19 Jan 2005
I’ve been pretty active in January, but I’ve finally let this blog gather a little dust. Not much, but a little.
The reason for my recent computer problems was dust. Well, sort of. I opened up my computer because the fan was getting super noisy. That could have been because the ball bearings in the fan were going bad, but it also could have been just due to a huge dust buildup. You see, life in China comes with more than the recommended daily dosage of dust.
So I was cleaning the dust out of my computer’s innards. I used compressed air. (I didn’t know how to say that in Chinese, so I went around the computer market asking for “air in a can” (Ìý×°µÄ¿ÕÆø). I’m pretty sure I sounded like a moron, but it eventually yielded the desired result.) Even compressed air proved insufficient, though. I ended up cleaning a lot of the dust out with q-tips. Big chunks of it.
While cleaning out the dust I carelessly knocked my wireless network card loose (which I’m not even using, ironically), causing my computer woes.
I ended up getting a new power source anyway. The bearings really were going bad on the fan, and the inside was just dusty beyond help. Dust takes its toll.
Shortly after I arrived in China, I went on a trip to a park with some Chinese friends. It had been a while since I had seen grass, so I was happy to sprawl out on it, which promptly resulted in my Chinese friends’ disapproval. “It’s dirty!” they told me. I just shook my head. In a corner of the world where there’s so little nature left to enjoy, they regard what little is left as “dirty”? That’s so sad! Then, as an afterthought, I ran my hand across the grass. My palm was turned gray. Dust. From the grass.
That little incident drove home that I really didn’t know how everything worked here, even when I was so sure I had it all figured out.
I’ve learned to watch out for dust in China. It can choke your computer’s internal fans. It makes daily sweeping almost essential. Dust is even on the grass, and gets into everything if you let it. You don’t realize how much dust there really is in the air here until you experience it.
As with the rest of the dust around me, the dust on these pages will soon be dislodged and released to afflict the less diligent.