POSTCARD#63: Chiang Mai: Going home in a tuk-tuk with M sitting beside me, small body-mass pressed against my side. The urgency of speed, kinda scary, canvas roof, no walls and immense sound of 2-stroke engine fills our space. Impossible to hear what she’s saying, M indicates that she wants to borrow my phone. I pull it out of my pocket, hesitate. Is it okay to play with a slippery glass-like instrument like this in a speeding tuk-tuk? It might fly away into the great-rushing-past-outside world, anicca, necessity of mindfulness – she should hold it tight. Small face looks at me silently… don’t make a thing out of this Toong-Ting. I press it into her small hands. Hot, prehensile fingers grab, grasp and clasp the phone. Go to settings, clear away unwanted windows with the swipe of a tiny finger and launch multiplayer Minecraft.
So fast! I’m kinda surprised she’s managing to get Internet, 3G signal reaching us here in a tuk-tuk racing through the streets of Chiang Mai – or maybe we’re in it, like a fish is in an ocean of water. Everything out-there passing by in a blur, feels like a totally crazy speed, why all this rush? I can see over the driver’s shoulder, through his windscreen and it’s like travelling through a wormhole in space-time; the actual here-and-now – everything outside of this is in a different reality. Everything on the ‘in’ side of it locked down tight, my arm around the slight presence of M, taking up such a small amount of the space on the seat, legs sticking out, and Minecraft’s digitally created landscapes of mountains and seascapes appear in the little window of the phone in her hands. She’s now in player-hosted servers with visiting players from all countries in the world. How do you say this Toong-Ting? She spells out: G-A-V-I-N. I tell her it’s a boy’s name, ‘Gavin’, probably English (who’s this Gavin guy, I wonder). I see name labels moving around the landscapes, Japanese and Italian names; Spanish, German, Norwegian – players I assume are about the same age as M. I see boy’s names and girl’s names, all here at this very moment – and, where is ‘here’? Good question: now here and nowhere, depends on the context… spatial and temporal qualities. Space and time are not separate, I read in a post recently [See note 2, below]. This is (always) where we are at.
Looking down at the top of her head, hair combed from a parting in the middle, pulled out in two separate directions, woven into tight plaits on either side, and it’s as if she knows I’m looking at her: Remember this number Toong-Ting: 19122, she says. I consciously remember the number, repeating it to myself… In a moment she asks me what the number was. I tell her, 19122 and ask what it was for, by the way, but she doesn’t answer… having to have things explained to me by a 9 year-old girl who speaks English as a second language – must be a password or login name. Sad really, these days there’s not the dialogue there used to be, ‘I’ am not here, anatta, a suspended state, waiting for the next question. What’s this mean, Toong-Ting? M spells out: B-R-O-S and I tell her it’s a boy’s server, he’s American probably, he’s black and I think she knew the word ’bro’ already. Obviously interested in this and next thing she’s in with the BROS, their mountains and volcanic lava, burning fires.
Then there’s a little wail – she gets disconnected. It feels to me like a catastrophe, but for M it’s no big deal, she changes to a different player-hosted server with new players – or maybe some of them are they same ones who just got here from the same sites we were all in earlier. And while that’s loading, a quick glance at the blur of what’s out there rushing by us, then she starts to sing a song from the movie: Frozen: ‘Let it go, let it go….’ I join her in the song. We sing together, Tuk-tuk driver laughing with his eyes in the rear-view mirror….
‘Time is in the mind, space is in the mind. The law of cause and effect is also a way of thinking. In reality all is here and now and all is one. Multiplicity and diversity are in the mind only’. [Nisargadatta]
Notes: 1) The Nisargadatta quote above comes from a post I read recently but cannot find now. If you happen to know which one it is, please let me know – thank you! 2) Gratitude to: KM Huber for her post: No separation of Space and Time Here and the space-time observation. 3) Mr. Tawat the tuk-tuk driver usually waits at the same place at the end of my road every day. He has taken me on other journeys, you can see other pics of his tuk-tuk here and here and also below