Monday, May 22, 2017

21 May 2017

In contemplation, direction as we know it ceases to exist. We only travel in one direction, my friend tells me, and it's toward dying. What the direction is, the map doesn't show, nor does the map's voice tell us, sprouting from the phone. The metaphor of roots takes root, but seems to mean less and less, when going out's the same as coming in. Shanghai's doors illustrate a leap from one economy to the next; even those that are boarded up (corruption!) retain their numbers. The difference between horizontal and vertical housing is only quantified as direction, not as value. A Buddhist temple sits surrounded by shopping mall neon, though its golden roof tells another story. Twenty minutes before we landed, the video screens showed us how to do tai chi in our seats. To land is to float over marshes and acres of new apartment blocks and a river that would prove full of plastic and the city whose history is one of opium and banks. We pulled up to the as-yet-to-be-completed terminal, then bused to the extant one that took us in. My office is where friendships go to die, though our good uncle died at home, well after the airline refused him oxygen. Something's happening in our culture, a friend says, and we're all going back.

--21 May 2017

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