As a bizarre culmination to the catalogue of woes that beset me yesterday (every piece of technology I depend upon conspiring to let me down in sequence!), my computer clock surreptitiously reset itself an hour ahead.
As I whined by SMS to my buddy The Choirboy, with whom I had arranged an early-evening rendezvous...
"Oh no! I ran out of the house in a mad rush... and now I'm at the restaurant an hour early - with nothing to do but drink!!"
This might not seem such a terrible disaster for a chap like me, but.... I am trying NOT to drink at the moment - really.
And with the humidity around 80% or 90%, it was particularly unpleasant to be bustling along the streets in the mistaken belief that I was going to be late for dinner.
I am coming to believe that my computer was hacked yesterday. Much other havoc was wreaked, but changing its clock was a peculiarly subtle form of mischief!
But could my tormentor really have known that, because I'd been working (or trying to!) at my computer all day, this was the only clock I was paying attention to? Or that the smog in Beijing yesterday was so bad that it had been uniformly gloomy all day long, and it was thus impossible to recognise the time of day from the light level outside? Or that, having been frustrated in attempts to work for most of the day (first my e-mail account was frozen, then my computer refused to reboot for an hour or so), I had been furiously catching up with important e-mailing at the end of the afternoon and had completely lost track of time (might have been writing for one hour, or two, or three - really had no idea)?
I can laugh about it now. Yesterday evening I just wanted to headbutt a wall.