The Transcendental Window Cleaner and The Lady from Alpha Centauri

After college, there is no other practical choice left to a human being but work. That is just the way life evolves whether you’re poor or sexy or diagnosed with ADHD. You will be born. You will be bullied and you’ll retaliate by declaring war against your smaller, helpless peers. You will learn to mimic your playmates’ filthy habits like swallowing mucus running down their noses or catching a handful of fart and releasing and smacking it into someone else’s dumb face. Later on, you will appreciate music like that of Justin Bieber’s or whoever is topping the pop chart at the time of your life. (I realized, pop music is eternal. Probably, the only thing that exists forever aside from debt and pornography). You will be sent to a boring school to learn how to measure your penis or how girls should dispose of their wastes after their monthly period. You will earn a degree you don’t even know why you took it in the first place. You will work and put up a family. For some, family will come first.

This cycle is as though the sole blueprint of human existence, like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar or how your morning pee turns into gas and gets into the atmosphere to become rain and soup served at your supper. As early as 2 years old, you will be asked or – as what most likely happens to many – you will be conditioned to believe to become someone else, dream big, and learn to fly. You will fantasize on the idea of becoming a lawyer. Maybe a businessman. An engineer. A rockstar. An astronaut. A soldier. A hero. Whatever pieces of crap. You will shape yourself into a mould of another person’s stupid life or someone who lived like God. Eventually, you will surely fail and realize you dreamed an impossible dream because you don’t have the brains and guts. You will say they aren’t you afterall; those aren’t for you. Then, after wasting many years or more than half of your life, you will take the shot and begin from scratch and embark on a journey to knowing who you really are and what you really wanted. Some, who don’t have the courage to start all over again, will perish, will die. Perhaps, by blasting a gun into their temple or by simply lying on the bed and take overdose of drugs. Remember Kurt and Hendrix? Either way, recovered or gone insane, death is the end of story.

“To work is to live. It’s the way life is.”

“No. I think life is about getting to know yourself and the wonders of life itself. It doesn’t mean getting a job that pays a good amount of cash. Life does not mean owning 20 SUVs and mansions and one or two of the Caribbean islands. I reckon that when you get to the level that you can own a part of the world, it follows that you have already sold your soul. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life collecting someone else’s broken records or take care of a lot of mess and stress me out to death. I’m not up for that. I’m a simple guy. Just a place to sleep, money to buy food, and time to know the secrets of the universe.

“To love would be an accidental treat.”

His biggest dream was to become a window cleaner.

“When I got the job, I was like the happiest man. I was the enlightened Buddha. I am not that expressive so you won’t see hints on my face or gestures. But deep inside, I felt Nirvana. At that moment, it was the only truth in this world that mattered to me.

“I love this job because it allows me to express my true self. There are no pretentions. No obligations to others. No competition. On top of all, there is no politics involved which I despise the most. There is no other goal but to tidy up the windows. I don’t need any math or science or psychology and connections, all those complicated stuff. I just have to be present at the time and place required of me, bring my spray and towel to action. I fell in love with my job the first time I touched the window.

“I still remember vividly the first day I came into work. My shift started at 6:00 AM but I clocked in at 5:15 AM. The store supervisor explained to me that I won’t get paid by coming in early. I said, that’s perfectly fine. At first, she won’t even allow me to get inside but I insisted. Then, she briefed me of my tasks and explained the house rules. She showed me around. At exactly 6:00 AM, I went to the facilities corner, changed clothes, and packed with me a belt bag with my spray, hanky, scrub, and detergent. When the supervisor was talking to me earlier, my eyes were already surveying the store and picked the spot I would start my work on. It was the big sliding window that had no tint, near the front door. I went straight there and stood in front of the window glass. It was very messy as if someone threw up on it. The smell got implanted on my brain that every time I reminisce that very day, I smell Johnnie Walker. I touched the window and got thrilled and a current of tingling sensation flowed throughout my body like goose bumps.

“I was about to scrub the puke out when I spotted a fingerprint on the window. There was something on the fingerprint that made me feel a little nostalgic and animated at the same time. It’s a newly-discovered kind of feeling that was completely absurd. It hooked me up and found myself touching it as though I was the one who put the mark onto the window glass. I wondered whose print it was, which could only be from a 25-ish girl. That’s my strong gut feel. And my strong gut feel never lies. It gives me 100 percent accuracy. My right index finger was still pressed on her fingerprint when suddenly I felt it was sucking me in.”

