The air in Beijing was foul today — maybe as bad as I've ever seen it, but I've already said that a half dozen times this year. The smog was so thick there was really no way to tell if it was cloudy or sunny. The little icon on my computer desktop said sunny, but the oppressive humidity seemed to indicate something ugly was afoot.
Sure enough, at about 5:30PM, without warning, there was a HUGE clap of thunder and the heavens opened up. Unfortunately that happened about 2 minutes after the air-conditioner repairman had climbed out of my 5th floor window to try to determine why the thing had suddenly quit working. I suggested that he come back in ("for your safety") but he kept waiving me off with the ubiquitious Chinese phrase "mei shi." (It doesn't matter). I thought it did matter that he was dangling on the side of a building during a blinding rainstorm with lightening dancing all around, but it really didn't seem to phase him.
He said he had to add some freon to the unit, so asked me to hold the canister, and hand him the hose. Just as I did that, my cell phone rang — from a friend newly arrived in China who wanted to know how to say something. Just as I answered that call, my land line phone started to ring–I knew it was my landlady calling for a progress report on the AC repair work. With one hand dangling a freon canister out the window in a storm and the other talking on the cell phone, there was no way I could get to the other phone. She wisely gave up.
After the AC repairman left, I was set to walk to a nearby hotel to do a training session for some newbies, but there was no way I was going out in that storm. My colleagues kept the group entertained until the storm let up a bit and I could muster the courage to dodge the remaining thunderbolts and get there (I was only about 15 minutes late).
When it rains, it pours–never was that more true for me!
There always seems to be an adventure when an air-conditioner repairman shows up at my house. You can read about my adventures with them last year at the following links: