Today, I realized I am, such a bleeding heart. I could tell myself it was being tired and wanting to take the day slowly that caused me to hire the oldest bicycle-rickshaw pilot around. But I also know in my heart that, knowing I had not much to do, I thought I’d hire one of the old boys since I’ve found not only are they the most trustworthy, but also the ones who get less work. They’re not fast and spry and people therefore overlook them. They also know quite well that most foreigners don’t go in for Emporiums and don’t waste their energy running you somewhere you don’t want to go in hopes of a cut of something.
Well, after a long trip about Agra, the old fellow dropped me at the cybercafe near my hotel and I asked him what was a fair price for the work he’d done. Now, it was hard work that he’d done, and he’d been at it for a good lot of time. But I know from my Lonely Planet book that even an autorickshaw would have cost me only 200 ruppees. When I asked him twice what he thought I should pay, he refused to answer, and asked me to tell him, and finally, the third time, he sheepishly asked me for 300 ruppees. Which is about $6 American.
I didn’t give a damn what anyone else would have paid him, though; I knew he’d worked much harder than a younger cycle-rickshaw pilot would have had to, and he’d been a good guide to me, that day. Interesting, nice, and trustworthy. So I paid him the 300 ruppees, and you would not believe the look on his face. He was so happy, he thanked me three times and declared his happiness. It was plain on his face. And all of that, because I paid him $6 US instead of $4, and didn’t haggle or make an argument about it…
I tell you, it’s a really fucked-up world we’re living in.