Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bad Mood Cureall

So I've been in a bad mood since about midnight Saturday. Chalk it up to work confusion, the phases of the moon, nasty-sticky-hot weather and miscellaneous bull-sheeeeet. Plus, I believe people who are genial and chipper the other 362 days of the year should be allotted 72 hours of blackness. 

I kept myself in check for the first 24 hours, but Monday morning I had to phone the water delivery people. Ooooh, how I loathe the water delivery people. These people only deliver water when you couldn't possibly be home to receive it. I think that's a standing policy they have.

I get on the phone - and the lady on the other end is one of those dear people who, rather than rephrasing the question, will only shout it louder if you don't understand her the first time.

Me and Ms. Shouter are going along - she giving no indication she understands anything coming out of mouth - but we get to the point where she asks when the water should be delivered.

"Before 2 today," I say, because that's when Chef Mike said he'd be home - on his one day off.

"BU XING BU XING!" She shouts back. For context: This is more like shouting "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" rather than, "sorry, we can't come then." So how do I react?

"FINE, SUAN LE!" (Forget it) .. and then. "J---- F---- C----!"

It was more primal scream than expletive. I went 100% apeshit on the water delivery people. It was like my own personal Mel-Gibson moment. A couple more minutes and I would've been calling her sugar tits - or worse. I could still hear her on the other end, but I hung up.

"WE'RE CHANGING WATER DELIVERY PEOPLE." I barked to Chef Mike, who was still trying to sleep (on his one day off, shame on me).

"Have a good day..." he whimpered as I stormed out. Mysteriously, our water arrived later that day, even though Mike wasn't home to pay for it. So we might not change.

All of Monday and into Tuesday was basically one big 'Harumph.' I left the office tonight, headed for a USC alumni dinner. It was raining, so cabs were scarce. A dude on a scooter pulled up and gave me the 'hop aboard' motion.

Now let's take a moment to review the Leslie School of Personal Safety: 1.) I only eat well-done hamburger meat. 2.) I don't fly Aeroflot 3.) I don't ride the rides at Happy Valley and 4.) I don't accept rides from strangers unless they're licensed cab drivers.

So on one hand there's the Leslie School of Personal Safety, and on the other there's my mood/lack of cabs/desire for a free meal. The latter won.

"How much?"

"20 kuai"

I shook my head sternly.

"15 kuai"

I paused a moment. He probably gives it to local girls for cheaper, but whatever. I hiked up my skirt and climbed aboard. 

Nothing puts life into perspective like rush-hour on the back of a piece of Chinese shit masquerading as a motorcycle. After the second abrupt stop under the elevated road when my motorcycle man braked hard for a car turning in front of us, I decided life was pretty cool and that I should probably not be in such a bad mood anymore.

I made it to dinner, thanks be to heaven. I paid my dude and trotted inside. Some young business-school grad from Hong Kong started chatting me up. Before we were two minutes in he was talking about some hundred-million RMB property he was eyeing on the Bund for some development or something. It was a bit transparent. Meh.

The guest of honor was one of the administration uppity-ups. Halfway through dinner I learned this wasn't an all-Shanghai alumni function, it was for the "leaders" of the alumni community. I have no idea why I was tapped for this: I just got to town, and my attendance at events has been spotty. Maybe because I work in media? Maybe a fluke? It was mostly middle-aged overseas Chinese businessmen, a couple ladies who work for USC, one recent grad who was highly involved in the USC community and uhhh me.

After dinner there was a little slideshow where the administration guy mentioned part of the reason he was going around to alumni clubs was to get people to pledge $1,000 to the new student center.

HO, HO! You just almost asked for my monthly salary, sir! A little white wine and beet root salad isn't going to make me fork over that kind of green.

Lucky for him, the guys at the adjacent table were making agreeable noises. After coffee and apple crumble, I said my thank yous and split.

It stopped raining, but cabs were still impossible. So I walked home in my heels. It's about a mile from the restaurant. But I'm that hardcore, and Shanghai is that safe at 930pm. It's one of the things I love about living here. And lordy, there are a lot of things I don't love. But I won't go into them now, because my mood has improved. 

It's just like my surrogate boyfriend recently said (the one who used to go to media dinners with me, but left for grad school stateside) in one of our lengthy g-chats about how we been done wrong and how:

Oh Leslie, we're all gonna be okay.

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