Thursday, February 02, 2006

English to get some angst out

Something I really enjoyed and loved about this country died tonight, and I feel like shit about it.
One thing I loved about this country is that people shared basketballs. I know it is vain and stupid, but it was something I really liked. People just seemed to trust their basketball being freely used by people. I thought that was a really great thing.
So, I ended up joining along in assuming that if my ball was gone, it was being used by someone practicing or whatever.
The worst part is that I look stupid, emphatically stupid, in one more sentence…
So…I bought a new basketball yesterday…
The price was not exactly steep, same as the US. However, being that I am trying to live off of a touch more than $3 a day, a $15 loss hits the pride a bit.
What hurts are the shards of rose-colored glasses.
In Shanghai, I saw a taxi man try to convince a girl to go with him to another airport when he heard she had a transfer. Of course, she did not have to change airports, but I am sure he would have accepted payment to get back.
In Bangkok, I was fleeced of my money, albeit in a benign manner (hard to explain), and there were no hard feelings, but it definitely showed the cities dark nature.
In America, countless experiences of voided empathy, and ditto with Mexico.
Someone, for some reason, I ignored that in Taiwan. I heard stories; I saw the litter. I watched the drivers. But those all seemed to be vague stories of a lack of empathy towards society, not the direct sort of malice that out and out theft requires.
I think I ignored it for many reasons.
Firstly, I wanted to believe. I loved the idea that I could not worry about stupid things like that, and I did not want that to go away.
Secondly, the foreigners here are really jaded, far too jaded. I did not want to be like that, I really did not want to be like that. I did not want to hate my home. Hate my neighbors.
The other day, I saw a foreigner talk to a Taiwanese woman that tried to cut in front of him in line (a common occurrence). He spoke Chinese, but he instead said in English “Hey, you old f—king snapper head, yeah you, yeah, back off…”
Part of me liked it, because what she was doing was wrong, and it’s a common problem. But most of me thought “if you really feel that way, seriously man, leave.”
And that is common to a really large degree. Not all yell at ignorant Taiwanese, but a lot of people are really angry.
Trust me, there is enough hate to go around.
Some Taiwanese love foreigners. A lonely single white guy here is really doing something vastly wrong. They would love to speak English with you. In fact, I think many prefer the foreigner that does not learn Chinese, because they can use their English.
But other Taiwanese hate foreigners. They hate that foreigners get paid ludicrous money to speak their native language. They hate that they don’t have the same option. They hate that a loser foreigner is now a superstar here. They hate that foreigners are bigger. They hate that they love foreign things.
The worst thing is I cannot blame them. I see a foreigner here, and I automatically distrust them. I often look down on them. And for some reason, I think I am less foreign. But of course that is not even vaguely true, I stand out completely here.
I don’t want to be apart of that hate, but man I want to be angry. I want to fight. I want to debate. I want to go into that cynical darkness that I called high school. But I can’t do that.
I can’t do that because that is what starts so much of the dumb stuff that happens in this world. A stomach turning majority of the bad things in this world are just indirect responses to other bad things.
I want to pay forward the good, and be a dam for the bad.
But man can it be hard. I think especially because this was symbolic. Especially because right now is their holiday, and I am not invited. I have not family to eat with, I have no one to play Mahjong with. All of them will come back, but this is supposed to be the best time to be in China, and it has been, unquestionably, my hardest.
And of course, its over that same holiday that I lose a $15 ball and want to take my receipt, cry for mom, and go home.
To be fair, I feel almost fine now. Typing out this has been good, understanding why something so little dug so deep.
Typing this out has been good also because I wrote out the line that I want to stop this kind of idiocy, not be a part of it, and it felt like it should, just right.

On another note, I am damn glad I did not buy the nice ball I was thinking about buying.

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