At Beijing airport, I get in a taxi, and when hearing the destination, the driver starts muttering. I’m not at all surprised, because I’ve been in similar situations way too often, although I don’t really understand why: from the airport to my place, I will spend over 70 yuan, and yet obviously, for the driver, this is far below their expectation.
I understand that it’s hard for drivers to line up, and I understand their desire to make some money; they generally tell me, if the airport staff asked me where I was going, and I said Wang Jing, they would go back to the airport directly, and not need to queue again. I couldn’t refuse, and obviously I wouldn’t want to lie, but fortunately, up untill now, the airport staff never asked me directly when I sat in the queue, and so I could pretend not to hear.
Most of the drivers accept the situation, although they are unhappy, but some do criticize me: why did I not take the bus, did I have to get in line for a taxi? When I encounter a driver like that, I tell them: it’s my right to choose what transport I want. After that, there will be silence between us, the atmsophere in the cab will get tense, the driver will press the accelerator, and my body start to shake. But of course, I don’t worry about it: even if the driver is unhappy, they still won’t put their car and life in danger for it.
Only, my mood is really affected. Originally, the relation between the driver and me, was just one between a customer and a service provider: if we both played our role, we would both live in peace.
I consider that between the service provider and the customer of a service, the relationship should be equal, because this way, life is relatively simpler. And because of this, I find it particularly hard to understand when customers hiss and shout at waiters in a restaurant.
Two days ago, I flew from Shenzhen to Beijing; when the aircraft had just taken off, and the seat belt sign was not yet off, a great voice resounded in the cabin: “waiter, waiter”. A man sitting in a seat in front of me had already adjusted his seat in the reclining position, and waited until the flight attendant came to him, then very annoyed asked her to put away the shoes he had taken off. “We pay you, and you’re even able to do these few simple things?” the voice of the man, inside the dimly-lit cabin, seemed particularly harsh.
Seeing the flight attendant striving to maintain balance inside the rising aircraft, I lost hope a little. In fact, I wanted to shout at the man: the security signs have not yet been turned off, you cannot put your seat in reclining position yet, and the flight attendant cannot move around the cabin either. Of course, I don’t have that kind of courage, and I also believed that this was a situation the flight attendant could and should handle: tell the passenger that there are rules, that rules are strictly enforced, and that she doesn’t have to satisfy that kind of request. Of course, I also understood that this was business class, where many passengers have a sense of superiority, and flight attendants are requested to treat them as gods 一so relationships are unequal from the beginning. And so, even as finally the aircraft landed, this passenger’s seat was still in the reclining position, which according to my own travel experience is in breach of aviation safety rules. Of course, I don’t approve of this passenger’s behavior, but I’m also very disappointed by the flight attendant’sconciliatory attitude: very often, because they are unprofessional themselves, because they’re over-indulgent, or because they don’t want trouble, they make it even more difficult for themselves to gain respect.
In the airport shuttle bus, the radio was playing. It was obviously a station that the driver liked. I thought this would only happen in Shenzhen airport, but in Beijing, it was exactly the same. Listening to this broadcast of empty noise, I don’t know how other passengers were feeling, but I just find it a torture. I didn’t say anything, I put up with it, after all, for me, it is just five minutes in the shuttle bus. I also know that by writing this, some people will say that I’m making a fuss about nothing, or even that I’m lacking compassion, because the job of the driver is very boring, and drivers have a very low income, so why shouldn’t they listen to the radio to make it a bit more bearable? But I don’t know how many people will share my worries: won’t listening to the radio affect their concentration? There are too many accidents that occur through no more than a small distraction.
Many people think like that: everytime I mention similar experiences on weibo, I receive a lot of comments saying that I complain too much, saying I don’t understand mainland China, meaning that all of these things are not actually problems, that they’re original characteristics we should like and enjoy.
Because of the program’s networks and relations, every week, I take about two flights in between different mainland cities. Flight delays is something I have grown accustomed to, so much so that when the flight is close to the right time, it’s experienced as a pleasant surprise, like winning a prize. But actually, thinking about it, it’s about our own lack of reaction, our compromises, our acceptance of this as the reality. Only, if everyone accepts that nothing can be done about the problem of flight delays, then since passengers don’t really care, why would airlines bother improving things?
A few days ago, I took a taxi at Shenzhen airport. Four young people jumped the queue, the security officer shouted something, but seeing that there was no reaction from them, he just let it go. I didn’t want to let it go, so I shouted to stop them, and I tried to call the security manager, but my voice, in this noisy environment, was so weak, 就好像对着空气打出去的一拳，desperate, and even a little funny. And so, when the car with these four people in them passed in front of me, from across the glass, I lifted my middle finger at them; it was the first time in my life that I did this, I didn’t care if they understood why, I just wanted to let them know, and let the people around us know, that in this kind of circumstances, some people could get angry.
However, although I despise these people who only care about themselves, I was more angry at the security guard, because he didn’t do his job properly. And I was also very disappointed that, while I was shouting, the people lining up in the queue looked at these four young people getting in the taxi with complete indifference. Hey, everyone, why aren’t you angry as well ?