Grandiose Visions of a Migrant Worker

grapes of wrathBorn in the Year of the Dragon, the day Viking I landed on Mars, and about one year before the original Star Wars film hit the big screens, it is only natural that I would be forever restless, dreaming, and yearning to ramble beyond the borders of my country.

I am just another migrant worker dreaming of a better life.  Just as one of my teachers had dreamed of a better life.  He went into the woods outside of Concord, Massachusetts.   He found something useful there.  Something inspirational.  His experiment at Walden Pond taught us how to advance confidently in the direction of our dreams.  So that is what I am doing.  And all the world is Walden Pond.

Every couple years I get the urge to conduct similar experiments.   I have heard stories of men bicycling across continents in order to awaken from the ashes a new fire, renew what once was broken, and bring light to darkness.  So too I go again into the world to reinvent, to tinker, to remix the song of myself.  Somebody from my alma mater said something about revolting every generation.  That was back in a slower, gentler time:  a time of gentlemen farmers, cultured yeomanry, and a vast frontier ripe for exploration.  Now there are no more blank spaces on the map, yet inexplicably the same old conflicts manifest and things fall apart so fast everything new is already obsolete.  So I revolt every couple years so I can see with fresh eyes.

During the Great Depression the unemployed masses flocked to California to pick fruit.  In a similar vein Americans go west during today’s “global economic downturn”–so far west they go to the Far East.  Perhaps teachers there will plant and cultivate a new vintage.  I for one hope to trample out the grapes of wrath sown on both sides of the International Date Line, to fight media bias, and seek my own understanding of the People’s Republic of China.

But all that is bombastic hoopla.  Maybe I shouldn’t take myself so seriously.  How can I have such great expectations when I mispronounce “hello” (ni hao) or “good bye” (zai jian) to the lady who works at the Food King?

I should just be glad to have a job, learn some Mandarin, stay healthy and send money home.