Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hypocrite Party of 40?

I knew there was a reason why I get to the airport a little early when I'm in China.

I was just trying to get on my flight back to Kunming and right at the last moment before I had my spot in the check-in line, a Chinese lady slipped in from behind me. Let's call her lady #1.

I sighed a little but I was used to it in this country. No big deal really. Just one more person to wait for. I smiled to myself in amusement and waited a couple of minutes as the line slowly inched forward.

Then right before lady #1 got to the front of the line, 2 men came into the front of the line from the side and tried to get the airline worker's attention to get checked in next. Lady #1 tells them to go to the back of the line like everybody else. The men said something back but barely moved.

I was secretly loving the drama. I really like and find it refreshing how the women here speak up for themselves like they are in control of the situation. They are strong even in a world that is dominated by men (at least on paper).

Then the craziest thing happened next. As soon as lady #1 steps up to the counter, she turns around to look at the back of the line and about 5 people come to the front with her, all carrying multiple bags and one of them had about 40 id cards with her.

They handed all the cards to the ticketing agent and then yelled toward the back, at which point a train of bags were moved up to the front one at a time. These people were checking in an entire group at once! Seriously like an eighth of the plane was getting checked in by one lady and her cohorts.

I waited there smiling at my predicament watching about 60 bags move up to the front and get checked in before me even though I was the 2nd person in line. People behind me started catching on and yelled at lady #1 for making all of them wait in line for so long. Lady #1 would turn around and fire something verbally back at them. I'm assuming something on the order of "too bad for you I'm so organized". haha

That drama was great to watch too. I felt like a pole in the middle of a building, just watching things happen around me.

Eventually the people behind me started getting angry and began to push forward and crash the counter. (This is typical China btw) it started turning into a royal rumble for the ticket counter with less obvious violence.

Lady #1 seemed to notice several times by this point that I never yelled at her. She glanced at my passport and I think she noticed I was not Chinese. I only kept smiling at the situation.

Before her group was done checking in, she said something to me in mandarin, which I just ignored because I didn't understand her. She takes the passport from my hand and hands it to the check in lady and says something in mandarin. Lady #1 had told this person that I was waiting next.

The check in lady tells me to step forward and she checks me in while the crowd is still raging behind me. Lady #1 says something to me again. I don't know what but it was probably "thanks for being patient" or "have a nice flight" or "dumb foreigner" or "you look like you need professional help" or "you're fat". Who knows really?

I said thank you to her even though I wasn't sure if I should thank her or slap her. She nodded and left. I felt touched in some way, which made me laugh. I wanted to kiss the woman who screwed me to begin with. How WEIRD is that? I guess I was wondering how somebody who brought 40 people into a line can also go out of her way to help a stranger get his fair turn. So puzzling is the mind I tell you.

I got my boarding pass and headed to the security line before I got caught in that mass of people.


Blogger Ben said...

that was very zen of you Jim, I think I would've kick that lady's face in, then I would have to fight the other 40 people...what if?! What if!? haha

December 1, 2008 at 1:15 PM  

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