There is a phrase often used by foreigners when you just can’t believe your eyes. When a decision or an action defies all logic, common sense and decency. That phrase? This is China (Often shortened to TIC, or TIFC after an especially annoying situation.)
Boss tells you you have a 3-day holiday but have to work for 7-days straight beforehand? TIC.
A mom that brings her child past the bathroom to go outside and take a shit on the ground, right where people are walking? TIC.
Taxi drivers that lock their door, slowly drive by a group of people desperate for a ride, everyone shouting at him where they go then he takes off after accepting no one? TIC.
I had a TIC moment the other day, right in the comfort of my own home.
You see, several months ago, I noticed a little problem. In the hallway, outside my apartment, there appeared a leak. It was obviously from my apartment, my bathroom wall is on the other side of the hallway, but my bathroom had no problems, and it started right after a 2-week water outage. There was no way I was going to tell anyone and lose my water for even a few more hours after that fiasco so I just let it leak without telling anyone.
So I watched as the wall began to degrade more and more. The paint peeling off more and more and the water strain spreading from just a small patch to a bigger and bigger patch along the wall then unto the floor. While it was clearly from my apartment I figured it wasn’t really my responsibility. There is a lady that cleans the place everyday and surely she must have noticed and told the bosses. Or maybe my neighbor, head of one of the school’s departments, would tell the maintenance guy.
Months went by, the stains got bigger and bigger and I began to wonder the effects of a water leak in a concrete building. I mean, it was soaking through the concrete, that can’t be good right?
So yesterday, as someone from the office came to my apartment for a signature I pointed it out to them. “I really think it needs to be fixed,” I said. “It’s even leaking through the concrete to the floor below now. Mold is growing.”
“Yeah,” he kind of said nonchalantly. “We know. But it’s too hard to fix. It would create a big mess to fix it.”
“Of course,” I said. “But it’s leaking water. Water. That isn’t good for the building.”
He kind of shrugged again. “I know. But nobody cares.”
“But, it’s only going to get worse.”
“One of the other buildings has the same problem,” he said as if that made it any better.
“And they’re doing nothing. The owners of the buildings really don’t care?”
He just kind of shuffled his feet and looked apologetic.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to see if I can find some literature on how water affects the stability of a concrete building.
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