Back in the day (late 1980s) in Taipei, one of my favorite things to do was to take a new American arrival to Taiwan on his/her first taxi ride in the city. I would watch the person’s face, and enjoy the horrified expressions as the taxi weaved in and out of traffic, cheating death at least one time for every city block traveled.
With the advent of Taipei’s wonderful subway system, traffic got less crazy, and my fun was taken away from me. I used to miss those good old days.
Then the good old days came roaring back.
Twenty-some years later, living again in a Chinese city, I get another chance to witness crazy driving. I have begun taking a taxi to work, so I get a full dose of Shenyang driving every day. It’s as if the taxi drivers here took lessons from the Taipei taxi drivers from the 1980s.
And the students have become the masters.
I wish I had the writing skills to describe the feeling that I experience when three lanes of cars all attempt to turn left at the same time, into an intersection that was already crowded with oncoming traffic that ran the red light and is stranded in the middle of of the road.
The feeling is sort of like that moment in time when you drop a glass jar full of jelly beans onto a marble floor. Time slows down as you see the glass jar tumbling downward toward an inevitable end. Just before the jar hits the floor, you think to yourself: “well, that was an unfortunate turn of events. This will have some unwelcome consequences.”
That’s the feeling that I get most mornings now.
Who needs coffee to get your blood pumping in the morning, when you have that?