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One Reason Why I Should Live in America 「適者生存」在美國

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 Jennifer at the Palace Theater during the intermission of Shen Yun performance. 在康州斯坦福(Stamford)看 神韻 。

Jennifer at the Palace Theater during the intermission of Shen Yun performance. 在康州斯坦福(Stamford)看神韻

Yesterday, when going to the Palace Theater at Stamford, Connecticut, USA, to watchShen Yun, I encountered two minor "surprises", which reminded me of two of my "unbeatable deficiencies" years ago, and also made me realize one of the reasons why I should live in the US.

昨天去美國康州斯坦福(Stamford)看神韻演出,有兩件事讓我有點小小的驚訝,也讓我想起自己以前的一些「天生缺陷」,同時第一次從這個角度「悟」出來,爲何我適合在美國「生存」。

The first minor surprise happened at the box office, when I went there to pick my ticket booked online. The young lady inside the window asked me, "What is your last name?" I said, "Zeng."

第一個小驚訝是取票時。因爲我是演出當天才在網上購票的,所以票只能演出前到劇場去取。

While she was trying to find my ticket in a pile of envelopes, I was trying to locate the ticket receipt in my cell phone in case she asked me to show it to her before she would give me the ticket.

到了取票窗口,工作人員是位年輕女士。她問我,妳姓什麼?我說姓曾(Zeng),她就開始在排得整整齊齊的一疊信封裏找。與此同時,我想把存在手機裏的買票憑證找出來給她看,不然憑什麼說那票就是我的呢?

But before I had time to locate and open the receipt, she had already found the right envelope with my name on it. She showed me the envelope and asked, "Is this yours?"

After I said "Yes", she happily handed me the envelope and wished me good luck; and I walked away with my ticket without showing her anything to prove that this ticket belonged to me. I was a little bit surprised; and thought to myself, "It must be that I look like a good person."

還沒等我把手機裏的發票找出來,她就已經找到寫有我名字的信封了。她舉著信封問:「這是妳的嗎?」

我一看是我的名字,就說:「是。」她就高高興興把票遞給我,祝我看秀愉快,然後我就拿著票走了。

我有點小小的驚訝,她既沒讓我出示証件,也沒讓我出示發票,就憑我自己說那票是我的,就讓我拿走了。(看來我長得像個好人?)

The second surprise happened at the parking lot. I arrived at the theater two hours before the show time. So I "leisurely" parked my car at the Stamford Town Center just opposite the theatre. I found that there was a number at each parking space, with "remember your space number" underneath as a kind reminder. I immediately took a photo of the number with my phone, in case I got lost in such a terribly huge parking structure. As far as I could see, there are at least 10 levels with thousands of parking spaces in it. 

第二個小小的驚訝是在停車場。因康州斯坦福劇場要開車一個多小時才能到,我怕路上堵車,早早就出發了,結果提前兩小時就到了。

 Stamford Town Center has a terrifyingly huge parking structure. 大得嚇人的斯坦福城市中心(Stamford Town Center)

Stamford Town Center has a terrifyingly huge parking structure. 大得嚇人的斯坦福城市中心(Stamford Town Center)

 

我把車停到劇場對面大得嚇人的斯坦福城市中心(Stamford Town Center)的停車場中,據我目測,這個至少得有十層的停車場中,少說也得有幾千個停車位吧?我也是在這裏第一次發現每個停車位上都有一個號碼牌,上面貼心地寫著「請記住你的停車位號碼」,怕的就是你回來時找不到車了。

 A number is erected at each parking space. 貼心停車位號碼牌

A number is erected at each parking space. 貼心停車位號碼牌

Then I paid for 4 hours'''' parking fee ($1 per hour by the way) at the pay station, as I assumed that I would need 4 hours. After the receipt came out, I carefully read it to see if I was required to display the receipt at the front window of my car to show that I had paid, and found that none of this was mentioned. So I put the receipt in my wallet and walked away.

我停好車,把自己的號碼用手機照了相,然後去付款機上付了四小時的停車費(我預計自己需要停四個小時),付款機「吐」出發票時,我仔細地看上面有無要求我把這發票放到車裏,以証明我付過款了,看了半天沒這要求,我就把它放到錢包裏離開了,心想可能是出去時才查票。

After I watched the show (extremely wonderful by the way), I walked back to the terrifyingly huge parking structure. Just as I had feared, I did get lost. I went to the wrong section first; and then to the wrong level. Even if I knew my number, it could only help me to see that I had been to the wrong place, without showing me where the right spot was.

 Payment machine at the pay station. 停車場付款機

Payment machine at the pay station. 停車場付款機

看完秀出來,我擔心的事終於還是發生了:在陌生的城市裏,我完全轉了向,不知道該怎麼以最正確的方式走回自己的停車位。我先是去錯了區,好容易回到正確的區,又去錯了樓層……

So after more than 30 minutes'''' struggle, I finally found my car. I knew because of the delay, I must have exceeded my paid parking time. I thought to myself, "Maybe I can pay it later at the exit if my receipt couldn''''t get through because of the insufficient payment."

I thought they must have recorded my arrival time and my payment amount in their system.

