got broken, the faucets are already leaking and the fridge socket just doesn’t work, so all my food went bad and there is stank water constantly oozing on the floor. We did get to print tons of magazines this month, but that also means that we have to deliver that many, and it’s getting hot, and I have no idea where my shorts are. Save yourself the headache and be nicer to your landlord.
By Tim Hoerle