Follow my Existential Exile. . .

Monday, July 25, 2011

how much "ish" can you take?

I probably should've titled this post with a positive religious verse, "God will never put more on you than you can bare", which in fact, is a true statement. However, I'm not feeling too positive right now, so excuse me while I be human for a few paragraphs.

I feel that living in the craziness of this culture is more or less a test of one's endurance. Especially for someone, like myself, who has grown up with the conveniences of modern America, living in a less desirable atmosphere and under developed environment is a test of one's gully-ness. (Gully meaning "gutter" or grimy or grittyness. I remember the scene in "Brown Suga" when Mos Def asks Taye Diggs if washing his taxi car windows is too "gully" for him.) Can you roll up your sleeves and get dirty, or be carried and waited on with the privileged class?
It's the Southeast Asian bootcamp:
How much sun, heat, humidity can you take. . . before you wine for AC? (my students even complain and they grew up here!)
How long can you walk through crowded stalls, markets, alleys, grocery store aisles, sidewalks etc. before you develop claustrophobia?
How long can you breathe in exhaust from motorbikes, cars, trucks, rickshaws, tuck tucks and second-hand smoke before you develop bronchitis? (16 hrs/day? 7 days/week? 52 weeks a year?)
How long can you yell in a hot humid classroom at students who continue to give a lame excuse for not doing what you ask, before you develop laryngitis?
How long can you continue to function working in a 90+ degree day forgetting to drink water, before you get dehydrated?
How much hacking, spitting, and "ahemming" can you hear from old men and drunkards before you hate to walk outside for fear of what you'll step in?
How many incriminating stares, points, prods and examinations can you take, before you bark at anything that glances at you.
How much nodding (mmm hmm) can you take from non-native English speaking people when you ask then an f-ing question, because they're too prideful or stupid to simply tell you, "I do not understand."
How many times can you get stuck in the rain while on your motorbike before your entire body looks like a prune?

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