N.S. Che Sim Khor Moral Uplifting Society
I found this clinic through Woon. Her sister, brother-in-law and his sisters, as well as some other people from Kuala Klawang travel here up to 3 times a week to receive treatments. It’s a sort of free clinic and the doctors all volunteer their services. It costs 7 ringgit per visit (about $2.50) which includes a consultation, acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies.
There are no private rooms; people receive acupuncture in the large main area seated in chairs. I went because I have been having pretty severe and frequent headaches. My state of health is somewhat of a mystery to me at the moment, but if I had to wager a guess, I suspect that my hearing loss is a result of taking too much Ibuprofen. I was taking it pretty regularly in Thailand and up to 4000 milligrams per day when I had the fever. I lost my hearing after the rash that followed the fever. I notice now that my ear feels strange when I am forced to take it because of headaches. The headaches I think are a result of a sluggish liver probably also damaged by the Ibuprofen. It’s a vicious cycle.
I wasn’t really optimistic about acupuncture restoring my hearing, but I thought I needed to mention that too during the consultation. When it was my turn, a female doctor began administering needles in various points; the top of my head, my legs, my feet, my face. When she inserted a needle below my right ear, I felt immediately queasy and thought it would be best if I just closed my eyes and tried to breathe around the discomfort. Then I was gone. It was the strangest feeling as if I were lost in a void disconnected to anything with a physical form. I have never fainted before, but this felt more like dying and coming back. When I came to, one doctor had my legs in the air, all the needles had been removed and another doctor was pressing her thumb (and fingernail) into my upper lip. I had no idea where I was for a moment. They assured me that this sort of thing happens sometimes if the patient is afraid, too full, too hungry or otherwise physically weak. The young male doctor scoffed off my fear even sort of laughed at me which made me feel more comfortable. He encouraged me to come back on Wednesday (in 2 days). I waited for my Chinese herbs which came in concentrated liquid form. I was instructed to mix 2 tablespoons (the big Chinese spoon they insisted) with hot water and drink 3 times a day.
On Wednesday, Woon’s brother-in-law picked me up and we all traveled back to N.S. Che Sim Khor Moral Uplifting Society for another treatment. The 2 female doctors thought I needed a break from acupuncture (they were afraid) but when the young doctor arrived he said, “I’ll do it for you if you want.” He put 4 needles around my right ear and while they were there, though it was slightly painful, I thought my hearing was slightly more acute. It could just be that the needles relieved me of the nausea associated with trying to intently to hear.
Four acupuncture needles.
I told Woon’s brother-in-law I would drive myself down on Friday, but have since devised my own plan to cure my health. I may try the acupuncture again in the future, but for now I’ve decided that my liver needs a cleanse. I found Bragg apple cider vinegar and raw honey in a small natural foods store in an obscure location in Seremban and I am mixing the two with hot water and sipping throughout the day. When we began our 2 week holiday, I didn’t imagine I would spend mine visiting the acupuncture clinic 3 times a week. The trips to Seremban would require the rest of my holiday and I would still like to get in the car and see more of Malaysia. The MD told me to “get used to” the hearing loss. I never thought that would happen either so I may come back to the Chinese treatments. Chinese medicine works slowly and requires, I think, a strong belief in its ability to cure.
I almost cut my hair, twice: yesterday and today. But I did a virtual make-over, posted the photo and Caleb said, “This is weird.” Somehow that stopped me so far. Cutting my hair is somewhat about making a change (now) but it started as a way to get at what lies beneath the surface. Cutting my hair would be like cutting away what time has done (what I have done) and allowing what is below the roots to surface. That was how it started anyway, and now what I have on my hands is a real paradox, because a desire to cut my hair to allow for more authenticity, threatens to come full circle back to a desire to remain youthful and beautiful whatever the cost. And that desire is what provoked me in the first place to alter my hair.
