Monday, January 22, 2007

to sprint or not to sprint?

Yet another bus tale. . .I promise this will be my last.

It's Monday morning and I'm walking down the alley next to my apartment building. I can see the main road and I hear the grumble of a bus coming down the street. Please don't be my bus, I think. I see it roll past. . .the 749. My bus. Shit.

I now have one of two choices. I can continue walking and miss the bus-resulting in a 20 minute, freezing cold wait for the next one. Or I can book it. Do my fastest 200 meter dash since middle school gym class. If I opt to run for it, there are two outcomes:

1. I make it onto the bus, relieved and panting.

2. I make it to the bus stop, huffing and puffing, as the bus pulls away from the curb and I'm left in a cloud of fuel exhaust while everyone at the bus stop stares at me, "The Foreigner." I then try to catch my breath, which takes awhile, cuz, let's face it, the only time I ever sprint (or exercise, for the matter) is if I am chasing a bus. All the while I'm trying to act cool and pretend that I'm not totally pissed that I missed the bus and made an ass of myself in the process. In fact, it was precisely what I meant to do.

Since it's a bitterly cold morning, as most winter mornings in Beijing are, I decide to make a run for it. Usually things go in my favor. Chinese bus drivers are generally not the passive aggressive types. If they see someone coming they don't step on the gas with a little smirk of gratification on their faces. Quite often they will wait. But this wasn't the case for me. I was left in the dust, looking like an idiot.

The funny thing I've noticed about Chinese people, is that the only time I EVER see them running is if they are chasing a bus. I don't see them so much as jogging in the park. If they are in the crosswalk and the light is about to change and their is a dump truck barreling down upon them, they continue to stroll along without a care in the world. I think I'll never fully understand these people.

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