Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rhythm of Life

I find people fascinating. I tend to be attracted to people who have quirky sense of humour and are open to exchanging their stories and sharing their thoughts. I like to think that I am open minded and versatile in accepting what comes may but in reality I find that everyday can be a challenge as it is never easy to just accept what you see and what you hear without feeling affected or forming an opinion, a conclusion or a thought. It is never easy to interact with opinionated people but I figure if I stop listening to people who are opinionated, I am just becoming as close minded as these people.

Maybe it is the hot and humid weather, maybe it is the bad traffic, almost everyday I encounter errant and impatient drivers and motorists on the road. I also encounter drivers who do not seem to notice that they are obstructing traffic or entrance to a parking lot.  Today when I approached the driveway that led to my office car park, I honked as I sighted a truck that was parked at the entrance to my office car park. After some honking, the driver stepped down from his truck asking me to wait. He had this hostile look on his face and I decided to stay cool although I very much wanted to insist that he moved his truck. It was then I  wish I could do some kicks and flicks just like in one of those Hongkong kung fu movies. I thought of calling up my office and ask one my of male staff to speak to him. At  that moment, a couple of police officers walked out with one of my office staff members who immediately walked up to the truck to speak to the driver who finally budged.

When we returned to work on Monday, we found an authorized car parking at our office compound, and due to the way the car was left in the middle of our parking lot, we could not fit in all our cars. This morning my office decided to make a police report. That was why the police and policewoman had been called upon to pay a visit to the site. It is still a puzzle as to who could have left his or her car unattended in a private car park. If I let my mind wander, it is a mystery. Maybe it is just one inconsiderate act of some driver, nothing more. It is definitely a good opening line for a story.

While everyone must  fend for himself or herself, he or she must not be oblivious to basic civic courtesies. These days whenever I come across a kind soul or someone with manners, I feel grateful. The truck driver definitely behaved unreasonably when he expected me to wait for him to unload the stuff he was delivering  even though he was blocking my driveway. I could not help feeling that his refusal to shift his truck was a deliberate act  as a form of retaliation because I started honking or that I am a woman.

You reap what you can while you can and you act according to your own whims and needs. That seems to be the motto for  a lot of people to live by in a material world. As one goes about  in their daily life doing things that matter to them, one can become overly self serving and success oriented that one neglects to examine one’s ethics and behaviour. No matter where we live or travel to, we will find that  ethics, kindness and empathy are code of behaviour that matters to all. 

Le Divorce is a fiction that is sassy and stylishly written by Diane Johnson. It is a delightful read since the day Isabel Walker lands herself in Paris to offer help and moral support to her stepsister, Roxy, a poet and an expectant mother who is going through a divorce from her artistic French husband. Their brother, Roger, a successful lawyer in San Francisco is into gun control issues ever since a gunman entered his office building and gunned down fourteen lawyers and clients only two floors below his office.

What surprised him, he said , was that when people heard about the massacre they at first were appalled, but then very quickly, seeking as one does cosmic explanations for tragedy on a this scale, explained it to themselves by saying, with the radiance of sudden comprehension, “Ah,but they were lawyers.”

“In the same tone as they would say,”After all ,they were only dogs,’ Roger said. He had never thought of himself as a member of an undesirable social category, and he was shocked. “I knew they hated lawyers, but I didn’t know how much,” he said, a note of self-pity in his voice.

In the story,  Mrs Pace, a famous American writer living in Paris gave a reading of her memoir- in-progress. Someone asked Mrs Pace.

“How do you remember everything, or do you take notes?”
This was a question that interested her. She leaned forward.
“I ‘ve never understood the proper role of memory in life. I feel I may have spent too long assembling the materials for my memoir and not enough just getting on with it , but I had a dread of being pulled back into the past, to the detriment of day-to-day life, as if you can’t live in two places. In principle memory is to inform the present, by allowing you to learn from your mistakes. Why go back?  I am not by temperament an historian. I would rather think about the present.”’

In this farce, both Rox and Isabel have to face up to issues about morals, money and marriage and their tale is sprinkled with drama and humour. Here is a take when someone was found dead in the building.

Anne- Chantal laughed merrily to think of Madame Florian and a corpse. Only then did Roxy begin to feel how unnatural was this gaiety that seemed to attend the death of a stranger, or perhaps even someone known to them , in her own hallway. But it is a way  that French have, too ,of dealing with grave things, the way the Chinese are said to laugh when you fall down in an embarrassing wan and may have hurt yourself.’

It is so true how sometimes we come across people responding strangely to a situation we view as grave. As the story unfolds, Isabel’s sojourn in Paris turns out to be a romantic adventure indeed.

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