Prompted Devestation

Devastation.

Devastated.

Devo’d.

As a British-English speaker (though my mother tongue is ‘Murican) devastation and it’s family has been absorbed into the lexicon to describe any manner of disappointment.

“Mate, Nandos. Nandos doesn’t deliver. I’m totally devastated”.

Now as a lover of all things spicy and chicken I’d appreciate that pain and disappointment for this poor human. However, I have a strong love of words. I particularly love curse words. Though, words such as devastation, shouldn’t to fall prey to the youth.

This is because, I feel, that it is a powerful and unique word. Stop for a second, what other words can you think of to describe what devastation describes? Or I could just say synonyms, but, whatever. My opinion, is that unless it is being used in an ironic or sarcastic way – I’m a sucker for humour – it shouldn’t be used to describe the mundane. You didn’t get a positive response from your dick pic? Devo’d. NO.

However, the imagery conjured by devastation- to me- isn’t an empty fridge, but something like the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. 20 children, CHILDREN, alongside their teachers and other staff (6 in total) were fatally shot in school. This is close to my childhood and family home in the US, so this incident is even more real to me. Devastation deserves to not be derailed to describe anything like your personal disappointments or that Trump is now the POTUS (though I personally would bend my own rule for this).

In saying this all, devo’d is the most current evolution of the slang. So maybe it is far enough detached that- it isn’t really a problem and I’m writing for the sake of writing. Maybe.

 

via Daily Prompt: Devastation

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China Cycling: Bliss and Rage

The magic and rage of biking

Riding a bike is nothing new. I’ve been at it, like many people, since childhood. Unlike most though, I didn’t really ride much past 10. I ‘ve collected more hours riding a unicycle than a bicycle.

Now China, a country not famous for great or revolutionary traffic conditions, it’s much the opposite. I’d wager many of you wouldn’t be at all aware of what it’s like to be following the rules of the road and being the person getting all the dirty looks!

I have in my time here, used every form of transport and even owned my own motorbike. Never have I had such a constant enjoyment of being in the road, but similarly I’ve never been cussing and shaking my head more!

Chinese roads have their risks; number one being the foot traffic, people just walking – they have this terrible habit of having their faces pressed against a screen watching TV or messaging and just stepping out in front of you. Phones are also a risk because drivers, motorbikes and bicycle users are all glued to them too! On top of this when they aren’t using their phones – road users don’t actually have an awareness of self or surroundings. Added to this are the road oddities, such as the legendary tricycles stacked with Styrofoam and of course folks riding on the sidewalks causing their own personal mayhem for pedestrians.

The pedestrians are about 50% of what you need to focus on as you pedal around the city! They far outnumber the seemingly endless streams of motor powered or pedal powered contraptions whizzing at you against the flow of traffic. Usually they are glued to their phones, interested in the tiny universe in their hands as they step into the bike lanes- often causing a chorus of beeps and honks alongside my own “你有眼睛吗?!” or “Do you have eyes?!”… More often than not, you’ll have them shoot you a look of contempt – How DARE you cause them to look up into the real world as you cruise the canal of asphalt made for your road boat…

When you aren’t having to dodge the moving speed bumps you’ll probably have to deal with the other travellers on their various contraptions; pedal/electric bikes, electric scooters, other bicycles, surprisingly frequent cars, motorised trikes, and pedalled trike-cart things ladened with; boxes, Styrofoam, a furnace with potatoes resting on top, grills and further unexpected apparatuses dangling chaotically in all directions. Often you’re pedalling along overtaking the road sheep, putting along on their e-bikes while using their phones. The uniquely maddening thing is that they drift aimlessly honking their horns with no knowledge of self in space… While this occurs you also have to look ahead for the same thing coming against the flow of traffic on the narrow thoroughfare. If you aren’t in China, next time you try cycling through a carnival with all the weird and wonderful things to dodge and it’ll be something like that. You must have the reaction time and piloting precision of a fighter jet pilot.

As a foreigner one of the things that is so hard to become accustom to is the constant and seemingly unnecessary horn usage. Almost like a flock of geese there is a constant communication of all road users. It’s hard not to want to shout, “Fuck off” when you’re being honked at incessantly as people approach you. “Yes I see you, I pay attention”… there is a quick use of horn in China too. Pretty much the second the light changes if you weren’t moving before it was green you’re being honked at to move. However, as I’ve made out above, it’s kind of a requirement to be honking and making noise because nobody uses their mirrors or moves their head the slightest to check their blind spots. Just meandering across… I unfortunately haven’t a bell yet so am left shouting “HONK! RINGRING” at the top of my voice.

There’s a bit of an unwritten culture that might makes right here. So a bigger vehicle is going to do what the fuck it pleases when it pleases it to do so. Often you will find yourself in the cycling lane about to approach a junction and nobody is there and as you’re reaching it to continue onwards a car flies up and either forces you to stop or turn into the junction yourself to avoid being hit. I however know that even though it’s common it is not proper road usage here and if I’m hit then the driver is in some trouble. Not only have they hit somebody and are at fault it’s a blond haired foreigner too. Nightmare. So often if the driver isn’t in full idiot mode I go for it.

