One good thing that the Chinese have going for them is that they seem to be easily pleased. Sure, this poses a problem when it comes to pursuing excellence, or innovation, or some of the bigger things we want to see this great country accomplish. However, when it comes to the simpler things in life it’s nice to see how easily pleased they can be.
Ever since moving to Beijing I tend to most often observe their easy-to-please nature while riding the subway. And i saw it again today. It always cracks me up, even to the point of audibly laughing to myself. Let me keep this short and just tell you what happens. I want to warn you first though, because it’s likely you won’t think it’s very funny or entertaining until you see it for yourself.
Imagine you’re in a subway car and all the seats are taken, there are few people standing, but this is far from the crammed subway cars people often imagine when they think of Asian public transportation. It’s just a normal day. It’s 2 p.m. on a Tuesday and a small army of people are trying to move across the city. This is not a big deal. Just pop in the headphones, know how many stops you’re riding, and hold on. So here’s where the easy-to-please Chinese concept comes in. I see this all the time. All. The. Time. Someone gets up from their seat and the nearest person to that seat rushes over and shoves their butt into the seat as fast as possible. The next moment is the golden moment. More often than not, that person who just sat down starts beaming with a smile like they just found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If their excitement can’t be contained in their face then they start bouncing their legs up and down. It’s like they just got a fortune cookie saying they will inherit a million dollars – or i guess Ren Min Bi in this case. It’s simple, it’s a normal everyday occurrence, but it’s like their whole day or week or month was just made perfect by that one moment where they got a seat on the subway. And so i usually let out a soft chuckle and feel a little warm happiness inside for them and their accomplishment. All is right in the world when the longings for the subway seat gets fulfilled.
And now i realize that perhaps i am the one who is far too easily amused.