One of the most disappointing and challenging things about living in China is the lack of trust. It’s both the lack of trust people have in each other, as well as the lack of trust in authorities. Don’t get me wrong, before I came to China, I was well aware that you have to watch out for scams and that there’s a lot of trickery around. What surprised me was the lack of trust. I learned this through some absurd encounters, the most recent of which was last month, when I had a very, very surreal China experience about mistrust.
Basically, I got struck by a taxi at the side of a road and ended up getting shouted at by the driver’s colleague.
Now, first of all, I didn’t get injured since it wasn’t a big collision and was more like a bump.
I was going to cross a small road outside my neighborhood supermarket, but as I stepped onto the road, I noticed the light was red. I was still well within the side of the road, and as I stepped back to the pavement, something collided with my leg and my backpack.
That something was a taxi. The driver had made a right turn on the shoulder of the road without looking clearly. Luckily, it hadn’t been going fast and the guy stopped and got out. Luckier for me, I didn’t break my leg or get my foot run over, I just got a small bruise on my calf. I was a little upset but I told the driver my leg seemed to be alright.
He asked how he could settle this, and I asked him for a small amount. He said he had no money so he offered to take me to the hospital and I agreed. But then he called the police and we had to wait. A policeman came and in the midst of taking down the details, he actually called his colleague and asked, if a guy is crossing the road and gets hit, whose responsibility is it? I was shocked, Was I going to be at fault for getting hit by a car?? I told the policeman I wasn’t in the middle of the road when I got hit, I’d been by the side, well within one-third of the street. The colleague rightly said it was the driver’s fault so the policeman wrote up a form for us that stated the driver to pay for any medical expenses.
By this time, I decided I didn’t want any more drama and asked the driver to drop me home. I’d go to a doctor later or the next day, and I told him, but somehow he didn’t understand or want to listen. As I spoke to him, he was on his phone telling a guy where he was and giving him directions. At this point, I definitely made up my mind I didn’t want anything more to do with him or whoever he was calling. I went into my home and got a call from the driver. I told him again I’d go see a doctor later by myself and that I didn’t think it was a big deal, but if anything I’d contact the driver again. The driver then stressed I needed to see a doctor that day in order for his taxi company’s insurance to cover it. I told him alright, I understood, but I didn’t agree to anything. The driver passed the phone to a guy who was apparently a colleague, and this guy started pressing me to come out and let them take me to the hospital. I again said, no, I’d go by myself, and it wasn’t a big deal. The guy got agitated and began shouting and trying to talk over me, so I hung up on him.
I was shaken up a bit, as I don’t like to get into confrontations with people. I was also a big disgusted at the fact I was being shouted at by a guy whose colleague had hit me with his car. It was confusing too, why this idiot was being so worked up. However, this wasn’t over yet. Twenty minutes later, the driver called me again. “Are you coming out soon?” he asked. I was a bit fed up by now, since I’d already told him I wouldn’t be going to the doctor with them. “I’m not coming, I’ll go by myself later,” I told him (probably the tenth time I’d told him this). The driver then repeated the insurance wouldn’t cover my expenses unless I went that day (something which whether it was true or not still doesn’t mean he’s off the hook for my expenses). Then the driver’s colleague, the same ass who’d been arguing with me on the previous call, came back on. “Now you listen up!” he growled, “the insurance won’t cover your expenses unless you COME with us. If you don’t want to come with us, that means we won’t be responsible for paying your expenses.”
I then realized why the guy had been so agitated. He was concerned about the insurance and wanted to make fully sure they’d be with me when I went to a doctor. Even still, the guy had no right to be arguing with me, much less demanding I go with them. Though I wasn’t badly hurt, which I’d made clear from the beginning, but what if my leg worsened the next day. I wasn’t going to absolve them and I didn’t say I would. The guy continuing carrying on like an argumentative idiot and we hung up on each other. I hoped he wouldn’t call again and he didn’t.
The guy had been argumentative and sounded angry, mainly because he wanted to make sure about his company’s insurance coverage and because he also wanted to be sure I wouldn’t cheat them and come back with a claim of serious injury and inflated expenses. They were so insistent I’d go with them to the hospital not because of concern for my injury, but because they wanted to cover their asses and make sure about the expenses.
The guy’s argumentative attitude, as rude and childish as it was, is not uncommon in the mainland. Some people here, such as my former apartment agent, think that shouting can resolve issues, even if they were in the wrong. Politeness and manners are unknown, or alien, especially among strangers.
This wasn’t the first time I’d been affected by mistrust, but it is the most recent and the most ridiculous one. The others were just as absurd.
To be continued.