Walking to work this morning I was whistling. Not a particularly great song (one of the top 40 pop hits that’s not particularly great), when somebody glanced over their shoulder. Balefully.
A second later he turned around again and shook his head, indicating I should stop whistling. He pointed up at the sky and said what I think was ‘Tenger’. So I apologized, and stopped (although I’ll confess that a hundred metres down the road I caught myself absent-mindedly whistling again).
I’ve read in different places that it’s not culturally appropriate to whistle inside a building – but this was the first encounter I’d had with the belief outside. It may have been relevant that it was a windy morning – I’m not sure.
UPDATE 1/04/2013: Yesterday it dumped more snow than I’ve seen at once in Ulaanbaatar – a good two inches of it, all over the streets.
This morning, walking home from the gym, the street sweeper who lives near my building wanted to say something. A few days ago I’d been whistling, and he’d said something that I’d understood to be to ‘don’t whistle’.
Today, he said something that I understood as (again, this is my loose interpretation/guess based on a few words and some contextual understanding): ‘Remember when you whistled? Now look!’
He has my sympathy, because there’s a lot of snow, and one of his jobs seems to be getting rid of it. I’m also intrigued at what it would be like to live in a world … or to believe in something like that. I find it far enough from how I think about things (or at least, how I think I think about things) that I have no real idea of what it would be like.