Because of a variety of events, mainly involving dance, I still haven’t caught up on my sleep deficit. This leads to me finding most things funny, an impaired Indonesian ability, and a lack of a filter to stop me from acting on whatever impulse comes my way. Am I slightly hungry? Okay, I’ll eat a bunch of Jacob’s crackers and then feel slightly sick. Did I plan to do something on my computer but then forget what? No problem. I’ll open and close folders at random.
This lack of impulse control is not the best thing to have when you consider the fact that I currently live in a country where many judgements are made based on how you present yourself. Luckily, my general first instinct, no matter where I am or how much sleep I’ve had, is to keep quiet. Currently, it’s even harder than normal to think of things to say, so I spend a lot of time by walls.
What is the lesson in all of this? Sometimes impulsiveness is a good thing, because, very occasionally, the message my brain sends is “Talk!” instead of “Don’t talk!”
This morning, after giving a vocab quiz to my graduate students, I got on my motorbike to drive to another part of campus for my next class. UGM’s campus is spread out and integrated into the city, so I’m constantly driving from one department to the next. If I have the time and feel like braving the heat, I walk, but these two factors rarely coincide.
At any rate, as I turned the corner to exit to the main road, I was surprised to see two white people and a motorbike. The man was seated on the bike holding a map while the woman stood beside him.
My impulse said: stop and ask if they need directions.
On any normal day, I wouldn’t have stopped. Confronting strangers about anything is not in my repertoire.
But of course I parked my bike, remembered to take the keys out of the ignition, and went to ask if they needed help.
As it turned out, they were looking for the Kraton. With his finger, the man traced out a route that he thought would take them there.
After orienting myself on what was unquestionably the most complete map of Yogya that I had ever seen, I pointed out a better route (theirs was heading in vaguely the wrong direction) and wished them good luck.
They said thank you, indicated that they were in it more for the journey than the destination, and I got back on my motorbike and drove off, thinking vaguely delirious thoughts about human connections.
At the next traffic light, I realized that I should probably have asked where they found that map.