Sunday, April 8, 2012


I yell at drivers a lot. If I were in the States, most people would allow that the offenses for which I raise my voice warrant it. But I'm not in the States and while the rules of the road are supposed to be basically the same - i.e. don't threaten to run over pedestrians - they aren't enforced. I can't decide if my semi-regular outrage should be classified as "teaching moments" or just loud, bitchy behavior. 

Either way, I'm probably not going to quit. I get a little satisfaction getting my blood up. The other day a group of us were walking in a crosswalk (we had the green man) and an old lady was walking in the opposite direction when a black Audi aggressively rolled into the zebra stripes honking, not far from this old lady's path.

Me in English: What's wrong with you? Why would you do that? 

The man in the Audi stares  as I cross his car. I yell at him until we get to the curb. He continues to stare. I switch to Chinese:

"You did it because you don't have any manners!"

He immediately looks away. All the mouthing off I do has been like a mini cultural case study: Invariably, the drivers I yell at look confused, or laugh or pretend not to notice. Chinese culture dictates that it's never cool to lose your cool, and so when some crazy white lady yells at you, you just let it go. There was this one time James and I had been waiting for a cab a long time. Several minutes after us, a couple men show up on the sidewalk. Finally, a cab rolls up and James and I turn toward it. The guys turn toward it as well and start walking quickly, so we shamelessly break into a run and beat them to the doors, after which I turn and cackle ... followed by expletive. They shuffle off, no reaction whatsoever. 

Not once has someone dished it back to me. I'll admit this emboldens me. I wouldn't be so easily wound up if I were in the States and knew someone might pull a gun on me. I have to enjoy it while it lasts.

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