Thursday, June 21, 2012

Things That Randomly Died This Week

I must seem quite morbid, first reporting on my father in law’s death and then that of his wife. Shortly thereafter I talked about my own death (The Legacy, posted April of this year). Just this last week I shared my grief over my friend’s death.

I am not of a morbid mindset when writing this post. I’m reporting on things that have died premature deaths.

My cellphone. For some reason my cellphone just randomly shuts itself off. Battery indicator shows a nearly full charge, keypad locks itself after 10 seconds. So it is not dying because of a weak battery or because I’ve accidentally pushed the shut off button. It just randomly dies at weird times, for no specific reason. I’ve put a new battery in and given it a full charge; no help.

I’ve had this phone since the day I came to China. Maybe it is time to consider buying a new phone. I’ll think about it when I get back.  

My Kindle. Now that is not good news at all. I consider it essential to have plenty of reading material and was delighted to have an entire library in a fully portable format that could be supplemented at no cost via USB.

The first time it randomly died was over winter break, in Nanjing. I quickly jumped online to research ‘frozen kindle’ and found out it is a rather common phenomenon. By resetting the device – holding the slide switch in the ‘on’ position for 20 or 30 seconds it came back to life and my library repopulated itself. How do you spell Relief? I was overcome with it. My Kindle froze several more times during winter, but each time it recovered when using that ‘fix’.

I came to the conclusion that Kindles must be temperature sensitive and since then made an effort to keep my Kindle out of the cold winter air. Tucking it in my waistband or under my parka instead of carrying it around in my bag when out and about or traveling. Or, leaving my bed heaters on low and leaving the Kindle tucked in bed when I’m home. I’ve not had much of a problem with my Kindle locking up or freezing up since. Now, with warmer temps I don’t need to worry about keeping my Kindle warm. In fact, it has been working just fine. Until…

Not sure why but, since yesterday my Kindle will not work at all, not even with a reboot. Plugging it into the USB port on my computer doesn’t help (that was another manufacturer suggested ‘fix’). Matter of fact, the computer sees that a device is plugged in but cannot identify it. It seems the thing is now most assuredly dead. REALLY NOT GOOD!!! I will only have a small window of opportunity to resolve this matter, seeing as I will only be stateside for one month. Fortunately I still have 2 months left on my warranty, so it shouldn’t cost me anything but postage to return it. I hope Amazon can work a miracle and replace my Kindle before I return to China. 

Buses. Earlier in this blog I reported that buses in Wuhan are a paragon of efficiency, even in the face of poor maintenance. Seldom did I see a bus broken down the side of the road till around two weeks ago. Now I seem to see a broken down bus nearly every time I go out. I’ve even been on one or two buses that have broken down, most recently yesterday. Not one but two of the buses I rode yesterday broke down. I guess that poor maintenance I talked about in It Finally Happened, posted April of last year is starting to show.

Cellphone. Kindle. Buses. All random deaths. These next were not so random. In fact, I was instrumental in causing them. I guess you could say I am a mass murderer.

You see, the school finally made good on installing window screens. I’m not talking about shabbily made, back alley, claims-to-be-a-craftsman-but-is-really-just-someone’-relative made screens. These are top of the line, spring-loaded, retractable devices engineered at some facility, custom made to fit my windows and doors, and installed by licensed dealers. I’m talking really nice screens.

Prior to this installation my apartment was besieged by mosquitoes… as you might remember from when I told you about the coolest bed I’ve ever slept in, last month. Even burning a mosquito coil at dusk did not deter these pests. They were free to fly in or out of the house at will. And they did.

With the window screens installed, the mosquitoes were trapped inside my apartment. At dusk, just when they started their recognizance flyabouts I lit a mosquito coil and put it in the office, closing the door behind me. The rest of the house I bombed.

Holding my breath, I ran through the house spraying a noxious-fumed, toxic to humans spray guaranteed to kill flying pests. With the last of my air seeping out of my lungs, I ran into the office and slammed the door shut. After giving the spray time to dissipate – I had left the windows open and the screens shut, I went to check on the results.

Oh, the carnage! With the windows screened, the mosquitoes had no place to escape to. The floors were literally carpeted with dead mosquitoes. By the patio doors and on the window sills the slaughter was most evident. I could not estimate the number of flying vampires I deliberately killed with my wanton act of spraying. I spent this morning sweeping them up. I had to empty the dustpan after each room, such was the detritus.  

This evening I enjoy a virtually mosquito free dwelling. There are still a few that flew in when I opened the front door earlier, but the mosquito coil I’m burning is taking care of those. I don’t have near the swarm to deal with, like I’ve had since spring began.

NOTE: I was going to title this entry I Am a Mass Murderer just for shock value, to really grab your attention. But then, I thought of how the government computers scan for such words as murder, terrorist, and weapons and decided I did not want that close a scrutiny into this harmless narrative. At least not by the National Security Agency. I hope you will scrutinize closely.      

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