Linkin Park-powered

Shanghai -- For the past few weeks, I've been feeling tired and sleepy. It might be due to my seasonal allergies, to the beginning of another "Shanghai's summer" (though currently mitigated by quite a lot of rain), to the level of pollution in the city (other people are mentioning the same problem to me) or to a combination of this all, fact is that these mornings I am pretty much a zombie and not rarely during the day fatigue knocks at my door.

My best allies in these cases are "a few" cups of coffee (replaced by liters of green tea in the afternoon) and Linkin Park.
Every morning, they take the subway with me and walk me up to the office.
They shake me and wake me up. And I smile, thinking of how different that music is from what I look to the outside, to those who see me in my office outfit about to go to work - but that's another story.

"Wow, that is loud" - commented my Chinese colleague the other day as we were sharing the elevator up to the office.
Yes, that is pretty loud.
Intentionally loud.

Because it's already a miracle how I manage not to suffocate among the 8.30AM subway crowd. Without music, I doubt I could put up every single morning with the hundreds of people that share the car with me and that inevitably push me against the doors. Not to mention when they try to get out or come in at the next stop. And forget about the smells that this lovely summer brings about.
Music - my "angry music" - diverts me from all of this.

It is intentionally loud also because at 9am I might not be that interested in overhearing the 100th conversation among Chinese co-workers loudly sharing their latest shopping achievements or dinner menu. (I've come to realize that most times Chinese are either talking of shopping - costs, discounts, bargaining, sales - or of food - what they eat where, etc. Or, of the two combined: how much they paid to eat what.)

But, again, it's always fascinating to see how it's not at all that black and white. And how I am not alone on this.

One year ago these days one of my Chinese colleagues and I had to attend a conference at Expo. There we were: a rainy morning, two young professionals on their high-heels, in their well-ironed dark suits, zigzagging through all those Pavilions among the crowds that were already starting to queue up (sometimes for hours) under a gloomy black sky. A few minutes later we would be shaking hands and exchanging name cards with European CEOs or officials, well behaved and fully into our role.
But till then, I myself was walking with my Linkin Park while she was listening to and humming her Eminem. We didn't say a word to each other but we were no doubt on the same wavelength.
It's a scene that still impresses me visually with its vibe.

Linkin Park held a concert in Shanghai a few years back.
Quite a crowd inside the stadium where we were required to sit throughout the concert ( for some security reasons, however unusual for this kind of events).
Standing - oops, sorry, sitting - next to me was a young Chinese military officer in his nice uniform. As much as the music, the most enjoyable part of the night has been watching him as he was obviously struggling between faithfully preserving his military posture and surrendering to some "dancing temptations".

Other than keeping my alive and kicking, Linkin Park seems to be talking also to those crowds out there then...

Let the thoughts cross
the distance in your eyes
[Across this New Divide - LP]