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.
The thing is about rumors: all you need is the vaguest and most oblique insinuation of something for it to begin passing along great unseen chains of whispers and embellishments until everyone directly interested and indirectly uninterested - and some people quite frankly exasperated - suddenly knows. It passes into common knowledge. And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, the best rumors are then apotheosized into the greatest of all possible forms of human knowledge.
They become the TRUTH.
The ongoing crisis in Serbia, the devastating effects of flooding on countless homes, buildings, people, and animals over a very large part of the country, seems to have brought the humanitarians out in droves. More than 3,000 able-bodied men and women marched on Sabac to shore up the floodwalls. Humanitarian aid to the victims of the floods poured in from around the country and from abroad. People have donated their time, their money, their clothes, their food, and their Facebook pages to the humanitarian effort.
On the front lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, lines of Sherman tanks on each side ($120,000,000.99 or best offer), the tables have been laid out. Dolly Madison's silverware ($35,000, slightly used), Eleanor Roosevelt's collection of erotic hat pins (Never before seen! Make me an offer!), and the famous Big Stick of Theodore Roosevelt ($18.75, genuine replica) are all on display.
After washing up on Plymouth Rock in December of 1620, the 102 passengers of the Mayflower set about the task of conquering North America in the name of Puritanism. Religious fanaticism not being sufficient protection against Cold and Hunger, 46 of the original sinners died in the first winter.
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.
The cows around town, on Trg Republike, on Knez Mihajlova, generally mind their own business. They accost no one for theatre subscriptions, tissues, or wilted flowers. They do not ask the time or directions to Delta City. They look straight ahead into their forward progression or innocuously feed on the weeds growing from cracks in the paving.
As it happens, I was born on a Monday the 13th, at seven ante meridiem no less. As if I was born ready for school (or work).
Each time I brush with traditional bad luck omens, like black cats or walking under ladders or my unlucky watch (of which etc cetera), I am constantly confronting my conditioned reactions to them an assessing what they make me feel and sometimes do.