Ganmao

Despite valiant defensive efforts this week (denial mostly) I have fully succumbed to the dreaded ganmao (common cold). Ganmao is a word that foreigners tend to learn early on in their time in China, because to sniffle or cough or sneeze in the presence of a Chinese friend will send immediately trigger ganmao le ma?  Do you have a cold, said with the concern and seriousness of asking someone if their liver might be failing, followed by a litany of advice for survival. 

And announcing that you ganmao in a crowded office is something akin to saying FISH on a tour bus.  I did just that yesterday, and at the mere mention of the word, heads popped up from cubicles like someone was coreographing a dance:  GANMAO?  DID SOMEONE SAY GANMAO?   DRINK MORE HOT WATER.   WEAR MORE CLOTHES!  HAVE A REST!  DRINK THIS BITTER TASTING HERBAL TEA. I thanked them for their concern and came home and took a Sudefed.  It didn't help.  Maybe I  need to drink some of that nasty tea after all.