These are the days I am especially glad that we do not live in Beijing where the air is thick with what the Chinese lovingly call ‘fog’. The fog in Beijing is thick and often yellowish and prevents you from seeing for more than a block at a time.
In Shanghai we do get actual fog, along with it’s cousins smog and haze. Usually these nasty days are no more than two in a row. But this week has been oppressive. It’s what my parents would have called soupy. The kind of days my mother would lovingly cut up fruit and put it on a plate with a scoop of cottage cheese and serve it for dinner, because only crazy people turn on a stove or oven in this weather.
Occasionally big, fat drops of rain hit my arms as I am walking and I think ‘ ahhh, at last the rain will come and clear this weather away’. But no. It lingers on and on. I have mentioned before that Mao, in his great wisdom, decided that anything below the Yangtze River didn’t get central heat. Now I have learned that they didn’t get air conditioning either! Truthfully this lack of power sucking machinery probably helps the air quality. But I think I may be making up for it with all the laundry I have to do since all four of us can soak through two shirts a day each. My saving grace has been that our apartment does have AC which I use liberally at night.
Last night, however, we were out until about 10:30. The kids were home without us and spent a quiet evening with pizza and a movie. The AC was on low. We came home and went to bed. This morning I opened the curtain to our living room sliding glass doors that go out to the balcony and found quite a shock. The doors are double paned and the outer pane of one of the doors was shattered! There was a definite point of origin, as if the door had been shot with a BB gun. Thank goodness it was safety glass so the pane was still in the door.
I went outside to feel if there was a hole at the origin point, but there wasn’t. All the patio furniture was exactly as I had left it and it wasn’t a windy night the night before. The kids adamantly denied being outside or doing anything that would cause the door to break.
I went to the management office to tell them about the door. I was really worried they would blame us and we would be footing the bill. They sent up a building ‘engineer’ and he took one look at it and told me not to worry, it was from the heat!!!!
My suspicion, and most unscientifically proven hypotheses, is that the seal between the panes is not great and moisture got in and expanded as the day got hotter and hotter, finally being too much for the glass and shattering it.
So when some people say ‘it’s so hot I could fry an egg on the sidewalk” I will say ‘it’s so hot it could shatter a patio door!’