Thursday, June 23, 2011

Slanting thoughts/14

Singapore skyscrapers, by Fabio
- You're saying that I am not good at selling myself. Maybe you're right, but I don't think so: I only dislike some of those personal marketing techniques. 

- There are a lot of things I did that I am ashamed of. One of them is pretending not to recognize someone for reasons that might seem obvious but are not obvious at all. The fact that they did the same with me doesn't comfort me by one bit.

- Can you picture those women who stay with a man just because he's rich? I don't blame them, of course, at most you could say that they are not so romantic. Those men though...we should only hope that they are not too jealous.

- One should write when he has something to say, not just to remind the world that he exists. 

- Most of those people who would never disturb you when you are writing an sms, eating, talking with someone or on the phone, will surprisingly think that you have nothing to do if you are reading, which is possibly the noblest among those activities.

Read more thoughts here

Monday, June 13, 2011

Letter to a thief - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo by walkinginspace pt2 (CC)
Dear thief,
Unknown thief. I mean the profession of course, not the insult. Even though finding out that you've been robbed of 60 euros could lead you to indulge on the orgasmic pleasure that only insults can instill - insults directed to a target as yet unknown, and therefore easy to hit without complications of conscience - thinking more carefully about it you will see that it's not worth it. 
I have already been vaccinated against robbery-induced-anger or shock. Many things were stolen from me in the past: money in different currencies, traveler's cheques, credit card data, cameras, a car (not mine), bicycles, mobile phones. You might say that I am naive, careless or vulnerable. Maybe you're right, but I say that I am just exposed to risk. That's the way I live my life, some sort of intuitive commandment: don't give up a curiosity, an emotion, an experience, a pleasure just because something might happen. And if you do that too often, or almost all the time, sometimes something will actually happen.
I am not rich, I cannot afford to lose such a sum every other day and just have a laugh about it. But I'm not poor either and I'll get over it, actually I already have. I will think of something worth that amount that I'll have to make without, but it'll just be a pretense, as I don't live a luxurious life and there isn't really anything that I need to give up.
But you, oh yes, you, that was such a thoughtless thing to do. Very skillful indeed, as you managed to stick two fingers into my pocket, get hold of all the 10 and 50 ringgit bills that were there and leave the smaller ones behind - as if you wanted to show off your talent and mock me at the same time - all that without me feeling a thing. Alright, the crowd that was pushing against me in that pub made it easier, but still it was a good sleight of hands. How thoughtless though, as I said, for the bad karma that you called upon yourself will chase you until it makes you pay the bill. And as you stole 60 euros that might be any 60 things that could be taken off or assigned to you: days of your life - or maybe months ? - disappointments, or sad moments, love pains...who knows, karma is inevitable, its outcome guaranteed, but its ways are unpredictable.
What did you say? You're neither Buddhist nor Hindu and karma affairs are none of your business? Oh but it simply doesn't work like that: you might not be interested in karma but karma is definitely interested in you. Look at me for example, I'm not a believer of those religions either but even in a place like this, where normally hardly anybody pays attention to me, this beautiful, tall girl is coming here to console me, and she smiles at me, and waits for me to say something, which, of course, I don't say, because I often behave like this: I miss chances, convinced that others will come along even though there is no evidence to support this shaky conviction, other than the fact that there have always been another chance, so far, at least, there have always been another one.
And in fact look at that other girl, yeah, she's not as tall as the previous one - that a silly jealous friend after noticing her movements is dragging away from here -  but she's pretty, cute and petite. She's talking with that handsome Dutch guy that I met earlier but when she sees me she startles, she's saying something, I read her lips and she's saying I know you, but I've never seen her before and I step back and hide behind a column because besides being prone to missing lucky chances sometimes I am also overcome by this kind of childish behavior, but she moves and she's still staring at me and while I read again on her lips that same statement that is nailing me on the spot - out of curiosity or shyness or both - she's already walking towards me. She's in front of me now and she says that I am Fabio, and actually that's my name, not a common one in Kuala Lumpur, by the way. Who is she, what place, person or event can I associate her to, I quickly scan a messy list in my mind but I can't find anything, I don't know many people in this city and I remember the faces of the ones I know. I'm from Thailand, she's saying now, and that makes more sense because I know more people there than here but still she's not one of them. She says that I'm Italian, another thing that she shouldn't be saying to me but I to her as it's the first time we meet, of this I'm sure, and she's naming places where she saw me before and I actually used to go there as well. Finally she has to go, she leaves me dumbfounded. She spots me again outside of the joint and comes to say goodbye and see you again in Bangkok. I should have said something witty but she's already gone. Luckily she didn't greet me with that expression that some Thai girls like to say to make you laugh even though it has never even snatched a smile from my lips, see you when you see me, really a powerless joke.
Well, are you finally convinced now, young thief? You don't believe in karma? But he believes in you, and in what you've done. You'd better start thinking of things that can occur 60 times, or maybe 250, as that's the actual sum in local currency that you so skillfully picked from my pocket. You can run, you can hide, you can ignore it or make fun of it, but sooner or later karma always finds you.

