Friday, March 6, 2009

Rarity is luxury

For my everyday life, just for fun, I made categories of what my days are like. Let me just describe to you how I categorise them. There are three categories: cat and dog chase days, mind-numbing days, and mind-trigger days.

By name, the first is really about catching up with (too many) deadlines. And this is also the kind of days when I usually forget my appointments because I have made them without remembering what I promised to another person before that, thanks to too many things to catch up with. And that kind of day often happens to me (and that thing called Calendar with a reminder in Outlook sometimes cannot even save my day!). These are the days that give me the adrenaline, the days that remind me why I love what I do (of course that ‘loving’ comes when these days are over, cause when I am still in them, I usually curse a lot).

The mind-numbing days are usually about doing the usual, often boring, administrative work with less action. These are the days when I often have to make important, but usually rather mundane, decisions. These are the days when I just need to get the job done – not much feeling, adrenaline is not really needed, I only need enough energy (and motivation) to finish the task. I call it ‘mind-numbing’ because in days like these, usually I operate on auto-pilot. Too much thinking can actually ruin the necessity to finish the task (because then I will dwell too much on issues which, only disturbs the flow of work). And without saying, I don’t really enjoy these kind of days.

Then the last category – the mind-trigger days are those ones when I only have one or two deadlines, not difficult ones, no adrenaline rush. And I still have time to have a leisure lunch, or read an article or two (and sometimes even go to a mall and check out some sale – mind trigger, that!, cause that keeps me in check with my disbelief in big brands). But amongst the three, of course, this last type of days is the one happening the least. So when I have them, I enjoy, squeeze, maximise, to its fullest bits and pieces.

Yesterday, was one of those rare days that I could be ‘mind-triggered’. I woke up feeling really good – my daughter had a bit of fever at night but in the morning that was all gone and she looked as sweet as she used to be. We played for almost two hours before I was off to my first meeting in the morning. I had a good meeting – with good business prospect, so that made my first half of the day.

I came back to office – had a nice, leisurely, fruitful lunch with a colleague. A person who often reminds me, without him knowing, that I should actually not always take things easily by this attitude of ‘let life reveal itself in time then I will act’. Talking to him about what life may be, actually opened my mind of what I should and should not do. Such revelations sometimes that you can get from a simple conversation!.

After that I spent the last half of the day preparing a proposal, and reading things to prepare a report. And I really did enjoy it. I even had time to make a note on Facebook – so, overall, yesterday was a really good day.

And, those of you living in Jakarta would know how awful the traffic has become last night thanks to the rain. If it was my ‘cat and dog chase’ day, or my ‘mind-numbing’ day, I would be very, very, very annoyed. Because usually in those days I want to go home early, but I could not, because of what I have to finish plus what I have to endure on the street. Last night, I did want to go home early but I could not because traffic was so awful. But I was not annoyed at all – because I did not want to ruin such a nice day with my annoyance.

I spent the time waiting for traffic to lessen by reading my pile of things while listening to some music – a combo of Jason Mraz and Billy Joel (yeah some people would say that shows my age – but what the heck, I am proud of how old I am!). I had fun reading what I had to read, I learned from it and I knew it would make me able to create a good report.

But then of course one has to go home – no matter how comfortable your office is, home is where your heart is. So, I packed my things, and went on the street.

This was also one of the rare nights that I did not have anyone picking me up. I asked my driver not to pick me up because traffic would kill him and I would rather know him spending his time with his kids than fighting the awful traffic.

I crossed the road in front of our office, hoping that the direction going to my home would give a better chance to find a transportation. And looking at the traffic – I was just ready for about anything. Taxis were the best, but then, even two wheelers looked great too. Anything to get me home.

And of course taxis were impossible to get. So, I hailed an ojek (a motor taxi it would be called in Bangkok), and took off.

Now, I think that was when God really wanted to have fun with me. I am a person who is afraid of getting on motorcycles. But traffic in Jakarta sometimes does not leave me much choice to go from one point to another. So when our office moved to Kuningan area, I got used to get on ojek to get me to some places – sometimes even to client meetings.

But tonight – it was, a lot more, fun. This ojek that I got onto, decided to race his way through the special space for busway (the one liner road for buses to go to – the creation of our good ol’ last Governor, who I think should have had a brain surgery of some sort to fix whatever was in his mind). Now, that was ‘fun’ because: one - I am still scared of being on motorcycles even now that I am more used to get on ojek, and two – because I have seen what these one liner roads look like in bright day light. At some places they are not actually that smooth. So, my heart was racing – what if there was a bump and something happened.

Strangely, I managed to smile. I actually enjoyed the fresh wind on my face. I enjoyed the thrill that it gave me. And somewhere in my heart, I enjoyed that opportunity to be alive and do what I would not think of doing if I were not pushed to a situation where I did not have much choice.

I got home safely, thank God for that. I went in, saw my sweet daughter was still up, had my shower, played with her, read her bed-time stories till she dozed off.

When I wrote this, it was almost midnight, both my daughter and husband were already asleep (now that is, rare too! – because usually I am the sleepy head among the three of us! When the clock hits 10 at night, I am usually already at another planet). Then it hit me, that it had really been one of those rare days: one of my rarely happening ‘mind-trigger’ day, filled with some revelations of what might be, and a realisation that, hey, I could actually enjoy a racing motorcycle on a road that I could hardly see if it was smooth or not!. And all those – are really luxuries of life, because they do not come to me everyday, I could not find those little things about myself if not because of these rarities.

So, I hope I will have other days like this. The rare ones to treasure a lot longer. And the ones which remind me that a day at its very basic, nothing extravagant, a day where we are stripped from the usual luxury that is around us, can actually be, the best day of one’s life. A REAL luxury.

(RIRI)

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