A Dip in Surly Waters

Next I went to Kuala Lumpur.

Just ‘went’ there. The banality of the word fits my experience of Malaysia’s capital.

I spent three days. It was a massive city like massive cities are. I snapped a selfie in front of the Petronas towers. I ran the boulevard of banks in the pouring rain at night. I wandered around market street in the day, and bought an inexpensive pair of shorts. I ate savory Indian food.

I conversed with some charismatic Italians. We went on a hunt for proper pasta, then came home, cooked a feast, and the three of us ate from the communal pan.

The hostel staff were cliquey. I got the impression they were affronted by me. I reckon a comment intended as cheeky came off lewd. My frustrated attempts to make friends with the staff became futile after that tarnished first impression.

So it goes. I’ve been the fool before, I’ll be the fool again.

I tried on a style, and found little success. I frequently laud travel as a stage on which to test new qualities. So it’s important to mention the experiences that collapse under rejection. It happens. I learn. Life moves forward.

The two lessons are these. First, I was not harmed by the exclusion. The tune of my life barely skipped a beat. I took no personal damage, and I’ll remember that if I’m ever fearful of scorn.

Unbowed by shame, I can make a clear choice; change tack or change venue. I’ve come to enjoy a streak of impetuousness, so in this case I’ll probably keep the trait and ditch the location.

And second, That a small group of people in one city in the world didn’t find me enthralling is no issue. It’s expected, inevitable, even cherished when considered deeply. Being turned down by one social circle does not invalidate the qualities that caused them to do so.

This same principle is true at home; though it’s much more difficult to identify and reconcile. The truth remains that the disapproval of one group of people doesn’t not invalidate character.

The world is filled with different cultures, with sub-cultures within those, and all those consisting of people with vastly different sensibilities. What a particular group finds respectable, humorous, and proper is further complicated by a long, long list of hidden specifics. In the end, no social demeanor is ‘right,’ and none are ‘wrong.’

In the end, you have to [define for yourself] what kind of human you want to be. Whatever you choose, you’ll face the resistance¬†of different-minded folks.

For me, I enjoy being irreverent. I enjoy making fun of the little taboos that underlie etiquette. In owning that trait, I have to accept the objection of more conservative people. So it goes.

Thank you for reading.


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