This is in your air, Beijing

During the summer, we leave our windows open to lessen the pain of baking in a concrete oven. While our apartment becomes cooler, it also becomes dirtier, even though we have screens on our windows and live on the 11th floor. Every week, I sweep up the mess, a dirty affair that takes about an hour.

An hour for a space that is about the size of the average American closet. A space I don’t even actually use.

Eventually I gave up on this losing battle and decided to just wait until the end of summer to do it all at once. It’s not like I ever ventured over there except to clean it. So I ignored it until this past weekend. The mess was pretty horrific:

Sweeping

How gross is that? That is the dust and soot that collected on the floor of our little living room alcove, a space of about 1.5 by 4 meters, in the last month of summer. That stuff floats around in the air of Beijing. We are breathing it! And I let that sit next to my living room. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s bad enough after just one week; why did I think a whole month would be OK? I’m sorry. Never again.

I hate you, Beijing.

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