Even Indoors

The air conditioner in the Beijing office crapped out. The solution: open the windows for a few breaths of a breeze.

Unfortunately, that breeze comes with particulates. My colleague Max wears a respirator mask and, like the rest of my colleagues, keeps an air purifier humming next to the desk.

A functioning air-conditioner would make things better, and we’re working on that. nonetheless, I suspect that even if we kept our office at 68ยบ F/20ยบC, the masks would stay on.

Civil Lift

If you want to know the problems that beset elevator riding in China, just look at what is prohibited. There are a still a couple missing. It would be nice to see “no spitting” and “no farting” prohibitions added to the list.

I don’t think I’m the only one to find myself an involuntary audience to a terrifying yet somehow awesome phlegm-laden throat solo, only to hear the soloist conclude the performance by expectorating in the back corner of the elevator. On one occasion, performance concluded, the instrumentalist gave me a grin and said “ni hao?”ย 

On another elevator ride, this one at the Park Hyatt in Beijing in the express elevator from the ground floor to the 61st floor lobby, one fellow (who clearly was not in complete control of his bowels) delivered a paint peeler that made the most noxious elevator smoker seem like a Samaritan by comparison. I felt bad for the guy, but I did go straight to the loo after disembarking, checking to make sure that I wasn’t carrying the scent with me into a client meeting.

I’ve also been on a couple of rides when it seemed like the perp had floated an air biscuit immediately prior to disembarking, thus leaving the rest of us frantically pressing our floor buttons, hoping to speed the car on its way. This, I have found, happens most often in office buildings, usually after lunch.

So yes, please don’t smoke, jump, loiter, futz with the buttons, or mess with the door, keep your sprogs under control, and don’t damage your elevator. But most important, let passengers off first: you have no idea what we might be running from.


Heading out

The next 24 hours: