Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Morning with Grab

Let me recount a short story of today's happenings in my life.

A job meeting was due this morning in the headquarters of one of the most famous English institutions in Indonesia, which lies in a mostly still unoccupied area in Serpong, Tangerang Province. I got up at around 7:15, dragged myself into the bathroom, and wiped away the dust, germs, and that kind of things that clung to my body with a dose of cool/cold H2O and my set of toiletries. After everything was settled, I dashed to a warteg (food stall that provides dishes from Tegal – although I'm not sure if what it sells is only that) to fill my stomach with what would turn into streams of energy for the day. Having chowed down on my breakfast and paid, it was time to get to Mangga Besar Station ("mangga besar" means "big mango(es)", if you are curious) – with Grab.

It was around 8 o'clock. I placed an order and got a driver right away. After a while, he asked me to cancel the order because, he said, the system was erroneous – the fare was lower than supposed to be or that sort of thing. He also added, in a begging and/or angry tone, that he had a wife and/or child(ren) to feed! (Grab drivers have to face a penalty or a sort if they cancel an order) I refused to do it and gave him the reason that it is harder for me to get bookings if I make many cancelations – which is true, or at least it is what is stated by the company itself. I insisted that it was him who had to cancel the order. Additionally, I told him off for doing such a disgraceful act, which was digging his heels in and forcing me to squander my precious, will-never-be-back few minutes of my life. I have to attend a job interview, what if I am late? Don't be egotistical. That's more or less what I uttered in order to school this one individual of the smartest ape species.

It turns out his obstinacy ruled and, quite surprisingly, he came up to me in a threatening manner and protested about my reasonable steam-blowing. He also insisted that there would be no problem if I made a cancelation. With incredulity, I decided to follow what he had said, and then, during the process, a window popped up, displaying an English sentence which meant it takes more time to get bookings for customers who make cancelations – as I had told him before. I tried to translate it into Indonesian (because I believe he doesn't know English), but he seemed not to care about it. And then basically, after a complex string of chemical reactions in my brain, I took the decision to cancel it. Oh! He also said that he was a person living/from there, as if alluding to his power with which to do whatever he wanted to do to me.

Yeah, I could have been involved in a fight with him but it would have been an unwise decision. I knew that my life could be devoted to a much more noble matter and physical pain that could have been inflicted on me would have been much of a hurdle in achieving countless valuable things ahead. (Again) the truth had to lose. There is this probably Indonesian phrase: "surrender to win", and I think it aptly describes my decision. Stupidities are everywhere and that we are surrounded by them is a reality. It is a "sad" truth in life; we would really love it to be otherwise but it's not. Let's just take the bull by the horns, but intelligently and elegantly, by accentuating our life goals in our minds. I hope this experience can also be, in a sense, a good example of human adaptation in the world as well.

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