Friday, 26 June 2009

The Lies of Gestalt

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" has never resounded more untruly than now.

Taking on the reins of 2 "part-time" jobs in actually makes me feel busier than when I was doing a 5-day work week full-time. As much as I only have 2 "official" working days, I am hardly "free" or even considered "flexible."

In fact, when there are things such as 20 hour work-days, and to only play 1-hour in total over 4-days for a hardcore nut like me probably says more than enough.

Surely, few can understand the overheads, coordination and required brain-segmentation to work between 2 jobs, across 2 very different cognitive domains, and on 2 very different cycles. It's times like this when the cliche of "24 hours being not enough" has to be said.

A stark contrast from my perhaps-too-idle 4 months at the start of the year.

I sat and wondered which was actually worse, being too busy, or simply too free? Which is worse, aimlessly floating in the open sea or climbing an almost insurmountable mountain? In short, the former.

Days are not hard to pass in leisure floating out in the open, but such a lifestyle is perhaps more than detrimental in the long run, as you just get entertained to death; and before you know it, a month, a year, or even 10, has passed you by, and you have nothing much to put to your name.

In Ian Fleming words:

"In at least one religion, acedia is the first of the cardinal sins. So boredom, and particularly the incredible circumstance of waking up bored, was the only vice Bond utterly condemned."

So while I am busy to the point of suffocation these days, coming right out of the other extreme, I actually derive some sort of masochistic pleasure to know that my days are overly wrung, but always with the underlying though that at least I feel that I'm getting somewhere, doing something, and hopefully inching towards my longer-term goals.

Now, if only I could find the Beauty that is Moderation in my life.... guess she continues to elude me as always.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Flash is a Lie...

The cold morning wind stroked my cheeks as the plastic bag in my hand bobbed up and down with each swerve and bump of the jeep. Its contents still fresh from the oven, as the smell of the Sausage McMuffin raced up my olfactory senses, bringing about a sense of familiarity and yet, distance at the same time - perhaps as long as you are donned in the green uniform, everything civilian seems like a distant luxury that serves to remind you of your eventual endpoint.

I looked across me, watching my buddy's head bob in a similar fashion. eyes partially shrouded by the helmet on top of his head, but still revealing enough to tell that they were shut. The night before was a long and cold one for the both of us, taking turns to watch over the jeep at the ferry terminal throughout the night and hardly getting any winks in-between. Perhaps my slightly more nocturnal nature allowed my body to postpone the fatigue a little more than him, keeping me almost wide awake on our ride back.

The vehicle made a left at a junction that I was all-too-familiar with - no surprise considering that "home" was just 3 or 4 streets down - and filled my soul with a sense of warmth, despite the dampness of the uniform in contact with my skin, a natural consequence of a rainy night.

Going down the road, it was mostly us - me, my McMuffin and my buddy's bobbing head - save for the occasional post-rush-hour-vehicle that came from the opposite direction. Maintaining a comfortable speed, our vehicle approached the bend, causing our bodies to lean accordingly.

As we emerged from the bend, we saw a bus bypassing a vacant bus stop in the opposite direction. All of a sudden, screeches were heard and a sharp force threw me backwards. I looked at the driver, seeing him wrestling with the steering wheel in an attempt to regain control, but that was the least of our fears...

The said bus was heading toward us with a comfortable cruising speed, as we had obviously eaten into its lane. The next few things probably happened in a split-second, but remain vividly etched into my mind.

The bus let out a loud honk - the kind that the driver slams down on his horn in desperation or agitation - as I saw our driver using all of his might to turn the wheel towards the right. A piercing and extended screech accompanied a sharp force that threw me further backwards. I lost my visual orientation and saw the surrounding HDB flats spin around me. A purple and red blur whisked past me on the opposite side (my buddy's side) as we continued spinning and then a sudden thud bumped me slightly off my seat.

As I regained my visual stability and focus, I started to realise that the vehicle was uneven. A quarter of the vehicle went up the curb and a corner of the vehicle was inches away from hitting a roadside tree sprout. I sat there in shock, motionless for a few seconds, trying to process the entire sequence that had just transcended.

When I was finally able to shake myself out of the primal shock, and regained my cognitive abilities, morbid thoughts of the alternate possibility flooded my mind; constructing potential headlines that could possibly make the news the next day, the shock on my parents' faces and all.

Yes, it was indeed too-close-for-comfort experience, and if things had happened any differently, I would have ceased to exist, there and then - 4 streets away from the house that I grew up in, clothed in the discomfort of the slightly drenched green uniform, holding a plastic bag with an awaited-for-consumption Sausage McMuffin. The last thought that would have went through
my mind would probably be that sound and fury of the approaching bus.

Despite what is depicted in the movies, I never saw my entire life flash before my very eyes throughout the entire sequence; never saw my most indelible or heart-wrenching memories, I never saw any of the faces of those that I held most dear.


And this thought continued to bind me in a state of shock, as the sequence played back over and over again in my mind, unable to snap out of my disbelief.

Staring straight into space, something suddenly caught my attention. My buddy's head had stopped bobbing and I saw him widening his eyelids slowly, revealing his bloodshot eyes and a semi-dazed look; only to see transform into wide-eyed shock as he started to realise that something was amiss.

"What happened?" he asked me.

I stared blankly at him for a few moments, unable to utter a single word, as I wondering to myself if Ignorance would have indeed been Bliss if things had turned out any differently.

"You almost died without you knowing it," I finally uttered in a flat voice.