Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Elaine and Bill Clinton

A few weeks ago I went to pay my rent and had a nasty shock when the real estate agent, Elaine, told me the amount of my electricity bill. Since my room is one of four in a subdivided apartment, the real estate agent takes charge of the account with the company and charges the tenants at her own (increased) rate using small meters installed outside our respective doors.

I protested that I could not possibly have used that much electricity since I hadn't used the water heater or the air conditioner all month. Realising that she was looking at the usage for room A and not room D, she apologised and recalculated my bill as $HK18. She couldn't believe the amount and recalculated twice, only to find out that she was correct the first time.

I assured her that I use very little electricity and her disappointment at her dismal cut was overtaken by the first sympathetic feeling I have seen her express towards any being other than her cats. She looked me in the eyes and said, 'poor boy, so young and so hard life...'

Anyway, after a couple of weeks the heat became too much and last week I decided that I would start using the air conditioner at night. Even on a low setting it worked too well in my little room and I woke up in the middle of the night last Thursday very cold and searching out my blanket from the wardrobe.

I came home from work the next day sniffing and by Saturday I had fever. I then settled down for several days recovery at home with nothing in the way of entertainment except Bill Clinton's autobiography, lent to me by a friend just a few days before. Unable to sleep properly, I spent two days drifting between reading and shallow sleep filled with nightmares that I was about to be defeated in the Arkansas Democratic primaries by an evil but popular segregationist. Luckily my health has recovered before Lewinsky et al. entered the plot.

On Sunday night I thought I was past the worst part but I woke up after an hour of sleep feeling sicker than ever. I was convinced that it was the feeling of imminent death from SARS, avian influenza or something else that you can catch by pressing lift buttons that haven't been wiped with bleach since they were pushed by a farm animal from Southern China. I dragged myself downstairs and found one of my friends in the park to go with me to hospital.

After a whole range of tests the doctor pronounced that it was just flu. I must have looked very disappointed because she looked at me and then came back with five different types of symptomatic medication which I'm planning to donate to the clinic at work. Actually I was upset that I'd suffered nothing more than the effects of Sudden Acute Desire For Air Conditioned Extravagance.

More on Bill Clinton's very detailed autobiography later...

No comments: