Thursday, June 15, 2006

No Problem

Today the morning was ushered in with some of the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life. Scared the crap out of me, followed by the rain coming down in buckets, a regular "toad frog strangler" as daddy would have said. So the lightning fireworks, the thunder and the rain prompted me to hobble out of bed this morning an hour early, 6:00 AM. I "hobbled" out of bed because I am dealing with yet another recurring bout of the gout.

Called Stan, my trustworthy Chinese assistant and asked him if the car would be on time this morning. It was 8:00 and he sounded like I woke him up. The answer, "Oh I thought that perhaps you would take the day off since you were having problems with your foot". Now how many times have I told him NOT to think for me, that western minds are NOT LIKE Chinese minds? He told me that he would call me back and let me know when the driver would arrive and I asked him to please ask the driver to come INSIDE the apartment complex and wait for me in front of my building because of my hurting foot and the torrential downpour. I was clear, VERY CLEAR about this. "No problem", says Stan.

Let me do a little translating for you. "No problem" means just the OPPOSITE of that in Chinese. It means we are going to find a way to make it a problem for you. We are going to take something very simple and turn it into something very complicated. I could write for days about this and give endless examples of how "no problem" always becomes the biggest inconvenience you can possibly imagine.

Calls back, car will arrive in 30 minutes, this means 8:30. 8:30 go out on the balcony and look. No car. Fortunately the rain had quit but my foot was still throbbing. Go downstairs, limp to the front gate of the apartment complex and there sits the driver eating breakfast, parked in his usual place with no intentions of following Stan's directions, that is IF Stan told him the directions at all. I was fuming! I practiced my best Chinese all the way to work with the intention to blast Stan once I saw him. Things like "how can we communicate complex things when you can't even get simple things straight?" or "What part of in front of my apartment don't you understand?"

I get to work, no Stan...he took the day off. I guess he wasn't counting on me working today so he decided he would slough off. If I had known this I WOULD HAVE taken the day off. NO PROBLEM!

No comments: