TIC – otherwise known as ‘This is China’ is used for moments that cannot be explained in any other way. China has idiosyncrasies that are baffling, bewildering and (to keep the b alliteration ball rolling) boggling. Sometimes I think that logic just plain does not exist. Or that its morphed into a new species of logic that doesn’t line up with Western logic, therefore resulting in both parties finding the other highly illogical. As a disclaimer though…I do find this wonderfully interesting and every so often I DO get the method behind what I perceive as madness.
To get one with it…a lovely TIC moment was had Tuesday of this week. I was packing up to leave the school, it was about 4:30pm when I heard commotion from the second floor. Commotion is not unusual so it really didn’t even peak my interest UNTIL I got downstairs. Jenn’s classroom had turned into a literal circus, complete with running, yelling and a waterworks display. According to Jenn this is how it all went down: Her pipes were leaking. Damn it…need to back up again! Our ‘new’ school came complete with a century old heating system. Silver pipes snake along the walls of our classrooms and coil into bulky heating units under our windows. They are then filled up with water (when the state controlled central heating turns on that is) and heated up by the coal pumping plant in our backyard. You know your classroom will be warm when you see black smoke billowing past your window. This system is problematic for several reasons. 1. It looks ugly 2. its awkward for placing furniture against 3. It gets hot to the touch (hello..school? children?) and 4. It leaks. O.k! Back to leaking. That had been the precipice of our problems regarding the water pipe heating until this lovely Tuesday afternoon. The guard was in Jenn’s room fixing the small leak when suddenly, abruptly and instantaneously it exploded. The lid was blown off the pipe and with the speed and strength of a fire engine hose black, oily water shot straight at the ceiling and bucketed down on top of the students desks. The guard paused, looked at the fountain for a couple seconds of uncertainty and then took the plunge. He barricaded the flow with his body, pressing his hands over the pipe mouth and successfully managed to re-direct the water onto himself. Then chaos ensued. The cleaning ladies entered running with buckets, mops and screeching voices, Dave rummaged through tubing in the science lab until he found something wide enough to direct the flow of water, Edgar sprinted from classroom to classroom trying to find the taps that shut off the water, Catherine, Jenn, Kim and myself dragged kids desks away from the ‘heater’ fountain and threw garbage bags over Jenn’s desk. Then I used Jenn’s camera to capture a few minutes of video. It felt rude to film it at the time but you just HAVE to catch those moments on camera if possible! The Ayees’s filled close to 10 big garbage cans with water and dumped it out the window before the taps were finally turned off about 20 minutes later. Can you imagine the chaos if this had happened with students there!?! It was bad enough with somewhat competent adults. Jenn’s classroom was left damp and soggy for two days while the carpet was ripped up and dried outside.
Can you say This Is China?