It has been brought to my attention that what with all of my grand revelations, little exotic jaunts to here and there, and general lovey dovey-ness, life seems just swell for me over here – really just hunky dory. And isn’t it soooo fantastic to be me.
Sorry if I make you all roll your eyes sometimes with my Marveling at the World, but seriously – I could easily write a Friday Hate List. I could write a 2pm Every Single Day Hate List. For example! An item on today’s Friday Annoyance List (let’s call it that instead):
- Coughing, Sneezing and Spitting in China. You may have noticed from some of my previous posts that I kind of have a thing about this: coughing and sneezing without covering your mouth, and spitting all over the place, is a pretty regular part of public life here in Kunming. Indoors, outdoors, in restaurants, on buses, wherever. Particular culprits in this area are men, for whatever reason. I know that a big part of my problem with this is just at a visceral level, because I (like most Westerners) was taught from a very early age that these behaviors are not only disgusting but unsanitary.
But here’s the thing: IT IS UNSANITARY. Allow me to lay some knowledge on y’all: every year in China, 1.4 million people are newly infected with tuberculosis. Every year, a quarter of a million people in China die from TB. To put this in perspective, that’s 5 TIMES more people dying of TB in a single year in China than have died here of AIDS – EVER. In all of history. And you know the main ways people get tuberculosis? You guessed it: coughing, sneezing and spitting.
I know that I work in public health, and so am perhaps slightly more sensitive than most, but: THAT, China, is what’s called hitting the goddamned trifecta. GET A TISSUE, MORONS.
Sadly, the thing about a Friday Annoyance List is that it actually doesn’t make me feel better, it makes me feel angry and stressed. One of the unintended happy consequences of keeping this blog is that it gives me an excuse to mark great moments and joyful insights – they carry me through what are sometimes very long days, particularly when RP is away doing fieldwork, as he is now.
So here’s a Friday Love List bullet point to balance out the irksome issue above:
- Power failure dividends. My office is real cold. As in, I-don’t-know-why-I-bother-wearing-different-clothes-every-day-because-I-never-take-my-coatscarfgloves-off cold. And when we try to plug in space heaters the power shorts out.
But while we were waiting for the power to come back on earlier this week so that we could go back to work, a couple of my colleagues sat on a couch with me and taught me various tricks and games from their childhoods involving random office supplies – twirling pens around in their fingers, elaborate magic knots with defunct headphone cords, tongue twisters. It was silly and sweet and gave me a reason to laugh for a solid 45 minutes in the middle of the day.
And I don’t know why it is, but everywhere I go in the world, women know how to play Cat’s Cradle.
Happy weekend, loyal readers! Stay warm.