Sunday, November 2, 2008

dolla dolla bills, ya'll

Man, I think I'm coming down with a case of the Shanghai Cough. Damn this air pollution and my sensitive lungs.

Today on the subway I saw a young Chinese man vomit violently into a trash can, it was pretty awesome. I almost felt sorry for the fella, but you KNOW he had a friggin' awesome night, so why feel sorry? I have yet to get that out of control here, but hey, I still have another 9 months at least. It could definitely happen.

Before coming to China I was in a very zen place in my life. Things just seemed to be working in my favor and I was very much at peace with...well, pretty much everything. I was also going through a big cleansing period, getting rid of a ton of stuff that I had been holding on to for years without really having a reason why. The blog Unclutterer played a pivotal role in this period of my life, and I felt more and more empowered with each garbage bag full of old classroom notebooks to recycle and each tub of clothing to give away. I wanted to simplify my life, get rid of all the junk, strip away the layers of uselessness and get down to the real deal.

And then I moved to arguably the most capitalist country in the world, err, excuse me, the most "socialist with Chinese characteristics" country in the world. Those characteristics of course including buying as much stuff as you can and slapping some kind of name brand logo on it.

I made a conscious effort to not bring a lot of clothes here because I wanted to minimize my wardrobe to a few essential pieces. Then, I got here and realized "Hey, this is Shanghai, the Paris of Asia, not some rural farm town". So after about one week with my minimalist wardrobe, I had my mom ship me a few things from home and went on a shopping spree at H&M. And had 3 coats and 6 dresses hand-tailored at the fabric market.

What have I learned from this? I don't know. Perhaps the Chinese proverb "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" explains it. The Chinese are a very materialistic people, so why fight against that and distance myself from the culture when I can keep doing what I do best, which is spending money? Ya, I couldn't think of any reasons, either.


Andy said...

LOL... Don't feel guilty though, f I werein China, I'd do the exact same thing. Just think where you're putting all that when you go back to California.

Frank said...

I too spent the morning throwing up into a trash can!

Those nights are the best, provided you're willing to part with half a pound or so of brain cells.