Taxi Driver

On the way to the airport for our vacation the taxi driver was taciturn. His counterpart on our return to Vancouver was nothing like.

He was Iranian, and like other Iranians I have known he loved to talk. Somehow we talked about food. He took both hands from the wheel and rummaged around in his bag for something, but the road was straight and we had survived Italy so we were not too concerned. He emerged with a pair of chopsticks. “I am 99.8 percent Chinese,” he announced, and with the chopsticks in one hand and the other on the wheel he seized a 500mL bottle of water (half a kilo!) and raised it in the air. “I love the food. The only thing that stops me from being Chinese is I don’t speak the language.” He spoke about different types of Chinese food, from the north, from the south, from Szechuan.

Nationalism is poison, but for a moment I succumbed to pride. This is the kind of society we are fighting to bring into the world. This is who we are striving to be.

2004-07-12

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