In Taiwan the honor system still works. They use it when appropriating your gas bill. We have come to understand that when we see this one paper taped up in the elevator it means we are supposed to write down what our gas meter reads, so that the gas company can bill us appropriately.
The first time we were supposed to do this, we took no more notice of the paper in the elevator than we would of any other paper that is in Chinese. So, our landlord had to come (he doesn’t live near us) and knock on our door to try and communicate the issue to us without language. He knows almost no English and we don’t speak Chinese. One time he saw Carrie in the street, and the only thing that he was able to say was “banana”, referring to the bunch of them she was holding. So, he said this word about five times and they went on their separate ways.
Anyway, when he came to try to show us how to do the gas bill, he came at the one possible inconvenient time. We had people over for taco night, and Carrie was in the middle of making tortillas. In all the confusion, we didn’t really pay attention to how to do it exactly.
Now that it’s a new month, the landlord’s son, who speaks English, called Carrie last night about this gas issue. He didn’t know any more than Carrie did about which of the two numbers on the gas tank is the correct one to write down in the elevator. She ended up writing both of them, and then asked him, “What if someone wrote the wrong number, how would the gas company know or what kind of problems could it cause?”
His reply was simply, “It’s Taiwan.” I guess he means that people in Taiwan perform things correctly and do not lie or steal.
Carrie said what I was thinking, “In America, some people would write the number of how much gas they wish they had used, especially for months when they went over their budget.
I never did relay anything about taco night other than the above blurb. I think these photos and their captions should suffice. I wish I had gotten one of the actual food because it was delicious, but you can see the satisfaction on people’s faces in the third photo.
We were going for snobby wine drinkers. Ha ha, I look a bit scary, but Carrie looks great. I’ll post it to make up for the ones I posted where she is wearing her pajamas in the background.