Get used to good air

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Min­joo Noh

Over the past few days, we have ex­pe­ri­enced great air qual­ity in Bei­jing. While the blue sky was a wel­come sight af­ter the usual gray and gloom of the fa­mil­iar Bei­jing hori­zon, there were some things I just could not get used to.

First of all, I had to take my mask off when go­ing out­side. For the past few months, I’ve al­ways had my mask on out­side, and I was very used to hav­ing it on. At this point, it prac­ti­cally feels like part of my skin.

Now I have no need to wear my mask be­cause the air qual­ity is so good.. It al­most makes me feel like I am walk­ing out­side naked.

The cool breeze hit­ting my face di­rectly and the empti­ness I feel around my mouth and nose is al­most un­bear­able.

It’s as if I have lost a part of my­self with­out my mask. It has been with me through my whole Bei­jing jour­ney.

Not only that, I am now too rec­og­niz­able to my col­leagues while walk­ing around cam­pus. As an in­tro­vert, this is my worst night­mare.

The days of pass­ing by qui­etly with­out be­ing no­ticed are over.

But wait, it gets worse. It’s not just my mask. I don’t even have to turn on my air fil­ter in my room any­more.

I’ve sud­denly re­al­ized how thin my walls are, and that I can hear what my neigh­bors are up to dur­ing the day and night in full de­tail. This also makes me won­der what they can hear me do­ing.

This is a level of in­ti­macy I did not ask for. It’s too much to take for me.

I dread­fully miss the con­stant noise of my air fil­ter go­ing off in my room.

Peo­ple say you never know what you have un­til its gone. This is ex­actly how I feel about my air fil­ter noise. For me, the noise is like a sooth­ing lul­laby.

What a nui­sance this good air is, and just when I was get­ting quite com­fort­able liv­ing with the con­stant smog here. At least it was a re­li­able fact of life I could count on.

For­tu­nately for me, I know that the air pol­lu­tion will be back be­fore long. It is Bei­jing af­ter all.

Un­til then, I’ll just have to suf­fer through the ma­jor dis­com­fort of show­ing my naked face around cam­pus and liv­ing with the ex­cru­ci­at­ing si­lence of my room be­ing oc­ca­sion­ally in­ter­rupted by my neigh­bors’ daily noises.

Life is hard!

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