Had a callback job interview scheduled for this afternoon out in Cyberport. So I put on my suit and leave the house early, giving myself 30 more minutes than I figure I’ll need to reach the place. But just 10 minutes down the road and the car’s not feeling right; my guess is that the tires are low on air. I know that the next petrol station is just a couple of klicks down the road so I figure I’ll drive slow and pull over there.
But another couple of minutes later, I hear a noise and I know that one of my tires has gone flat. This being Hiram’s Highway, single lane in each direction, I had to continue on a little bit further to a place where I could pull over without blocking traffic. I get out, take a look and sure enough, the rear left tire is pushing up daisies. I pop the trunk, pull out all the tools and the spare and then think to myself, “Hell, I’m wearing my favorite suit. What do I pay the HKAA for? I’ll call them.” So I call them and the guy says I’m going to have to wait about two hours for the tow truck.
Obviously at this point I call the person I’m supposed to meet, explain the situation and she agrees to reschedule. Had things been different, I might have been tempted to simply leave the car where it was (a metered space in a village parking area) and deal with it tomorrow. But tomorrow I’ve got an early flight out so if I didn’t deal with it there and then, I would have had to leave the car sitting there until Sunday and I figured that’s probably not the best idea.
So now I figure I’ll settle in for a couple of hours of Twitter, Facebook and iPhone games. And at that moment, one of those big Toyota Alphard people movers pulls up in front of me. The driver gets out, young guy probably in his 20s. There’s a China license plate as well as an HK one so I’m guessing he earns his living by running a cross-border shuttle service. Anyway, he asks if I need some help and I say, “Please.”
The next problem is that the cheap jack that I bought in Mong Kok isn’t strong enough to raise my car. The car goes up a certain amount and then the jack looks as if it’s going sideways instead of up. So the guy gets his own jack, a proper one (need to buy one like that ASAP). He changes the tire for me.
Since I’m still a cynical New Yorker at heart, I always suspect the worst in everyone. I’m thinking that I didn’t discuss money with the guy, he’s seeing a white guy with a flash car and maybe those $$$ signs are going off in his head. Is he going to try to hit me up for $500? $1,000? And here’s how the conversation went:
Me: How much do I owe you for your help?
Him: Me? Oh, I, uh, um, $28? (That’s roughly US$4.)
Me: Here’s $100, please take it.
Him: No, I couldn’t, I don’t need that much!
Me: No, I want you to have it, you really helped me out.
Actually, the above is pretty much representative of most of my experiences with people here. The corporations are all greedy fucktwats but the people of Hong Kong themselves generally bend over backwards to be helpful.
The car’s at a tire repair shop in Sai Kung now, will get it later, but just gonna stay home, have a quiet dinner, get some work done and then off to Manila tomorrow.