Nightclub Roulette

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This city has relatively unpredictable nightlife. It seems that everyone in this modestly-sized metropolis will call or text one another on the happening nights. There must be some mutual consent among the locals that business will be slow the next day; it seems like the only explanation for such sporadic coordination of club-going is the work of a very organized local network.

For instance, the clubs here in Lian Yun Gang may be packed to the gills on a Tuesday night. I mean queues going out the door. Whereas a Saturday night trip to the club might very well turn out to be a bust. Maybe it has something to do with the presence/absence of entertaining live acts in the clubs. Some random nights of the week will feature kung fu masters doing feats of strength, singing dwarves that balance fire on their chins, or outrageous transvestites in full drag. This is no shit.

But then, other times are just plain un-cool. I would liken these experiences to being in the fan section of a Montreal Expos game (of course I mean when the Expos were still around). And you know what’s even stranger? Some of the crowds on Friday nights are akin to the number of die-hard fans at a Washington Nationals game. Wow, I should lay off that beleaguered MLB franchise. After all, if the team formerly known as the Devil Rays can reverse their fortunes, anyone can.

Speaking of fortunes, I was having a conversation with a couple of my students the other day and they were asking questions about astrology. You know, the Daily Horoscope, “today is an 8,” etc. I explained to them that some people do put faith in this notion that the constellation that you were born under—Leo, Gemini, Cancer, Sagittarius, et al—in some way influences your fortune for better or for worse. My students were quick to pick up on that belief, but they were especially focused on the aspects of astrology that pertain to personality. They were very quick to accept the idea of pre-determined character traits for the separate signs of astrology.

It should come as no surprise, I guess. I’m sure there are many similarities to this perpetual zodiac of Western culture and the perennial zodiac of Chinese culture. People born during the year of the dragon act a certain way, and people born during year of the tiger act a particular way, and so on and so forth.

However, being the academic authority figure in the discussion, I had to act as the voice of reason. I think they mistook my stance—which was of course a complete dismissal of the zodiac symbols—as a bit cynical. But given the results of the 2008 election, cynicism is definitely out of style. Now is the time for hope. And I’ve been dutifully spreading the message of hope to all of my classes. Except for my class last Friday; I canceled that one because it was raining. And it was all the way over in Donggang. And I would’ve had to take a taxi to get there. My chances of hailing a vacant taxi on a rainy day were as minuscule as the average attendance for Nationals home games. Oh geez, there I go again.

A modest city in China, such as LianYunGang, has about 5 million residents

Not only an authority on the English language, but also the acting authority on Western culture as well

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