Since coming to Malaysia, I have become less and less concerned with my looks. I arrived with a hairstyle that needed blow drying and straightening, which I did a few times for only a little less than I would pay at the salon in the US (unlike Thailand where I paid about $3 a few time a week). My hairstyle could not conquer the humidity; its natural frizzy nature won out. But it isn’t just my hair style that suffers here. There seems to be an aversion to the female form (that is not really true, but it’s easy to say it that way then to try to explain Muslim practices). Teachers are required to wear the traditional Baju Kurung (floor length frocks) and Tudung (headscarves) which greatly conceal whatever is underneath. I decided not to give in to the pressure to dress in a Baju Kurung, but I was required to cover almost everything. My head I could leave uncovered. I am not Muslim after all. Having a sense of fashion was the second thing that lost importance. Then there was the heat and my resultant laziness, the food and my desire to eat something that came wrapped in a package (chocolate) rather than food left out all day, the feeling that everyone was watching me and the desire to hide and never go out. It isn’t Malaysians fault exactly. I had a lot going on.
I wasn’t unhappy or depressed when I arrived, but I had already been through a sort of mini depression after losing my hearing. What bothered me the most was my intolerance to noise because it made me feel ill, confused and dizzy. I didn’t think I could go on living that way and I didn’t think I’d ever get used to it. But ceasing to care about my appearance really happened in Malaysia and it happened for two reasons. 1. I didn’t want more attention; I wanted less. 2. There was no one’s attention I was trying to gain (this might be the greater reason).
I went to the hair dresser to get rid of the brassy blonde the salty Gulf of Thailand, the sun and the frequent trips to the salon had turned me. I also went to the hairdresser for something to do as I had so often in Thailand. I wanted a darker color, “you know, to match my true color” and maybe a few highlights to help the gray come in. Here in Malaysia, in my little town where they were mostly afraid to do anything to my hair, I got sort of a rusty brown (nothing like my natural color) and that has since washed me back to where I started: brassy blonde.
I gained weight too because I stayed inside too much. I wasn’t walking for hours as I had done in Thailand. It was too hot, I didn’t want anyone to notice me, I didn’t have a suitor to distract me. None of it made me feel good, but it was a test in a way and even somewhat liberating. “You can get older. You don’t have to be physically perfect or attractive to men, and you can let your hair go gray,” I told myself. I was easing myself into it. And once I gave myself permission to withdraw focus on my physical appearance, I realized that I didn’t really want to let myself go, but what I really wanted was something more authentic: to desire health and fitness because it feels better (not just looks better), to look good in the mirror because it makes me friendlier. But it’s a catch 22, because the better you look, the better you feel and the more (attention) you attract and the whole cycle comes back again.
The other day I got a message from someone I have not spoken to in almost 6 months. Hearing from him brought me straight back to the person I so recently was: the one with a strong desire to know youthfulness and physical beauty; the one who fought the aging process and was grateful to have a reason not to eat much, who secretly agreed with Kate Moss “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” The reasons I had for focusing on my looks, were superficial I admit. But the thing is, this friend didn’t care if I looked pretty or fit really. None of it mattered to him. He loved me as a friend…as I love him, but I had this other “young forever” drama playing that he couldn’t really understand and perhaps had no inkling of. He wasn’t interested in romance, at least not with me. Really this pressure to be “desirable to him” was a symptom of my own insecurity and an abuse of our friendship. It had nothing to do with him. Nevertheless, the pressure accomplished its goal; it kept me both youthful and attractive. I felt severed after hearing from him, torn between who I was and who I was becoming. I wasn’t drawn backwards; I was just sensing things from a former perspective, noticing the change and feeling uncomfortable.
I recalled when he left the island and how I became depressed. First I did a lot of google searches on depression. I found Gary VanWarmerdam’s “pathway to happiness” site. He had recorded podcasts you could download for free. I moved my mattress to the front room and closed the curtains. I listened to them over and over and over. I just needed time to do nothing. I was really really sad and I missed Ding like crazy. But more than that (and I didn’t understand this at the time) I missed how he kept me in relationship with this urge, even obsession, to stay young. When I was done falling asleep to podcasts (and I never did anything productive after that mind you), I started having “happy” hour every day after school with Charlotte where we had fun being basically miserable. I didn’t paint much….I hardly did yoga. And then one day, out of the blue, I lost hearing in my right ear. The noise at school was especially unbearable. I quit my job. I thought, “This is it, just dig a hole and throw me in. My time is over; I am old and I can no longer tolerate noise.” I said this to Caleb and he was deeply hurt. I bought a ticket to India. I was going to meet Nikki. I was going to start doing yoga again.
