July 5, 2012

A Cramp Abroad, Part IV: Thank God For The Gods' Fire

Everything fucks up. Really well.

Last week was the most eventful week of my life—no hyperbole. May I begin with the weekend prior?

I was unbelievably excited about *Prometheus*. Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi? Even if I hate it, sign me up 40 or so times.

I journeyed to a Taipei cinema. I believe it was a Saturday.

Firstly, as it often does here, the rain was torrentially pouring. This major inconvenience was merely a hurdle, not a no-go for me. I had to see this movie. I didn't realize how difficult the journey would be. It was, at that point and by far, the most harrowing part of my trip to Taiwan.

I began from my apartment, naturally. Although I was sporting a nice umbrella, by the time I'd made the 7-minute walk from my temporary home to the subway, I was totally soaked. I got off the subway and started making my way to the theatre. My umbrella, which I paid a lot of money for, was struggling. The wind eventually laid 'er to waste, and going to a movie suddenly became much more difficult. The umbrella was destroyed.

Finally, I had to give in. With the theatre in view, I hailed a cab to that storied place. I'm not sure why I needed the cab-- I was already soaked and chaffed, but it’d been such a long journey just to see a movie.

This theatre is unlike anything I've ever encountered stateside. It is theatrical: huge, elaborate ads, a life-sized Spiderman likeness on a ledge, performances in the lobby, and everything else in between.

When I left the theatre, the sun was shining and all was well. The dreadful journey was totally worth it; *Prometheus* may not have been Scott’s best work, but it tied a plot knot I wanted so badly to unravel… I was satisfied.

On Monday, my computer crashed. Some panic began to set in-- there's a lot of important stuff on there, and I was praying to the quantum fabric of space-time that it wasn't gone forever. I took it to the Apple Store, and the guy there told me he could back it up. Relieved, I bought an external hard drive and had him back up my files.

I was now a writer without a computer. I started making notes longhand, as I often do, but I was doing it far more often than usual.

Two days later, my iPhone stopped working. It just decided not to charge anymore.

Great-- my last piece of wifi-enabled equipment is gone, and I'm thousands of miles from home. I hope people will start to get worried about me.

I didn't have much time to think about it, but, needless to say, I was pretty bummed out. My luck seemed to be getting worse and worse.

I had to move to Hsinchu on Thursday, so I was preoccupied with getting from here to there, having hardly any English signs to guide me. I pulled it off, but Hsinchu was unbelievably isolating. No one spoke English, I was in some creepy alley, and I didn’t know what to do. “I will persevere,” I kept saying to myself. There was no other choice.

I checked into my apartment, this swanky, well-designed studio room with super-sexual lighting and a groovy color scheme. I would take a lady here if I weren’t already spoken for.

I unpacked my stuff, read a few pages of *The Innocents Abroad* and hit the sack. I thought to myself, "This isn't as bad as I thought it'd be. I might like it here."

It'd taken me so long to grow used to Taipei that the thought of growing used to another city was extremely frightening. No time for that. I had a class to teach in the morning.

My alarm was set, my clothes were laid out, and I was ready for my first day of work.

I woke up hearing no alarm. I just naturally awoke. When that happens, I always panic for at least a second—*is there somewhere I'm supposed to be? Do I have responsibilities today?*

I answered myself very quickly: yes and yes.

So I sought out my phone. Nowhere to be found. My watch? It's usually the last thing I do before I go to bed: take off my watch and put it on the nightstand. I looked around for a second and realized that there was something strange about this room.

It was not the one I'd fallen asleep in. Double-you-tee-eff?

So I left the bed sporting only my boxers and stepped into at least two inches of water. The entire apartment building was flooded.

I immediately found my original room, only to find everything—my pants, my phone, my iPod, my computer charger (thankfully, I hadn't picked up my laptop from the Apple Store yet)—all utterly doused.

I hadn't anticipated a flood.

Turned out, someone had left a spigot on upstairs. I went up there and turned that shit off. Then, the problem ceased.

Well, the water ceased. The problems the water created still persist.

I woke up at around 7:30 AM, I think. My cab was waiting for me at 7:40, and I made it on time—just enough time to brush my teeth, comb my hair and wash my face in the morning dew, as Tom T. might say.

I'm a man of my word.

At this point, with so many things having gone wrong throughout the week, I just cracked. I believe I had to in order to keep my sanity. An awful week had become an *I Love Lucy* episode. Strangely, I was in an excellent mood all day.

To sum all this mess up, my bosses were concerned about the fact that I woke up in a different bed than the one in which I fell asleep, and wanted me to move back to Taipei. I may be brown-nosin’ here, but I have some really great and considerate bosses.

I packed everything back up, made the journey to Taipei and moved right back into my June apartment.

So now I'm back. And very glad.

When I got home and plugged in my computer, I was excited to try out my new OS and hard drive. 160 gigs to 500-- quite a leap.

However, I realized that the Apple “genius” actually hadn’t backed up my hard drive at all.