Posted by: 1of10boyz | June 11, 2012


Have you ever been to Prison? I haven’t, I haven’t even been to the “holding cell”. Fortunate? probably; more likely I live a pretty conservative “white bread” kind of life. My life of crime is limited to some pretty mundane traffic violations and some run-ins with the “wildlife” police. I live pretty far from the edge; I am middle of the road, just a little right of center, so to speak.

I have lived my life on the right side of the “law” for a lot of reasons. In some ways I would say I am afraid of the police, I fear many things about the police. I know that they are there to help. I am pretty sure that they are there for the public good and most of the time that works for me. Sometimes, I know I make decisions that are for my “good” and the public is not my concern. Most of those cases are related to the long distances between where I am and where I need to go when driving. I won’t bother with an explanation about why an extra 10-12 mph makes such a big difference on a drive that is 300 – 500+ miles long; I think you probably already understand the mathematics of that.

The biggest concern I have with “law enforcement” or those “types” is they scare me because they are often the consequences of bad or hurried decisions. I have the tendency make snap decisions, not that I don’t analyze them but I am quick to take action once I have “enough” info for me. I know that I am not smart enough to know everything that could be involved but I take action when I know enough to be satisfied with an approach. So a bad or hurried decision could end with the “good guys” looking for me. The scary part of that is that they have the ability take away control.

I have heard that “IT” isn’t so bad; in fact it is mostly just boring. For me it would be horrible, I am not good at sitting on the couch, I don’t sleep late, I would go crazy in prison. I think that much of that comes from that deep psychosis I have of trying to be in control of EVERYTHING around me. I try to keep that little monster caged up and controlled but I know he is there and that he could get out at anytime. I keep feeding him the story that I can only control what I can control. I know that the monster makes faces at me when I turn to leave him alone again, you know the ones; the kind you made to your Mother when you were a “tween” or a teenager. I know the monster doesn’t want to believe me.

When I think about China and what it is like to live here, there is a little bit of that “control” thing that begins to wear on me. I think that is one of the things that slowly wears me down and will eventually break me. I know that it will break me at some point. Compared to America, we are very controlled here in China, not all of that can be directly attributed to Communism. My company doesn’t want us to drive a vehicle over here so I have to have a driver for my car. There are certainly some advantages and disadvantages to that (more on that in another post). I know that we could get at bicycle and ride it around, the Chinese are also pretty lenient on licensing for the electric scooters small (<100cc) motorcycles so we could do that also.

The choice for entertainment is severely limited here in Haiyang. The whole “satellite” thing for TV is against the law, even though we see many, many satellite dishes. We are limited to the channels that the complex manager wants us to have and the charge is quite expensive given what is provided. Just wandering around downtown is a problem, the language barrier is a limitation as we aren’t really able to just wander in town and find something or at least explain why we are wandering around.

I am worn down by the not being in control of stuff that I am normally in control of. I am a country boy (redneck) for a reason; I like to live where I live because I don’t have to interface with 10s of thousands of people for every transaction or thing that I want to do. In China I am like a wild animal in cage (more than likely a monkey if you have to ask) on display at the travelling zoo. I am as curious about those I see as they are about me. I know that I am being watched in everything I do. The shopkeepers and vendors love us, when we stop to look at their stuff, the people crowd around, there are other people that stop and look just because we stopped to look. I am nearly oblivious to the rubber-neckers that I see anymore. I have become used to being watched in everything that I do and say.

The hardest part of all of it is that we are not allowed to tell people why we are different than the other Americans that they see and meet. We are in “prison” because we are not allowed to discuss our religious beliefs; the thing that we believe makes us so unique. We struggle being the appropriate example and creating that desire to know more about us and then not being able to help our Chinese friends know why we are different. We aren’t allowed to tell them why we think that they are so curious about our relationship with each other. They recognize that they want to have a family relationship like we have yet we are not able to tell how they can have that relationship. We can’t teach them the concepts that have been the foundation for our happiness, the reason that we have been able to survive the challenges that marriage brings, and the reason that we are happy and that our children love us. Maybe I do know a little a bit about prison after all. What do you think?


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