Nearly exactly a year ago, at the tipping point between early- and mid-December, I forgot to go Christmas shopping. There must have been something good on TV.
Every year, faced with the prospect of engaging in pitched battle with my fellow shoppers throughout the month of December, I seem to make the resolution to do all the shopping in July, thus freeing myself from active duty and sparing myself more bloodshed.
In many ways, we are at the height of our cleverness at 4 a.m. So many brilliant ideas occur to us at four in the morning but as a rule they are gone by the time the alarm goes off a few hours later.
Not so today.
While my body and mind are still responding to Chinese time cues, making me think four a.m. is a darn good time to get up and start the day, I happen to be awake and aware of the pre-down cleverness which most of us sleep through.
For the next several days, I will be ensconced behind the Great Firewall of China and untouchable by Facebook, Google, YouTube, and 2,700 other websites which the People's Censor has deemed to be unbrowseable.
Iran, Vietnam, and North Korea are also on the list of blockers, but I think it is just me-too-ism.
“Grumpy in Belgrade” brings together the blogs, essays, and increasingly obscure thoughts of one American in Belgrade, struggling to make sense of the nonsensical. And making nonsense of the rest.
For many years, I have been looking for an adequate explanation for traffic in the White City. I have wondered why it was ok to come to a stop at a red light and then step out of your car and go get a coffee.
The question of right-of-way was fairly easy to figure out - everyone has it. At the same time. Especially at a four-way intersection with six ancillary roads leading into it. Why waste time trying to figure out who has priority when the answer is obviously me? And when you need to transfer (quite suddenly) from the far left lane to the far right, you just do it. Everyone will always get out of the way.
And they will greet you with friendly honking as you go.
He began to speak to other cavemen about his discovery. He began to extol the virtues of making as many cavelings as possible with as many cave women as could be found. And he also began to warn everyone against lying with their fellow cavemen. He told them it was Wrong. He told them it was Unnatural. He said it would affect their ability to hunt mammoths and make fire.
The effect is meant to demonstrate the machine's power by generating enough noise to drown out any other urban man-made sound within 10 kilometers of the blower.