The good news is, as long as I do the homework I can’t fail statistics. The bad news is, I still have to take the class. The most frustrating part is that I can fly through five questions in five minutes, then spend three hours working on the next one just to be sure I understand it. It’s getting easier, and more frustrating at the same time.
Not much else is going on. I start most of my new classes at HP tomorrow. Small groups, but it should be easy enough. There is still one student on vacation, then I’ll have a full schedule. I’ve been trying to get rid of my Tuesday late class. The city is putting in another rail line down Mateos and it’s become impossible to make it back in time for martial arts. I’m looking for another studio anyway, something more combat oriented. I’m a bit bored with the Chi Gung. Going home for the holidays helped me notice this.
I started taking a Mandarin class at my work. Five hours long on Saturday nights. If I had a life, it might be an issue. Fairly big class though, but all we really did was practice pronunciation. I don’t think the teacher has much experience, but I don’t expect to really learn the language until I get to China. I just want to have as much of a head start as I can beforehand. It also means I can take or leave the Sunday class. I like it well enough, but having to be somewhere at 11am on my only day off means I can’t go anywhere outside the city as easily. Going to lake Chapala might be possible, but I’d rather go early and not worry about the time.
I managed to get the malware off my computer too. I just kept uninstalling things and eventually it went away. I don’t know how or why, it just did. Computers are stupid. The randomness of technology never ceases to frustrate me. It’s worse down here with the erratic nature of the repairs and the condition of the utilities.
I was talking to one of my students about it last week. He said he knew a couple people who had been fired because the got the job done outside of protocol like that. I had to teach him the word jury-rig. He was talking about the culture here and how everyone just does a temporary fix on things when they break. Then they forget the repair was temporary because, hey, it works now. In the States we joke about duct tape and WD-40, but here it is their way of life. As long as it works, why bother to fix it again?
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but that mentality is visible everywhere here. It’s rare that you will see anything that has been repaired or modified properly, or safely. I’m still not sure how the outlet in the wall here is charging my phone, my computer, and my ipad without blowing the fuse. My teapot also runs off it, and my printer. I also charge my Mexican phone off it once a week. I try not to do more than three things at once, mostly because I’m starting to think there is no fuse on the line. Eventually it may just burst into flames inside the wall. There are sites dedicated to finding bad repairs in the United States, places where people can see what people have done to fix something and laugh at it. Here, that is just the way it is.
There is a hole in the concrete at the end of my block, the one with the rebar pointing downward like a monkey trap. Someone fixed it, sort of. They filled it with the left over Styrofoam from a television. The box was for a 50 inch flat screen. They probably spent $700 on the television, and threw the garbage into a hole in the street. It’s like the worst college dorm you can find. $3000 on an entertainment system and you put it on cinder blocks and plywood. Sometimes it reminds me of the forts I used to build out of scrap wood and tree branches when I was ten. I really miss clean lines and not worrying about dying from bad repairs.
I know it will only get worse as I get farther away from the modern world. Here, they have gone so long without that they learned to patch together what they need. Now it has become so common that it is not really considered a flaw. For the most part, it works. Function is more important than form. But as a plumber I look at the steel pipes they use to patch together their water supply and think about the rust building up inside the system. Then I think about the tetanus and staph that rust carries. I know there are people in this country who have no choice but to drink that water, and have to deal with those diseases. It’s bad enough having to wash my hands with it, wondering if I’m just making them dirtier.
There is a lot of noise here these days. I guess an election is coming up. There are a lot of people on almost every major corner carrying signs and playing loud music. Everyone I’ve talked to says it doesn’t matter, that the person with the most money always wins. If you take a picture of your vote, there is someone who will pay you for that proof. In the States, 65% of people didn’t vote, but there would be an uprising if our corruption became so obvious. Our politicians are still corrupt, but we require they lie to us well and at least try and hide their tracks. We let the most emotional of our people choose the fate of everyone. The politicians know this, and so do we. But, not enough people care.
It takes so little to vote, but it seems like such a burden to know who to vote for. And so the country continues to fight and scream, because the reasonable voices cannot be bothered fighting back. The politicians have made our country into a warzone, with no compromise or surrender. In the end, no one really wins that fight. The good thing is, the world will survive past their deaths and the next generation will hopefully be more reasonable. Whenever I talk to someone about the politics of the US I tend to use the phrase, “there’s a reason why I left the country.” It’s not a horrible place, we’re just lazy people. That laziness makes the world a worse place to be in. But we have our toys and games, and without pain, change doesn’t exist.
There’s a saying I’ve heard a lot when it comes to the legalization of drugs. Stoners don’t vote. It’s not really a surprise. The drugs dull the pain, and the drive for change dims. Pain is the best way to move people, whether it be because your leg hurts from standing all day or from the loss of life and limb. The greater the pain, the greater the urge to change. Unfortunately that means most of the strongest groups come out of the worst tragedy.
I find it fascinating, frustrating, enlightening, and depressing at the same time. We think ourselves so modern and civilized that we can abandon the forces that have ensured our survival for millennia. Fear and pain, the enemies of mankind. Looking back on my life, they are the best and most loyal friends I ever had. No one has ever motivated me like pain, and nothing has tried to protect me as much as fear. I just had to learn not to listen only to them. Like all friends, sometimes they are idiots.