In my previous column I said the recent dry air has made my whole body itch. Last week, on two occasions, I went to a pharmacy to buy skin cream for my itch. Both pharmacies I went to, in Tseung Kwan O and Central, belong to the same pharmacy chain. There are only two major pharmacy chains in Hong Kong. Both stores had a device at the entrance to check the temperature of people entering. These devices are called thermal scanners or infrared palm thermometers. The device checks the temperature of people by scanning their palm or forehead.
A pharmacy is a store that sells prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as other things, such as cosmetics. They are called drug stores in the US. A chain store is one of a group of stores with the same name and owned by the same company. Chain stores sell similar things and have a similar look. I scanned my hand when I entered the chain store in Tseung Kwan O. It gave two beeps instead of one. People around me gasped in horror, making me feel like a walking virus. To "gasp in horror" means to suddenly inhale (breathe in) because you are shocked or surprised.
A "walking virus" is an informal term I made up to mean a human walking who is infected with a virus. It is common for fluent English speakers to make up slang expressions. There were also two beeps when I scanned my hand on the infrared palm thermometer at the Central chain store. What the people who gasped in horror didn't know was the temperature device beeped twice because I had a low temperature, not a high one indicating a fever. My temperature is always a bit low. A doctor I asked told me different people have different normal temperatures. Some are a bit above 37 degrees and some are a bit below. I don't know why this particular chain store device gives two beeps when other stores give only one beep for low temperatures.
在上一個專欄中，我說最近乾燥的空氣令我渾身發癢。上星期，為了止癢我分別去了兩次藥房（pharmacy）去買潤膚霜。我去的那兩間藥房（pharmacies）在將軍澳和中環，附屬於同一連鎖藥房（pharmacy chain）。在香港，只有兩大連鎖藥房（pharmacy chains）。那兩間分店在入口處都設有為顧客量體溫的儀器。這些體溫探測器叫做thermal scanners（熱像體溫探測儀）或infrared palm thermometers（紅外線手掌測溫儀），這些儀器可透過掃描人的手掌或額頭，探測其體溫。
A pharmacy就是售賣處方或非處方藥物的藥房，也有售賣其他貨物如化妝品。它們在美國會叫drug stores。A chain store就是同一家公司持有、有着相同店名的連鎖店。連鎖店舖（chain stores）所賣的東西相似，店面亦相近。我進入將軍澳那間連鎖店（chain store）時，伸手掃過測溫儀，它發出兩下聲響而非一下，身邊的人都gasped in horror，令我覺得自己像個walking virus。To“gasp in horror”意即因為震驚或訝異而倒抽（inhale）一口涼氣。
A“walking virus”並非正式的用語，是我作的，用來形容感染了病毒的人，就像一個「活病毒」般四處行走。操流利英語的人很常會創作一些俚語的說法。當我在中環那間連鎖店（chain store），伸出手掌掃過那紅外線手掌測溫儀（infrared palm thermometer）時，同樣是兩下響聲。那些因驚訝而倒抽一口涼氣（gasped in horror）的人所不知道的是，那測溫儀響了兩聲，其實是因為我體溫低，而非顯示發燒的高溫。我的體溫常常偏低。我曾問過的一位醫生告訴我，不同人有不同的正常體溫，有些人會稍高於三十七度，另一些人則會稍低。我不知道為何獨獨這連鎖店的儀器，測到低溫會響兩下，而其他店舖的只會響一下。中譯：七刻
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