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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Getting on the Bus

Dammit, I just missed it. Now I gotta wait like an hour for the next one. Must be a hundred of those damn buses, but none of them come down here, they all stop at the top of the hill at the main gate. Well, screw it, I'll just read until the next one comes.

Honking. Always honking. No, I don't want your stupid cab, if I wanted a cab I would take one of the five idling in front of me, no need to sprint through oncoming traffic to grab your precious gem of a vehicle. Just standing here does not mean I need a cab, having white skin does not mean I am utterly lost and in need of your unhelpful "assistance." I swear, these cabbies. Like a honking horn communicates anything here, where everyone is always honking at something. If an alien race were observing the movements of cars in China, they would go insane trying to unravel the mysteries of the honk. "Yes, but what does it mean?!" they would cry, before throwing themselves into a space incinerator. It can mean get the hell outta the way, it can mean I'm backing up, it can mean I'm turning and don't want to break, and, apparently, it can be a proposition for a ride, a proffering of services, conditions of carriage. How can one sound mean so many things, the aliens would cry. Go insane trying to figure it out.

OK, looks like another one is coming. Jesus it's crowded today. Usually no one's on the bus down here, route starts just a half mile away. Ah well, here it comes ... and there it goes. Precision brakes on this well-maintained fleet. You'd think whoever owns these buses would hire competent drives and take care of the buses in what is clearly a low-profit-margin gig. But no, cattle cars with wheels, the steel plates that are technically floors rotting away beneath you, the engine encased in a womb of plastic right there in the middle of the bus for all to breath and smell. Pop one kuai in and it'll take me in to the city, me and thirty other people on a bus designed for fifteen. Sardines have it easy.

Up the hill, stopping at the main gate of campus. All these students going home for the May Day holiday. What'd Autumn say in class today? Like "Worker's Day" or something. Labor day, more or less. Or as the British say: Labour Day. Lotta students trying to get on this bus. No cabs here. Student's must've taken 'em. More crowded then usual. Ah, and the classic conundrum: do I offer my seat to the inevitable old lady that's going to get on, looking all helpless and predeceased? Or do I let one of the Chinese on the bus do the right thing? Screw it, I'm not giving up my seat. One of the other five men on the bus, young "men," students, so hip and bored with their finger-in-the-socket haircuts and painfully hip fashion that's so weird it feels like it's from some bad sci-fi movie, THEY can get off their ass and offer THEIR seat to the 老人. It's their goddamn country. Where's that veneration of elders when it counts?

No. If you don't give up your seat, you're just as bad as they are. What do you care if you stand? It's a twenty minute ride to the gym, you can read standing up. Be the bigger man. Set an example for them. Show them Americans, foreigners, take that respect of elders seriously, that we'll make those polite little sacrifices while the Chinese "men" on the bus sit there all smug and entitled, endlessly playing on their conspicuously-consumptive mobile phones. Show them how easy it is to be better.

Oh screw this. There must be forty people on this stupid bus. Their country, their old people, their problem. I'm staying in my damn seat.

1 comment:

Old Hollywood said...

hahahahahahahahahaha...but... I wonder how the BUS feels about all this...