Perhaps it's because I am watching these mass scenes of civil disobedience in Hong Kong and want to be there. I grew up amid these streets - and I can't walk out the front door right now. I'm stuck in the US, so I need to read my way through this.
I've hung out with Hong Kong's punk rockers and artists and dancers and I've come to know its soul through my work as an arts writer there - one of ancient fishing village meets Bladerunner futurism. One of killer movie industries, 4am cha cha tengs, financial wizardry, and a resilient and utterly unique culture that has grown from its ancient Chinese roots despite all the crap that colonialism has thrown its way.
A city where in 1949 and the 1950s, artists and painters joined refugees from across China as they fled down from the threat of communism and into the welcoming coves of Hong Kong's islands. Because despite those British colonists being in charge, the city was nonetheless offering a place where people could free their minds. The New Ink painting movement was born, Lui Shou-kwan threw modernism and Zen insight into an ancient craft of ink on rice paper - precisely because of Hong Kong's freedoms.
Maybe I can't leave my Twitter feed because in 1989, I was a young student in Hong Kong. And I distinctly remember sitting on a sofa in our home in Pokfulam and watching the unfolding events on the TV in Beijing. That leaves a certain scar on one's psyche. When that event happened, Hong Kong was the only place in the whole of China where it was legal to go out on the street and bear witness. And the people went, in their hundreds of thousands.
Why? Because Article 23 was being administered by the mainland government, a sinister anti-spying piece of legislation that would have seriously hit the rights of HK people. That night, I stood on this grassy knoll by the side of that three laned road, and felt all of humanity flow past me - I breathed in that sweaty air and rejoiced in its earthiness. Absolute solidarity. As I stood there, a man leaned over, assuming me to be a tourist, and said to me: "Look. Look closely. This is Hong Kong's people. We are peaceful."
In the years since I moved to the US in 2009, I have taken regular trips back to Hong Kong to work on it's art stories. The arts has been on the rise in Hong Kong precisely because of its freedoms: it's tax freedoms, it's censorship freedoms. It caused the monumental art fair Art Basel to take up a post there in 2013. It began to feel like Hong Kong's unique character was going to survive and thrive, it was going to become a beacon, a spot of New York edginess in China - a promise of China's great potential for expansive minds and compassion.
But with each trip, I was also noticing a growing tension filling the air. You could feel it in the MTR stations and in the bus stops. It felt like a rice cooker, the bubbles overflowing and threatening an imminent explosion.
A huge tapestry of reasons were coming together, a lot of it due to China's huge new wealth and the way that billionaires north of the border were snapping up many of the apartments in the city, meaning that rent prices were tripling, quadrupling.
Hong Kong is tiny - and there is nowhere to go to when this happens. People can't afford their lives anymore. This creates stress. There's been the massive influx of tourists over the border. When you're earning hardly anything and have to take a long subway ride home, it's stressful to not be able to fit into any of the passing trains anymore.
But I think, at the root of it, it's been the fear that Hong Kong culture is about to disappear.
When Hong Kong's intellectual Ackbar Abbas wrote Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance in 1997, he was writing about the upcoming Handover. He mused on how Hong Kong has always had to deal with a deadline, a threat of near-dissappearance. What a wierd situation to be in, he pointed out. What other cities on earth have had to deal with this threat of near-extinction? New York will always be New York. London will always be London. But Hong Kong won't necessarily always be Hong Kong.
Why? Perhaps it's because Hong Kong is a state of mind. It's a Cantonese opera theater. And a Wong Kar-wai film. It's artistic expression. It's the voice and minds of its people. And it's not like Hong Kong is anti-China, it's just pro-freedom.
The artist Kacey Wong in particular struck a chord with me, because he saw how Hong Kong culture is made up of ancient Chinese roots that have preserved, like how banyan tree roots survive the modern slabs of concrete on our streets. These roots pre-date the CCP. In some ways, he pointed out, Hong Kong may be more Chinese than China.
Is it, therefore, not important to preserve it?