Warnings in December 2006

I was lucky. It was around two o’clock in the afternoon, and I knew if I didn’t get a taxi, then I would surely never be able to get one back. Unfortunately, there was no direct bus to get where I was going. Light drizzle is a bad omen for not finding the green beasts. I walked down the road a bit, and sure enough, I stepped on one of those shifty sidewalk bricks. Muddy water splashed all over my left pant leg. Before I could tell a dog to fart, I noticed someone getting out of a car and jumped in the front seat. Off to the light market we went. I was lucky. Our shop expert told me there were so many places in the market I was bound to find whatever I needed. All I needed was something plain and simple anyway.

I was in the taxi. The hard part was done. So what that the cab fare was 23RMB. I was going to save a bundle by going to the source. On the left was a little place with all the little parts. On the right there was a mini club with LEDs flashing. Full center was a high-ceiling monster with chandeliers straight out of the Titanic. I walked around and saw some stuff, but anything that looked decent had a sticker at around 300RMB, and I just wasn’t in a bargaining kind of mood. I used to work in a factory. I know how much this stuff costs. I searched on. My left foot was wet and cold. It was three o’clock and fast approaching “impossible to get a taxi” time. I was literally in the last shop in the market and an idea came to me. I would just ask the owner if I could buy the shade and the insides. Then I could make the lamp myself. I would put it on top of an old wine bottle or something. Fitting huh? Illuminated booze. “Of course you can buy it separately,” the woman responded. She was awesome. She sat down with me and taught me how to wire the thing step by step. Confucius was right. In three people, there’s bound to be one who can teach you something. You just have to ask, right? This month I’m warning you all to ask, learn, and teach. Prove the philosopher correct.

You see, I don’t really work with electric stuff. I got a big zap from a Christmas light plug when I was a little kid and have been shaky around the juice ever since. This lady took around twenty minutes of her time to show me how to do it all. She made me take them apart and put them back together again. Despite my skiddishness, I had to give this a go. After my lesson, surprisingly, I got a taxi within twenty minutes. Nineteen to be exact, but it could have easily been one of those hour and a half waits considering the time of day. Then about an hour later, I was sitting before this little lamp made by my own two hands. Sounds childlike, but I was damn proud. Light up your lights. It’s holiday time again. And this year don’t be so boring with the presents. We all know most are made in crappy factories anyway. Teach someone something. Learn something from someone. How about a Confucian Christmas? Hou Hou Hou

By Tim Hoerle