Monday, April 11, 2005

Astounds locals

It's 5 p.m. and I sit here comfortably listening to U2 after a nice hot shower. Yep, hot shower. I left work at 3:30 and it was a downpour.. a good ole turd floater.

As I mounted my bike I heard gasps of 'Oh my God' and such from the teachers. I pedalled towards home in the rain and when I got to Sri Hartamas, a little row of shops and restaurants, I got stares from everyone huddled in the stalls drinking their teh tarik. I was the entertainment for a bunch of those souls today. Mat Salleh is crazy. Can't he afford a car? Silly white man!

And I leave you with these thoughts after that short vignette:

Why is it any different to ride in the rain? Why is everyone so afraid to get wet? Being wet is a fact of life here in Malaysia.. but the locals haven't really figured that out... even with years to adapt.. and the foreigners aren't about to try. I KNEW I had a nice shower and dry clothes waiting for me after a short 20 minute ride. So it was truly a minor inconvenience.

My theory is this: We moderns aren't really at ease in the elements any more. We think of them as enemies to be conquered or vanquished. We've built climate controlled buildings and shelters and go from one to the next. We aren't in touch with the rain, the snow, the heat. Sure it's hard. Sure I'm romanticizing a bit. But what I feel and have felt after many runs and bike rides in the rain is this : more alive and in touch with something more fundamental than air conditioning and central heating... I think we invented these things for a reason.. being out in nature is harsh and hard... but we've gone a bit too far when we're afraid to at least experience it once in a while.

p.s. it was a damn good shower and I appreciated it largely! Much more so than if I had rode home in a car!

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