With the outstanding amount of negativity I seem to put on this – I, for the most part, love everything about these lunatics. But be warned if you aren’t ready for anything you might not make it back!

 

 

Peeing for Distance. The Chinese Phenomenon

 

China, is so damn wonderful. I really think so – but you won’t get the enjoyment of me just telling you how wondrous it is. I’ll have to tell you the bad things, that to me, make it even more wonderful.

Now picture this:

A pristine, marble palace of a bathroom. You walk in and a little sting enters your nostrils. Not really a problem, as you know they’re probably about to clean and return this toiletry palace back to its glorious state.

Now you just have to pee, stepping to a urinal with one on either side (appropriate male etiquette) and begin your duties. As you do you look around at all the glistening floors and surfaces and think to yourself “Maybe they have been cleaning, everything is so wet”… Your eyes then come to a sign about face height above the porcelain. You take in some of the Chinese characters and the cutesy little man waggling his finger… The you catch the English translation. Which is most likely, requires a little riddle solving, as the translators aren’t so hip with the 2010s era lingo… But it boils down to this: Try taking a step closer and not peeing all over everything you unsanitary freak!

Suddenly – this glistening surrounding you and that stinging smell in your nose all makes sense… As you finish and holster your manhood, in runs a son and father (this truly happened) and the shy child runs to the western loo in the stall and the father to the urinal you just evacuated

They both proceed to pee, the child not bothering to lift the seat and just going on top. Father, seeing this – he doesn’t stop. He just casually backs up wetting everything in his slow path backwards to tell of his son. The floor, the toilet and everything under God is now drenched.

This is China, welcome. It is a wonderful place, but man it does have some rather unpalatable habits.

China, oh China

So it’s been 8 months, 8 long long and confusing months.

8 months of living in China. This place is truly amazing. The culture, the history and the language. The people are also something else… for better or for worse all of these things are way different to how I grew up in rural America and then metropolitan London. All these wonderful and (often) awful mind-blowing experiences are all part of the charm. Culturally, they’re not doing anything wrong. Culture is a unique and unspoken understanding of how words and actions relate and are understood, it’s as easy as drinking water when you’re in it. When you experience a new one, especially one so different – it’s like a whiskey.

Thematic alert – what makes China awful to an outsider is exactly to me, what makes it so brilliant. Most of these blogs upcoming will be about China and my own experience and maybe commentary on life here.

At times, it will seem like I hate China, when I am asked what it is like I say “Disgusting, disorganised and the people are rude”…that’s all true – but that’s why I love it. Like I said before – my cultural upbringing makes China taste like a strong fiery whiskey. I’m not judging, I can’t express enough how much I love it. Even when I’m hating the man hawking up a huge phlegm lump and just spitting it casually on the floor in the bus.

And I’m really appreciative of my experiences, adventurous or mis-adventurous. I’ve made some damn wonderful Chinese friends and had beautiful experiences. Without my experiences so far, it wouldn’t have shaped me so strongly. I’m happy because even though I may have hard day culturally, personally or even physically… I’m really living in a place where I am challenged daily, I can barely get by speaking their language. I’m having so much fun, making good money and learning a language, a culture and about myself.

But I’m still going to share with you the horrible stuff, because… the nice stuff is so damn boring by comparison.

Blogging. That’s weird… right?

So, I’ve moved into the word of blogging. I never thought I would. I like being outside too much. But I like talking. Outside things don’t talk back to me. Unless they’re crazy.

Let’s forget about that excellent introduction to the workings my brain. I’m dyslexic and have ADD, but here I am! Going at it!

It seems like everyone blogs for a reason, whether it’s their passion, a diary, a campaign or even simply they don’t have anything better to do. It also boils down to enjoyment. For me, I have chosen to blog to attempt to get back into writing, something I used to do all the time. When I was about 20, many seasons ago, I really got into the outdoors and adventuring and generally just pursuing my passions and curiosity. I’m already pretty bad at this, having started this entry the 6th September. I keep myself busy, usually not wanting to spend the time at a computer. Or when I am- I’m not really functioning well enough to be productive.

If you’re willing to sit through and sift through my thoughts, I will be writing about anything and everything. My curiosity is my passion and my passion is my curiosity, so I will more than likely have a varied and sporadic page.

My name is Keith, I’m an American living in the UK. I have been here for 12 years, so I have a dual national identity. I’m 26 and pretty much I do what I want, because I fancy it! I’m hoping to keep going down the path I’m on, I want to be a professional presenter and I’ve managed to get a billboard with my face on it in NYC… I’d rather people be like, Hey it’s that guy from that thing…

I’m going to keep this one short, so I can complete my first entry.

I’m sure at this stage you probably don’t care much about me or what I’m writing. Bear with me though, I hope to change that.