My Bed & Mr. Skillet

It’s October 25th and a gorgeous day in Cezanne country.

Really, you have no idea how radiant it is outside. When we left Paris yesterday morning, a tempest had hit. Paris had been especially gray and tasteless the last couple of days we were three. Monday night, we had dinner with The Frenchman’s mother, who offered to buy us the insanely expensive tickets to Crazyhorse that night to see Dita perform. She was performing in Paris for only four nights, starting that night. It was incredibly tempting, but we were exhausted, it was late, and we had a day of driving ahead of us beginning early the next morning.

Dita. In Paris! Her show it turns out lasts only a few minutes. But still.

I can’t say I was anxious to leave Paris, but I was certainly itching to escape that wretched, half-equipped apartment we rented. The bed was an iron skillet masquerading as a futon. Every morning I’d wake up because some part of me was screaming “I confess! I confess! I did it! Just make it stop!” Instead of calling it “the bed” I started calling it “the breadboard.” It smelled like the alfalfa we used to feed Dancy the rabbit.

So, my bed felt especially glorious last night.

This morning between loads of laundry, I did a bit of writing and then finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I could hardly put down for the last two days. Since I left for vacation, I’d finished Cousin Bette by Balzac and Hell House by Matheson, but not since I read Pullman’s His Dark Materials have I read something so completely absorbing. I doubt this was See’s intention, but this book has left a disgusting taste in my mouth for Chinese culture. I can’t tell you how much I hated every detail of these women’s miserable, restricted, agonizing lives except for the fact that they had their own secret writing system called nu shu, which was kept from men. As I read, I began to despise Confucius as much as Jesus and his lot. What a huge wokful of horse turds is Confucianism. And what a fucking brutal, misogynistic world these women lived in, constantly told how worthless they are and how they’re only worth was to get married and make a son. Not children, mind you, but a son.

Anyway, the book is brilliant. Don’t let my Western moral supremism turn you away from it.

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