As all of my friends and acquaintances know, I don’t do math. I was fairly good at math until I got to 7th grade and hit algebra. Until that time, I was quite happy adding and subtracting and multipying and dividing numbers. That made sense. You did math with things that you could count. But in algebra, we were suddenly adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing letters! Come again! In my mind letters and numbers were in different universes, and now the letters had wandered in where they didn’t belong. I could never get my brain around that. My potential to become a nobel prize-winner in math died that year, as deep down in the recesses of my brain I realized I’d need to choose which world to live in, the world of numbers or letters. I chose letters, and have subsequently cultivated a love for languages. I guess you could say I released my inner linguist!
But I digress. I didn’t start this post out to write about math or my childhood, but about the weather in Beijing this time of year. Or, to be more specific, the weather in my apartment in Beijing this time of year. This is the time of year — mid-October to mid-November that I dread the most. The weather cools down, and so do the cement buildings we live and work in. The problem is, however, that, by government decree, the heat doesn’t come on until November 15.
OK, so what does this all have to do with math? Well, it was a glorious Indian Summer day in Beijing yesterday, with temps at around 65. Outside, it was actually warm! But, my apartment, in which the temperature was also 65 degrees was freezing. 65 outside and 65 inside are definitely not the same! It’s really a very interesting phenomenon! And, which is why one of the most common uttered phrases among Chinese friends these days is "wear more clothes."
Speaking of which, I wrote a short essay by that title ("Wear More Clothes") on this site a year ago. Check it out.