Spinning Wheels

“Save new lives

To make us better…”

– Tender, Feeder

Lundi, 07 mai 2012:

Today I cycled to uni and back. The weather was extremely unstable today; when I left the house at almost 11a.m., it was sometimes sunny and sometimes cloudy, and when I was studying in Reid, it was mainly sunny. At about 4p.m. though, it started drizzling, and the rain from the benches seen from outside Reid entrance is always  a spectacular sight, but I knew I had to get on my bike and get on to the Social Sciences building so I can get to my appointment with my supervisor in time at 4.30p.m.

During the meeting that lasted until 6p.m., I could do nothing but steal glances at the rain pouring down in the dark and the wind threatening to topple over the huge tree outside the building and worry deep, deep inside my heart. I was thinking about my bike I parked in front of the Co-Op Bookshop, and whether the seat will be wet. After our meeting ended, I dropped by for a chat with a friend whom I will be leading our tute discussion with this week, and despite the rain, got on the bike and headed home anyway.

Cycling in the rain felt quite nice, actually. I tried not to worry about getting sick afterwards — in this life, such worries tend to stop you from enjoying the little things like being in the rain, and I can’t remember the last time I stood outside while it poured. I suppose doing so would actually require some strategic planning beforehand; for example, it would be extremely unwise for me to intentionally get myself sick at a very crucial time during the semester. If I wanted to enjoy the rain, it would have to wait until I have no academic or social commitments to worry about. No matter; I will have plenty of such opportunities this Winter Break.

I’ve always had a soft spot for cycling, ever since I was a child. I can’t remember when I learned to ride a bike; it must have been when we were in Colombo, because I seem to recall riding my bike in circles at the porch outside our dining hall with my childhood friend, who is now on his way to earning his very own law degree in the UK — my oh my, Time has certainly passed since we were those two tiny kids riding bikes during hot afternoons. We would ride bikes on the third floor of the house as well, which was transformed into our Bibik’s living quarters and also our toy storage.

Besides biking, I also have particularly fond memories of roller-blading with my brothers and the afore-mentioned childhood friend of ours. Oh boy, how I miss our adventures on wheels! Something about moving  on something with wheels in great speed just makes me flushed and my stomach squirm with reckless delight! This is why I will perhaps never tire of roller coaster rides (not that my life has been short of one).

Would it perhaps be nice if one could pass through this life on wheels? Brake during those pleasant moments, speed up whenever we want to? But then that would probably mean that we won’t stop and contemplate on life, on the mistakes we’ve made, on the hurt we’ve caused to other people, on the gratitude we owe to others, and so on and so forth. That’s what growing up is all about, I think; growing up means a bit like acting more ‘matured’ — you tend to be more self-reflexive about the things you’ve done, and this constant criticism is not meant to debase oneself, but we’re meant to strive to become better individuals from these self-contemplations.

In every childhood place I’ve lived in, a bike had always featured prominently, be it Colombo, Ampang Jaya, Subang Jaya, and even Accra. When we moved to Seremban, my childhood self suffered because I didn’t have a bike then; the bike that I had when when we were in Accra was left behind, or perhaps it was stolen by one of our security guards when we went back to Malaysia for a one-month holiday. I can’t quite remember, but all I know is that my time growing up in Seremban was bike-less and therefore rather sombre. We were the first to establish ourselves in that new section of that residential area, so it was no surprise that there were no neighbors to play around with. And by the time we got home, it was always already late in the afternoon or even in the evening, so there certainly wasn’t time to play outside and come back in all sweaty by the end of the day.

Looking back on it now, I feel quite glad we moved to Seremban when we were not so young anymore; otherwise we would’ve had a very pathetic childhood indeed.

When we were in Conakry, however, not only did we not have a bike; even if we had one, it would’ve been too dangerous to ride beyond the compounds of the apartment anyway. That was another sad, bike-less period in my life, and it also marked the beginning of my domestication and love for staying at home. To compensate for the lack of a bike, however, at least there was a swimming pool, which was completed not long after we moved in. The water was always green and muddy — but usually only at the deep end of the pool (the ‘shallow end’, however, was nearly five feet deep, so I shudder to think how ‘deep’ the deep end was). There was also a tennis court, in which several friends and I attempted to play badminton — always an epic failure, because since we were right on the Atlantic coast, the wind coming from the ocean hindered any successful attempts at playing badminton. Even though I didn’t have a bike, and my brothers with me during this particular period of my life, I survived.

I could type for hours about my love for biking, which I suppose has just been recently rejuvenated by my recent purchase of my housemate’s bike just this week (although the financial transaction in this agreement has yet to take place). Perth, boring as it may be compared to other cosmopolitan cities (it should, in my opinion, be called a ‘town’ rather than a ‘city’), is actually an excellent place to go biking, because the Swan River is an extremely breathtaking scene to be cycling next to. I certainly look forward to cycling to the city and back again, and hopefully making this at least a weekly activity — and more than just a wishful thinking.

But for tonight that is where I will end, and I have a feeling I might talk about something provocative tomorrow: SEX.

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