Crash and Burn (a little cash)

I’ve described the treacherous driving here on several occasions.  Our family vehicle could only avoid getting dinged up for so long.  It was only a matter of time.  That time passed several months ago, but wasn’t worth mentioning.  What happened this week is a tale that must be told.

A building is going up across from our house.  Construction has been ongoing since we arrived 16 months ago.  That’s 16 months of digging, drilling, jack-hammering, cement pouring, and loud local music.

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It also means that we consistently have large vehicles blocking half of the street.

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A few days ago, as I approached our house, one lane of the road was blocked by a crane, and just beyond that, parked cars lined the other side of the street.  As a moved over to avoid an oncoming speeding scooter, I misjudged my distance from one of the parked cars and bumped the front left side of a car’s bumper.

With a loud sigh, I stopped my car in front of my house and got out of the car to survey the damage.  There was none to be seen on my car.  To my surprise, a grumpy looking man emerged from the car I’d hit.  I uttered “對不起” (dui bu qi), which means sorry, and the man responded with a calm, but rambling, stream of Mandarin.  My Chinese language skills are practical, but limited, so I understood only part of what he said.  What caught my ear was the word, “睡覺” (shuì jiào), which means sleep.  So, I asked him if he was sleeping.  He ranted on about how I woke him up by hitting his car.  He was more upset that I disturbed his nap than that I had struck his car.  I can’t say I was surprised because one- napping in cars is normal behavior here, and two- his bumper had several clearly preexisting scratches and marks and spots of rust on it.  

I knew I had to take action in order to get out of the situation, so I asked him what he wanted, knowing it would be money, and waited patiently while he thought for a minute and then spoke.  His words came quickly then, and I missed most of them.  So, I asked him, in Mandarin “just tell me what you want.”  He responded with another long string of words but this time I picked out the word for money.  So, I asked him, “how much?”  He paused the appropriate amount of time and then said, “1000 NT$” (about  $33 USD).  I walked back to my car, pulled a 1000 NT note from my wallet, handed it to the man, told him, again, that I was sorry, got back in my car and parked it in my garage, while he stood by.  Not the most pleasant experience I’ve had…

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I’ve heard stories of other people hitting cars, and paying money to make the problem go away, during our 5 years in Asia, but this is the first time it has happened to me.  I can’t say I wasn’t shaken by it, but nor was I crushed by it.  I’ll count that as a win.  Just another day in paradise…

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About Commander in Chief At home

Erin is a military spouse and, sometimes temporarily single mom to 4 boys. She's a parenting coach, writer, teacher, special needs (Autism) mom, and much more.
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One Response to Crash and Burn (a little cash)

  1. marcie l says:

    When in Rome, I guess, right?

    Like

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