Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Nation of Rubberneckers

One of the biggest culture shocks for us and our friends here is the amazingly robust curiosity of people here. Everywhere you go there are pockets of people with their hands carefully tucked behind their backs, waists slightly bent, peering at something or other. Could be an open manhole, or a woman having a seizure (biked past this the other week), or an old woman taking her pet razorback hog for an evening stroll (also an actual event). Often when M and I get on the subway and speak in English, people sitting around will just sit and stare. I guess they have nothing better to do. So I've started staring back. Usually I lose.

Also, last week, M and I were playing Lumines on my PSP and this man was fully leaning over her shoulder watching us play. A spot on the wall opened up, so we moved over there. I could see him craning his neck trying to keep watching, but we were too far away, so I made a comment to M, "That guy's bummed he can't watch you play anymore." A few seconds later, he popped up over M's shoulder to watch for the rest of the ride.

So when I casually mentioned to M, "Hey, I think my next post will be A Nation of Rubberneckers," she threw me a sidelong glance and said, "Subway last night?":

A few weeks ago, we noticed that they had razed our nearby morning vegetable market and started digging an enormous hole. Like one square block big and like 50 feet deep. There all sorts of crazy cranes, drills, earth-movers all digging furiously. When I got back from work that day, I noticed about a dozen people just standing at the subway entrance, which is perched right on the edge of the hole, idly watching the work. Apparently, when M got home an hour later, there were still about a dozen people peering into the hole.

So when a couple days ago I saw these guys standing around, I decided to snap a shot.

Because we live in a nation of rubberneckers.

1 comment:

Florence said...

hah... i really dislike rubberneckers.. but more so those that cause horrible traffic on the road. I just noticed that picture is of the ledge where we were eating breakfast and where I spilled the rice noodles :) Ah memories!