Anyone who has lived in China for any length of time will know what I mean by a “Bad China Day (BCD)”. Everyone gets them. It is a day where nothing seems to go right and no matter how much you like China, for a spell you hate it with venomous loathing. There may be good reasons to feel bad that particular day, but often there aren’t. You just feel all the frustration and insanity piling up against your door.
I had one of those days yesterday.
I decided to go to stick some money into my prepaid bus IC card. I usually fill it up with ¥100 at a time, which lasts me about a year. I walk most places. Not only does the card save you having to worry about having the correct loose change, but you even get a little discount (¥0.10) on each trip!
I arrived at the bus company office on 广雅路 to find the entire aged population of the city standing in a long, snaking line heading miles back through the adjacent market space. Looks like I’d picked the pensioners’ free bus pass issuing day (actually, it goes on for 6 days!)
That was enough to trigger a full blown BCD.
I then had to go out into the countryside to pick up some work. That is never a good thing! Then went to catch my bus back to the city. I was standing at the bus stop when I realised I’d left my USB hard drive attached to the computer in my country home. That 1T hard drive is my central nervous system. I need it. So off I trek through the drizzle and cold to get it. Of course, then I missed my bus and had a freezing 20 minute wait for the next one.
Happy chappy, I wasn’t.
I had arranged to meet a dear friend for dinner. She is going to Washington State in September to do a master’s degree, and while I am delighted that she has this opportunity, I am going to miss her enormously.
When she arrived at our chosen venue, she told me that although she is going to the US in September, she first has to do some pre-MA training in Beijing and is leaving next week for five months, before going directly from there to the US. I had unknowingly turned up for a farewell dinner with one of my best friends.
It was a strange meal. Not the food which was fine. But, most unusually, I just wasn’t in an eating mood. Her announcement had thrown me a total loop. We tried to remain upbeat, but I am sure anyone could see we weren’t succeeding. For the first time in the many years I have known her, we didn’t know what to say.
Eventually, although we tried to delay it, it became time to go. We walked home (she lives very near me) and said our tearful goodbyes with a hug. I had a bit further to go and I walked the last stretch feeling utterly depressed.
I got home to my Liuzhou place and found that my home computer, on which I write 99% of this blog and do all my work on, had died completely. Stone cold dead. Also, I couldn’t recharge the failing battery in my cell phone as I use the USB connection from the computer to the phone for that – the charger is in the countryside.
It was too late to do anything about it (the computer shops were all closed. I had just walked past them all. I live almost next door to Liuzhou’s main computer shop area), so I just sat there staring at the dead monitor, a now blind window to my world. I felt empty. I was no longer depressed. Depression is a something. I felt nothing. I went to bed hours earlier than I ever normally do.
This morning, I carried my dead PC across the road and half an hour later, with some parts and ¥150 lighter in my pocket, I was back home and reconnected to the world. It even stopped drizzling for long enough for me to get there and back.
So, I’m back on track, more or less. I still feel the immense sadness that my friend is going, but also deep happiness for her. She has had a shitty couple of years and deserves some adventure.
(Friday Food is taking a break this week for technical and personal reasons. Back next week.)
Have a Good China Day. They are a lot better. Believe me.