2016年6月4日 星期六

Nonsense That Fills My Head on a Tuesday

If you live in Taiwan, you're undoubtedly aware of the fact that it's been f*&king hot this week.  A coworker just told me that it rained so much in north Taiwan that the Taoyuan airport flooded.  I'm sure the flooding was a problem, but they were probably glad about the rain.

Running in the evenings is much more difficult now.  At around 7 pm the air is still so humid and thick, and it's a lot more work for my lungs.  A month ago I was running 10, 15, and even 20k without much trouble, but now I'm struggling after 5.  I'm doing my best to adjust to the heat, but it's not easy. 

Work continues to wind down here.  June 30 is the last day of the semester, and I've written all my lessons up to that date.  There's still some preparation for an English summer camp yet to do, but I've finished the worst of it already.

Been reading Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb.  It makes for fairly boring reading, and abbreviated versions of Shakespeare make the inconsistencies and improbabilities present in most of his plays more obvious.  Fun Fact: One of the authors of this book stabbed her own mother to death.

I'll probably meet D. and R. at Sam's Burger for lunch today.  I would have invited others, but that seemed like a lot of work.  After a certain point one hopes that others will just take the initiative, and ask you if you're eating at Sam's this Friday.

D. was talking about goings-on in Dulan.  Seems a certain burger joint is in trouble.  Not surprising, considering how many people they're employing, and the cost of renting the place.  I think it might have done well in Kenting, but there's not enough tourist traffic through Dulan to sustain it.

D. was also talking about another foreigner that I've met a couple times up there.  I don't want to go into details, but apparently this foreigner has left Taiwan for the time being.  He's been in a fair amount of domestic distress, and burned his share of bridges before leaving the country.  If you hang out in Dulan you probably know who I'm talking about.  If not, I can only apologize for being deliberately vague.  Repeating too much hearsay would just damage people's reputations. 

Life in small town Taiwan can seem idyllic from afar (depending on the town, of course), but some people really suffer in those places.  Dulan is no exception.  Not too long ago a girl killed herself up there, and of course Dulan has all the usual alcoholics, fights, traffic accidents, drownings, and small-minded people that you'd find anywhere else.  Sometimes Dulan is even worse.

Talked to J. for a short while last night.  She was drinking German beer.  It made me think that there are probably a lot better beers available in Germany, and what we're getting here is probably the German version of Budweiser.  Taiwan beer is not bad, but there are times when I wish the Taiwanese drinking public appreciated other kinds of beer.

Easy day today.  Just testing the 4-2, 6-1, 6-2, and 6-4 classes.  It's an oral test, so I interview them in groups of three.  It can be very repetitive, but there is very little thought involved for me.  Tomorrow (Saturday), I will also have to work, but I'm only teaching a lesson to the 4-2 class.  I'll let the sixth graders watch a DVD.

Yesterday we were eating in a Japanese restaurant and a mentally ill woman came inside from the road, trying to sell vegetables there.  The owner was very kind and patient with her, and let her fill a plastic bag with the food that another customer had left behind.  Watching the owner do this, I began to think that I should try to be more compassionate.

Which leads me to that quote attributed to James Joyce - "non serviam."  If you have avoided all forms of servitude, haven't you isolated yourself from other human beings?  Why are we here, if not to serve one another? 

Anyone wondering why I don't have more to say on the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections?  It's because Hillary's all like blah blah blah blah, and Trump's all like blah blah blah blah, and somewhere in the middle this other guy who's sure NOT to get elected is making the most sense.  I get a very pre-WWII vibe from Trump, and Clinton is almost as worrying.  Beyond that, their recent debates seem very insubstantial.

Depressing dream last night, still vivid as I type this.  The world was dying, and all of the remaining animals had gathered together to say goodbye.  I was weeping over a patch of grass, and trying to say farewell to it all.  Then I had to go back inside my parents' house (we were in Seattle), and try to explain to my daughters what was happening, and how we had helped bring it about.  In the dream there was a tree full of the most beautiful owls I had ever seen, but the world was flooding, and there wasn't much time before the end.

But hey, it's not all gloom and doom here.  It's Saturday after all (not Tuesday, not really), and the work week finally comes to an end today.  Next week there are only three days before a four-day weekend, and I'm pretty happy about that.

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