Good luck and best regards,
Your victim aka occasional money box.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A minimum of privacy - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo by kindgott (CC)
In the same stretch of road where I enjoyed the accident involving the sack-of-potatoes-kind-of-woman, just a few meters away and at about the same time, I happen to witness a scene that is even more pictoresque, though lacking the same pace of action.
I've almost reached Avenue K, a fancy building that I have to walk across to get to the Petronas Towers underpass. I need to decide whether I'll use the first entrance (pros: 100 meters of additional air-con; cons: the hallway suffers from an aseptic, a bit desolate, vaguely sullen atmosphere) or the next one (pros: superb view of the KL skyline, melting pot social details, amusing little scenes; cons: such a thick sultriness that if you suffer from eye cataracts condensation will form under them). I usually choose the second one, walking slowly in order not to sweat too much, but today I go for the first one as I want to take a look at a shop that...
Who's yelling? I can't see anybody.
"Hey! Hey!"
Ah, there he is, a security guard who popped up from behind a column and is walking with an unusual haste towards a small garden that separates the bulding from the sidewalk. Following his path I set my eyes on a point a few meters ahead and...I spot it! Actually I should say I spot him. A Cro-magnon kind of man, with slightly curly black-gray hair, gathered together in a couple of thick dreadlocks - which probably formed by accident after a life spent bivouacking around since he had his last shampoo - is squatting down over the freshly mowed English turf, near an open tap that is sprinkling water on his feet (which would be great news if the little drops weren't bouncing off a layer of waterproof grease that doesn't let even a particle of purifying liquid get in touch with his skin).
A short hedge is screening him from the eyes of the passers-by but not from the outraged ones of the guard, who decides not to take into account the excellent fertilizing properties of the generous dose of organic matter that the man is unloading on the ground and without hesitations urges him to leave at once. The other guy, who is right in the middle of the bowel evacuation operation, can't be bothered to stand up, perfectly aware of the mess that such an action would cause. He might well be a poor bum but he should still be granted the pleasure of a defecatio without being rushed, no matter what the god in wich his persecutor believes is.
The guard can't take this. He continues to yell while he draws near the site of the outrage, with a threatening air, and he stops in front of a low wall, wary, hesitant, as if he could see in that obstacle the perimeter of a safety circle traced around the source of the stench that he might have started to smell. Even though he has not completed the approaching maneuver he nonetheless manages to hurry the intruder, who swiftly produces a plastic bottle and empties its content on his hand in order to lubricate the rubbing movement with which he's cleaning the area of the body contaminated just now.
Then he stands up and does something that I was not expecting: he doesn't leave, actually he turns around, steps out of the garden and stands there, in neutral territory. Then, swelling his chest, he gives the guard a defiance glance, almost threatening, a reproaching look at he who violated his privacy in such a delicate moment. Maybe he comes here everyday, at the same time, and he can't bring himself to believe in this change of scenario, hence the indignation that he's not able to hold back.
The guard seems to suffer the blow, he is speechless, the vigor instilled in him by his sense of duty fades off, polluted by a dose of doubt, while some kind of fear for this unexpected bout of pride seems to have form an alliance with the stench that is keeping him at bay. But it's a short-lived impasse, as almost immediately he recovers, and after managing to defeat fear and disgust he jumps on top of the wall. The other understands that it's time to get out of there, leaving behind just that stinking present.
He turns around, doesn't run away but starts to walk fast, barefoot, barechested and with a pair of light fabric trousers, actually a vague idea of trousers, as only a hem of cloth flaps over his right leg, covering a section of thigh and calf, leaving his buttock completely exposed. He's carrying two plastic bags, which most likely - together with the shreds of those pants - make up all of his belongings.
A couple of days later, in the early morning, I'll spot him from the road while he stands on the same place, only his trunk sticking out from behind the hedge, while he's filling the same bottle at the tap and then uses it to take a rustic shower, like people in this area of the world used to do until a few decades ago in the rivers and the lakes.
He moves with energy and purpose but without haste, while his accidental dreadlocks sway over his head. There are neither guards nor cops around, someone is looking at him but nobody disturbs him. After all this is still his bathroom, a place that requires a minimum of privacy.