Blindsided

Make me go to a Guatemalan jungle or Colombian desert, and I would probably know what to do.  Leave me in Jakarta metal jungle and I am totally clueless.  

I drove yesterday on my own and I was trying to change lane. After a few minutes, a car came close while I released a bit of my brake to inch left and he claimed that I scratched his car.  The Dude asked me to stop to “discuss” the matter.  I was not worried, but I did have to make a call to my uncle and asked what is usually the solution (us, who have lived abroad and calculate everything back to dollars have been accused of ruining the market rates).  It was a super minor scratch, and a bit too high to have been done by me.  Anyways, I just did not want to argue that part. My uncle suggested just claim through insurance.  So I relayed the same to the Dude.  
He immediately rejected and gave me a bunch of excuses.  If we claim through insurance, he would have to bring the car to the workshop which was time-consuming, and his car is “operational” car.  What the heck does “operational car” mean is beyond me.  A car is I hope is operational if it is driven out and about.

I got it right away that he just wanted to be paid off. But….he would not disclose his desired amount. I kept asking. So I got fed up and told him, “look buddy, my style is “bule” (bule is our slang for westerners) style. Direct. Just tell me how much you want.”  He replied “no, no, I would not want you to think it was “pemerasan” (blackmail).”  Errr…isn’t that what you are doing!?!??? I was quite perplexed and bewildered.  So I called my uncle again and started to count my Rupiah in my wallet.  

I finally offered him an amount.  He went to consult his significant other in the car and finally accepted.  He had the gall to smile and shake my hand after I handed him the money.  

We said goodbye amicably, but it made me wonder if this was how he increased his monthly income.

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