If I don't focus too hard, that is, after I take out my contacts, wash my face, rub my eyes, and look out the big window from my bathroom at night, I see lights floating in the dark, like Lothlorien coming to life, a lumbering forest with lanterns walking toward me. In reality, that is, when I find my glasses, put my glasses on, squeeze my eyes a few times and look out the big window from my bathroom, I see high rise apartment buildings with their unblinking lights.
I wonder at times if it's the concrete, the malls, or the escalators that's making me see forests in the dark. Beijing is like a giant machine, its metallic heart rumbles and tin foil ears beckon. Every morning I trace a route of motor car, escalator, security check, subway, bus, elevator, office, mall, then office, bus, escalator, security, subway, mall, escalator, a long walk among neon lights. The office has become my home, the mall my kitchen, and my home my bed. It's all rock and grand and makes you feel like an abnormally small playing piece in a board game.
But there's a fragility in the grandiosity, a fear made of whispers, they say: the food is poisoned, the prices too high, the people are suspicious, and life is hard. I'm watching all this with my marble eyes, glazed and happy, and I wonder if they think I'm a little sick voyeur, watching, waiting, bating.
It's hard to say, but I'm pretty sure that Beijing, well, she's just exactly the opposite of Lothlorien, and so she should be, so she should.