Monday, December 2, 2013

Why I Love China

Yes, there are days that are beyond frustrating. And then something like this happens.

I'm having lunch with a friend when I realize that the strap across my shoe has come apart and it's hanging off my shoe with the button dangling by a thread. I pull the button off and put it in my pocket, starting to walk home.

I'm stopped by a policeman. (Normally, that kind of sentence might strike fear into one's heart, but the lack of guile in most Chinese on the street -- even those in the uniforms -- brings a sense of trust that I don't think I've found anywhere else.) He points to my foot and, I assume, tells me my shoe is falling apart.

That's another thing about China: everyone minds everyone's business. That is, unless they've fallen and are hurt on the street. But gain a few pounds, get a haircut or need a haircut, wear something too warm for hot day or, much worse, too cool for a cold day and you will hear about it. I think it's considered a general public service.

Anyway, I thank the cop and tell him I know my shoe is broken and go on my way.

Twenty feet down the street is a little stand which offers shoe repair, bike repair, and probably assorted other services. I hobble over to the guy, hand him my shoe, sit on his tiny stool in the pale near-winter sun, and wait as he sews the button and strap back on my shoe.

Done. It costs me 5 RMB. That's 82 cents. Doesn't seem like much, but that same 5-kuai note could also buy me a jianbing (with change leftover), or two baozhis, or a small baked sweet potato on the street. So basically the guy just earned his lunch.

Does an 82-cent shoe repair mean I want to stay here forever? No, but it certainly makes things a little nicer in the meantime. 

1 comment:

  1. one thing let to another, then to your blog...
    "everyone minds everyone's business. That is, unless they've fallen and are hurt on the street"...haha, good one