Austin — I wake up in Austin. How can this be? I was half way around the world a second ago. I can still feel my body standing in the small room at Perak Hotel in Little India, Singapore, eating chocolate, my stuff splayed across the bed as I pack up, the call to prayer sounding at the neighborhood mosque, dense rain muting other sounds, A/C providing relief from the heavy hot outside.
And yet here I am, standing in my kitchen, looking out on a sunny Austin morning, all this stuff, this furniture, these memories posted on the fridge with magnets. I want to wipe them clean and start anew.
I sing an outburst of sounds, loud yawns, growls, stretching my torso wider, occupying more space than I have in weeks, seeing how much I contained my energy during my Singapore trip, even in my singing, how different that is from the American norm.
I felt this containment most on the subways, when people are even more zipped up than usual. From here, I see how the watchful eye of Singapore’s controlling government – explicitly demonstrated by a million security cameras — takes the Asian proclivity toward repression of individuality to another level.
Singapore loves the American ethic of malls, more than any other place I’ve been, but not so much the busting out of individual voice.
Bust out I do, as Singapore sleeps and Austin wakes.