While I was in Beijing, China, while I was being driven to my hotel from the airport in a taxi, I was talking with my father letting my parents know I’d arrived when I noticed the taxi driver utterly missed the exit.
It had been a LONG flight – 15 hours, and I was tired, and my general lack of emotional response was clear as I gave my father a play by play:
“He just missed the exit. Hold on. I just tapped him on the shoulder and at the same time he looked at the hotel to the right. Oh wait. He’s stopping, in the middle of the freeway. cars are driving past us on the left and right. Now we’re going in reverse. No there’s hardly any traffic, and they’re all going past at highway speeds. We’re going bacjk over the offramp, and now we’re even with the offramp, and now he’s looking in his rearview mirror and – well there we go, we made our exit.”
My dad asked “Aren’t you nervous?”
I responded with “Not in the sleightest. Apparently he knows what he’s doing”
It wasn’t the first time I’d had weird interactions with China. With my father to thank for the training, I had grown up quickly overcoming my fear of speed and acquired a penchant for fast cars and faster driving.
So in 2009, when I’d visited China with my two classmates Amy Hutch and Jamie Hillegond, after a trip to Xi’an for the day the taxi driver – weaving in and out of traffic as fast as he could – suddenly had a bus pull in front of him as he slid sideways and came within an inch of smashing the taxi into the side of the bus.
My heart didn’t even skip a beat.
I had been enjoying the ride and had put my hands up saying “Wheeee” as the girls pulled my arms down thinking it was instigating the taxi driver to step it up a bit for my enjoyment.
Amy looked at me and said “Weren’t you scared?”
“Why should I be? He had it all under control,” I responded.
“I saw my life flash before my eyes,” she said.
“Me too,” Jamie added.
I have weird memories of a much darker and greyer – almost black and white world – as I fell asleep that night, when shortly after I fell asleep, I became hard as a rock and they both jumped on and took turns riding me.
Just today. I read something in my “International Law” course referred to as “The Lotus Case”.
The Lotus Case is about a lesson in the current state of international law, which details a collision which occurred between a French vessel with a Turkish Vessel in Turkish waters where the Captain and crew of the French vessel were held liable for the sinking of the Turkish vessel under Turkish law.
The Lotus Case coursework had a paragraph which resonated with me and made me think back to the incident on the freeway where the taxi driver decided to back up.
“Now the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that — failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary — it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State.”
Over the last four years, I have realized that my own mind has historically hidden and covered up things from my own conscious mind and experiences. Things which historically I didn’t cope well with.
But when I arrived in a different country.
With different rules.
Up to and including rules which governed the conscious development of the mind.
In America. The experience I had on the freeway would have been ‘covered up’. Time, in a literal sense would have been stopped for me as the driver backed up on the freeway, and my memory of the event – and mistake he had made – would have been erased.
And while sure, this appears to reduce the overall chaotic nature.
I had begun to emerge from my own cocoon.
And was beginning to understand that the Wizard of Oz and The Matrix were true stories.
And why the average muggle is told it’s not real.
Because that’s all they can mentally handle.