Tonight, A mile in my shoes.
It is roughly one mile from my house to my office. Riding home this evening was a classic example of why China is completely awesome, and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s the Lantern Festival, which for the purposes of this blog has one important aspect to take note of: it’s the last day people can blow up fireworks. This is the day they let loose. And boy, do they cut a firey rug.
One mile, and every single street corner is on fire. There are explosions in every direction, and the sky is lit up for miles around. The night sky dances with flammable glitter, both up on high and down at ground level as the sparklers and pinwheels mimic the roaring detonations above us. The sound bounces from building to building: you can feel it sitting inside your apartment, you feel it in the pit of your chest. The short, sharp cracks and the resounding booms; and below it all the clattering of fire fountains, like hail on a hot tin roof. The tiny pieces of silence between the blasts makes you brace involuntarily, waiting for the next round. It is never far away.
One mile, and everywhere you look there are people smiling. All necks crane up and fingers point, with one exception: the man or woman taking their life in their hands to set a tiny fuse alight, praying that the box of cheap explosives was packed correctly. I was that man or woman last night. GOOD TIMES…MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE. But with all digits in tact, I felt I’d beaten the system and haven’t ventured out tonight.
One mile, and it’s sixteen below zero. I’m sitting in the dark in my apartment, soaking in the constantly changing strobe of the fireworks. My eyes are red from the cold, and red from the cordite. And I cannot wipe the grin of my face.