plane rant

Dearest Friends, Romans, Countrymen,

WriteMonkey said, “Do not eat the last cookie.” (gosh, aint that proper grammer and punctuation!) How true that is! Save one last cookie for the rainy day you can never predict, save one last cookie for a friend, save one last cookie for the person you love, save one last cookie for someone who might need it more than you do.

SQ516. It nears midnight. (gosh this Kristen ITC font rocks) Why am i writing… I do not rightly know, but I guess it just feels like it. Let me attempt to describe my mood right now:

I am sitting here, on a flying aluminium tube, some tens of thousands of feet off the ground, going through some mild insignificant but exaasperating turbulence. I’m on the right side of the plane. Is that starboard? 37K is at the tip of the wings of the 777-200. I am touch typing on a very dark keyboard because low-end HPs do not have the gorgeous keyboard light that ThinkPads have, and hence I have to search for my numbers and function keys. Thankfully I am decent at touch-typing. Using Writemonkey to type grey words on a black screen – it helps save my eyes. The flight is pretty empty, hence most people are sitting alone in their 3-seat kingdom, same for me. Many have laid down to sleep. Its too early for me, and I have to make sure I can sleep in the hotel later. Its good anyway to have a cosy seat: you don’t have to spend so much energy warming up the seat. I just watched ‘Up in the air’, featuring George the Clooney and a pretty young smart girl. No he had a ‘fling’ with an older one. The sexual theme is probably not much of a surprise. The movie talks about the guy who travels a helluva lot and is not the least interested in settling down, who has a few experiences that jolts his mindset. How coincidental to watch this on the plane, and be sitting all alone right next to the window of stars above the clouds, and a moon. Can you see the moon over there? Do you have the time to look at the moon?
It’s almost like I’m sitting by the pier. It’s almost like we are sitting by the pier, sitting quietly, or even aimlessly. What do friends do when the days’ about to end. What do we talk about, what do we care about. When I met up with the rest, we talked about our different jobs, about things we used to do, about who is getting married, hah. But that’s not what one talks about when one is sitting by the pier at midnight watching the orange street lamps, the line of landing planes, the distant row of trees, the night waves lapping against the pillars (night waves feel different from day waves). No it’s not what one talks about when some things don’t matter so much anymore, when one minute of silence doesn’t mean it’s time to go off. Alternatively thinking, we can easily do something with someone, but who can we do nothing with? And at the end of the day, who will listen when I ramble on like what I have done here. No, I do not expect you to read this, nor respond to this, nor remember this. Not you, nor you, nor you, nor you, nor you, nor you, nor anyone. Remember the cup of gravel and the cup of coffee? Perhaps it doesn’t mean anything, perhaps its just a cup of coffee. Perhaps Starbucks saved our lives by giving us time, space, opportunity, excuses. A space to sit, to be, to find. A space to temporarily call our own, to occupy, to be by ourselves, or to be with some people. Away from the place that we have for the past 25 or so years been terming as home. A time to be with someone, to sit down, have coffee, to sit down and do something, do nothing, to talk, to watch. And perhaps that is what the streetside cafes of Paris have – the time and space to sit, talk, cultivate relationships, build your Presence in the world, think, write, and ultimately to exist. Hello. Since perhaps 5-10 years ago, I grew up in another sense, I got my own family. Previously family, as defined in the dictionaries perhaps, was my mother, my father and my sister. Then it changed. Why is that my family? My family is me, my wife, my kids. And then they would have their family. And one could think of that as one big long family. Or one could think of that as many families joined together. Many family units. And so my family unit was me, that was my Own family. No matter that I am not married, nor have kids, nor am I even attached. But it was a shift in perspective. It’s somewhat like those perspective puzzles, either you see it one way or the other, you can’t see both at the same time. Yes you have your arguments and stuff. I am not perfectly right, but it’s a thought, and its a perspective change that one usually am not supposed to do until one gets married. I think too much. And so Home wasn’t Home anymore. Heck if we could be sitting by the pier right now, this would have been a lovely speech (complete with indignant counterarguments), but I can say that my feet are not very firmly planted on the ground right now (pun intended).
Today I decided to buy the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. without image stabilisation. Can you believe it, the year 2010, handheld point-n-shoots have evolved to 20x zoom with stabilisation and here I am buying a SGD 630 lens without stabilisation. (ok well the other one was too ex and not cost-effective). Anyway, the theory or answer, after my days and weeks of agonising over the imperfect decision, is that I, did not take up photography to take the best quality pictures in the world. I am not trying to get the sharpest corners, the best resolution, the biggest print, the most lovely bokeh. I’m not a photojournalist or sports guy who has to get That shot. I’m not trying to get that incredible photo of the Eiffel Tower or Grand Canyon. Therefore I did not need to have the best quality lens, nor camera body. I needed something that could sufficiently give me the effect I wanted to have, that could do a decent bokeh (no, point-n-shoots can do zero bokeh, therefore i am not returning to them), that i could bring out with me often enough. That is why I needed to replace my 18-55 kit lens which was too slow and does not have any bokeh (bit harsh but), why I need something more than my 50mm which often had too narrow a field of view (its almost the same with the GF1 20mm, tho slightly better, but still. hm). I decided that photos are not about quality, because I often ‘destroy’ it by doing photoshop effects and throwing away color and doing textures. Its not about having such an expensive and heavy lens that i cannot bring it out conveniently to use. It’s about being there, about a photo that means something, that is about Me. Just look on the websites, in the magazines, in the papers and you can see endless perfect photos of all great tourist spots around the world. Photos taken at the right time, right weather, right conditions, photos I probably would not have the chance or time to take. But I would want something that means something to me, that shows me in my journey, that shows me doing something, existing, living, walking, passing by. Something that reflects what I thought, I felt. Something from my point of view. And my point-of-view is pretty bizarre at times. It’s important to exist. It’s important to mean something to myself.
Well it’s time to go. The plane is going to land in some crappy turbulence. Good luck to the pilot, and me! We’ll meet again.

plane rant