The Perfect Storm – Part 1: Morning Madness
The Perfect Storm: an especially bad day where conditions dish up nothing but snake eyes
I’ve never experienced the perfect storm in Hong Kong…but if I did, I imagine it would follow this factually based hypothetical timeline…
6:00am – I wake up to the sound of urine. The steady, unmistakable sound of someone else’s morning piss plunges deep and sure into my brain. The walls are thin, the urine is strong. I swoon a little, imagining some old woman hosing out her steaming yellow labia liquid in the unit above me. I hope I don’t have to listen to her trying to push the kids into the deep end…oh…too late. I vomit in my mouth a little…it’s going to be one of those days…
6:15am – I try to make my way to the shower before the door slamming starts. But I don’t make it. BANG! SLAM! SCREECH! BANG! KA FUCKING SLAM! There’s 8 units on my floor and the savages living in them need to leave early for school or their customer service jobs on the other side of Hong Kong. They slam their doors with a kind of cruelty and hateful spite which truly boggles the mind. I feel like I’m being violated somehow.
6:20am – I’m sitting down, trying to read a few pages of a book before I have to leave for work. But Aunty Urine’s up there chopping a bagful of radish. CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP. She sure does have a lot of radish. She’s swinging from the shoulder too. CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! From the unit above and to the right of me, another woman…a mother, starts screaming at her young children. She’s firing off a withering barrage of instruction and scolding. She’s snapping and biting off anywhere between 300 to 500 Cantonese words a minute I’d reckon. She has, easily, one of the most grating and irritating voices I’ve ever heard. And right here, in my home, my castle…that bitch is crystal clear.
6:22am – Someone on my floor comes by my door to take rubbish to the bin in the stairwell. Their trash clunks into the big plastic bin then I hear them shuffling back down to their unit…seconds later the heavy, fireproof stairwell door crashes closed with a gigantic thud. That’s followed by my neighbour slamming her own door as loud as she can in typical Hong Kong fashion. Meanwhile – Aunty Urine’s still dealing with the radish; CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! CHOPPITY CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP! CHOP! CHOP; someone’s started tapping something for some reason somewhere in the unit next to me and I can hear a TV blaring…that’d be my other neighbours – the ones who enjoy leaving their door open and their TV on, loud, at 6 in the morning.
6:24am – The man in the unit above and to the left of me starts his daily hammering activities. Not sure what kind of project he’s working on, but he should be finished soon because he’s been at it for a solid year now. Moments later, car horns start going off somewhere down on the street. And I mean going off. I don’t even live in a built up area. What the fuck is going on down there? I keep reading the same line in my book over and over again, not knowing what it says. I have to get the fuck out of here.
6:30am – I’m on my floor waiting for the lift, praying none of my neighbors come out. Because if they do, I know they’ll be bellowing at one another and their breath will stink. Just before the lift arrives I hear commotion from round the corner. Keys are rustling, voices are yelling and doors are slamming in typical Hong Kong fashion. I mash the CLOSE button feverishly, in typical Hong Kong fashion, but I’m too late. Mr and Mrs So Fuk Yiu slide inside. At first they’re like goldfish added to a new tank…docile…quiet…slightly stunned. I half entertain the idea that the whole ride to ground level will be peaceful…civilized even. But like a rocket ship that’s just blown a rivet, Mrs So Fuk Yiu unleashes a wild sawtooth screaming salvo which is instantly interpreted by Mr So as some form of coherent communication and has him yelling back in turn immediately. They’re not fighting…just chatting. They continue, both shrieking at the same time, all the way to the lobby. Not sure if they noticed I was there…but I don’t think it would it have mattered either way.
6:35am – I’m on the street now. I have a 10 minute walk to the MTR. The first thing I notice is maids all over the place carrying school bags for spoiled cunt school children. The second thing I notice is mothers and fathers holding drink bottles or some kind of limp bread up to their child’s mouth, helping them eat and drink and then wiping their mouths for them. Their goggled-eyed child stands ineptly, arms dangling uselessly by their side as they vacantly chew.
6:40am – I’m half way to the MTR and I’ve noticed everyone is walking really fast. It’s as if they can’t wait to get to work. They’re double timing it…like they’re being frog-marched by someone with a gun to their back. Why can’t people move with this much purpose at the ATM or summon this kind of energy to return their shopping trolleys to the rack, helping to keep the checkout area clear of trolleys and baskets? What the fuck is wrong with these people? Later, there’s a woman in front of me trying so hard to walk fast she almost pitches forward and topples over. I glide past her, look back and she’s holding up the queue trying to find her Octopus Card in her handbag. What a moron.
6:50am – The MTR. Dear God.
To be continued…in…
The Perfect Storm – Part 2: MTR Murder
This post brought to you by tissues. Good for hawking up phlegm, spitting in, then tossing into or near a rubbish bin.