25 May 2015

MAY: Week Three & Four

Listening to: Flight Facilities, "Clair De Lune.”

Sometimes, I’m sitting in a cafe here and a great (relatively old) song comes on. Like the Flight Facilities track above. And I wonder how it got here. "Here" being Taiwan. Do some of the cafe proprietors just have the same taste in music as I do? Or more likely, they are just using Spotify playlists. Which is both good and bad. Good because I like the music but bad because you can't even tell who has good taste anymore when we all just resort to pre-curated playlists.

This is the “What I miss about America” edition of weekly updates — besides certain foods, that’s a constant. Basically, I’m starting to feel out of the loop on everything back in the States. Not that I was on top of everything but at least I could keep abreast of the conversation. I was behind on some stuff -- as generalized here -- but for most things I was either slightly ahead or right with the zeitgeist.

Now I’m just behind on everything: movies, books, TV, news, whatever. The same thing happened when I lived abroad last time, like fifteen years ago. I used to be on top of everything and after eight months in China I came back lost and confused -- especially music wise. And it took forever to semi-catch up. For someone who prides themselves on being aware of what’s trending or coming down the pipeline, I’m distraught.

“But the Internet…” you say. I mean, of course the Internet. But when nobody else around you is talking about stuff, it’s easy to let it slide too. I mean, what is Empire. What was Ferguson? Who is Drake? Has popular slang changed while I've been gone? How long can I live like this? Is it time to return?

I can only imagine how this effect magnifies if one's been away for longer. I fear being that out of touch. My friend likes to ask, "But behind according to whom?" And my answer is invariably, "everybody!"

This week was our big exam for the semester. I showed up, took the test, and then disappeared again. School’s out in two weeks, technically, but I’m done — I’ve lost the motivation. Theoretically, I have no reason to be in Taiwan anymore, now that school's over, but I’m not quite ready to leave. So what to do with all this time?

Well, the U.S. is pulling me a bit, and I was looking at swinging home for summer camp, a June wedding, and then some weeks in New York, but somehow it feels like my life is, more or less, here. It’s only been seven or eight months but Taipei feels home-ish.

The weather has been warming up though, which could quickly drive me away. Heat is my enemy. Given the choice, I’d take frigid winter over torpid summer but maybe with enough air conditioning and cool thoughts I'll survive. "Brr, it's cold in here..."

Without school I don’t have much of a routine, unless you count dance class on Wednesdays (the only thing I regularly commit to), and then an assortment of random social things during the week, followed by weekends trying to find music and/or dancing. Chasing the stars, as it were. It’s a shapeless existence, and not that different from when I lived anywhere else. But it’s starting to become tiresome. For awhile it was nice having school to anchor the day, but truthfully, I was feeling resentful about the daily obligation.

So yeah, now what?

Our friend’s rooftop has become our de facto hangout spot and we go up there at night to drink wine, chain smoke, and blast music. The most enjoyable dance party I’ve been to in awhile has been on this rooftop, just three or four of us, dancing like idiots because nobody’s watching. And because we could play our own music. Fun danceable music is impossible to find here. That alone might drive me back to New York.

Question: What is the smallest number of people that qualifies as a “party?” Same thing for “crew.” I’ve noticing the term “crew” thrown around to describe just a handful of people. That seems like overstating the fact. The minimum number for a crew can’t be lower than, say, seven people right? Please rank in ascending order: crew, posse, entourage...

There are certain things you can only do here in a bunch of people. I have yet to assemble that many friends but one day, I would like to. If simply to take advantage of the sharing potential of a high headcount. Come, let us break bread together friends and semi-friends.

My new thing is skipping the going out portion of the evening and heading straight for the food at 3AM. It’s much more efficient.