Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Certain Lassitude

Since before Christmas I have been plagued by a certain lassitude. Sleeping more than my requisite 8 hours per night, no ambition, no desire to do anything. It has gotten particularly bad this past week, since I’ve been sick.

For those of you who read this blog regularly, and as those with whom I email regularly can attest to, I tend to be particularly… prolific in my communications. Downright verbose, sometimes. This past week I have not been able to bring myself to make even the rudiments of civilized conversation with anyone. Not that anyone has done me any particular wrong; I’ve just had no energy or desire to communicate with anyone, or to blog. The task seemed insurmountable.

Even teaching my four classes this week took more out of me than I felt I had to give. Come on, now… I can’t manage a 6-hour work week? Well, I managed it but I certainly was not feeling it, or feeling good about my efforts in the classroom. I KNOW I did not give 100% to my kids, but I was helpless to do better.

Instead, I parked myself in front of the television with my space heater beside me and watched movie after movie. If I wasn’t watching movies I was playing computer games, biding my time until I could go to bed again. It just felt like too much work to be productive in any way. Sitting up required more energy than I had. Processing thoughts was completely beyond me. While I slouched in front of the television I wondered what could possibly be wrong with me.

For a long time I thought my health had taken a turn for the worse. I have been unable to breathe deeply or well since my return to Wuhan. The heart palpitations were back and getting winded while walking was the norm. I woke up coughing so hard in the morning that I could not breathe, and I was wheezing as though I had an advanced case of emphysema. Forget exercising; I couldn’t walk and talk at the same time.

Perhaps my heart was giving out, or maybe I had caught tuberculosis from someone. I was at the point of really not caring; my mental and physical state had been run down for so long that I just wanted a resolution. ANY resolution.

Change of subject; this is a little too gloomy. But, the change of subject does bear on the above mentioned topic.

It has to do with the last post you read; Building Guanxi. Remember when I said the administrative staff came by to inspect my apartment and see what-all was wrong here? This past weekend, the workmen showed up to sand and repaint my walls.

Strangely enough, I did not know that the workmen would be by this weekend. Sam swears he told me and he may well have. With me having been in such a fog, he could have told me I was fired, promoted or transferred and I would not have caught on. On the other hand, I swear equally strongly that Sam did not tell me the workers would be by this weekend. There are several instances, recorded in this blog, where Sam has not informed me of things he thinks he has informed me of. I don’t blame him; he is very busy and things do slip through the cracks. No one should get yelled at for that.

Whether Sam or I dropped the ball, the end result is the same: I was still in bed at 9AM on Saturday, when the workers were pounding on the door. It took a few phone calls from Sam to wake me up. I leapt out of bed, made myself as presentable as possible in five minutes’ time and let the maintenance crew in.

Of course, leaping out of bed and scrambling around to make myself presentable winded me and I was coughing so badly I couldn’t catch my breath. The maintenance man was already on the ladder, sanding the wall, and he suggested I get out of the room before I actually die of respiratory failure. Nothing doing, Buddy! I’m putting dropcloths on my furniture before you get on with anymore sanding! Especially my bed and computer!

You’d have thought that the maintenance crew would have put the dropcloths down, wouldn’t you?

Lavender and I headed to Hanyang, a particularly attractive section of Wuhan that houses the French contingent of expat population in this city. You may remember Lavender, that adorable dumpling of a girl from previous posts in this blog; she likes to call me her American Mommy. She was appointed by Sam to interface with the maintenance workers and see that the job gets done properly. After she and I covered everything, she barked her rapid-fire Chinese at them and then we left.

And this is where I’ll leave things for now; this post is turning monstrous-long, and I’m not done elaborating on the subject yet. So, see you next post, when I tie this story together and put a nice ribbon around it for you.

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