I’m in Bali again. I love this place. I love the heat that envelops me as soon as I leave the miraculous tube of steel that gets me here. Right now, I am sitting by the pool, tiny birds are doing tiny bird things on the roof, making sweet sounds that undoubtedly have far greater meaning than we humans attribute to it. Motor scooters are wizzing along the narrow lane in front of the hotel. It’s a new hotel in an old area which means I get my fix of ‘old’ Bali with an air conditioned room and a very comfy bed.
Getting here was easy despite the very early start. (Did you know there is a 3:30 am?) Light traffic, short queues, the only downer was the fellow passenger in front who didn’t stop talking for the entire 6 hour flight. Anyone who knows me will know that’s karma for all the times I have blethered non-stop.
My life is busy but I’d be lying if I said it was hard in any way. I’ve had my roller coasters but right now life is smooth sailing. Is that stupidly tempting fate?
I love traveling but because I don’t have any real worries, I worry about dying. Plane crash, hijack, floating in the open sea and having to use the useless little whistle on the life jacket. I know that’s probably statistically stupid as well as all the other kinds of stupid available to humans but I worry that something horrible and unexpected will interrupt my easy life. It’s happened before but I realised it’s something I’ve always feared.
This isn’t my first memory but it’s a strong one. I can remember lying in my white Queen Anne style bed, my sister across the room snoring peacefully. It was the night before I started year 3, so I was 7 and a half. My new school dress was hanging on the wardrobe door. ‘What if I die before I get to be in year 3?’ I thought.
Did I have my first (?) existential crisis at 7 1/2. As it turned out I broke my arm in year 3 and I had a terrible teacher called Mrs Bognuda. She was probably a very good teacher but she was no Mrs Keane, my loving, sweet teacher the year before.
I think I learned to ride a bike that year and discovered the joy of LEGO. But why wasn’t I just enjoying the freedom of being a child? Why was I so weighed down by the fear of death? It was early FOMO. Maybe I was remembering past deaths because if we’ve had past lives we’ve had as many deaths. No wonder we’re all so fucked up.