View From the Passenger Seat, originally uploaded by bexadler.

Tonight I took a taxi where the driver was driving in the wrong lane, weaving in and out of traffic, and basically scaring me out of my wits, which is not an uncommon occurrence here in China. It got me to thinking, for the zillionth time, about what would happen if I died in China. I know it’s a weird thing to think about, but I do think about it quite often. I worry that if I were to die here, nobody at home would ever know what happened to me. I mean, nobody would probably even know I was missing until I didn’t show up to work for a couple of days. And even then, would anybody think to contact my family or friends back home? Would everybody think I had just decided to stop talking to all of my family and friends at the same time? (This is not a long stretch of the imagination if you know how I have cut people out of my life in the past.)

Other things that run through my head: If I were to die in a car accident or was murdered, would the Chinese police cover it up instead of notifying the embassy so they could tell my family? Would they say I must have run off to another country or moved to a different city? Would they hide my ID and bury me in an unmarked grave somewhere? And on and on and on. I obviously watch way too many American cop shows AND have no faith in the Chinese government.

This is why I send my best friend a text message every Sunday that says: I am still alive. If she does not receive this message though, I’m not sure that she would immediately call the U.S. embassy to check on my whereabouts. She may just think I either forgot or got drunk and overslept. There must be some way I can ensure my death does not go unnoticed if it happens…

I guess what I’m trying to say is: If you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m probably dead.

Or maybe not.