Old Jeep, Wellawatte.
I used to walk everywhere in Montreal, take the metro or the bus, or bicycle. It was great. Been trying a similar lifestyle here, but it’s hard. Streets are literally quite shitty. I was walking around Wellawatte and this guy was walking his dog in front of me. The dog shits and they both keep walking. If I didn’t see, I would step in the shit. This is where everybody walks, so the next person will step in the shit. Dude doesn’t give a shit.
It’s like the system isn’t built that way. I was wandering around Slave Island and I stopped for a burger at Burgers King. I was eating and walking (an exercise in disassociating the senses) and when I’m done A) there’s no napkin and B) I have a fair amount of garbage. I was able to wash my hands in the Sampath Bank fountain but over two kilometers I saw zero trash cans. Trash piles yes, trash cans no. I ended up putting it in the ATM trash, again at the Sampath Bank ATM. Thank you Sampath.
Inside the ATM there’s a dude sleeping and I was like ‘what does he do all day?’ It seems like jail, being a security guard. You could presumably write or read a great novel, but nobody seems to do that. They just sit and stare into space. If I had Internet I could do that. Maybe I should be a security guard.
Today I looked out of a trishaw in Nugegoda and saw roadkill so strompled that it looked like a flattened fur cap. I think crows and beasts had eaten the innards out. It was just slowly becoming part of the pavement. You know when you walk and there’s all the bottlecaps embedded in the pavement? What’s that about?
The other day I was walking home from the chicken parts shop and I saw a cat with its legs twitching on the road. Coming closer I gasped, it was alive, blood on its mouth and ears, hit but not killed by someone. I felt like I should move him, actually I felt like I should put him out of his misery, but I was too uncomfortable and I just didn’t. I assumed someone else would, but they’re probably assuming the same thing. Nobody does anything. I still feel bad about that. I don’t know what I could have done, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t do the right thing.
That said, I kinda like taking the bus, listening to music, seeing people and things. I usually drive everywhere (cars in the shop, probably time to sell it) and you miss seeing anything. That walk in Wellawatte has a great avocado juice for like Rs. 80, with a lovely jaggery flavor. Slave Island is damn cool, they have a decent public restroom with bunnies out front. Nugegoda is, hmmmm. They’re digging a big hole there. I guess that’s cool.
This is stuff you don’t see in the car, or at least don’t care about. The universe is too often focused into a radius of rage around your bumper.
I get pretty pissed off when I drive in the city. At the least I’m annoyed, at best sociopathic. I just don’t get that now. I listen to music if I’m walking, use the phone or just meditate in trishaws. I don’t worry about parking, which spares me from a netherworld of cognition best described by Donald Shroup: “I truly believe that when men and women think about parking, their mental capacity reverts to the reptilian cortex of the brain.” I just don’t go there. If I arrive somewhere I’m done. I arrive unencumbered, both mentally and physically.
That said, certain stuff like going out of town or even simple errands (getting medicine at midnight) is rather annoying, and expensive, and/or impossible.
Yesterday I had to meet some people at the airport, so I just took a trishaw. It cost Rs. 1250, a deal though I think we almost died. Paid for a ride back as well, which was no joke. It was annoying, but I had some nice thoughts and I did what I had to do. Being on foot forces you to get beyond the rote personal transport loop (I’m going to my car – FUCK EVERYBODY – I’m here) and actually be vaguely present wherever you are. For a sense of place, I saw a rather explicit vaginal birth and like one hour of the World Trade Center bombing in the airport waiting lobby. National Geographic, who knew. I have never seen a bloody baby come out of a vagina and I didn’t really want to. This was followed up by planes flying into buildings, over and over. Made me almost miss CNN. Came back in an Allion, just closed my eyes and we were on Baseline Road.
You can kinda be alone with your thoughts. You can have thoughts. I guess it’s not so bad. Today, though, some cow had, like, dysentery all over the road. Seriously, fuck Dehiwela sometimes.