I caught myself thinking a little too much about "Number One" this morning on my way to school. Nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and taking care of yourself, but today, the internal conversation/rant fest that occurred in my brain was perhaps a little inconsiderate and certainly self centered.
I woke to the sound of medium-sized rain drops pelting the tin roofed building outside of my window. Morning rain, my favorite rain...but not good when I need to get transportation to work. Rainy mornings always result in me being late and having a portion of my salary deducted...Last month I was over 200 minutes late for school, most of that due to rain. Other than that I'm rarely.
So it was raining, I grabbed an umbrella and headed out to hopefully catch a cab to school. As I waited in the rain, a monk with his alms bowl and a cute little orange umbrella walked by in his bare feet and collected some food from an internet cafe owner on my corner then crossed the street. No taxis. Four flamboyant "lady boys" left a karaoke bar yelping with every cold drop of rain that went down their backs...hope their mascara was waterproof. Still no taxis.
A line of taxis rounds the corner, I eye each one to see if the red light is lit signaling that it is vacant. Red taxi, no light. Blue taxi, no light. Two yellow taxis, no lights. No taxis. Orange taxi rounds the corner. I was guardedly excited to see its red light lit and an empty back seat!
I lower my umbrella and open the back door and tell him where I'm going. He tells me he's not going in that direction but he can take me in the other direction towards Minburi...I say "No, it's okay, I'm going in the opposite direction" to which he replies, "But if you want to go to Minburi I can take you." It was like going to the electronics store to buy a microwave and the sales person just keeps trying to sell you a digital camera instead. This whole little conversation took about 20 seconds, the whole time freezing rain pelting my back and sending icy shivers up and down my "Looks like he might like to go to Minburi" spine.
Disappointed I closed the taxi door and the driver zoomed off leaving me in a cloud of exhaust fumes. Yummy. I'm now at 25 minutes waiting in the steady rain for a taxi so I decide, as I've done before, to begin walking to school. This is when I had my internal bout with negativity and did my whining for the day (and hopefully for the month).
All I could think, as I was walking, was how soggy my work shoes were and about my one wet sock. Every polo piercing droplet of precipitation found me with raised and tightened shoulders, my body warming itself perhaps.
"I'm gonna be late for work, they're gonna deduct another 150 baht."
"My wallet and my backpack are getting wet."
"Crap, the water at this crosswalk is up to my ankles."
"Why do drivers insist on hitting every puddle at 20 kmh and spraying water all over me?"
"I'm gonna stink when I get to work."
"The bbq pork lady didn't brave the rain this morning, now I have to eat Corn Flakes for breakfast."
Not many positive thoughts went though my head during my brief walk...but about a kilometer in, a taxi dropped off some guys on my side of the street and I rushed over hoping he would take me to school. Luckily he was willing to sit through the Ladprao rainy traffic so I hopped in.
As I closed the taxi door and endured the last few drops of rain, I smelled cigarette smoke. I'd normally be pretty nastied out by that particular smell in a taxi (fart is a way too common close second), but I'd had enough negative thoughts in the past half hour so I convinced myself that it was the nicest and most welcome third hand smoke I'd ever been exposed to. After all, it was either that or wade the remaining 7 kilos to school in a steady rain.
The half hour ride gave me a chance reflect on my early morning negativity. Not two days after a typhoon puts Manila under water killing hundreds and turning the lives of millions upside down...Not a day after an earthquake strikes Indonesia leaving many towns in rubble...Not a day after the same earthquake sets off a tsunami that kills many in Samoa...I'm complaining because my socks are wet. Wow.
It took only a few drops of rain and some discomfort for me to lose perspective. There are so many people in the world enduring much more difficult circumstances. Many doing so, I'm sure, with a smile and positivity that will see them back on their feet in no time. Bravo to them!
So, next time I start feeling sorry for myself or if I'm feeling negative I'll remember to "Grin and bare it" because my socks will dry after a few hours, but the negativity will weigh me down (and others around me) all day.
Hurray for happy smiles!!
Spring Break at the Rigg River Ranch (April 2014)
9 months ago