Instead, I came to Malaysia. A change had already begun to take place in me before arriving. I remember when Brighton (the company I work for) called my co-worker, Anthony, for a reference. He went on and on about how he talked me up, admitting that he sort of lied about my contribution at Panyadee. I was really angry because I was tired, tired of living a lie, tired of trying so hard to convince everyone (myself) that I was more. I didn’t want to try so hard. I just wanted to be, whatever that meant.
Things are different for me here. It isn’t Koh Samui. No one cares if you are glamorous. They wouldn’t trust you, probably, if you were. I don’t like it better, but it has more substance. And I am trying to live with the reality that it is ok not be “all that.” And then there is the paradox of my hair because the kids said “don’t do it.” And Nikki says “people with short hair tend to wear more make-up” and then I might need some highlights to sauce it up a bit and wax to make it spiky. And so it seems I have completely lost sight of what motivated me to do this in the first place. And the crazy thing is I haven’t done a thing. My hair is the same though I have this tendency lately to run my fingers through it several times a day just to make sure.
The Case of the Red Knickers
I watched my neighbor, who is at least 75, go out onto the roof today to lay his underpants out to dry. I had been witnessing the changing of the laundry daily and scrutinized the line carefully for a pulley system. There is none. One day I saw him try to fetch a fallen shirt through the window with a long stick and I figured this was how he had been taking the clothes in and out. Today I saw him shirtless, crouched over a red pair of knickers hanging from a plastic hanger, smoothing them along the corrugated aluminum roof just below our kitchens and bathrooms. I live in what is known as a “shop house” and that just means a residence above a business. I wouldn’t actually call it a house; it’s more like a downtown loft with a staircase in the center and a kitchen and a bathroom at the back. Kitchen is actually generous for what the space is. The only built in feature is a bathroom sink that must double for kitchen and bathroom purposes which I find a bit disconcerting because I don’t like hair and especially in the kitchen. The neighbor’s set up is identical to mine. His son operates a tailor shop below and my building houses TM Point an internet service provider. I assume that they also have no running hot water, but I do not really know. As far as I can tell, the two men live alone, though I saw a woman one morning brushing her teeth behind the mirror opposite mine. She shows up occasionally to add her laundry to the line. I see her van parked out front packed with plastic Chinese kitsch that she must sell on the road when she is not here in Kuala Klawang. The son shouts at me as I pass his shop about how he wants to learn English. But we don’t acknowledge one another when we catch glimpses of the other in our respective kitchens and bathrooms. We just pretend we don’t see, which I must do often because they seem to forget to close their bathroom door even when bathing. He left my clothing repairs in a bag for me with my name on; it read: Low Lee.
On a small island in the Gulf of Siam was a school in the jungle where all the students wore plaid bottoms and sky blue tops. All of the teachers were funny and kind and above average intelligence. The children on this island were a unique mixture of Thai and Western heritage and this made them gifted beyond measure, but in a particular class of 5, the children attempted to deceive their new teacher.
Their new teacher arrived to the island one day on a dingy carrying only one bag. Inside the bag was a series of books she planned to read to her students and 36 primed canvases. The other teachers were at first skeptical of this new teacher because there were slight differences in their natives languages that prevented her from laughing at their jokes, but eventually they found common ground and two of them, at least, eventually became her greatest supporters and confidants.
When the teacher met her 5 students for the first time, she was immediately taken by their good looks, their charms and their unique abilities. There were many things the teacher could teach the students and many new things the students could teach the teacher, but the students were mischievous and they often spent their energies trying to deceive the teacher.
Because the teacher was new to the island and quite trusting (this is perhaps a euphemism for gullible) the students were able to take advantage of her for the sake of having a good laugh at the end of the day. One day the students taught their gullible teacher to say nonsensical things in their language with such united and convincing fervor, that the teacher practiced the words over and over. One of the things the students taught her to say was “Kajing” when refusing a ride from a taxi driver. They even convinced her that if she said this and simultaneously swung her hips while lifting her eyes a bit, that the natives would be delighted. Of course the teacher discovered the students were playing a trick on her and they admitted, finally, that the words were nonsense, but no one suspected the magic that lay behind the incantation of the “Kajing” especially when coupled with a slight swinging of the hips and lifting of the eyes. And no one noticed either that when the teacher said this word while lifting her eyes and swinging her hips with as much enthusiasm as she could muster, that the classroom rules noiselessly fell off the wall and blew out the window.
