Monday, December 23, 2013

Sigh, silent night

December 21st, 2013, the spirit of the ancient Mayans came back to announce that we had miscalculated the year and misinterpreted the so-called doomsday prophecy. In fact, all along they were talking about the beginning of a disastrous Christmas holiday.

For some of you who are sitting in your cozy living room, commenting on the beauty of crystal branches and watching local news of other people's misery with a little psychotic bliss, you have no idea how it is like for me to sit in pitch darkness and being engulfed by a neighbourhood of light. For some bizarre reason, my building is still in the shadow of pre-historical era while power is being restored one after another in nearby buildings and houses. This is a rare occasion when I'd raise my fist toward the sky and ask the rhetorical "why me?" question. It's so hard to feel grateful. Even my prayer sounds more secular than ever:". . . please restore the power, I really need a shower. . ."

Fortunately, my building was running on a generator, there was warm coffee and cookies in the lobby. Many people went down to spend the long dreadful night. For the first time in a decade, our conversation with neighbours went beyond "morning" and "how are you". As people were mingling, tensions began to melt, bonds started to fuse. There was a newborn sense of being in a community. Who would have thought on the second day before Christmas, the most celebrated person was Thomas Edison, and what he had done for humanity.

In dim candle light, I saw that my fishes had stopped bullying one another. They were struggling in a tank of dead water as if they were about to drown. My dog, willed himself to be the flesh furnace, obediently being passed from one person to another.

It was a quiet night, minus the filter system, the lousy TV, the barking, the sound of the world. . . All I could hear was the mechanical clock ticking in orbit. It was romantic, impossible not to let your mind wonder and your heart glow. . .