My Life on a Bike
On a Bike.
Every morning, I get on a bike to work. Except I don’t ride it. I bargain with someone on the street, or use an app to book one at other times. Do you want masker? They ask. It’s the Indonesian word for face mask. Gak mau masker, makasih pak. Sekarang pergi ke Jalan Hang Tuah bisa? A string of words that I sometimes don’t know I know, come out of my mouth. Every morning, I am on the road at a time when the entire city has already decided to get moving. I am in traffic. A lot. You can’t miss it, really. I am not a morning person, but I am always thankful for this. This is being on a bike going to work in one of the world’s most exciting cities at the moment for what I am doing. This is not having to stand in an MRT every morning for 30 minutes, packt like sardines in a crushed tin box. This is having difficult problems to solve, every single day. Being able to solve most of them.
I’ve never been one for job descriptions, but the only one that would truly work for me would be: “Adrianna Tan, Street Fighter”. I find peace and equilibrium on the streets of noisy Asian cities. I know exactly where to find the things I need. I know where they are. If they are in buildings, I am not interested in looking for them anymore. If they are not wrapped up in an impossible puzzle, I don’t know how to solve them. Somehow the best place to do any of this is precisely where I am, every morning: on the back of a motorbike, travelling over rubbish, driving by someone’s wet laundry, turning out of a tiny alley before merging into the big city again.
I like this life. I like this bike. I like this city. The rest of it, we’ll figure out.