WHY OH WHY OH WHY is the desire to speak Chinese eating me alive?
I can tell you why: because I'm obsessive-compulsive anyhow + I'm an addict + I'm desperately fixating on this because I can tell you from experience that immersing myself in foreign language is the only brain-switching off technique I've found so far that in any way compares to heroin. I get a high off writing fiction, too, but that's more like crack. A switching on, rather than switching off. And I don't want heroin. Or crack. I wanna educate myself. I've followed BBC Chinese classes on late night television and had no problem with the language. It is far, far easier than German ~ which might sound counter-intuitive. But you have to bear in mind German is an inflexional language, which means lots of information that can only be presented in tabular form. Asian languages require no such grammar tables, because words never change. (E.g. you never have to conjugate a verb.) Once you know the right words, and know the word-order, you just slam them together and hey-presto, you're communicating.
I've looked all over the internet for free Mandarin lessons, but what's there is very scrappy. I'm after an in-depth immersive course. I am willing to spend £60 or more on books and CDs. That £60 would only get blown on heroin if I didn't buy books, so I'm not being quite as extravagant as I might sound.
Mr "I want some heroin" DID indeed show up today and the stuff was such rubbish I injected half a gram in one go and was still walking. Half a gram of decent heroin would have most people blue in the face and not breathing if you injected it direct in a vein in 10 seconds. I am utterly fed up of this drug. Even when it's "strong" I can't really feel it. I have overdosed several times and even an overdose I would rate as 4/10 on a scale of how strong drugs can feel. On this scale crack would score an 8 or 9, ketamine a 9 and LSD (in brain-frying doses) a 10. Ketamine and acid are literally so strong that on a full-on trip you don't know who you are, where you are, cannot understand what anybody is saying, cannot perform the simplest of tasks (e.g. getting a key in a door). I once visited a 24 hour garage on acid to buy food and beverages for other assorted tripheads. The shop was fully open and for some reason the guy working there had decided to tip all the biscuits off the shelves and on the floor. Literally all I could see was custard creams and chocolate digestives in psychedelic peaks and valleys kaleidescoping on for ever and ever. I returned home with something pink, something yellow and something green. I had no idea what they were (drinks, biscuits, something...), but the colours looked amazing.
I can't believe I'm actually sharing this information with the world. I can't believe I ever got into drugs of any type. I can't believe I've had conversations with my own family about needle exchanges and hepatitis testing.
Sometimes I still can't believe I'm a heroin addict at all. How on earth did I end up in this ridiculous situation? Drugs are ridiculous. I am ridiculous. I am also very fed up. On Monday morning first thing I'm fleeing to the bookshops of central London where I shall indulge this alternative new fixation of mine. I don't care how sad anyone thinks it is. Nothing is as sad as being hooked on heroin.
I can't read aloud any of those characters 中文明天 I put up top, but am already familiar with all four from Japanese. The last one means the sky 天国 says "tengoku", which means "the Kingdom of Heaven" or "paradise" in Japanese. For some reason that was my favourite word ...
PS 中文明天 says "Chinese (language) tomorrow" (zhōngwén míngtiān) in Chinese; the same phrase in Japanese is 中国語明日 (chūgokugo ashita) though you'd actually say something more like 明日の中国語 (ashita-no chūgokugo) "the Chinese language of tomorrow) or 明日に中国語 (ashita-ni chūgokugo) "tomorrow-in Chinese language" (Japanese love putting things the wrong way round) ~ all of which throws to the four winds the notion that the Chinese and Japanese express like ideas in the same characters ~ because they obviously don't!
PPS if you want to read an article that chimes in with most of my own views on the German language, expressing them better than I ever could, click here