“I only ever got a glimpse” is what my dad had to say when we used to eagerly prod him for details about his mystical sojourns into the big cities for work. He brought back such a wild assortment of toys and trinkets for us each time that we were only left to assume he’d been successful on every front. Part of China’s floating population of nongminggong workers, the lengths that him and his friends had to go to just to find a job was something he kept as hidden from us as long and well as he could. Long hours and low pay were the least of his problems, job safety and security were daily worries that went right along with awful living conditions, bad food, and nasty hookers. Things went wrong a lot, and he regretted and questioned everything about his way of living. It was even worse when he’d return home each time to realize that another little part of the village he left behind had seemingly left to parts unknown as well, replaced in no time by some new bustling metropolis of malls and chain restaurants. But he always grinned when he talked about his cigarette breaks with his nonminggong buddies, where maybe they didn’t understand the way the world was working, or the quiet forces that sway and pull people like them around to different place, but for five or six minutes here and there…they could care less about that or anything else.