31 July 2013

Forgetting the heat

The heat of Malaysia can be forgotten in a moment. I step off the plane in Amsterdam and suddenly, my body has forgotten.

Letchu, our mustachio'd Indian driver, picked me up much earlier than he needed to, well before my flight was to leave. But being Malaysia, I didn't want to risk it. If given the chance to escape, all contingencies must be taken into account. Traffic, of course. The taxi breaking down. A bridge being out. A pack of feral dogs. The mind comes up with endless scenarios. Letchu came on time though and the children cried a bit because they wanted to go too, but I kissed them all goodbye and got into the car, wearing my jeans, my European clothes, the ones that I feel like me in, albeit tighter and too hot in the Malaysian evening haze.

Two hours before I left, I had another run-in with the institution, another list of people, none with any responsibility, screwing up another payment that I had needed ten hours earlier. I sent angry emails all up and down the reporting line, exhausting myself and getting an angry response from the person most culpable, denying responsibility and pointing me to an email that didn't say what she thought it said. 

More resentment: taking money is easy for the institution, giving it is an impossibility.

I left the house hating them for screwing it up, hating them for making me tell my wife again that there will be less money than we thought. Why? There is no simple answer. Nothing can be done. Get in a taxi and leave: the kids begging to go with.

The steps to leaving are drawn out over hours, but when I finally sat down on the plane, I believed it. No one had screwed up my reservation. The seat was what I wanted. Now, Germany: everything you image it to be. Ham and beer and brilliant people. I feel like I am on a prison break, but that Malaysia is pursuing me and will take me back in a moment. This world is not for you now, it's saying. I feel it coming up behind me.