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Sha Yan

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Champagne, marinated, ice cream, coffee and tea
By Sha Yan
Friday, October 03, 2014

Rated "G" by the Author.

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My old work, with some modifications, deviated based on the true storyfor artistic merit.

Champagne, marinated, ice cream, coffee and tea   

    The racetrack is the hottest spot in the summer. Racers are all engaged to start. Audiences are getting popcorns, ice creams, popsicles and hot dogs. Young boys and girls are having pop cycles. It is hot and sweaty. T-shirts sales people are going here and there to sell racecar T-shirts. Personnel of the F-1 formula race is working with his fullest potential.

    Summer is the best season of this place. Sunshine, trees, flowers, campgrounds, and swimming pools are people's most love. Sweet smiles on girls' faces and steady please and thank you from guys' mouths in every shop you visit make sure you are still in heaven. Grilled chicken, marinated, fries and salad, dish everyone wants to order in all seasons comes into everyone's home, a gas powered BBQ oven in one's back yard is definitely an asset. When time past 5pm, lines of traffic on the high way facing the setting down sun in the slightly reddish and golden shiny sky move slowly and quietly. TVs just finishes American soap opera and gets ready to let everyone know what happened in the world and the city today. When the sky turns dark, local restaurants, bars, dance clubs and downtown streets are full with people's laughs, jokes and humors. Restless city! The next morning, an alarm wakes you up. After coffee, toast and a TV newsbreak and a couple of phones calls to the bank and the insurance company and stockbrokers, you are on your way to work with your new Pontiac Grand AM. At the lunch break. Grilled chicken, marinated with fries come across your mind, one more thing, salad and coffee, maybe Pepsi.

    Seasonal alternation comes fast, moments of glory on maples and oaks with some aged dark brownish gray barks slipped away from my mind. Yearly sea brushed natural stones on the shore standing tall and round from coast to coast are all over in this place. The prime time on newscast is always fast paced at clock speed. Slowly, the first crystal shiny snow flickers drop to this northern land. By the time Christmas comes, exhausted year and passionate people in the city and the country are all celebrating in their home beside their fireplaces or at dinner parties. Nut Cracker and Tin Soldier are the best Christmas shows here.

    On the other side of the earth, in the early morning northern China, traditional hot soymilk with a deep fried historical bread stick takes everyone's dinner table. At about the same time, Tiananmen Square and parks scattered throughout the city fill with people at all ages practicing Qi Kong and Chinese martial arts. After 8am, streets are full of bicycles and motorized vehicles. The city gets busy. Beijing has lots of government departments, agencies, universities and research institutes and companies from local and all over the world, as the capital city of China. Shopping centers, supermarkets and stores in the city open their doors at nine. They are the best places for visitors, housewives and some others. Sports centers and gyms in the morning are not very busy, but personnel is all looking at engaging for the afternoon.


One quarter past ten, an old retired factory worker brings his tea cup, joining two others carrying their tea cups and Chinese chess set at the corner, heading to the park two blocks north. When the lunch time comes, Chinese fried chicken competing with Kentucky fried chicken beside McDonalds does not attract a lot of customers' attention, rather in beef noodle restaurant next to them, a line is formed. Well, McDonalds then, impatient young men and well dressed office women are arguing. Their older aged male manager says, let's have Korean BBQ beef. Of course, the check will be billed on corporate credit card. Time past three, busy phone lines still make receptionist headache transferring callers to managers, associates, agents and others. By 5pm, one associate still hasn't figured out how he will finish his own work, the manager requested him to work it out for the remaining of the day. He will get a good pay for his overtime, and if he did a good job, he would be better rated for the once a year yearly bonus. And his good work will be directly reported confidentially to the company headquarter in Hong Kong. That means the next time his manager went to a different department, his record would be shown on company president's name list. Well, 7% GDP growth in modern China every year does not come from nothing, and it does not lead to nothing.

    Back to this place, passionate high school students carry their beautiful school bags to and from their educational institutes. They study almost the same as people elsewhere, one more important subject they study is the moral. School districts directors always have these in their mind. After school in the afternoon, people always stop by at the ice cream shop in the corner and buy a delicious ice cream. Math class is the top priority in high school education here. Well, engineers here earn a lot, and life isn't easy. Students here wish to become a doctor, a dentist, an engineer, a scientist or an artist since they are very young, and they work hard. Back to China, adults always ask young boys and girls, "what do you want to be in your future?" Answers are the same. I wanted to be a teacher, I said, I remembered. School teachers are considered the most "godly" career there. Beer, please, here I am when the waiter passes by. I was smiling at my choice while I was having my beer, it is a brave one to become king of monkeys.

