I’ve been following with some great interest the path of Aaron Jacobs, once a friend of a friend and now a husband of a… y’know it’s not important. What is important is said path has been mirroring mine to a considerable degree — he recently expatriated to Australia and has in the interim been working on his writing, specifically fantasy fiction. I’ve yet to read his fiction, but judging from his blog and what he’s shared of his inspirations and research, it seems incredibly like my jam.
So I made a big introductory post, spent many hours pouring over old posts and reformatting them, wrung my hands over how many words I’ve written about video games1oh my god I’m a dork and then…
It’s in small part a bit of secret2or is it? that I wanted to be a Journalism major. I was very much involved in the school paper3Onlooker, represent serving as the Editor-In-Chief of that periodical my senior year. It was a proud moment for me to make that post, until I realized what a fucking shit job running a paper is, triply so when merged with high school drama and in-fighting between staff and faculty alike. My tenure at the helm of the Onlooker was a drama-ridden mess, but gods be damned, we put out a fine product. Fine being a relative term, of course. We’re speaking of a high school newspaper. Our layout meetings were tense, angry affairs. Every decision was questioned, every dubiously written article about the latest rumors and gossip a referendum on First Amendment rights. And, let’s not dodge the obvious here, I was as much of the architect of the drama as I was its recipient.
“Tell me a story,” she said…
I suppose, with a blank slate and empty text box in front of me, it is right and proper to start with the basics.
September the 11th. For Americans, it’s a date that carries a lot of memories and sorrow. It also carries with it a rising level of jingoistic rhetoric and overly patriotic statements, the tragedy too large, I think, for our sound-bite culture to digest properly, too real to be actual memory. It’s a political day, as all events in the US are, it seems, as politicians reach out to their base with varying levels of thinly veiled xenophobia or condemnations/accusations of such.
Okay, enough of my fatigue of American politics.
One story below us in one of the few parts of Singapore that resembles a proper grid, the lights came on. While the city didn’t cool as much as one would expect as the sun fell4and rarely does, truth be told, an orchestrated dance of fans, some styled to resemble those from a more, colonial time, moved the air above us, cooled the room with the peanut-shell covered floor, proved proof against sweat in a city covered with it.
My legs are stiff and sore, the result of climbing countless steps on our journey to heaven. Many of the great temples of Angkor are designed as representations of Mount Meru, the holy mountain of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jainist faiths, the five spires of the temples symbolizing the five peaks of the mountain. The most famous of these temples, Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world, looks like it only has three spires when viewed straight on, but it too is a symbol of heaven on earth. We stood in queue to climb to the top of that building, waiting our turn to see heaven.
It was the sight of a couple, riding a bicycle built for two, wearing bug eyes and antennas that broke a storm of weeping for the city we’ve come to love. I couldn’t help but laugh, how much more Portland could that have been? It was something straight out of Portlandia, us in the car, her crying at the sight of two weird denizens on their silly bike. Clouds rolled overhead and the wet streets reflected whatever sun was available. It was the worst day of the year.