monday morning. i had that same feeling i had saturday morning, that i really didn't want to go to work. not because of the work, but because of the people. i woke up 10 minutes early and started my morning routine. i put my arm outside the window to feel the dusky air. it was overcast with a slight fog, with enough moisture in the air that my hang clothes still felt slightly damp to the touch.

something happened at the bus stop. it started with a pretty girl whom i thought i recognized. we walked on parallel sides of the street, with her sleek black hair swaying as she strutted onto the bus. "who was that?" the bus driver muttered. i told him i thought she was new (procurement department). then i was chatting with ms.pan, who sported some big frame nerd glasses. as soon as i said, "i didn't know you wore glasses!" i could already see they were just empty frames. she said she wanted to try them out to make her face look smaller. zeng fei then arrived, standing on the other side of ms.pan. she asked me what i was drinking because i was holding my tumbler. "just some flower tea," i said, taking off the lid so she could smell it. this was the girl that a week ago i didn't even have the courage to talk to, and now she was just chatting with me like it was nothing.

on the medium bus i sat a seat behind and across from zeng fei. she's actually quite stylish, wrapping a silk scarf around her neck. i noticed her fingernails, which were painted in different colors. i can't recall any other girls in the office that paints their nails (maybe i don't look close enough).

as we arrived at the office, i asked zeng fei about the bag she was carrying. "oatmeal," she said. "and soybeans," she add, "we have a soy milk machine in our office."

normally what happened this morning would've been the highlight of my day. but this day that i didn't even want to come to work would get even more interesting.

fengya as usual ignored me. by now i'm used to it, burying myself with work to drown out the misery i was feeling. however that was not the case with shirley, who chatted with me as she came to pick up some printouts. "did you get that knitting book?" she asked, remembering that i told her i was going to chongqing to browse the bookstore there. she told me there's actually a knitting circle near where we live. "don't know if they sell books, but they do have yarn," she added. shirley is always upbeat, unlike fengya. what i like most about her is her voice, a very distinctive pitch that would make a great children's book narrator.

i tracked down zhuyan and asked her about her knitting. i quickly discovered that the most she's ever knitted was a scarf, and that was through an online video. but mrs.gu sitting next to her heard our conversation and told me she used to do a lot of knitting herself, even making sweaters. zhuyan thought it very unique that a boy would be interested in knitting. chehong hovered around, hearing bits and pieces of our conversation. i also gave mrs.gu receipts from my flight to and from kangding, RMB$1400 total.

finally in the afternoon i instant message chatted with sun meng. i tried to get her to pick a night when we could have dinner. i think she's okay with eating with me alone even though i told her i'd try to steal her away from her boyfriend. she told me her parents were in town, staying at her place it seems. i told her my parents were planning on doing the same thing in a few months. then i mentioned that i had some relatives visit me in chongqing more than 2 weeks ago, before i left for my vacation. i told her my uncle really loves chongqing because of all the pretty girls here and was picking out all the pretty girls from the company photo employee directory. "who did he pick?" she asked. i told her he picked chehong. "chehong is good," sun meng told me, "and she's single." i also told her he picked her as well. she laughed, pleased to be on the list. "you want to know who i like in the office," i asked her, "other than you of course," i added. i don't know what happened next, but she said, "how about fengya?" either she's a really good guesser, or i've been pretty obvious with my sloppy attention. it took me a while to respond. "what makes you think i like fengya?" i asked. she said that only because fengya was looking for a boyfriend. it took me another moment to respond. "out of all the girls in the office, i think fengya is the best," i told her. "but i'm pretty sure she hates me."

what happened next might be my imagination, but fengya suddenly disappeared. was sun meng telling her the details of our chat? if so, good. this was all working according to plan. originally i was going to hang out with sun meng to make fengya jealous (oh my god, i'm like a mean girl with all my strategizing), but the other part of my plan was to enlist sun meng into helping me win over fengya. a few days ago i wasn't sure how that was going to happen, because it seemed like sun meng might be secretly interested in me. but she was talking more about her boyfriend today, and i was confident she didn't harbor any feelings towards me other than an interesting admirer. her boyfriend is actually korean, and when she said he's into constructions and a lot of people in the office know him, she actually meant the korean coworkers. but i remember the other day she was saying how she hated korean guys, so i'm still getting some mixed singles from her. she may still not be the most reliable asset. but worst case scenario she also secretly has a crush on me.

but then something else happened. i kind of lost interesting in fengya. if through some miracle she suddenly begins to see me in a whole new light and maybe want to go out, i'm not sure if i want to go out with her anymore, not after a month ignoring me. if that was her way of showing affection, she has a weird way of doing it. and ever since last week when i was sure fengya was a lost cause and i started to pursue other interests, i discovered i kind of like playing the field. not counting sun meng, there are currently at least 3 ladies vying for my attention (shirley, zeng fei, and the mysterious girl at the bus stop whom i will try to get to know as soon as possible).

it felt like the weather was clearing up, and i could finally see clearly again. i also read an article on cnn.com about parents matchmaking in public parks in shanghai. even though in china the population of males is higher, most of those men live in the countryside. in cities like shanghai, there's a lack of eligible bachelors. in shanghai, single ladies outnumber single men 3 to 1. matchmaking services are free to men but women have to pay. if that's true, why am i devoting all my time to a girl who doesn't seem to be interested, when there's plenty of other eligible single ladies?

when i finally did see fengya, we saw each other from across the hallway. she did something i'd never see her do, which is to look back at me. i recoiled involuntarily, so stunned by her body language. it may all be nothing or it may all be something. i just know that i finally got my mojo back and things are starting to get more interesting.

after work fengya didn't eat dinner with us. i think there's something happening at her home again, because i noticed she didn't take a nap like she usually does. like her or not, i'm still concerned, if nothing else, at least as a friend. i still care about her, and will be there if she needs someone to talk to.

as far as work goes, i hardly did anything today. still, the day seemed to pass fairly quickly, even though by late afternoon i was very tired and wanted to fall asleep. i didn't drink any coffee though, only do it when i really need to.

when i came home, i ironed 4 shirts. i did it on my bed, which is kind of awkward, and takes at least 10 minutes to iron each shirt. afterwards i got dressed and went outside. i was probably the only person in a t-shirt, everyone else at least wearing a jacket. i went out in search of an ironing board, found them at the chongbai department store. they sell for as much as RMB$235, but the only that i bought costs only RMB$95. the cheapest one was RMB$88 - the kind you put on a table - but for a few RMB$ more, i got one that had freestanding legs. i felt kind of badass bringing the ironing board back home with me. a lot of people don't iron anymore, it's a lost art. i feel like i'm getting better at it each time i do it.

i came home and watched some television which snacking to some leftover duck feet from last night. i look forward to going to work tomorrow.