The new norm

I went to the hospital yesterday after four days of being sick…

After the blood test and CT scan, it turned out that I had pneumonia.


How is it even possible to get pneumonia when I only got back for a little more than a week?

I sat there and watched the IV dripping into my veins. Ten days ago, I was in LA bathing under the California sunshine and that was the norm.

As I was standing in the queue to pay for the examination fees, I noticed the one thing I disliked most about my fellow countrymen: disrespect for the personal space. That is, no sense of personal space, which is borderline intrusion.

Before I could get the receipts back from the clerk, the next person was already at the counter a few inches away from me as if I didn’t exist.

“Ma’am, could you step back in line? I’m not done yet.”

She did her Shanghaiese trademarked eyerolling and shot back.

“Mind your own business. I’m waiting here just fine.”

Right, right. I’m not in LA. Now this, is the new norm I’m dealing with.

Against the neck-breaking changing speed of cities like Shanghai, some other things lags behind. Three years isn’t enough to change everything.

You worship Burberry trench coats like a religion, hang Hermès silk scarves around your necks like crosses, sling your Chanel purses like grenades. But the minute you start talking, I know you’re still in the ditch.

“But it’s a ditch full of gold and dinero!”

I have no counter-arguments. Money talks here more than anywhere.

Some things take time. But time is the one thing people here don’t have.


Yours truly,