My Internet cable.
I arrive at office, switch on the computer and… no Internet signal.
“Well, maybe the government decided that today is unsafe to check our emails and wants to protect us…” I think while I identify myself with Aureliano Buendia, who never fought with c.e.n.s.o.r.s.h.i.p but, I’m sure, would have lose again…
Then I see the yellow stain behind the monitor and a suspect arises on my mind:
“Maybe I shouldn’t blame the government for c.e.n.s.u.r.i.n.g our Internet connection this time, maybe…”
And then I notice my almonds have disappeared. Yes, now I’m almost sure of what’s going on.
But I need a proof!
I then proceed to check my Ethernet CAT5e UTP 10/100. It may seems a simple task to you, but I share the office with twenty people, that is my cable is thirty meters long and spreads all along the office through desks, air-conditioners, tons of documents and our beloved deposit of 开水 (kāishuǐ), that is the hot water we use to fill up our teapots.
After twenty minutes of investigation, I unravel the mystery… Someone nibbled my cable!
“Yeah, Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of me,” I think before to scream:
“老鼠回了” Rats are back!
Oh, it was a long time they didn’t eat my Internet cable, almost three months…
Some of my coworkers come to check out the situation… it’s always like that, they would never believe me: they are not 坏人 (huàirén), I know they sort of like me and always make their best to help me. However, I’ve noticed Chinese people often assume a paternalistic attitude towards white devils that still don’t master Mandarin. It is difficult to explain, but I would summarize it as “Let’s check if the silly 老外 (lǎowài) understood what’s going on this time.”
At the end everybody comes to check check my cable. They agree with me:
Pan maybe thinks I’m upset because also last time I was the lucky one, that is the rats always choose to nibble my cable: he puts his hand on my shoulder – ah! he0’s such a paternalistic – and explains to me for the second time in three months:
“You see, the rats have their house inside the air-conditioner, I think they like air conditioned because it’s fresher on summer.”
I’m tempted to argue with him. I mean, the air-conditioner spits fresh air but inside there is a motor so it must be damn hot… Two years ago I would have definitely told him:
“Pan, have you ever tried to touch the motor of your f*cking fridge? Is that fresh? Because mine is damn HOT!” But I’m learning to preserve harmony (or trying at least) so I agree with him:
“Yeah, rats really like the air-conditioned, isn’t it? Sorry Pan but I need to go washing my hand ’cause I’ve been touching cables for last twenty minutes and now my hands are full of rats shit!”
He lets me go.
When I come back I find him and Bo that are working at the air-conditioner: they had already opened it and discovered that yeah, rats are back and have been amassing food with great efficiency: I can see my almonds… I almost get them back, just for showing to Fievel and his little friends who is the boss…
I ask to the guys:
“Hey, what about I buy some poison?”
Pan looks at me disapproving, puts again his hand on my shoulder and proceeds to explain:
“You see, we could put the poison, but it’s not the right solution. Rats will die inside the air-conditioner and poison our air…”
I’m thinking “Well, we could check every week and remove the died rats” but before I can talk, he keeps going:
“You see, we cannot fight against nature. If we cannot beat rats, maybe we should learn to live with them,” he concludes with a big smile.
I guess Pan has been reading too much new age Confucianism…
I decide the only way to preserve harmony is to leave, so I go home and write the following email to my boss:
the rats ate my Internet cable again. I went to work home.