Coffee Bean, Sunway Pyramid: This might be one of my favourite spots in Subang Jaya, where we live. It has a nice view of the mall and the skating rink and is both spacious and protected. I can see the world going by without being obtrusive. It has comfortable chairs, internet access and electrical outlets to keep my computer charged while I am working. There is a clean washroom close enough that I can leave my stuff at the table for a minute without having to wrap everything up. The soy lattes are the best in Asia and I can sit all day for the cost of one, which is about four bucks. It also gets me out of the apartment, which although is undoubtedly ‘cosy,’ can seem a little confining at times. What is not to like?

There is never anything that my allergy regime will let me eat in such places, so I always carry a couple of allergy-friendly granola bars. Although I miss Pam (she is in Singapore meeting with her head of mission), I recognize that she does not have the patience to just sit in such places for extended periods of time. She would be off ‘shopping,’ which for her – as she spends very little money – simply means cruising the mall until I feel inclined to leave. So there is always the pressure of knowing that she wants to be somewhere else.  When I am by myself I can dawdle as much as I like, which given the daily pressure to perform that I am under, pleases me a great deal. I like to dawdle; it is how I decompress.

People underestimate the value of dawdling; of downtime. This is when the mind, heart and spirit bind the many multicoloured experiences of the past days or weeks into a coherent whole. Socrates – if he in fact lived and wasn’t simply a philosophical/literary construct in Plato’s Dialogues – said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Erik Erikson in Identity and the Life Cycle said that integrity or despair were the two alternative outcomes at the end stage of life. I prefer to work on integrating my personality, rather than wallowing in despair, and value the time to examine what I am doing and “knit up th’unraveled sleeve of care” in order to make sense of this crazy life. Chilling at the Coffee Bean does that for me.

Along with blogging the experience, I am also charging my camera, reading in my Kindle, browsing news sites on my laptop and absorbing the ambience of one of Kuala Lumpur’s busiest malls on a crowded Sunday. The sheer scope of ethnic diversity in such a place is cause enough for several hours of reflection. I find the noise and bustle more of a shield than a distraction, one that allows me to drift through the deitrus of a distracted week and find some order in the chaos. It may look like I am vegetating, but I am actually cogitating. I would welcome your company, provided you allowed me time to reflect. Soy latte, anyone?