I like extreme weather. It’s something that unites us, regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status, etc: “How about that hail storm last night?!”
Similarly, I don’t want Siberia during summer, nor the Sahara during winter. I want “the Real McCoy.” So during a downpour few days ago, I mentioned to a Hong Kong native that, well, I wouldn’t mind tasting a real typhoon. Not that I want death and destruction; just a good story to tell.
It’s now Monday night, and I’m tasting my first typhoon: an 8 on a scale of 10.
I first got word in late afternoon that my evening class was cancelled. At an 8, I’m told, civil servants are sent home, and schools shut down. The Hong Kongers, though, played it cool. Sure, the supermarket lines were enormous, and the subway staff was managing traffic down below. But most residents strolled and chatted on their cell phones as if nothing were amiss.
Like others, I stocked a few supplies: water, sushi and almond cookies. I then headed up to my apartment to watch the show. Yet I was tad nervous: I’m now on the 22nd floor of an unusually scrawny building. Each of the 24 floors has a single apartment like mine, measuring a measly 290 square feet.
Not surprisingly, then, I’m swaying. The wind is whistling through the closed windows, in gust after gust. Rain is pelting the glass of the great big bay window that convinced me to rent the place. (“What a view of the skyline and mountaintops!”) I’ve placed a glass of water beside me, just to watch the ripples. I’ve seen TV footage of some downed trees and fallen neon signs.
My father just skyped to ask at what point I should head to the typhoon shelter. Shelter? For some reason, that’s a question I forgot to ask the property agent. At least Letterman’s on, which is strangely comforting.
Anyway, I’m confident that the HK architects, with all their years of experience, have built this place to bend. But not break. I hope.