As the school year went, the good days outnumbered the bad and the students became proficient in mathematics, keen observers of the natural world and a little bit better readers, but not as good readers as they would have become if they didn’t enjoy the dramatic way their teacher read to them. They often begged her to read and in the name of efficiency and not to mention flattery, she often gave in. They valued her ability to delight them with her words, but they also believed her special gifts could be passed on to them simply through osmosis. But an unusual change began to unfold in the classroom after the rules disappeared; the students gradually began to speak to each other with more sarcasm and anger than previously. They also became somewhat competitive and when the teacher attempted to reference the rules posted on the wall, she discovered they were missing.
During the winter term, the art teacher gave a self-portrait as an assignment to the students. Though they were all capable students and gifted artists, they were “kikiet,” a word in their native language that means lazy, and as already mentioned, mischievous. One of the 5 students was overheard saying “let’s get teacher to do our paintings and we will just pretend they’re ours.” The others were complicit in their silence as they often were with this persuasive and rather charming student. So one day this student proposed a trade: “Teacher,” she said, “let’s all make a portrait of each other. You can make one of each of us, and we will, in turn, all draw you.” This seemed like a lovely notion to the teacher. They were beautiful to look at and she would also enjoy appraising their renditions of her. So she agreed but only if they would stay after school to work on them so as not to interfere with their most important lessons. The teacher began the sketches of her students after the school for many days. One student in particular was very difficult to draw because he consistently covered his face when it was his turn. When the sketches were finished, the teacher took them home and after much consideration decided to devote 5 of her precious 36 canvases to rendering them in oil paint. She spent many long nights on the portraits and much of her weekends. She wanted to capture not only their very best qualities, but also their imperfections because she believed it was the flaws that gave people their real beauty and uniqueness.
After many weeks, the painted portraits were finished and the teacher rolled them under her arm and walked to school. The day began as usual with the morning flag and the singing of the national song, with students arranged in rows according to year and their teacher behind them, but on this particular day, the teacher stood in the year 7 line alone. Each and every one of her students was missing. Perhaps they were late, perhaps they were involved in an activity she had not been informed of, perhaps they were sick or perhaps the teacher had blinked her ears at precisely the moment when it had been explained to her that her students would not be there. She spent the day arranging the room, preparing lessons, and getting to know the kitchen staff. She left the paintings at school. The next day was the same…all of her students were missing and not a word about their whereabouts. By the third day, the teacher missed her students so much that she unrolled the canvases and laid them on their desks so she could look at their faces and remember their laughter and cleverness. When she had laid out the last canvas, she looked to the spot on the wall where the rules once existed and curiously incanted the nonsensical “kajing” thinking that recalling the way they all once laughed at this foolishness would cheer her up.
Then a very strange thing happened. In the place where the classroom rules once hung appeared a new sign, a note actually, that read, “I am the Kajing. If you can paint into the canvases of each student the item that gives them the most delight, I will give your students back to you, but you must leave the paintings for me.” The teacher was overtaken with inspiration and a sense of duty and began to work immediately on the paintings. With great care she painted into the recently dried canvases the following 5 items in fresh oil paint (one for each canvas) a fishing rod, a mirror, a cuddly, a teddy bear, and a parrot named Lady and placed each item into the painted hands of the student to whom it meant the most. She worked all evening on the paintings, placed them back on the students’ desks and near dusk turned off the lights in their classroom and walked home. Before climbing into to bed, she lifted her eyes, swing her hips and yelled a “kajing” that echoed deep into the jungle.
The next day when the teacher returned to school, she stood in line for flag behind her 5 students smiling to herself inside. When they opened the door to the classroom, the paintings hung in a neat line next to the shelf and the classroom rules had been returned. The students opened their science books and began a new chapter that opened with a few words by Albert Einstein: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
Each Anusara yoga class follows a theme. The theme of this post might not follow that recipe given the circuitous nature of my thinking and my dodgy relationship with yoga lately, but a theme, will present itself in the end…maybe the very end of my life, but somehow, somewhere a theme will emerge. Some of the details of my routine have changed lately and these subtle changes leave me feeling a bit ungrounded. I’m eating less, sleeping less and drifting a bit more into the darker hours of the night. Having said that, I realize romance is a thread I follow closely and I am still having a love affair with my life here in all its forms.
