2.20.2010

Lining up in China

We hate them. But we need them. Without them it’s just a mass of people pushing to be first. Everywhere we go in America we are lined up and it’s; fair, just, and orderly. In America the line is important, it symbolizes who got there first and, who, in turn gets to be helped first.

China is nothing like this, or I should say, many times it’s not like this. When I first moved to China, I would be lying if I said that people cutting in line wasn’t one of the more difficult things about living here. For example, I would be shopping for groceries (like all tough and confident men do) and I would pull my cart around to the checkout counter. I would be there for a few minutes when from the corner of my eye a “creeper” would appear. Slowly they would walk towards my line, pretending not to see me and my cart already there and then all the sudden they would move their cart in front of mine as if I wasn’t there.

The first few times this happened I felt violated. Wasn’t I here? Am I not a person? Who gives you the right to cut me off?

It can be even worse when you’re waiting for a taxi outside in the cold or rain. Someone will walk up to where you’re waiting for a taxi, also wanting to catch one. But after a minute of being there they slowly slip away down the street closer to oncoming traffic and also in a better position to catch the first available taxi. Jockeying for taxi position or “taxi hoping” (as I like to call it) can be maddening. The best is when you out do them and just walk even further down the road then them (or as I will now call it “regaining the lead”).

But my point is this; line cutting is a violation of the human spirit. (Is that too over the top?) OK, maybe that's a bit extreme.

When I first moved to China and I would have a person cut me off in line, I would get so furious, so upset and so angry. But China has its way of breaking down even the toughest of men (even the kind that go grocery shopping). After a while I just began to realize that, you know what, there’s more important things in life then getting upset about a line jumper. Some days I forget that, but most days I can tell my attitude is changing, which is good.

If you’re planning on coming to China a word to you is this, beware of the lines!

Enjoy this day,
Matt

What are some of your pet peeves?

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2 comments:

Red Apple said...

Did you get to talk to the person who cut you? I could have smashed his face if that happens to me.

But good thing about you saying your attitude is changing.. Patience is a virtue indeed.

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the petersons said...

Sometimes when people try and take our taxi we will shut them down. But most times now I just let it slide (if I can). Smashing people's faces seems like a good option though. LOL!