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How I met my wife halfway…Elegant Confusion………Being delivered by car (my wife’s friend and a co-worker) to the Hotel in the downtown area of Zhengzhou, bursting along the byways and expressways from the Airport, cars around us dancing across the indistinct markings of the lanes in what could be described as a level of a video game in progress, I had no idea ( a horn honks and a bus switches lanes in front of us ‘sans’ signal..) that the “Art” of driving could manifest itself in such a reckless song trying so very hard to be a “ballet”.
My first impressions were to be made, however innocent, a misplaced fantasy.. As we made our way across the edge of this city of 8 1/2 million souls.., it was plain that this was far different than the large, ‘controlled’ infrastructures of North America.. A place where those, who in the faltering of the majority of their lives, seeking to maintain “control” of most aspects of their lives, would be shattered as if a piece of glass hitting the concrete of this sudden reality. I believe that all this time seeking that ‘control’, having it slip through the grasps of their expectations, is the cause of so much anger, disappointment, and frustration in North Americans’ lives.. There is no “Road Rage” here.
Once into the downtown, the pace slows somewhat, taking time to congeal into something even more unexpected.. Now there are people, thousands of them,.. mixed with electric bikes, bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians, carts of vegetables and fruit perched high on platforms innovatively connected to motorcycles, wagons of produce drawn by donkeys and cars.. All are dancing in and out of lanes of traffic, up onto sidewalks, threading the pedestrians walking different directions, the buses and taxis faster than the rest.. Cars and motorbikes making U-turns anywhere without notice.., a car honks, someone concedes the space, and life goes on.
The remarkable impression to be made here for a Caucasian in ‘Neverland’,… is that, there are no egos here to set off a clash of emotional diatribes leading to certain physical, or vocal, outbursts.. Just ‘focus’ of purpose.. There is only the destination to be sought.., nothing more matters.. It is not a matter of forgiveness, on the part of the conceded ,.. just a plain sense of infective respect.. An old woman, peddling a bicycle, weaves suddenly directly across the lanes of traffic.. I look away, fearing the sounds and images of her death.. A few impatient honks from the cars,.. all traffic stops.. as she slowly winds her way to the sidewalk on the other side of the street.., the motorbikes weaving around her, pacing in and out of the stopped buses, cars and taxis.. A woman on a motorbike with a child in front, one in back of her seat, sails by me on the sidewalk…It is ‘Elegance in Confusion’ at it’s finest.. For the Silo, Bill Stewart.