If I were to turn my chair behind and look out of the big windows of my office at 9:30PM, it would be as such:
The roads in front of this building have two lanes, in and out. Opposite directions. The busier road is the one coming towards us; the cars seem to head to my direction – but in reality they pass me by. These cars drive along to head to Petaling Jaya from downtown Kuala Lumpur. At night and from the view of the 19th floor, I’m unable to distinguish the size or brand of the cars, they all look the same: small boxes with bright headlights.
A lot of offices are packed in the heaty, chaotic heart of KL, so it seems to me that all these cars (and its occupants) are more than glad to head home. Away from the ugly, unaesthetically stacked blocks in the city; driving back to their own familiar space, driving towards someone or some people they love. Expecting something better than the trials and tribulations of smog-filled KL, or maybe not expecting anything at all other than …. simple things like taking a shower after a long day at work and settling in on a well worn couch.
As I sit here, just watching all these automobiles drive by, I’m winding down after an exhausting week at work, my mind still wonders about the individuals and their stories, the inhabitants of these boxes on wheels. I’ve always been a curious person – when I was small everything and anything could fascinate me – whether it’s a dilapidated old house or passing by a group of family members or an old man walking around – I’d just stop and stare and wonder what they were doing and why they were there. If I couldn’t find an answer, my imagination would run wild and create stories about them. I guess maybe thats why I like ‘people watching’ so much, and maybe that’s why I never got bored alone. On the contrary, I get bored quickly when I’m among or in a crowd.
But I digress, and let’s go back to the view I have from my 19th floor office.
I have these ugly blocks of low-cost flats on my left. They’re created without an ounce of creativity or compassion. I guess when you’re on a budget and you’re catering to lower-income folks, you don’t really care about the ambience, you just want to produce as much rooms as possible in a limited space. And of course, when you can’t afford anything, you’ll take even the noisiest, most dense, and ugliest accommodation ever.
If I were to look straight ahead, I can see KL’s skyline. I can see KL Tower, and the Twin Towers. And of course, the lights of KL’s landmark buildings and all the buildings surrounding them are beautiful in the dark. Even the reflections of the cars on these windows seem like shooting stars.
I can’t describe the colors of these lights. Orange, yellow, glimmering white, red, blue. Occasionally my arm would automatically just reach out, trying to grab these tantalizing sparkles, but it would get hindered by glass windows. Physical against physical. And then I ‘wake up’ (even though I wasn’t dreaming in the first place) and realize that I can’t touch these visuals. I can’t grab the moving headlights of the cars. I can’t move my fingers against the blue lights on the pedestrian bridge, I can’t entwine my fingers around the blinking lights of KLCC.
I lose myself in these bright lights sometimes. The noise as well. There’s an LRT train that passes by every 20 minutes or so, and it looks so miniscule from here that I laugh. I’m like this giant and if I press my palm flat against the window, it would look like I’m stopping all these moving vehicles.
The most fascinating part is….from sitting here…is feeling..
how you’re a part of this city…but at the same time knowing that you’re alone. You don’t know who sits in all those cars that make their way home. You don’t know the families in the low-cost flats. You don’t know the people working in the building with the blinking lights ahead of you. You dont know anything at all, except that right now, you’re sitting facing the windows on the 19th floor with your laptop on your crossed legs.
Oh, these bright lights. How they can amuse and yet deceive you at times.