Rule #32: Enjoy the Little Things

An old draft from the November days with current comments.

Coffee at Work

The newest Thing to Be Excited About is Coffee Time at work. Every day, as I am beginning the process of what an old friend used to call “shuttin’ ‘er down”, I save a little happy time for around 4:30 or 5:00. It’s the time I know I can take a quick break, leave what I’m doing, and make myself a little cup of coffee. This is sort of a recent development; prior to this week, I would wander into the office where the coffee maker was located, stand and contemplate it for a dozen seconds or so, and then decide that, once more, the stupid little contraption with its confusing little pictures and Chinese scrawl had bested me. At first, I interpreted the machine’s stoic silence as a stubborn refusal to compromise and even started to resent its arrogant aloofness to my humble requests. However, I have slowly begun to learn that it loves to fulfill its duties as much as I love to be the beneficiary of said duties. Now we are friends, the little machine and I. Sometimes we get things lost in translation, but more often than not, we’re a team.

You are probably not surprised, but this relationship was not unique to myself and the coffee machine. At this point, I have a relatively solid thing going with the washing machine; I don’t stray from the one button combination I know makes water come out and pull soap in. The microwave and I, however, are still not on speaking terms.

Bonding through Sports Failure (which, incidentally, can no longer be called The Detroit Lions’ Story) – written in Nov, and they made it to the playoffs and went out in the first game, so I guess it’s still true

Speaking of teams, I started playing as the substitute goalie for the Bulldog-affiliated soccer team. The darts team I’m a member of is for The Bulldog as well, so I guess I’m becoming quite establishment-loyal. Unfortunately, my showing in soccer is about as unimpressive as darts.  So far I’ve been consistent, allowing two goals in both games I’ve played. In my defense, one of those would have been difficult for even a seasoned keeper to defend. In my… offense… two of those goals could have been prevented by a half decent goalie. As for the fourth (and I hate to admit this to you all), it has already made a power grab for the top spot in my list of Most Embarrassing Moments in Public Ever, and is rapidly becoming one of the Moments Most Unlikely to Stop Haunting Me for at least the remainder of this season. Any time you end up watching a shot from the only girl on the opposing team teeter lackadaisically into the goal under you as you soar through the air following a ridiculous Charlie Brown-esque epic slip, you know that your texts will not contain smiley faces for at least fifteen minutes after the game. 

I kept playing goalie, and my keeping improved, though my goals allowed did not. In the games I played, I allowed 2, 2, 5, 2, and 6 goals. Yes, that last number is 6, and we were shutout. Not the best way to end the season… especially when your girlfriend and her dad are faithfully in attendance. I promise we’re not that bad. Seriously.

Birthday Parties

In a stunning show straight out of left field, my Shanghai crew threw a little surprise bday-party get together last Friday night. Honestly, I was just as surprised as I would have been had they thrown it in July. As surprised as Lady Liberty would be if you threw the U.S. a surprise party in the middle of April instead of on July 4th. (Would that work??) It was one of those gestures which hit me hard and immediately crystallized into a memory that is guaranteed to bring wistful smiles for years to come.

We had a run of birthdays recently and with it another slew of surprise parties. At this point the only way to surprise people is to have a well-announced, fore-planned party on their exact date of birth at the restaurant of their choosing.

There is truly a great crew here. Lots of changes have gone down, and are currently afoot, but very quickly it becomes apparent that such is life in the Shanghai Churn. Each person has a different story for why they are here, but I know it is absolutely on purpose that they are here in this place, at this time, with these people. (I’m not just talking about Shanghai there – I’m doing that thing where you make a somewhat hackneyed observation that seems like it applies only to the present situation, but really you’re trying to strain out a takeaway for everyone in order to gracefully end an anecdote. Of course, now I’ve gone and told you what was going on, so I guess it’s all for naught. Yep. This is… awkward. *silence*…*sounds of shifting in chairs*…*pretending to find something super interesting on the wall*…*pretending to find a super interesting text on your phone*…*becoming super aware of how many seconds are passing*…*desperately trying to seem like you don’t feel awkward at all while scouring your brain for something interesting to say*…*your brain maliciously closing all doors, blocking all exits, closing the curtains, leaving you alone to struggle helplessly in your vain search for a comment, any comment!*…*someone saying “So..” – yes! the glorious awkward-moment-slayer-word! finally we escape!*…)

So…

Suiting Up

No explanation needed.

No explanation needed.

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