On Saturdays I hike with a group of folks (mostly expats) who follow the doctrine of the Hash House Harriers. On Koh Samui they enjoy (perhaps self-titled) the assignation “a drinking group with a hiking problem.” I go for the hikes. Not the drinking. It’s a great way to see the island. I stand on the end of my road with a simple sign that reads “HHH” and I have been picked up every Saturday, with the exception of one, and taken to the hash site without fail. The hikes are 1-1.5 hours long, take us into the jungle and along the most isolated beaches sometimes and are the highlight of my weekend.
This Saturday was the annual party and at 1,000 Baht (about 30 dollars) I declined the invitation to attend and was relayed the message from a parent at school (because I have no cell phone) “your fee has been paid, your ride will pick you up at 2:00 PM.” I had and inkling of who paid this fee, but in all honesty, it mattered not a bit to me who had paid, though I did feel somewhat compelled to be a polite and entertaining guest/date. I was picked up by a well-traveled, retired Hasher from England. He wanted to show me a bit of his “world” which I understand. I am moved by the same compunction when people visit me, but, to me at least, the charm of my life is not synonymous to his, even though the houses of his lot are more posh and better-situated than mine. By the end of the night, it made me long for my corner noodle shop and sleeping on the beach on a large throw depicting Ganesha bought back from India from Nichola as a gift when she visited.
The hike was good. Long and hot. We trekked through the jungle and ended on a vast beach in a town in the south called Hua Tanon. There was a pit stop too and I opted for wild turkey and since I had not eaten much food, circle (the chatty bit at the end) was even fun, or at least it was fun to take the piss out of the whole thing by goofing around with my new found friends (some had not even recalled meeting me before) enough to get squirted numerous times by the Hash Nazi Sandra with a large water pistol. I didn’t care, I had already been in the tallay (sea) as was soaking wet. I put a dress over my hiking clothes (also from Nichola) and was ready to eat and dance. The meal was okay. I prefer when Thai don’t try to accommodate western palettes, but there was a lovely green curry. I discovered that these old guys were also good “old school” dancers and I like that. Some of the hikers from France also played fantastic sounds from the 30s and 40s. But by the end of the night, I was hanging out with the resort (Thai) kitchen staff, taking beers out of our (Hash) coolers for them and speaking in broken Thai.
I love the Thai. Their lifestyle, their understated manner, their jokes, their food and their humorous incredulousness at western behaviour. I feel more in sync with them even though time issues often drive me to distraction in a greater way than I am willing to accept in myself. So, I even try to find peace with the degree of time it takes to get things done or moving. I am undoubtedly western in many ways and I enjoy many perks as a result. I had a conversation last evening with a woman who has been living here for 4 years and has a Thai boyfriend. I enjoyed her insights, but felt that some nuances were missing from her rendition of Thai people and ways. It isn’t an objective truth about them I seek, after all, its the experience of getting to know first-hand how they live and think. The Thai are not simple, but they have a simple face that they show you initially. The have 5 smiles that take time to read and I am getting to know what they mean when they smile. Above all, the greatest confusion arises for me from their “not wanting to disappoint” you stance. I would prefer that just say NO sometimes. But for me, no, is my initial response unless I’m all there “heart and soul” and maybe there is a lesson for me there too.
So “heart and soul” I live here somewhat akin to a rootless plant, adapting without the necessity of rooting too deeply into a place (sometimes its a symbiotic parasitic relationship, I admit). I prefer the people I encounter each day at school–my coworkers and the students, the people I meet on my walks who provide services and those I meet serendipitously. After Nadene and Nichola left, I grounded myself in their (the people in my hood) smiles and conversation. I enjoy the people who are not afraid to reveal deeper aspects of their characters–the things that cross cultural boundaries and unite us ways that I cannot really measure except perhaps but the length and breadth of our heart strings and the degree to which we are willing to reveal that we are connected as humans, not Thai or Farang (foreigner).
Nikki showed up first and then Nadene. It got a bit crowded in the bungalow, but I had so much fun inserting them into my life. Neither minded the long walks or the meandering. Nearly every time I step out of the door is an adventure; some lasting longer than others. Back in school and it’s a bit difficult to focus, but I have Liam and Sharon to make me laugh daily. Nikki is in Chiang Mai at massage school (wishing she were here) and Nadene is heading up to the same school soon. There is no reason to leave Koh Samui especially when your friends love to visit you here.