Coldplay is singing Sparks from the scattered stereos installed at the ceiling. “But I promise you this, I’ll always look out for you. That’s what I’ll do.” From a distance, just outside the window, I see an old lady in bright red gown negotiating to cross the street. A delivery truck slows down a bit. It comes to a full stop at about 5 feet away from the poor lady. She points her fingers and seemingly curses at the driver. The driver doesn’t give a damn and continues on first gear with a smile on his face.

I inspect my right index for it is aching. I feel a gush of unbearable pain. All of a sudden, I pass out.

I have no idea how long time went by when I got my consciousness back. I can hardly even remember what happened. Earlier, if my memory serves me right, I was cleaning windows and daydreaming with an unknown 25-ish girl. Was it really a daydream? My gut’s not working with me anymore. At this condition, reality appears difficult to comprehend and I am getting terribly confused. At this moment, I no longer see myself talking to myself nor do I hear Coldplay and the beeps of the cars in the street just outside the store where I work. I can’t even describe where I am now. For one, I cannot see a thing. The place is completely dark, not even a tiny speck of light is seen anywhere. I blink my eyes and there is no difference between my eyes shut and wide open. All black and nothing else. For the other, when I try moving, I feel like I’m floating on a body of water. It’s crazy because I know my body is straightened out and there’s not a single drop of water splashing over me. So, why the hell I feel like I’m afloat somewhere? It’s like gravity is working against my will with a power similar to the buoyancy of water.

And I also can’t hear any bit of sound except the ringing in my ears.

July 14, 2012


The Post-Modernly Disappearance Of The Boy Named Noki

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The night is losing itself. It is unlike the other nights that you have known for many, many years. This time, the night spins off time in parallel with history, letting you see yourself sitting beside you at the Sunken Garden field nine years ago, while the moon was shining blue and your heart desired an anonymous girl wearing a Pink Floyd white shirt and a purple skirt an inch above her knees. You remember this night as if it was not the night that you met her; that is, the girl appears not coming from a distant memory, but from an event that is just about to take place.

“No, this is not a time-travel stuff that you read in books”, she kind of reminded me.

“Don’t prejudge me”, I looked into her eyes and quickly responded in seriously modulated tone.

She easily loses momentum and I hated stopping her. She must have felt I was disinterested; and I was sorry deep inside, even though I was honestly listening closely. She didn’t move an inch and paused for a second.

“Go ahead”, I said quite convincingly.

“Have you ever wondered why?” She seemed to be changing the topic.

“Like what?”

“Like why do we exist?”

“I do. Awfully lot.”

She looked at the night sky and was probably reciting in mind some of her favorite constellations and star formations.

“What happened to the girl?” I attempted to get her back to her story.

What separates human beings from the rest of species in the animal kingdom is their ability to think. This is not to say that animals don’t think. Of course, they do, right? Any creatures who use their brain think. Those neurons and synapses and signals and stuff make any creatures think.

“Agree.”, I uttered.

Obviously, she was ignoring me and now wanted to talk about something else.

There are generally only two things that animals are concerned about their existence. One is their appetite to live; the other is their appetite to procreate. Humans, on the other hand, have endless needs and wants driven by their creative thinking abilities to question and wonder. A mother bird will never transform her nest into a cemented one to make it safer for her babies against snakes or other predators. Birds and animals will always depend on their native thinking process. Humans, on the contrary, have continued to innovate to protect their existence. They initially invented incubators and now explore the areas of artificial insemination, in vitro-fertilization, stem cells, AI, and so on. Animals will not question why they exist and whether there is life after death. Humans question God, conquer the universe, and think they are the most important beings in this world.

“Do you believe in Darwin’s?” I asked.

“It was just a theory and I could create my own.” She replied with a sense of authority, as if I slightly offended her by my question.

“I am interested to hear your own theory of life – why do we exist.” She rarely smiles and her eyes just did. I must be the only person who could look into her eyes and know exactly what she is feeling.

She pulled her phone from the front pocket of her handbag and then played the Slow Club’s “I Was Unconscious, It Was A Dream.”