Saturday, October 09, 2010. Another early rise, when the alarm went off it the morning I rolled over to turn it off and squashed Catzu under me, he let out a shrill meow but made no attempt to escape my bulk and just laid there and returned to sleep when I quickly got off him. I think under this family environment his Japanese Bushido spirit is gaining fat. There were burning piles of rubbish smoking and smoldering on the side of the main road as I walked to school. The smell was unpleasant as things like plastic bags and old food where being flamed.
Another grand show of energy today on the morning run. As we where stretching by the broken glass speckled seats surrounding the running track Coach Ma approached me and said sometime in his hard to understand village accent “ the boss….he is coming for a few days….no training for you….you can run instead”, this was what I managed to deduct from his speech, and I assumed(assumption being the mother of all fuck ups) that the boss of the sports school was hear and for one reason or another because I wasn’t paying for my training it would be bad for him to see me training so I should do running instead for the next few days. I was worried because I had met the owner of the school and we had usually exchanged brief but pleasant conversations, I wondered if I had unknowingly offended his, One of my main worries in China is that I will unknowingly offend someone, a surprisingly easy thing to do if you don’t adhere to the rules of Chinese culture.
Coach Ma beckoned the student onto the dusty middle of the running track and they began the basic leg strengthening exercises. I walked up to Coach Ma “do you want me to start running now or do I start tomorrow?” I asked earnestly. He stifled a giggle and affecting a standard and slow talking mandarin accent spoke “no, I said your English student with the glasses (he spectacled his eyes with his hands) asked me to tell you she isn’t going to be here for a few days”, The other student all laughed at me and I felt like a prize idiot. Why don’t I just keep my mouth shut? I had a complete sense of humor failure and spent the rest of the morning class feeling stupid after the embarrassment had faded I began to see it as extremely funny and I walked home chortling to myself. Sarah also had a dam good laugh about it as well “ last week you told your master that your arm was too heavy so you couldn’t train instead of saying your arm was swollen and then today you made another mistake” She laughed as she got out of bed.
Until the afternoon class I kept my self busy by reading, writing, stick waving and teaching myself mandarin, I was trying not to sleep as I have found an afternoon nap impairs my evening sleep. This was a hard task as I was dreadfully tired, having only slept 2 hours last night. My crap sleep is no mystery, sometimes I get up at 5:30 in the morning and other times at 1 in the afternoon so I am really fucking around with my inner clock, but I have changed all that now and have resolved to set a good sleep pattern which I have been doing for the last 2 days. It take about 3 days to set a good sleeping pattern and only one day to destroy it as my old Taiji teacher told me once. The afternoon class was enjoyable, it was a sunny and warm day and our class practiced leg grabbing throws on the running track, I was impressed with my own advancing skills and how with my advantageous long arms I can quickly shoot in and do take downs.
I was ready for bed when I got home but Sarah wanted me to go to the bank with her to put some money in, telling my worriedly that a woman was stabbed to death and her money stolen yesterday afternoon near the bank. Of course I went with her and I thought about how this city is very unsafe. Drunk drivers constantly on the road, car crashes viewed almost daily, stories of people with stressful lives suddenly snapping and killing people. Robbers and gangsters, children being hit by cars. Having to fight for everything you buy and to get a better price All common place here, so common that you forget that its dangerous and you become used to it. I finished JG Ballard autobiography today and am left with a bleak image of his life. How his wife died suddenly while they were on holiday and how finally he got prostate cancer and died. He speaks about how his family life was happy but I cannot shake the feeling that he had a dark life and his ideas and how he approaches the world is unusual and unsettling sometimes. It was interesting because it explained a lot of his short stories and how his childhood and early adolescents in the war torn Shanghai has shaped many of the landscapes, architecture and morbid ideas in his tails. Dystopian post apocalyptic stories of dying or warped worlds. The difference between a writer like PG Wodehouse who writes light witty stories and JG Bollards intense, imaginative ones is so great and it makes me think about the different sources a writer can pull on for inspiration. For Ballard the death of his wife and his harsh child hood where inspiration and for PG Wodehouse I wouldn’t know because I know very little about him but to write the sort of comedy he did I can imagine he either had a very positive point of view or he had an extremely charmed life, maybe both. One takes from the darkness and the other from the light.