Saturday, November 03, 2007

As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent...

Lou Reed waits for his man. I wait for my maid. His man brings him the good stuff and asks that white boy what he's doing uptown. My maid brings me herself and like Lou Reed's man, my maid is late. I'm waiting. She was to arrive at 8 am. It is now 8:15, and then 8:44. Often she arrives early. Sometimes she arrives at 7:30 am. She is late. I will wait. I am not sure how long I should wait before I go out for breakfast, maybe for donuts or maybe I will suck it up and have pancakes at McDonald's', sadly, no maid, only hotcakes but not with Carly Simon. Anticipation is making me wait.

While I wait, I read the Guardian. Like most people, I go for the sensationalist news first. Nikki Sixx has a new book. Oh, goody! This looks like quite the juicy read, shooting drugs, cocaine paranoia, shooting alcohol...because you forget that you can drink it. Okay, I get it. I get it. I get it. You led the rock and roll lifestyle to its utmost.

Now, you can sit beside your swimming pool in L.A. (that place that people love to hate but still live there and talk about how they are not one of the plastic ones, the Ivy crowd, part of the Hollywood mongers, the vapid reality television reality). As you sit by your pool, you can write about it with the help of an ace journalist, a writer who once wrote for the now defunct Melody Maker. I get it. I get it. You pick him because he interviewed you the day you died. I get it. When he interviewed you, you were so out of it and then later that evening, after said interview, you shot up and died - Nikki Six, employer of rocket science at its most rocking.

But then, that is what rock stars are supposed to do die young and then, perchance, come back to life, or, maybe, just die young. Many of the dead ones, I guess, must forget that part about coming back to life. Rock and Roll Resurrection. Spinal Tap after the fact. As a matter of fact, Slash didn't realize what all the fuss was about with Nikki's whole death ordeal. Slash used to die and come back to life all of the time. Oh the beauty and decadence of these modern day Lord Byrons, these rock and roll Draculas.

After I read through the article, I realize that perhaps it is not that interesting to me after all. Sure, all of what I read is shocking but beyond that, there is nothing. Nothing, much like the music of that whole scene, empty with angst, empty angst. Are you in fact the Future Legend that Bowie wrote of at the beginning of Diamond Dogs? No, I think not. This has the corporate schlock of Molly Hatchet 's 'Flirting with Disaster' written all over it. This is not a scenario from Rock Dreams. Yes, we have no dangerous Jagger/Bowie sexuality. The most daring part is women in bondage, HBO circa 1982 starring Lindsay Wagner as a prostitute.She got the looks that kill, a shocking video, uh, not really.

From there I peruse the scientific, maybe I do this out of the guilt that I spent 15 minutes reading the rock dredge. In the scientific article, I learn more about this whole greenhouse conundrum that might not be a conundrum. If I walk to work or take the bus instead of drive, maybe I can make a difference, help solve this problem. Oh, guess what? I do walk the 25 minutes to work. Okay, I lied; I have taken a taxi twice to work. And, if I have to travel several kilometers, I do take the metro or a bus. Yes, okay another small fib, sometimes I do take a taxi but, actually, I do not like to splurge the $1 or $2 on a taxi because basically I am a miser. This runs in my family. Thanks Dad!

If I turn off all of my appliances, if I do not leave them on standby, that helps states the article. Oh, again, I do not have many appliances, the fridge, which I do not think I should turn off because the milk will spoil but other than that, I have no appliances really. I have a soap-less dishwasher which I used a couple of times when I first moved into the flat but I have not used it in several months.

Oh, the last point, if I can, I am told I should adjust my thermostat by 1 degree to save on heating and cooling. Again, at the moment, I am not being heated or cooled. I would say nearly half of the year I am not heated or cooled in my flat. Again, I pass the anti-greenhouse examination. Yay, for me. Oh, but, we are all going to die anyway so I'm off to McDonald's!

At 9 am, there is a knock on the door. The maid is here. Lou would shoot up. Actually, maybe he would not shoot up at this point. He would eat a scone. OR maybe, he and Laurie (Anderson) would debate who is more counterculture and artsy between the two of them. They might do this over tofu hotdogs at 11th St and 2nd Ave in the East Village. Or no, they would send out for them, have them delivered; this cost just a little extra.

They might discuss which album they will perform in its entirety next and who will open for whom at the show. Laurie tells Lou she is crazy about Mistrial. She wants Lou to bomb. He asks her if she has ever had a hit? She tells him she never did drugs. He tells her not that sort of hit.

I watch as the maid puts on slippers. She apologizes to me in Chinese and bits of English; I tell her it's okay. Really, being an hour late to clean my place is not that big of a deal. She starts her routine. I sneak off to Mcdonald's while she starts cleaning out in the garden.

At the corner a bum with bags and bags of rags sits in the sun. Later, the DVD man will wheel his cart into this position and sell his 5 rmb DVDs. Last night, I bought The Woods with Patricia Clarkson from this DVD man which after viewing it I would deem its value at 2 rmb. Scary mean trees do not scare me. Dark remote cemeteries in the night, Michael Myers, Freddie, or any ax wielding maniac scare me. Purcell, Oklahoma scares me. Scary trees do not scare me.

