Monday, November 28, 2005

Borderlines....stupid borderlines

I lost my thanksgiving virginity on Saturday night at Jayne’s house. Ate mashed potatoes and a variety of other foods, except turkey because you have to mail order that stuff here. Maybe about fifteen people showed up for a pot luck dinner. Aine and myself pooled resources and made an enormous fruit platter, which went down well after the pumpkin pie and chocolate slice.

This weekend’s crazy stand out event was the extreme weather on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Purple grey clouds had been rolling in all afternoon. As we were leaving Kashima for Shiota they were swirling about real low, threatening a rain which held itself off quite nicely. I returned from Shiota by bicycle at around half past ten in the evening. The space between the two cities is farmland. Vast broad sweeping fields, flat for kilometers around, except for the odd tree covered hill in the middle. The main road runs to the side of all this farmland. I don’t take the main road though, as it’s crowded with traffic and pachinko parlors. I take the road that runs through the middle of the fields. It’s a good twenty minutes of riding from the edge of Kashima to the edge of Shiota. As the sun went down, the temperature dropped, we ate and drank and a heavy mist crept up over the plains between the two towns.

I wrapped myself up in layers of thermals set my headphones and slowly arced my way out towards the fields. The mist had matured into a full fog. I put some new batteries in my bike light the other day. It barley pierced the fog, like a thin silver guide rope as I turned the final corner, headed away from the city and out onto the plains. A car crept past me slowly, it lights confined into pools by the miasma surrounding us. Way ahead in the distance, the lone traffic lights at the intersection cycled slowly. The only beacon in the vast black, murky landscape, for there was no moon. Just stars, yet the fog eventually obscured most of them too. I pressed along, noticing now strange intermittent flashes of light behind the hills on the far horizon. Biking slowly to avoid puddles of freezing cold water I weaved my way towards the intersection. The fog cycled red to green to amber. As if I was trapped as the sole survivor of last dance party on the edge of the river Styx. I pushed off from under the light into the wall of glowing greenish black murk in front of me, thick enough to obscure the lights from Kashima beyond. It really was the kind of weather that you could let your imagination run away with.

I pulled over halfway down this one long stretch of road. I looked back, the traffic light now a faint pulse in the far distance. The kind of light you would run towards if being chased in a nightmare, but would never ever reach. I looked around. Nothing but swirling mist and the edges of the road on one side and the dirt of the field set two feet down on the other. A small pool of light reflected around me from the light of my bike. I had nothing except the traffic light to get my bearings from and was beginning to feel pleasantly disorientated. The light trapped me in a box of impenetrable fog a meter wide by a meter and half high. On one wall a faint light changed color. The need for a sword of some description was felt most keenly. I cranked up the music and set off, slowly following the road and avoiding shiny black puddles, waiting for the creatures to lunge out the dark and rend my limbs asunder.

This of course did not happen, but when one has spent a portion of ones leisure time playing computer games or reading fantasy novels, one finds oneself isolated in a far flung corner of the world, enshrouded in fog, one has had a few beers, glasses of red wine and Kahlua, the tendency is to push the fantasy as far as it will go.

Sadly, although I wanted it to be a small village where I could buy potions, armor and new magic spells, Kashima did come into view through the mist, I did return home safely, with no gold, magic armor or major experience bonuses. I went to bed, slightly miffed that, once again, the borderlines between our world and the world of darkness had failed to slip and unleash a horde of wild demons to plague the land. Stupid well defined solid borderlines.

I swear I will never find a good career opening.

It was 5 am. There was a bright white light in my room. The apartment was shaking. There was loud noise all around. Was this finally the moment at which I would be abducted by aliens? Had they at last sensed my willing eagerness for interplanetary contact to subdue the burning fear that mankind is alone and helpless in an infinitely large empty galaxy like a solitary, drooling child throwing a ball into a black room whilst slowly filling it’s undergarments with excrement all the while oblivious of its own stench?


This was not what I thought as I opened my eyes, although perhaps it should have been. Rather mundanely as the thunder woke me up I pondered,

Gosh, what an odd time of the year for a thunderstorm.

It was right overhead and had crept in sneakily just behind the fog, but fortunately for those of us who had been biking across wide flat open spaces on aluminum bicycles, it had held off its arrival until we were safely grounded. I opened the curtains and watched the lightning crash down, immediately following waves of dense heavy cracking thunder shook the apartment walls. A massive rain burst opened up, only increasing the amount of static electricity in the air, precipitating more thunderous bursts of white light above my apartment. Perhaps this disturbance would bring down those sneaky netherworld barriers? I would be better off starting here with my air rifle and black practice katana than out on my bike with only two beers in my backpack. Infinitely higher chance of surviving demon hordes. Eventually the storm died down and the sun came up. My head was pounding from watching the strobes of the sky show, but it was worth it.

Other people thought differently. My colleague, Hiroshi told me this morning at work he woke up and thought North Korea was attacking Kyushu. I asked him why he thought North Korea would attack the Fujitsu-Keisei area when there is nothing here but rice fields, schools and Sake distilleries. He replied saying maybe they had missed their targets in Fukuoka. I teased him some more.

Now it is lunch time. There are no demons, but there is a foul smell.

It’s lunch.

Poos and wees.


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