The elevator of the building I stay in doesn’t work. It’s on its death bed. Sometimes, it finds the courage to shuttle people between floors and at others it’s resting, groaning, and waiting for Almighty to call its name. When I leave for office, it doesn’t work. When I return from office, it doesn’t work. With the result that I have to take the stairs both ways. My mother reckons it’s a good thing that I can’t take the elevator; the exercise from climbing down and up the stairs is just what my lazy body needs. Although I would want to differ, I don’t try my luck in arguing with my mom.

The railway station in the morning is a dreadful smell. Yes, smell. It stinks of the faeces of I-don’t-know-who. It is also extremely dirty with bis of paper, plastic packets, cigarette butts, and God-knows-what strewn all over the place. The fact that people are doused in heavy perfume doesn’t help either. It’s not a particularly pretty place to be right after you’ve taken a shower and are heading to work.

I will not go into the rest of the story of living in this city because it’s going to sound like a rant, but I will stop and acknowledge the problem that I have. I have far too many expectations! I think it is exceedingly wrong for me to want that elevator to work. Not for me maybe, but for all those old people who stay in the building. It’s wrong of me to expect that a society in a prime location cannot afford to fix an elevator. It’s inconsiderate of me not to take into account the problems that the management might face to fix an elevator. That’s not right of me. Additionally, it is also terribly unfair of me to expect railway stations to be clean. What am I thinking? How can they be clean? We’re a human society, civilized nonetheless; we cannot afford to keep our surroundings clean ‘cos we’re busy making world-class products that children in slums can use and designing elevators that elderly can use. We have far more serious issues.

I expect far too much! Not only in terms of an elevator or railway station, but also in terms of an acceptable way of living in this world. It’s ghastly for me to want this world to be a little more compassionate towards the neighbourhood and the society. I must be reminded and taken into custody for a person like me would never be happy here. My stupid mind expects this city to be habitable because it is rather charming, at least all of us seem to think so.

I’d have liked to be a little less expectant and idealistic. It would serve me well to live in this world. So, I try to take solace in what Bill Waterson once wrote:

Hobbes: So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they’re already met?
Calvin: Right. We should take pride in our mediocrity.