Unfortunately, most of the time, I feel as if I am one step away from getting hit by a taxi, scooter, slow moving police car, or a careless speeding housewife in a Peugeot. Cars shoot out of alleys, onto sidewalks, from behind noodle stands, off of pedestrian parkways, from behind bushes and trees. If the car fits, the cart darts. The car darts from behind dumpsters or out of alleyways or wherever a car fits.

On the way to school a few days ago, after I greeted the scooter boys, I was nearly mowed down and made into Tyson pulp, a Tyson sidewalk noodle sandwich. I did not look in the direction of the alleyway. As I was stepping across, a mini-van shot out of the alley. I jumped out of the way just in time. Here, the motorists do not look for pedestrians. They only have their eyes set on other motorists. A few dead pedestrians is not a big deal to the Chinese. They have suffered for many years before the culture revolution and through the culture revolution. Dead pedestrians are nothing.

Yesterday, I ate noodles with Henry. He had sent me a message the previous night asking me to go to lunch. He met me at the teachers' office. Usually, on Friday, I do not go to Xiang Ming but since the other school for some wonderful reason had no classes I was able to meet Henry. When he walked into the teachers' office, I could tell his hair had been freshly cropped . I told him that he looks very handsome. His hair is short but not super short. He looks a bit like a Chinese mafioso. He told me that he wanted it shorter but his mother told him he would look like a convict.

Henry has a mustache of which he is quite proud. He is the only student in the whole school who actually has enough hair to grow one, except of course for some of the girls, an oddity.

We went to a noodle shop that is much like an American diner. This noodle shop is tucked into a residential enclave off of the main street that is near the school. Walking there is like walking through a maze but once there, the noodles are completely down home. At lunchtime, it is always packed with people waiting for a table. The tables are small square tables that would fit 4 in America almost comfortably. Here 7 or 8 people crowd around to slurp up their noodles.

When Henry and I walked in, we spotted Kain and some other students. We stood biding our time by their table. After a few minutes, two of the students finished and left. Henry and I quickly grabbed their seats. Henry ordered for us. He ordered noodles with chopped pork and asked me if I wanted the same. I told him yes. He then ordered extra noodles for himself. I told him I did not need extra noodles, a regular order was fine for me.

While we waited for our noodles to arrive, Henry showed me an essay on which he received a poor mark. I read over the essay and told him that it was not that bad which is true. His class teacher, English name Jane, does not give out passing marks easily. I told him she is really a good teacher. She is just tough but that is good. She wants them to work hard to improve. They are lucky to have her for a teacher.

He told me that he wants to take the college entrance examination early. He would rather not take it when everyone is taking it in a mad rush for next year. I told him I thought this a good idea.

Other students, mostly current students of mine, were spread around the restaurant. As they left, they called to me. Some of them looked at me with surprise, as if stunned that I exist outside of class. I am human and I want to be loved. I told them goodbye as they filed out. I recognized them all but did not know any of their names. Once Henry and I got our orders of noodles we slurped them up quickly. Kain waited for us. He had already finished his noodles.

They told me they had to be back at school by 12:30 for an extra class. We walked and talked. About a half a block away from school, they both realized they might be late. They told me goodbye and ran the rest of the way to class. I walked leisurely back to school and enjoyed the day. Little did I know that later I would buy the best of Thin Lizzy (Dedication) at the 3 story flea market that sells DVDs, CDs and dying appliances. Seriously, I have to kick my Boston habit.

Kim wrote to tell me that I am listening to Boston too much. I know I am; she is right. Quite often, More than a Feeling starts my day. Kim thinks maybe I need a change. I do need a change.

I see my Maryanne walking away. I do. I dream that Maryanne is walking away taking my heart that she has ripped out of my ribcage, she is walking with Carrie, through a small New England town with power-lines crackling, exploding, falling. She is laughing. They are having a telekinetic shindig. Maybe I should move to Korea. As I think about this, I put on Boston. I cannot help myself. I really can't. I am hooked.

But then...There is always Thin Lizzy.
The Boys are Back in Town shouldn't bring tears to my eyes, but somehow, sometimes it does.


Blogger ALLGREY said...

I love your blogs, they are grounded, charming yet somehow whimsical. Guess you do it with a "flare". You're the sequin that can be starched cotton at the same time. HA and make it look sooo good! If you ever hit the midwest again i'd drive hours just to take you to dinner. I think as a teen I misplaced my love of you as a person for an artist, when nowadays the pardox is I truely adore the person who is just simply and daily somehow an artist. That said i'd love to see you do a "think green" photoshoot!

12:37 AM  
Blogger Kbrigham said...

Hey Tyson,

I don't know if you remember me, but I worked with David when you and the Kittens were rocking and rolling in Norman I'm a college Prof now and have really enjoyed your stories on the "front line" of education.
I hope all is well. Take care and keep posting. Your daily posts are a dose of well needed elixir. I'm flashing back to "Helter Skelter" at the Deli - "you may be a lover , but you ain't no dancer" keep on rockin in the semi-free world!

2:03 PM  

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