Have water will travel
April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
One could only imagine a plenty of inexplicable reasons as to why a water tumbler (of one of the most famous brands in the world) ended up inside a rubbish bin. It was filled with tea-coloured water and I was about to make up my mind to retrieve it when the LRT arrived and from the closed door of the train, I looked at the rubbish bin sadly until it disappeared from my view.
No, I haven’t changed my habit of watching people to look inside every rubbish bin I’d encountered but isn’t it ironic when you were about to dispose a disposable empty plastic bottle of mineral water into a rubbish bin and turned out to discover a water tumbler that, by invention of relevancy, was supposed to be non-disposable? Then, of course, the water. Tea-coloured water and we all know what our first guess is but I wonder if advertisements of drink-and-dispose beverages on tv are that successful and appealing to our lifestyle these days that a water tumbler now can only function as… urine filler?
But then, I realize that those are just wild guesses since I never know the truth behind the fate of that water tumbler or its owner. Who knows, perhaps, the water reminded him/her of some painful arguments or old love who used to brew that beverage for him/her before that one fateful bitter argument led to unforgettable separation and hatred. And vengeance. And…..
*Sigh* Why should I even care for a stupid water tumbler inside a rubbish bin in the first place? But of course, care I should and must when the memory of living half-a-day without a drop of water was still intact and vivid in my mind that I had to endure twice in my lifetime when traveling by bus. The experiences somehow reminded me of my friend’s anxiety that drove her to deny her body system, its right to be filled with refreshing water for the sake of not having to deny her urinary system, its right to go to the toilet. Indeed, I think that is the most common anxiety that most of us face when traveling by bus these days and if you really have no idea at all, the bus drivers seemed to have develop a peculiar habit of not wanting to stop at any Rest and Service Areas or better known as R&R due to tight schedule of upcoming trips. Now I understand what the girl I met at KL Sentral meant when she said that train is the safest mode to travel unlike bus. It’s always the matter of the toilet that is the elixir of our well-being. But then again, sometimes, we have no choice and do we really think unbearable thirst really worth the endurance?
Let me be honest here. I always thought of my friend’s anxiety as stupid and baseless. To endure a journey feeling thirsty is simply not worthy at all cost. After all, the toilet would always be there waiting for us like promising light at the end of the tunnel and it was only a matter of self-control. However, on that fateful day, due to rushing and oversleeping, I embarked on my journey without a drop of water in my possession but I told myself not to worry since the bus would finally stop at one of the R&Rs. It did not. We passed another and another and with each sign, I was filled with undying hopes and wishes but still, the bus sped with the wind; the sehala ikut angin Chinese expression? I guess I really get it by now. Occasionally, I would drift away to sleep and if you watched 127 hours, remember the part when James Franco dreamed of Gatorade that he left in his truck? I learned that a dream, as the product of longing, is the most real, except you always woke up alone–and with dry lips that felt like sandpaper. To make matters worse, when we stopped in KL, the driver, due to pitiful number of passengers heading to Klang and Shah Alam, refused to drive to both places and decided to hail any buses in sight from the side of the road that was willing to take us there. I was the only one left on the bus–with a Chinese woman who sat in the seat behind me. She was attractive and we both sat in silence in the dark until she descended the bus to chat with the driver; there was something in her demeanor–the way she walked and carried herself–that reminded me of someone. Soon, I found myself standing outside amidst the rain to watch some primary school students playing hockey at the nearby stadium when she rushed past me to hop on another bus that would take her to Klang. Bored, thirsty, hungry, I went back to the bus but instead of returning to my seat, I walked along the aisle back and forth and voila! A bottle of mineral water! The water was half full (haha! I have no idea that optimism can be so… thirst-quenching!) and just like Piscine Molitor Patel (I always think it’s cool to be named after a swimming pool), I drained that golden cup to the very last drop, sucking at the hole to catch any remaining moisture. After making sure not a drop left, I turned at the seat where I found the water only to realize it was the Chinese woman’s.
My second experience was less dramatic but haunted by dream for water none the less. The man and the young woman who sat next to me always drank noisily from their water bottle and I spent four hours of the journey staring at the view outside before the bus finally stopped at an R&R that was facilitated with a hut for prayer, toilets, and a lorry that sold plenty of junk foods. At least, I ended my thirsty plague without having to steal a bottle of water from fellow passengers while they were sleeping as according to my original plan.
Hence, back to my encounter with the abandoned water tumbler, this thought struck to view: do non-disposable water bottles have a place in traveler’s backpack these days when we are blessed with infinite supply of bottled water that can be purchased easily on this planet? Yeah, at least where money is the least concern and the thought of traveling to slum areas in India, Kenya or Ethiopia where water is a paid gift from God is unthinkable. Why on earth I did not bring water from my house is because there wasn’t a convenient store or a restaurant that offered water top-up for travelers unlike chilli sauce for french fries (seriously, what is so appealing about the taste of chilli sauce?) that made disposable bottles of mineral water as the only convenient alternative. In my student days, since the water was like a glass of martini with a rusty nail to substitute the olive, I always had to buy water from a huge water filter machine that was parked outside a neighbour’s lawn with only a cost of less than MYR 1 to fill a 5 liter used mineral water container but despite all the claims pasted on the body of the machine about water purifying and all, I fall into habit of heating it first before it could be deem safe to drink since the water still came from the same rusty source as mine. Therefore, to the machine will I go every time I want to top up my non-disposable water bottle? I don’t think so. Instead, to the 7-Eleven will I usually go actually to buy bottled mineral water.
After the bus stopped in Shah Alam, I waited for other passengers to leave first before I got up and I looked around the empty seats and saw many half-drunk bottled water left behind by fellow passengers. I guess, that’s what you do when you have a place to stay that equals home in many aspects especially when it comes to facility and necessity unlike a hotel room or a train compartment.
Highly recommended! For your information, I’m not often difficult and I will not cut your hair short but the real freedom and happiness of being oneself is when you cut your hair so ridiculous the style looks absurd on you but you love it tremendously because your head feel lighter than never before. I love my nearly shorn hair nya haha! By the way, feel free to download the song here. You must register first before downloading but a few seconds of your time to register just to get this song so you can listen to it and sing along for the rest of your life is definitely worth it.
I don’t know why I wrote about bus travel and all. I guess, it’s because I’m going to miss it tremendously. The things you do and the miles you run for someone can be selfish… though I insist everyone must take the chance of their rights to explore the feeling they have for that particular person they love even if it turns out to be hurtful or disappointing in the end. A recent work-related (and financial) travel left me weeping in a hotel room all night that kept me within a few centimeters of losing self-control to open up to someone but when I looked at my tear-stained face in the mirror always, the reminder, “Leave her alone. She deserves better.” Though I’ve said it so many times that I lost count, I don’t really know what better really means. What is it? I used to know it as being in a position that other people want you to be even if you don’t. And now? Perhaps, until the tears dry up. I guess.
Oh, the lady who loved herself in my previous post? That was an exclamation printed on her t-shirt. I found her reaction ridiculous because if eyes accidentally met could be count as hitting on someone, this world would be nothing but a heartbreak regardless of how much you love yourself.