How I Know I’m Not in New York (Part 8)

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August 1, 2013
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August 8, 2013
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“To Fan or Not To Fan”

My Romanian friend Remus came to my office the other day.

“Hi, Remus. Have a seat.”


“How are you?”

“I’ve been better.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Hey, do you mind?”

“What are you doing?”

“Turning off the fan.”

“Are you joking? It’s 40 degrees out there. The air conditioner is broken.”

“Yes, well….”

“That’s the only thing keeping me alive.”

“But it’s blowing right at me.”

“Yes, I know. It feels good.”

“I don’t want to get sick.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The fan.”

“What about it?”

“The fan.  You know.”

“No, I don’t know.”

“The fan is on. It’s blowing right at me.”

“Yes, it’s supposed to.”

“No. It’s not good. The current.”

“The current? What do you mean, the current?”

“The current. It’s blowing right at me.”

“You mean the breeze? The life-saving breeze?”

“Yes. It’ll make me more sick.”

“Are you kidding me, Remus? I really can’t tell. Are you joking?”

“No. I have a sore throat. I don’t want it to get worse.”

“I’m sorry, I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Look, you have all the windows open. There’s a current blowing through. That’s bad enough.”

“What’s bad enough?

“The current.”

“You mean the draft?”


“This draft that hardly exists?”

“It will get you sick.”

“That’s ridiculous! I can barely feel it. In the US, we pay extra for rooms with a breeze.”


“A breeze will not get you sick!”

“Of course, it will. Besides, you remember that heavy rain a few weeks ago?”


“My feet got wet and the next thing I knew, I had a sore throat. I don’t want it to get worse.”

“You got sick?”


“From wet feet?”


“In the summer?”


“No. Wait. Wait. Remus! Seriously? You’re joking, right?”

“No. That’s true.”

“So what do you do when you go swimming? Keep your feet out of the pool?”

“Don’t be silly. That’s different.”

“No, no, no. be serious. You can’t mean it.”

“What’s so funny? I don’t feel well.”

“I’m sorry. Ok. I don’t mean to tease you.”

“Yes. Thanks.”

“But god, it is hot.”

“It’s canicula, you know.”

“Yes, I’ve heard.”

“It’ll be here all week.”

“You know, I don’t understand. The word means “little dog.”

“Yes, that’s right. Little hot dog.”

“Remus, that’s very funny. That was a good one. But you know, you shouldn’t be speaking if your throat is so sore.”

“Yes, it hurts.”

“Listen, you want a cold drink?”

“My friend, why are you teasing me?”


“A cold drink?”


“You’re teasing me, right?”

“No, it’ll help cool you off.”

“With my sore throat?”


“That will only make it worse.”

“No, it will make it feel better.”

“No, it will get me more sick.”

“What do you mean?”

“Everyone knows that.”

“Stop, you’re being silly.”

“Silly?! Me?!”

“Yes, you always say I’m the delicate one. But listen to you.”

“Wait, wait! What?!”

“Yes. Look at you. A little breeze from a fan will give you a cold. You got your big toe wet so you have a sore throat. And now you tell me, a cold drink is bad.”

“Oh, you should not talk.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at what you do.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Every time you go somewhere, the first thing you do is wash your hands.”

“That’s not true.”

“Just yesterday. When we met for coffee. The first thing you did was wash your hands.”

“Well, I took the subway. You have to hold on to that pole…and then push the button.


“The germs on those things. That’s not being silly.”

“And then when you wash your hands, you  use a towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.”

“Well, I…”

“And you never drink out of a glass at a bar, only the bottle.”


“Right. And how about at lunch the other day? When that guy shook your hand.”

“Yes. So?”

“You wouldn’t start eating again until you left and washed your hands.”

“Well, sure.”


“His hand was all sweaty.”

“He was your friend.”

“I don’t care who he was. His hand was all sweaty.”

“Just wipe it on your napkin.”

“And then pick up my sandwich? And put that in my mouth? Are you joking? That’s disgusting.”

“Yes, you see who is delicate?”

“Me? Don’t be silly!”

“Oh, why, my friend? Will those things get you sick?”

“Remus, ok.”

“And you don’t want to get sick?”

“All right. All right.”

“So now who is silly?”

“Remus, ok. Go sit over there. Just turn on the damned fan!”

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