I've had a good day today.
I'm stuck in Hong Kong trying to renew my Chinese visa. My first day was not so good. My partner kindly bought me a first-class ticket to Shenzhen, the ultra-modern city across the border, a few days ago. Unfortunately that seat was set against a support and couldn't retract, which meant, with my bad back, I had to stand most of the way down. I stayed in a run-down hotel that night, crossed the border with some hassles, and then was berated by the woman at the visa office, after a long wait, for not providing all sorts of details that they never asked for before. Even the librarian in Wan Chai was mean (or maybe I was tired). Then as I got into the subway, the door closed first on my backpack, which I had been lugging around all day, then on my arm. An Australian lent me a hand (his only one, as it happened. What is the prior probability of that, Richard Carrier?) I started laughing, finally, and told him, "This has been such a strange day, it's only fitting that the subway would attack me."
Today was very different.
First, after four days of hanging out in Hong Kong, on my third visit, the woman behind the counter accepted my application, and said the visa will be ready tomorrow morning. So I can go back "home," and get to work again, teaching and on books.
And then I took a day off, and grabbed a ferry from Central to an island I'd never visited before, Lamma Island.
The island is about four miles long, with ancient little towns, updated with kitsch in a very nice way, dotted among the granite peaks. You walk through the town where the ferry docks, past the Cantonese sea food restaurants and bakeries and inns, along a winding path (no cars on the island) with a windmill in view, over a little ridge, to a sandy beach. I swam in the cool, surprisingly clean water, walked a mile or two through hills covered with native Hong Kong plants in their early spring, like green manifestations, and sat on a beach to read "A Bite of China," a fantastic book my coworker gave me, about Chinese cuisines, full of mouth-watering pictures. I stopped for fish and chips (cooked by an Indian) on the way back to the pier.
I took the ferry back to Hong Kong Central, and instead of getting on the subway right away (and risk another attack) I took the old Star Ferry. It's three times as much as it used to be, still only 35 cents or so. The mouth-dropping skyline of Hong Kong, the world's most awesome by far, was coming out like stars in the heavens as it got dark. (Chinese love light shows.) The various odd-ball skyscrapers were being run up and down by lights like a harp: the Bank of China building with its geometry outlined in lights, the weird, ultra-modern, ultra-expensive Hong Kong and Shanghai bank building, with a rival leaning towards it just a little taller, and other, newer skyscrapers, rising as much as 120 stories.
An old junk, now a tourist boat, swerved in front of me, as I snapped pictures. In TST, I watched the lights, and a big fish jumped in the water in front of me. The harbor is so much cleaner than it used to be.
The day has been really good.
So why am I telling you this? Just because the prior probability of all that I described is so low that skeptics would have to insist I must be inventing the story?
No. Because I went there by myself. My family is in the US. My students are in Changsha. I didn't bring any friends along, or even a dog.
Even a perfect day needs to be shared, to be really good.
Is that why God created the universe?