Saturday, November 12, 2011

Letting go

I lost a big wedge of cash at the start of the week – carelessly dropped it out of my pocket. (I’d been on my way to a meeting with a potential new landlord, and had been intending to use it as a deposit. So much for that plan!)

On realising this fact, the immediate physical reaction was potent – not quite nausea, but a devastating sinking of the stomach and a wobbliness at the knees. But quite soon, I got a grip on myself, and I thought…. Well, you’ve only yourself to blame. And there’s nothing you can do about it now. And, after all, it is only money. Far worse things can happen.

Before long, I was almost feeling cheerful about it: I must have made someone’s day, and they might well make better use of the cash than I would have done.

As Tom Waits put it….


Froog said...

Money's just something you throw
Off the back of a train

I've always loved that line!

Anonymous said...

Why not trade it all tomorrow for the highway instead?

Wow, I started visiting here I think about a couple of years ago so that 2007 post, I missed it, wow, just wow.

I think I understand why you are taking this so well.

Froog said...

The highway is always calling. I just need to disencumber myself of some stuff (throw some more money away!), and make a plan of where I want to go.

And yes, that thing back in '04 was the defining moment of my China experience. It's hard to recover a positive view of the country after that. (The guy who did the attack I could sympathise with and understand, to some extent. But my taxi driver was really a bit of cunt - more concerned about loss of earnings (which I'd offered to reimburse) than saving someone's life. And a lot of other people involved that night, or commenting on it subsequently... gave me a bad impression of Chinese compassion. The one exception I remember is that the lady who ran the pool hall we were in gave me some napkins to press on to my friend's wounds as we were leaving. And didn't ask for the money for the table. I went back a day or two later to try and pay, and found the place had been closed down - the only action the police took in the case. I feel bad about destroying their business like that - but this is China. The authorities get an ant in their arse about something and... there goes your livelihood.)

Anonymous said...

When I was reading that story I immediately thought of how hard it would be to get a chinese cab driver to pick up a bloody passenger. The ones I talked to all seemed to work 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, and knowing China, would not want to lose 30 minutes of that time cleaning out their cab even if it meant saving someone's life.

China is equally fascinating and f(&ked up. Eh, sadly, it's probably more f&*ked up than it is fascinating.

Froog said...

Yes, getting someone to stop was a minor miracle.

The guy subsequently tried to extort a huge sum of money out of me - several thousand kuai, I think. So I asked a Chinese friend to call his cab company and ask how much it would cost to clean the rear seat thoroughly; they said they could replace it for a few hundred (though I suspect they would probably just dry-clean the seat covers; not very hygienic). I gave him about another thousand on top (all I had at the time) to cover a night's lost earnings. But he wasn't very happy; nearly go in a standup fight with me just outside the Emergency Room.

Not a happy set of memories.