    Time goes by fast, arts, science, literature and engineering always take my mind. It has been quite a while since my last employment. Last one was short. Linear fit with a suitable least square value did make computer on my desktop running smoothly wild. By 2004, an advanced 64 bits AMD commercial personal computer enters into the market place, before that, IBM Super Blue and Chinese Galaxy competed with each other in their processing speed for building nuclear bombs. A couple years ago, Romania Kasterof defeated IBM Deep Blue with a score 3:2 is still record breaking for high speed computing.


       It has been quite sometime since the invention of this device. Now almost everyone has obtained one at home here, and of course, the country is computerized and everything looks running at the computer speed. Time after 5pm, lines of traffic facing the golden shining sunset is still calm and quiet. Cities in this continent relaxed after NYSE, NASDAQ and TSE closed their last bid.

    It only takes a while standing in a line to order a cheeseburger at McDonalds, maybe it takes a little shorter at Harvey's. For a couple dollars more, you can get a good grilled marinated chicken meal. Students at campus can get a cheaper price on their meals. Coffee, Pepsi and Coke do not sell expensive too. 6pm news session specially talked about mad-cow disease, anyway, anti-biotic bred beef does not make you a better appetite, even with a top Bloody-Mary cocktail. People here buy cheap market price chicken at well-regulated supermarket. Life isn't easy.

    The time for high school students going to colleges has come. Med-school, dental-school, law school, science, engineering and arts and education and social science are on their lists. They usually get what they want, lost ones go into their second or third choice of their applications. Well, education with specific religious or moral ingredients takes every students' and school districts director's mind. Top priority in this place is not easy too.

    At the start of college students' academic life, well discipl
ined seniors do not give their young student fellows an easier time. After a couple of lecture classes, student fellows always say, piece of cake. Like tackling problems do not need much time. Physics, chemistry, math, biology with some social science electives filled with one's busy schedule. They now want tutors in their spare time in order to get a good grade in their next quiz despite of only regular lecture hours. After fully completing their exam booklets, they went home, instead regretting about the mistakes they made, they move forward to the one and the next one exam. When the spring break comes, people skiing in the countryside mountains are most young college students. On Saturday night, downtown pubs and dance clubs filled with strange and familiar faces in the dark remind one to have a beer here sometimes again. Unlike those in China, professors here never rank their students, likewise, they do not announce one's grades in the classes. Still, straight As never come easy. But Bs or Cs can make one graduate too.

    Time has approached the final exam, students are busy at preparing themselves for the exam. The exams are not easy, most students can make it, and some of them, can perform very good and obtain good results. There are some students among student fellows can not make to the end of the competition. They lost the race in the first round. Winning students went on for their college education, and spent stressful time over and over again until they made to the end of the race. Sometimes, they play PC games with an advanced ATI Race-Pro video graphic card. Lost ones are not easy, they may want to start again after initiating some action on their own behalf starting a different program or repeating classes they failed. Of course, more caution will take place deliberately this time. They will stop saying things like "piece of cake" and continue to be stressful. Some of these young men or ladies may decide directly to abandon what they have already made and go on for a different life after consulting with their parents, like joining the work force. Highly competitive environment is not built for everyone.

    Graduation does not come easy. Alternation of seasons makes one think and feel matters differently. After the successful moment when the school principle congratulates one with a satisfied smile, he/she moves forward to dive into the pool of crowdedness of professional world. Some, may want to continue their education towards a higher ground, and then, they engage themselves into a new sound familiar racetrack or brand new ones. Life goes on and on, so is the race.

       When the street light turned red early evening, my cab stopped right at the front of the traffic, one popular singer's  " and dentist, she drives all day..." playing on FM radio goes into my brain. It seems the best human genome can offer spreads wide here. I think
the singer is a good singer of her kinds.

       Right, doctors, dentists, lawyers, scientists and engineers and some others are the best careers in this world. Racers are on the right track in this fast paced world. Modern computers have a glorious history of more than twenty years already, as the most frontier and advanced technology human ever invented.

