Tuesday, June 16, 2015
today i held open the door a little listening for the water delivery man. he stopped several times on landings. when he got to the top i saw he was a woman, in calf-length jeans, sweating and hefting the two huge jugs down onto the doorstep. she had delivered to us once before. she was muscled but not as massive as the average man in such work. she did the same work with fewer muscles: she is tougher. i asked if anyone had referred to her as 'nu hanzi,' something like 'female tough guy.' she laughed and said, maybe one or two. when i handed her the money, plus two extra yuan for the five floor climb, a tip we have pushed on the delivery people, she wiped her forehead and said, 'i feel bad.' (bu hao yisi). no, i said, that is tough work.