Propaganda

Drew’s Note: Starting on Monday, September 28th I was dispatched on a 3 day campus recruiting trip, chronicled in gritty detail below. Despite the fever pitch, I twice found time to capture my thoughts in the present, and those particular sections of the journal are labeled as such. The greater part has been written in the usual fashion, which is to say in retrospect.

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It’s 9:15AM Monday morning and I’m currently sitting uncomfortably in row 30, seat D, of a China Southern airlines MD90 cruising south over Bohai watching 3 sexy flight attendants demonstrate proper safety procedures. It might as well be the 1950s: they all have the exact same clothes, shoes, makeup, and hair styles down to the type of bobbypins used to pin their identical hairbuns. Do you think they have the same underwear too? Do you think they’ll take me into custody when we land for asking? I’m sorely tempted… It’s a ridiculous question, but this is a ridiculous country. These glamorous kongjie (lit. “air girls”) can be added to the terribly long list of bizarre aspects of Chinese society & culture that seem impervious to development & modernization.

Sitting next to me in 30C is Mr. SXD, former student – now a coworker. Ah yes, the naughty stewardesses distracted me and I forgot to mention – I’m on a business trip. This week marks my 8th in the service of my new company, had I a normal contract I’d still be undergoing daily on-the-job training, but instead I’m flying south out of town for 3 days on the company’s tab.

How the hell did this happen? I’m delighted you asked:

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Home Improvement Hate

October 1st is China’s National Day and my company gives me the legal minimum days off, then rearranges a few weekends, and – ta da! – an 8 day holiday! Despite being rather annoyed at having to work weekends before and after the “holiday” in order to get that time “off”, I nevertheless recognize the value of having 8 days off in a row. For me, it was going to be Man Project Week.

As a precursor to MPW, I dropped by Shenyang’s Home Depot after work one night in the last week of September… only to find it closed with a large handwritten placard out front basically saying that it hadn’t met the lofty sales goals of the parent company and the branch was closed on August 31st. I am being dead serious when I say that this news was nearly cause for weeping, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments. I hopped in a taxi and rode all the way home really, really pissed off.

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