I woke up the other day and we feeling more than queasy. I was convinced that it was the tea I was drinking, but it probably was the excess drinking I had done the night before. Then I got an email from our Suzhou reporter saying how sick he was. He was in the hospital after constant vomiting, and it got so bad that while puking his guts up he broke the needle that was administering the morphine into his arm. I had images of Howard Hughes in my mind. I was feeling a little bit better to say the least. Then on another afternoon, just after rolling out of my cool bed, and again not feeling so well, I met another good friend on the street who looked miserable. I knew she should have been in class, and that she is normally a trooper, but she did look terrible. Apparently she had a rash on her face that was so bad that she almost passed out while teaching the kids. Here I was complaining to myself about my sensitive stomach. What a wimp I am. Then I was really regretting how I had to fill in this form to get my daughter a passport. How I hate filling in those things. And then I got a chat message from another friend saying that he was doing his yearly tax forms. And I remembered how difficult those looked. Once again, everything was put into perspective.
Do I really have it that easy, or do the people around me really have it that hard? Another guy mentioned off handedly how he has to get up at 6am and usually works until 8 or 9pm. Is this guy really slow at what he does, or does he really have that much work to do? Knowing the guy, I would say more the later than the former. Yet another friend said the she had just finished her twelve thousand word master’s thesis. And she has a full-time job. I balk at the idea of having to do this five hundred word piece every month. There was also that dude who said that he gets over three hundred emails a day. I get twenty and I’m a little nervous, and half of those are from Facebook. What happens when the guy goes on vacation? Does he come back to the office and have three thousand emails to read? The taxi driver is at the end of a twelve hour shift, and I complain to him when he refuses to take me to dinner because he wants to get back home. The last time I drove twelve hours in a day, I was twenty two years old, in great shape, and it exhausted me. And this guy isn’t getting some sort of degree that will make his life any better. He isn’t getting some general manager’s pay. He’s just doing his job, and it must tire him no matter how long he’s been doing it or how used to it he is. I should just shut up.
By Tim Hoerle