According to the Chinese zodiac, we are now entering the Year of the Ox. I, for one, am all for it, considering the Ox is thought to be the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Furthermore, the Ox is not extravagant, the modern interpretation being that the thought of living off credit cards or being in debt makes The Ox nervous. The Year of The Economic Stimulus Plan, Obama, change and more than a little plodding. I'm taking this year and this bull by the horns, baby!
This past weekend my mom and I took Zoey to Chinatown. I used to love going there when I was little. My brother would get a Transformer before there was such a thing, and I would get a silken-faced China doll that I would make my mother turn toward the wall at bedtime. (More than meets the eye.) We would get a new pair of satin pajamas and bags of creamy, soft White Rabbit Candy, the slips of rice paper melting on our tongues like something you are not supposed to do, something you are not supposed to eat. However, this weekend there was no White Rabbit Candy, having been recalled for containing trace amounts of melamine. And the crowds were horrendous. I had not been to Chinatown in maybe 15 years, and the one day my mom and I decide to take Zoey is the day of the Chinese New Year parade, fireworks cracking and bundles of yellow balloons that made Zoey cry as they slipped from her hands and into the sky.
However, I am hoping this means something, something auspicious. The fact that we went to Chinatown the day of the celebration of a new year, that we got home hours later wearing new pajamas and Chinese slippers that smelled of kerosene despite Tide and Bounce and rosewater mists. The beginning of the Year of the Ox, unswervingly patient, capable of enduring any amount of hardship, a year full of people that when they set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. Because this weekend I also got an agent. As in literary. As in "you'll have to speak with my..." It's for a children's book that I have written. While it is officially the Year of the Ox, I was born under the starry skies of the Rat, a sign as much known for its charisma as it is for its ambition. Rats are unapologetic promoters of their own agendas. (Professions include espionage, pathology and writing.) That is, if you believe in that sort of thing. And right about now, all I have is a belief. So cheers to a New Year! May the paper melt sweet in our mouths.