等我終於找到自己的車時,半個多小時都過去了,超出了我之前預設的四小時,我心想,也許只好等出門刷票,票過不去時補錢了(我猜系統會用電腦記錄我的到達時間,以及我交了多少小時的停車費,然後發現我交的錢不夠了)。

So I drove out; and was very surprised to find that there wasn''''t any machine at the exit to check my receipt whatsoever, or anything to prevent me from driving out. 

結果呢,一路開出去,沒有任何「阻擋」,門口根本沒有收票機,甚至連個欄杆都沒有,我就這麼直筒筒地就把車開走了啊。

So, in this car park structure, they just trust that everyone will pay their correct fees out of their own goodwill?

我這才意識到:敢情在這個停車場,你交多少錢全憑自覺啊?

These two surprises in one night made me think about my two very "stubborn" "shortcomings" back in China. One was that after buying something, I could never remember to check whether the cash change given back to me was the correct amount. Those days in China we only used cash when buying things. Bank cards, credit cards or phone payment didn''''t exist.

這讓我想起我在中國時,經常因爲兩個頑固到已經可以稱得上是「生理缺陷」的毛病,而經常被罵的遭遇。

一個「缺陷」是,我買東西交完錢(那時在中國買東西基本都是現金交易,銀行卡或手機付款這麼「先進」的東西還沒出現呢。),售貨員找給我錢時,我從來都是裝起來就走,永遠記不得要點。在我的潛意識中,找給我正確的錢數,是售貨員的工作,爲什麼要麻煩我來替她(他)點?

Whenever my family and friends saw that I didn''''t check the change, they always scolded me, saying that I would be taken advantage of if I wasn''''t careful enough. But no matter how many times they scolded me, I just couldn''''t remember. Perhaps deep down in my mind, I had a "blind" and very "stubborn" belief: it was the salespersons'''' responsibility to count the money, and make sure that the right change was given to their customers. Why should this responsibility be shifted to me?

但是,我不點錢的這個毛病永遠會被同去的家人或朋友罵:妳不點,怎麼知道她(他)沒少找錢給妳?

After I started to work, the salary was also paid as cash notes. The pay clerk at my workplace always required me to count the notes and make sure the amount was correct. At this stage I found no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn''''t do it. I always forgot the numbers and got confused before I could finish counting. In the end, I had to pretend to be counting and always told the clerk that the amount was exactly right, so that she could allow me to sign and take away my salary.

後來上班領工資,也是發現金。出納要求必須當面點清,我說不用點了,我信任妳,她卻說:「妳得點,萬一我多給妳了怎麼辦?」

這個時候,我才發現自己的另一個「生理缺陷」,那就是根本就數不清楚錢。當我試圖去點那些紙幣時,總是數著數著就忘了是幾了,永遠也數不清,最後沒招兒了,我就裝模作樣假裝點錢,然後對出納說:「不多不少,正好!」這樣她才讓我拿錢走人。

This is a secret that I never shared with anyone before. 

不過這個「祕密」,一直也沒人被發現過。

Another "shortcoming" of me was that I could never remember to check the status of an item I bought. In China, this could bring big trouble, for if you found quality problems only after you went home, the salespersons usually wouldn''''t allow you to return the item, as it was very hard to prove that you didn''''t damage it yourself after you bought it.

我的另一個「生理缺陷」是,買完東西永遠是拿起來就走,永遠不記得要檢查這東西對不對。

最「誇張」的一次,是買了條背帶裙,回家要穿時才發現,背後有個很長的大口子,根本不能穿,又招來家人的好一頓埋怨。可是不管怎麼被埋怨,我下次買東西時仍然記不得要檢查。

I remember once I bought a skirt without checking it. I only found that there was a very long "crack" at the back when trying to put it on later. My family was again very furious because of this. 

The deeply rooted "foundation" for this shortcoming of mine was also this: To ensure the quality of the items was the responsibility of the producers and people who sold them. Why should this responsibility be shifted to me?

我不檢查的根深蒂固的「思想基礎」依然是:保證你賣的東西是好的,這本來是你的事,爲何要麻煩我來替你檢查?

It seems that this kind of "blind" and "stubborn" belief wouldn''''t work out in China whatsoever. Shortly after I started to work in 1990''''s, one of my colleagues said to me, "People like you should go overseas to live."

我剛參加工作不久,就有同事對我說,妳這人的性格,適合出國,到西方社會生活。

I never knew why she said that. After yesterday''''s experiences, I came to realize that, indeed, overseas countries like America are more "suitable" for people like me, who tend to "blindly and stubbornly" trust others; and who believe that everyone is taking good care of what they should do. In a society where people no longer believe in one another, and are even trying very hard to take advantage of and even to deceive others, people like me could feel it is very hard to survive.

我一直不知她說這話的依據在哪兒,經過昨天的兩個小「驚訝」,我好像有點懂了:像我這種死腦筋、很容易「輕信」別人、相信社會分工、相信每個人都會做好自己工作的「傻子」,在西方這種人與人之間的互信程度還相對較高的社會中才「吃得開」。

So, I believe this is one of the reasons why I should live in America. Would you agree?

反之,在如今你瞪大著眼睛都會被騙的中國,我這種有著深刻「生理缺陷」的人更是難以生存了。所以啊,我在美國似乎更「賓至如歸」一些,這就是另類的「適者生存」?

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