Friday, February 15, 2008

Me and Eric and that Woman on the Bus (Another long and rambling post)

I must confess I don’t much like cold weather. I grew up in a hot place and I enjoy the heat. I’m not really comfortable until it gets close to 30 degrees Celsius. While air pollution here is horrific and the humidity is a killer I don’t ever feel like the heat just assaults me like I did when I was a boy in Texas. The recent, by Hong Kong Standards cold weather has just made me miserable. I wish it would end and can’t help but have nightmares about the possibility of this being one of those freak years without a summer that seem to happen every 100 years or so. I can almost see the marathon runners in Beijing plodding along through the snow during the summer Olympics this year.

My grumpiness at the cold has been somewhat mitigated by my job. The new building is very nice, not drafty at all and I now have adequate work space for processing materials, and for doing all the things that school libraries should really be doing that I couldn’t do before. Indeed, if it were not for the new library I’d probably have taken a couple of sick days this week and gone somewhere warm like Phukett.

Another thing that is unexpectedly pleasant this winter is the new bus I now get to take to work. It is faster than the MTR in this case and much more comfortable in that I always get a seat. Sometimes it is just me, the driver and my MP3. I guess that not many people live in Causeway Bay and work in the Sha Tin area or if they do they go to work later than me. This bus is also nice because it doesn’t go through that hideous Hung Hom tunnel but the Eastern Tunnel. That means I don’t spend an hour on the bus in the afternoon waiting for it to enter the tunnel. It only takes about 30 to 45 minutes each way to go back and forth to work and home or home and work and that is about as fast as a car could drive the same route. The Hong Kong bus system is really amazing. I wouldn’t think that I could get a bus that goes pretty much from here to there but there it is.

I think that a nearly empty bus is a good place to be in the morning. It gives me time to think and have my morning devotions without being overly concerned about who is looking. However, my devotions have changed in the several months since I got my new bionic eyes. While I generally see much better now that I no longer have cataracts, color blindness or myopia and greatly enjoy seeing in 3D for the first time in my life there are some things my new eyes cannot do as well as the old pre-cataract surgery ones could. Two those things and they are the only two which really bother me all the time are that I am now quite far sighted which means that I require reading glasses and I can no longer read in a moving vehicle. I am now much more comfortable reading print on a screen than I am on a page. All of that means that I don’t read on the bus anymore. My morning devotions are now stints of thinking about what I’ve read other places while plugged into the MP3 so that I cannot hear the infomercials for weight loss clinics that play on the commercial video system on the bus. I guess that’s just middle age.

I’ve been thinking of late about how we change and grow spiritually as we get older. I know that some people don’t seem to change much as time goes by but I think that most people do and I think most people are better for it. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the way we hide behind codes of language and fashion to hide our flaws and how that becomes or should become less important to us as we get older provided that we are happy with ourselves.

I started thinking of this, in part because my ever lovely, gracious, looks-25 years younger than she is, hard working and really smart wife gave me an Eric Clapton CD and DVD this Christmas and I've had the CD on my MP3 for a couple of months now. Clapton is an interesting guy and his music has been intriguing to me for many years because he is someone that you can really see change and become a better person over time. I like him because he is also an anomaly in many ways in the contemporary music industry, especially when contrasted to Canto Pop singers who can make the 1980's version of Elton John look like a conservative dresser. Clapton doesn't do the big stage shows, fancy hats or weird costumes but just comes out and sings and plays. There is also an obvious spiritual element in much of his music and yes I know that sometimes, especially in the older stuff the spiritual parts are code for drug use but sometimes they don’t appear to be either.

When I was younger I’d have never used Eric Clapton in a meditative sense. I guess I was too orthodox or legalistic or whatever; but as I’ve gotten older “I Feel Free” to do so. Youth, it seems to me is often times like being in a “white room with black curtains” but those who are older know that we often time live in a world that is really shades of gray and I came to a “crossroads” several years ago and took a little less strident and to my mind more grace filled path.

I guess as I’ve grown older I’ve come to see that there might be more ways to stand in the “presence of the Lord,” and more ways of “running on faith” than I would have imagined when I was a 20 something idiot who was just walking around "after midnight" with nothing to do.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is still "Riding with the King"

No comments: