One of you


I hit a parked car in a very questionable neighbourhood. So I got out and bought a mango.

The rule of thumb when you hit anything in a poor area like this is to not stop. Just head to the nearest police station. I decided not to do that.

You see… no one stops to buy a mango here. Not unless you’re one of em. And if you’re not one of em, they’ll hunt you down if you hit anything of theirs with your car.

After I paid for my mango, I asked the owner whose car that was, and I explained that I had hit it. It was his.

“Tu tak pe,” he replied with a reassuring smile.¬†No worries.

This is where I run each morning, and I’ve learned some things about the people here. I’ve learned that smiles don’t always get reciprocated, but may keep you alive. And because the lives of the people here are physically demanding, I’ve learned that running is viewed as a waste of energy, and those who run ¬†have usually done something wrong and are making a getaway.

Of all the lessons I’ve picked up about this place, the most important could perhaps be this, that friends buy friend’s mangoes.

Desert Rain

Rain in LA.

Jeez. Next we’ll have peace in East Timor?

While we’re on the topic of East Timor. The word Timor, translated in the Timorese language Tetum, means “east”… which would ultimately make the name “East Timor” sound a little awkward… don’t you think?

The people of Timor would probably laugh their heads off if they learned that I just claimed rain in LA. “Pfffff! You call that rain?” For a country that gets 1400 mm of rain a year, the 0.005 mm of dampness we got this morning would probably be labelled imposter rain or pussy rain.

And they have a point.

All I know is that I won’t be betting my kidneys that it rained today as I didn’t hear any thunder, see any rain or lightning…. nope…. no pitter, patter, pitter, patter, rumbling sounds in the sky and all that good stuff. All I know is that on the way to work, I could see the bottom of the car in front reflected off the road…. and the air today was so thick with moisture you could catch a water-borne disease by breathing the air. Actually, the air today kinda reminded me of the time I got back from a weekend in St Louis, stepped into my Waugh St. apartment and realized I did not turn off my humidifier before leaving.

I was stubborn at first, refusing to run the windshield wiper on my way to work. I mean, it wasn’t raining. Why use the wiper? Drops continued to accumulate on my windshield to the point it got too thick for me to see. I reluctantly flipped on the wiper. It swung left and it swung right. Now I really couldn’t see shit. Paper mache.

Those of you who know me also know that I wash my car…. ummmm… on average once a year. I normally welcome heavy rain with open arms since it saves me the $5.75 I would have to otherwise spend at the car wash. I do not, however, welcome lethargic, half-hearted rain mainly because it eats into that even coat of silky dust on my car’s skin, leaving its complexion looking like open pores after a cold shower. The way a car is dressed reflects a lot on the owner of the car and today, I had to deal withthe consequences my car looking neither clean nor dirty… as though it were confused… lost… or still in search of its identity.

And to make matters worse, the new rain coat formed an adhesive base that changed my car into a giant piece of scotch tape, vulnerable to everything in its path. I think I’ll adopt a highway.