Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the black hand

a crazy thing happened on the way home tonight. my scooter was acting funny and stalling at lights and it even stalled while i was driving once, which it's never done before. then i was about a mile from home and i hear this really loud POP and at first i thought it was someone around me, but i tried to throttle my scooter and nothing was happening and my lights were off on my dash.

so i pulled over at a 7-11 where i knew i wouldn't get towed if i left it overnight and started to walk home. 100 feet or so down the road, i notice that some guy is trying to ask me a question. i assumed he wanted to learn english or something, but when i looked closely, he was wearing a mechanic jumpsuit. i tell him what happened and he asks me if he can take a look.

he checks it out and hands me his card and i say thanks, maybe i'll give you a call. but thenn he just starts wheeling it down the street and we stop in front of his own scooter and he hands me the keys and his helmet and tells me to follow him. next, he starts running with my scooter down the street. he ran all the way to his shop, which was 5 or 6 blocks away, while i followed him on his own scooter.

4 minutes after we get to his shop, my scooter is up and running! he even fixed it so that it doesn't shut off when i idle too long. i was thrilled, to say the least. he showed me some scooter part that i guess had fallen out of my scooter? i tried to pay for it and he told me that it was mine.
i asked him if he had kids and he said no, he wasn't married. did i mention that he spoke zero english? not even one word. so i'm fumbling with my post-teaching brain, trying to muster up all the chinese i could while he's speaking a mile a minute. i think i caught a pretty good deal of it but there were a lot of times that he'd ask me a question and i just didn't know how to answer.

anyway we talk for 10 minutes or so and then he invites me to watch tv and have a cup of water or something inside the shop and i said ok i can sit for a minute. he asked me a millionnn questions and i think we did a surprisingly good job of communicating given the language limitations. he's 31 and the youngest of 4. i forget his name though =\

finally i find a way to gracefully get up and leave and he hopped on his scooter and followed me. i didn't know what he was saying to me but i knew i shouldn't go home, so i went to tapenyaki to pick up dinner and hoped he'd just leave after that. he waited with me and then i made sure he knew i couldn't teach him english right that moment, and he said yeah i know, i'm just making sure you make it home. even though his creepy factor was low, i just parked outside the coffee shop and pretended like i lived near there, so we said goodnight and he left. i think he was genuinely just making sure everything was fine.

so that was my adventure of the day.

p.s. 'black hand' or hei shou is the chinese word for mechanic. it was a pub quiz question several months ago.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't your readers like to know that "The Black Hand" is a literal translation from what was originally a Taiwanese phrase that is now used in Chinese as well?


megan said...

thanks AG :) done and done.

Jimmie said...

That is amazing. I can't even fathom someone in the States being that incredibly nice.

Majjy said...

As your mother, sometimes I have all that I can do to get through some of your posts. That you used your intuition to guide you to say good bye at the restaurant was genius darling.

That you found a genuinely kind stranger is not a surprise as you draw to you guidance and assistance in the most synchronistic of ways. Good job!!