I was just wondering to myself what a boring non-eventful day would sound like here if I blogged about it dramatically.  So here it goes:

This morning I woke up a little late.  But that's OK, I wasn't on a fixed schedule today.  Becky woke up a little later or a little earlier than me, I'm not sure because I don't remember because my memory hasn't been working very well these days, I seem to have memory problems, it could be serious!

About an hour later I was on the tan leather couch that came with this apartment, a little grubby around the edges but comfortable.  Now just a second, before I continue, Clifford recently told me that this couch is hard and not soft, I've never noticed.  I wonder why I haven't noticed.  What else have I not noticed? I have kinda forgotten about how hard the beds are here! This could be serious!

So anyway, an hour later I was sitting on the couch, still, working on my latest masterpiece, a bit of computer code that pleases the eye like no other that I've ever typed!  After all I aspire to be a craftsman one day, a master code wielder.  Mind you I don't aspire to greatness, neigh, merely humble craftsmanship, or competence at my trade.  Should any man who works with his hands do less?  But I digress!  It's this chaotic mind of mine.  It could be serious!

I was reminded of the word "Craftsman" when I was visiting a friend of mine who is a leather craftsman, and has a Chinese "Craftsman" seal he puts on his stuff.  He was trained years ago by a Japanese leather craftsman.  Craftsmen are usually trained by older craftsmen.
"Craftsman" in Ancient Chinese (Possibly Upside Down)

With me still on that tan leather couch, Becky asked me if I'd like to join her and go outside and visit one of her friends.

"Outside?"  I thought.  "That's China out there!" I deduced.  "No!  I can do this.  I didn't come here to sit on this tan leather couch with my laptop." said I.  "Yes OK" I said aloud to Becky.

"We'll have to leave pretty soon." She said.  But she didn't say how soon.  So about fifteen minutes later she told me that we'd have to be at her friend's work by 11:00.  I had decided I'd have enough time to fix a bug in my code, but I was wrong!

So into the shower I went, stepping delicately over the little track on the floor that the curved glass door runs on top of, with my bare feet hoping that the silicon caulking that fixed the track to the floor would hold.  You see: bathrooms apparently don't come with showers here in China, they come with sinks, toilets, and drains in the floor.  In our case, we're lucky, we have two drains in the floor, one in the middle, and one in the corner where someone who lived here long before us glued in a glass walled corner shower with a curved sliding door.  It's not huge but it's plenty big for a shower.  Sometimes the water leaks under the glue.  I hate it when it does that.  I always eye that little glue seam running along the bottom outer edge of the shower when I step into it.

If I see a little water leaking, or I like to use the word "oozing", under the shower seam I like to feel strong dramatic feelings of disgust and I imagine myself complaining articulately about it to someone later.  I also feel a little unmanly for being grossed out by a little water.  But then I do nothing, other than wipe up the water, or spray it away with the shower head.  I also forget to complain about it to anyone, at least until this blog.  Now I have complained.  And I feel as I should: Foolish!

So after I got out of the shower, dried off with a towel that always smells kinda funny (not like Downy like it should) and dressed into my air dried clothes which also smell kinda funny, like the wood that my dresser drawer is made of instead of Downy.  (Downy Fresh, I should put ads on this blog yeah?)  So anyway I was almost dressed entirely except for my feet which were bare, and I came out into the living room, where Becky was, to put on my socks and shoes.  And guess what.  Becky was still in her sweat pants!  I had gotten dressed faster than her.  That almost never happens!

So after I put on my socks that have holes in them because I haven't figured out where to buy socks in this crazy town of endless Chinese signs, and my slippers, I sat and waited a few minutes for Becky.  I know I picked up my laptop and looked at my beautiful masterpiece, but I don't remember if I had enough time to finish fixing that bug I was working on earlier.  We may never know if I did, it may always be a mystery.  Actually I'm not even sure there was a bug.  It's my memory acting up again.

After a just a few minutes Becky and I were waiting for the smelly old elevator just outside our apartment door.  Then we were racing up the sidewalk dodging stares, glances, and frowns from the locals who had spotted a funny looking foreign guy walking down the sidewalk with a normal looking Chinese girl. Poor girl.

Within a minute we were crossing turn lanes, walking through the ashes where money had recently been burned for ancestors (Which is typically done at four way intersections) and on the other side of the busy street.  I won't go into the details of crossing two turning lanes and two one way lanes at a major intersection in China.

Actually the details aren't that exciting, what was exciting was the big metal plates on the road covering some sort of holes dug for construction.  The big metal plates I'm talking about are the same ones they use in America when they aren't quite done with some hole they've dug in the middle of an intersection.  Instead of filling the hole they toss a big metal plate over it that can't apparently withstand the weight of a car or a big truck driving over it.  The metal plate I was staring at, part way across the street, looked like it was slowly being shifted away from the hole that it was covering.

My thinking at the time was that those plates are extremely thick and heavy, but then so are cars.  Eventually that plate is going to shift right off of the top of whatever hole in the road it's covering.  It was making a really loud banging sound every time a car drove over it.  Actually it's funny because I can hear that exact plate banging from the night time traffic driving over it right now, from this tan leather couch in our living room.  For the last few days I've wondered what I was hearing, I thought it was some sort of fireworks being set off to scare away the spirits.

After we crossed that noisy-metal-plate-ridden street we starting walking up the wide brick sidewalk in search of some building that we couldn't quite remember.  I have recently realized that a lot of this enormous city looks the same to me probably because I'm basically illiterate.  I don't see signs that say "Spicy Noodles" or "Watch Repair" I just see signs basically say nothing, kind of like a dream, they say you can't really read in dreams.  I don't know if that's true, but I know I can't read many signs here.

It just occurred to me that I've never noticed a stop sign here.  How do they write "Stop" in Chinese?  Do they even have them here?  I'll look into it and get back to you on it.

So eventually I found myself sitting across from Becky and her friend trying to focus on words that I knew here and there in their rapid Chinese conversation.  As I sat there I reflected on what my experience here is really like and how a large portion of it could be defined by a lack of understandable words, on signs, and on lips.  And so I write words here, that I do understand, on this blog to make up for it.