“Experts warned that the dust storms carry harmful chemicals, such as sulfate, as well as compounds containing cadmium, aluminum, lead, nickel, copper and arsenic. To protect themselves from the sandy winds, people are advised to stay indoors and keep windows closed, especially the elderly and children. While outdoors, they should carry umbrellas, and after returning home, they must wash themselves and gargle, because the particles in the wind could trigger irritations in the eyes, skin and respiratory organs.”

Seoul is enshrouded, enfolded, entombed, in a choking cloud of dust from the growing deserts of Northern China, the Hoang-sa, the Yellow Sand. This, to put it bluntly, sucks major ass. As if the clouds of reeking industrial effluent weren’t enough, now we’re left squinting through veils of yellowish dust to boot. Elementary and middle schools are closed, parents are being warned to keep their children in the house, old people are being advised not to breathe for a few days. My nose, as I sit here, is streaming, as it has been all day, my eyes red, throat afire. If the swirling clouds weren’t so irritating to my mucous membranes, I might enjoy them, in the same shivery, mock-fearful way that I enjoyed fog banks as a child, staring into them, alive to the potential mystery and the sheer strange wonder of it all.
But I’m old, and cranky, and I just want it to go away. Now. But at least my students were amused when I stopped at 15 minute intervals in most of my classes today, shook a mock-tragic, operatic Shatnerian fist at the sky, and roundly cursed China for even existing.
They just said on MBC news that’s it’s going to be worse tomorrow. Thrillsville, daddy-o.