China Makes You Angry.
I have to admit it - the day-to-day frustrations, no matter how inconsequential or brief, of living in China have a longer term toll: they shorten your temper. It's worrying: will I be able to adjust once I return to a more normal life? Or will I forever be that little bit closer to seeing red?
I don't mean to give the impression that I am angry all the time: quite the opposite in fact, I've been a very happy camper of late. Instead, the constant pressure of language gaps, cultural differences, ceaseless noise and the 'me first' nature of China serves to lower your threshold between calm and cranky, between peace and war.
Take this morning. I woke to the sound of jackhammers: for the next 2 months, all the concrete is being replaced around my home in order to repair broken pipes. Annoying, but could happen anywhere, right? Well, add to this that the work begins at 7am, 7 days a week - 'company policy' they told me. Add to that the fact that my apartment is now largely inaccessible (both front and back doors now open into huge trenches, which will become rivers of mud at the first drop of rain), and my apartment is dusty as shit, causing me to break my sneezing records. Add to this that the building management never mentioned any of this was happening: they told me the concrete was to be 'cleaned'. So what happens when I see the workers? I lose my marbles, yelling at them to explain how the hell they expect me to live amongst this chaos. They don't speak English, and I look like an idiot. I head to work with high blood pressure.
An hour later, on the way to get a coffee, walking on the footpath and laughing with a friend, and a guy jumps in his truck, and promptly backs into me. No injury, but straight up didn't look, didn't care. BOOM - see red. One second laughing, the next second murderous rage. I fookin loose it: I walk up to the window of his van, whack his window with my hand and tell this guy quietly and menacingly to watch where the fuck he is going.
This was just one morning. Were will I be in a year from now?