Somebody cut the electricity line while harvesting coconuts and we didn’t have power (which means water also) here on the mountain for 24 hours. I have been asked on numerous occasions “Why don’t you get a motorbike” and “what, really, you have no cell phone?” Not having electricity would not have been resolved by either a phone or a motorbike. We just had to wait it out. Not having electricity did not make me rush out and buy a cell phone, on the contrary. It nudged me out of my customary routine and caused me to question even clinging to the last remaining of my material attachments–my computer and my coffee.
Living outside one’s normal routine has a way of condensing time and elongating it at same time. While novelty heightens awareness forcing a kind of intensity of experience, attempting to preserve a routine (for whatever reasons we feel attached to our routines) takes focus and innovation in a crisis and in this case, round the clock vigilance that made the day lose track of itself in the continuum of time. I lived long and hard into those 24 hours and this gave me more time to contemplate what exactly seems “right” about choosing to live with as few conveniences as possible. I wouldn’t have been so attached to having electricity, if I weren’t so attached to coffee or my computer. Also not having a fan, made sleep more difficult, but seems minor by contrast.
Samui is beginning to feel the effects of the floods in Bangkok in terms of goods available. There are not as many things on the shelves in stores. There are few things I purchase regularly from the store: apples, toilet paper, biscuits and cream, real cream for my single cup of coffee in the morning. That is the extent of my regular list. The coffee, as far as I am concerned, is the luxury I am willing to work the hardest for. I’ll get up early and walk long distances for coffee beans, paper filters and cream. The other things on the list I will make allowances for– paper receipts and napkins make due in a pinch and every bathroom is fitted with what teacher Sharon affectionately refers to as “the bum gun.” I’m ok if I have no paper in the bathroom or biscuits to snack on….but coffee, I am not willing to compromise much in its regard. It has to be right, or really, frankly, not at all. This preference was tested in those 24 hours without electricity. My attachment to this carefully refined and groomed “practice” became the theme of last nights power outage.
The cream on this island, which was already a splurge at 135-150 Baht a pint, disappeared from the shelves last week and the only cream available was a different brand at double its price. I wouldn’t buy it. On 3 separate occasions I hunted for cream in all the locations I knew about. The occasion in the center of the three acted as a buffer to the occasions on the periphery where I purchased a very small (and terribly expensive) ration to get me through until “my cream” came back. I also tried coffee with canned milk that tasted like dust; I tried it black and then I finally broke down yesterday and bought the 289 Baht pint of heavy cream. I even bought a bag of ice and positioned behind the cream in my backpack for the long, hot and bouncy walk home. It was when I returned home that I discovered I had no power and that meant no refrigeration and also no means to heat water.
I had already had my morning cup so my thoughts dove into devising ways to keep the cream from spoiling through the power outage. I put it in the freezer with the bag of ice and walked to school to see if there was power there and to call the landlord. I brought my computer too to charge the battery because I still had internet access. Coffee and the internet are my morning routine. Finding the school replete with electrical power, I decided my cream would be safe while I did the HHH (hash house harriers) hike and hoped the power would be restored by the time I returned home. Later that evening, I found my house dark, but the ice thick on the inside of the freezer and my melting bag were keeping the cream cold and I knew it would last until morning. At 5 AM I loaded my stainless bottle in my backpack and walked to the 24 hour Family Mart. There I bought 4 bags of ice and filled my bottle with hot water. My coffee wasn’t as hot as usual, but tasty enough. Power was restored by early afternoon but I had already begun to question my attachment and to be fair, this questioning started when I couldn’t find cream and ended as soon as I laid down the money for the expensive pint. So, really, this was just a continuation of something begun earlier in the week.
I think that is perfectly normal to have attachments to things, but I am bothered by having them. So I ask myself (and humanity too, because I think its necessarily a question of this in the end), how would it serve me better to be unattached and why am I bothered by having attachments? Its not the inconvenience of having them. It goes deeper because actually having an attachment gives my life structure and routine and I have often felt when I have no desire a sort of emptiness or non-existence, almost as if I cease to be. A state of nihilism is certainly not the aim. I am not sure what it’s about exactly, but I am fairly certain that if the power outage had continued for much longer, I would have been far more concerned with learning to live without electricity (and coffee with cream) than ways to restore it and I am pretty sure that this kind of thinking is not the norm.