Monday, July 12, 2010

Little chance of rain - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Time, your ass and the rich will always do as they please (Old Venetian saying)

The sky looks clear, there’s a small cloud up there, but it’s not the type that anticipates a storm. Maybe today, as it often happens, it will let out its raging cry only in the evening. A taxi is coming. Come on, let’s walk, it seems that today there’s little chance of rain. The ride is cheap, but I don’t do it for the money. The fact is that I’ll have to sit for most of the day. Everything is fine until I reach halfway, when my eyes spot the fluttering skirt of a girl. At first I’m not worried about the gloomy omen, focused as I am on the smooth skin of that knee, the slender calf, the lower thigh muscle that is intermittently emerging from under the hem…
Pluck! The top of my skull has been hit by a drop the size of a Japanese medlar fruit. I can already anticipate the glance at the first window, the reflection of my frowning face, the expression of one who is aware that he’s being looked at. And it doesn’t really matter if the voyeur is himself. I feel like I’m wearing the head of a newborn calf. I use a hand to gently rub my hair, trying to achieve at least a harmonious wet effect. It’s funny how we worry about such irrelevant details even when we face the signs of an imminent typhoon. I look at the sky: it’s a mirror that reflects - in angrier hues - the colors of asphalt, steel and skyscrapers. I steal a last look at the legs of that girl: it might be the last nice thing that I see for a while. Actually I was wrong: it’ll be the last thing – but unfortunately the very last one – that I will clearly see for a good ten minutes.
Swosh! A gust of wind in a hurry, come out from nowhere, stopped right in front of me, waited until I absentmindedly raised my eyes, and when it was sure to inflict the maximum damage hurled a handful of greasy dust at my face. I feel like Mr. Magoo who gropes in a darkroom, an astigmatic mole that has been frozen by a spotlight.
Slap! How, who was it, unbelievable! Go to hell! This piece of mud just slapped me from behind. And just because I was swaying and feeling my way. I didn’t do it on purpose: that dust is to blame. I manage to open my eyes by a micron, I clench my jaw in an aberrated face to ward off the pain that hangs from my eyelids. I look around me: everything is blurred, as if I had plummeted into a submerged city. Then I start to make out some shapes here and there. The short-tempered caveman that just slapped my face is a tropical leaf of a shiny green. A blinding effect if one could afford it. It’s the size of the Canadian variety of maple but the texture is the one of “The Brothers Karamazov”.
Drenched by the sky, blinded by the wind and with a cheek that has been numbed by a succulent plant, I speed up my pace, while the rain gets heavier. In a short while I cannot make out the drops anymore, it’s as if a fireman were aiming a hose at me. Where am I running to, and to avoid what? I slow down my pace and I look for some shelter. The taxi drivers seem to say: “You didn’t want us when we were calling you? Now you stay there…and may you drown to death!” I wait for it to stop. At least the monsoon has got a good side: the rain comes down with such a heavy flow that in a matter of a few minutes there is no water left. I set out, a taxi stops by: I would like to ignore it in protest. But then I get on and the driver asks me if I got wet. Well - I sardonically think - maybe it’s not that obvious then.
I’m still dripping when I enter the training center. The secretary is surprised. “How? Is it raining?” This is the paradox of these caskets of concrete, with the darkened glasses and the soundproof walls. If the Deluge took place and Noah came by, you shouldn’t worry about these people at all: they are not going to take your place in the Ark.

Photo of monsoon clouds in Sentosa Island, Singapore. By Fabio

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Josh said...
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