    After having a burger as my lunch, I went into a cafe, and ordered a cup of coffee. After sitting down, I figure what I eat do not relate to what I do, really, I don't know why. Don't know what others may think though. After I finish my coffee, I walked along on the street. Sunshine in the early afternoon in the spring here is warm and comfortable. Strangers with familiar English accent walk while talking to others on the downtown streets. Movie advertising on the main street caught me, the American movie "Lost in Translation" may be the one on my must watch list. Life became less stressful after my last employment.

       I said many about other's lives, professionals, students of all ages and grades, sport professionals, hot ones or casual ones. What is my life, merely, favorite and preferable professional? When I thought of this, the English word composed of seven letters appeared virtually in front of my eyes or my forehead that I could not readily recognize, printed separately in capital letters on seven school or professional yellow note pad notes. That specific word pronounces "R E A L I T Y"!


       Yes, reality. In reality we eat, meats, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and snacks. No matter what professionals or workers we are, either we are students, or sports professionals. Failures, failures eat too, less classy, all right. Not every one can make a Champaign, that's one of the easy excuses for someone likes me to say. Come on, am I dying? More than ten years without a job, living with little welfare and disability, every night sobering before sleep miserablely and endlessly. Is life a misery for me? I do question a lot about this. Erh, the reality EAT me away, piece by piece. I felt my limbs hurt, my back is aching and my brain is glitching. What am I doing? I am rather a nice guy; and in the main time, I often eat this, that, or myself, symbolically of course, non-cannibalism manner!


       What can I do??????? Becoming a Champaign again, what can I not to do, exclusively? It is hard for me to quit what I am doing now? I need to confront seriously and imminently with my reality. Did I made twice in my lifetime absolute Champaigns, Chinese and English, partially? When I am writing the above sentence, my eyes turned wet, some few tears wetened my eyes. I wiped away my tears prominantly with my right hand and reminded myself again, "man, be strong! You are not the only one!" Am I the one good student, prefered employee, model citizen even when I screwed up in my careerless days.


       I still can remember the champagne party in my last well-paid job in California. I remember I held my glass of champagne, talking to my colleagues, executives or engineers, for the solely humanistic corporate relationship on exchanging some light conversations about the projects, goals, expectations, facts, yet milestones, etc. Well, old time has passed away.


       What else have I been thinking about this life, my life? No company and no one want me, career and a girl ready to marry me. No money, no honey! I am forced to take the reality everyday I eat, whatever I eat. Did I have a cheap steak brunch last week? I love steaks. My stake for the whole week was "be strong", they can not eat me forever, symbolically though; I wouldn't imagine these men and women in the restaurants are cannibals. Thus far, I want to have more vegeables for my meals, but I am not a vegetarian; I need meat, well cooked Chinese meats. I don't care, but I do care, were I the author of my poetry collection about reincarnation? I read Bible.


    It is about the time "Thanks Givng" will come, then the "Halloween" and the this coming "Christmas", I don't see the clue things for me will change shortly, I mean personal finance, and relationship. I am not rubbish about myself, but I mean, no one cared. I can not complain more, yet I need to be strong, have I been so strong since my mid-age days? So................

       I took down the seven character notes with the word "R E A L I T Y" from the fridge, silently, stacked them and tore them into pieces. The I flushed the pieces into the toilet, watching the water in toilet whirled and drained in the loud sound. This was for my kind of peer pleasure. Happy??? Well, tomorrow it will be a job interview!

       F-1 formula racetrack is still hot. Hot and steamy weather condition makes people sweat a lot. One round after the other, fully engaged racers driving their sponsors' racecar are just in their best mood to challenge each other. Excited fans and audiences are weaving their hands and T-shirts and cheering for the excitement. Elsewhere, the swimming pools are full of people, so are the gyms and the weight rooms. After the NHL Hockey season, NBA, NFL and baseball courts are the new hot spots. Selected from students, sports professionals are engaging themselves for whatever competition they face in their careers and their lives. The best out of the best enters the championship, the world championship, Olympics and the winter Olympics. Champagne does not taste easy, but it surely tastes good.

-----------Sha Yan



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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 10/4/2014
Modern madhouse we call, "life," on two continents.


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