Life in a Hong Kong high-rise

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There's something unnatural about living on the 46th floor of a building. This is, however, the location of the Tall's current home.

In a previous article, I've described how precious space is in most Hong Kong people's flats. Here I'd like to discuss of few more consequences of high-rise living.

I was thinking today: how many weeks -- months, even -- has it been since my feet have touched dirt -- that is, unpaved, honest soil? City-dwellers the world over can go a long time without coming into much contact with nature, but in Hong Kong it's particularly easy. This is despite the fact that built-up areas cover only about 10-20% of Hong Kong's territory, so no matter where you are, you can see green mountains standing free of the city. You'd think that people crammed into 50-story blocks of flats would be stampeding to these hills to escape their claustrophobic day-to-day lives, but such is not the case. Most of Hong Kong's excellent hiking trails are gloriously deserted.

Another characteristic of the high-rise life is the preoccupation one develops with lifts. Waiting for them is hateful, of course, so time-saving mechanisms must be developed. My own specialty is rushing out of our flat with my shoes untied, hitting the lift button, and then tying my shoes as a lift comes up. This is very sensible, but does turn mildly embarrassing when a lift comes too quickly, and I'm left asswards-up, trying madly to finish off my knots before I must hop in.

Finally, the high-rise dweller must guard against another manifestation of potential hubris: high-floor pride. By this I mean the looking-down, both literally and figuratively, upon those who live on lower floors than you do. The fact that you live on the 30th floor, and someone else lives on the 15th, does not make you twice the man that he is. I'm sure this is somehow related to driving bright red sports cars and being fascinated with intercontinental ballistic missiles, but I'll leave it to some Freudian out there to work it all out.