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.