Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

The Rain Is Coming, Mr Laurence

Plantation Village, Malolo Lailai, Mamanucas, Fiji

June 27, 2013

This essay, The Rain Is Coming, Mr Laurence, is the fourth in a group of five written in New Zealand / Fiji, June 2013:
  1. Godzone
  2. You'll Hear The Rumble
  3. B-Grade Hotel
  4. The Rain Is Coming, Mr Laurence
  5. Is Fiji Paradise?
in that order.

This group of five written in New Zealand / Fiji, June 2013 is the sequel to Christian Rocks!.

It's very early morning. I've been up since long before the dawn. This isn't a place I care to miss by being asleep - just like real Life  you could say, yes? Besides, my body clock is nineteen hours behind local time (it's complicated) - which really means five hours ahead  ... but the previous day  (see, I told  you it's complicated). 3:00am here is 8:00am for me - way too late to start thinking about being up and about. That's why I get up at 1:00am local time (6:00am my body clock time, a typical early morning start for me), carefully latch the bure  (pronounced boo ray, the Fijian word for wood and straw hut)  door behind me so as not to wake Christian, walk down to the edge of the lagoon to write (I'm carrying my Lenovo T61  laptop with me), and stand there up to my knees in the warm water, watching, waiting for the words to call me or grab me by the throat and demand "Write me!"  as they're wont to do.

Photograph courtesy
Quaint Grass Roofed Dock, Malolo Lailai, Mamanucas, Fiji
Inexorably they do. And when they do, when I know what I want to say - which is to say when I know what I'm going  to say - only then do I walk out of the water to find a place where I can sit and write. I come across a quaint grass roofed dock jutting out into the lagoon. It's the perfect spot. I walk out to its end and sit there, my legs dangling over its edge, my laptop (where else but?) on my lap.

And that's where I stay, tapping on my keyboard uninterrupted for hours until the dawn paints the sky flaming reds with breathtaking saffrons and oranges. There's one tiny dark cloud in the middle of this spectacle - but it only emphasizes the brilliance of the colors.

A radiant young Fijian girl I met yesterday, comes walking down the beach, evidently the first person other than me who's awake at this hour. At first I think she's going somewhere. But then I realize she's walking toward me. She's coming to tell me something. When she gets near enough, she stops. Pointing to the tiny dark cloud, she says "The rain is coming, Mr Laurence. You must go inside now."

The rain  is coming? Mr  Laurence? You must go inside now? How sweet is that, I think to myself. What a nice way to make conversation! (I only get later, much  later, how patronizing this is). "Vinaka vaka levu!"  (pronounced vee nakkah vakkah lay voo, the Fijian words for thank you very much)  I call out to her ... and continue tapping on my keyboard without moving. She looks at me as if she's about to say something, doesn't, then turns and walks away down the beach. There's no rain in sight. It's not going to rain. And even if it does drizzle later, I speculate, I'm sheltered here on this quaint grass roofed dock.

Out of the corner of my eye I notice the tiny dark cloud again. Fully immersed in the creative process which is generating Conversations For Transformation, what I don't  notice is that erstwhile tiny little dark cloud? It's gotten bigger ... and it's coming closer ... and getting bigger  ... and coming closer ...

When rain starts, you know it when you feel the first splatter or two of mist sized droplets on your face. My immersion in the creative process which is generating Conversations For Transformation on the quaint grass roofed dock is suddenly interrupted by what seems like not a splatter or two of mist sized droplets my face, but rather as if someone's forthrightly emptying a bucket of water over my head.

It's so sudden, it's so violent  (if I may use that word) that I actually look up to see if there really is  someone standing there with an empty bucket in their hands. But no one's there. What is  there, however, is that erstwhile tiny little black cloud now covering the sky from horizon to horizon. Further out to sea I see rain coming down in torrents. My jaw slowly drops in awe ... and even before it's opened as wide as it can get, the rain is upon me - not like a splatter or two of mist sized droplets on my face, nor even like someone's emptying a bucket of water over my head, but rather like an olympic sized swimming pool  has been picked up and its contents unceremoniously dumped over the entire quaint grass roofed dock with me on it, and over everything for hundreds of square yards around it. And it's not just the contents of one olympic sized swimming pool  either. It's olympic sized swimming pools  - plural.

Olympic sized swimming pools, one after another full of water  are unceremoniously emptied over the entire quaint grass roofed dock with me on it, and over everything for hundreds of square yards around it. It's endless. It makes a roaring  sound. The rain is hitting the water around the quaint grass roofed dock with the sound you'd be making if you're slamming both your fists as hard as you can into a bathtub full of water ... over and over and over again.

I look for her, the radiant young Fijian girl, but now she's nowhere in sight. As fast as I can (this has all unfolded in a matter of seconds) I take off my T‑shirt, latch the laptop screen closed on to the keyboard as quickly as possible (there's no time to shut down running programs), wrap it in the T‑shirt which I hold in both arms clutching it to my chest bending forward using my body to shield it from the driving rain, then run as fast as I can, thumping down the quaint grass roofed dock toward the shelter of a building close by where I take cover under its roof which extends out toward the beach.

The rain continues roaring. The sound of olympic sized swimming pools full of water being emptied onto the building's roof is deafening. The building's guttering system, designed and built to carefully capture precious rainwater in tanks for drinking, is completely and totally overwhelmed. The rain fills the gutters so fast and so full that it simply cascades over their edges, surrounding the building with a veritable skirt  of gallons and gallons and gallons  of falling, roaring water. And I stand here, mouth still agape, bare chested, soaking  wet, my laptop wrapped in my T-shirt under my arm.

Then, as suddenly as it started, it stops. The deafening roar tapers off to nothing. The thick dark clouds in the sky disappear as if by magic, revealing the already there colors of the dawn, the flaming reds with breathtaking saffrons and oranges. Almost immediately I feel my body starting to dry off in the intense tropical heat. I check my laptop. It's dry. It's fine. I wring out my sodden T-shirt and lay it down in the now already hot sun to dry. I look around again for the radiant young Fijian girl ... but she's still nowhere in sight.

On Not Listening

Inuits and Yupiks have many, many  different words for snow. Inuits and Yupiks know  snow. It's their milieu. Bedouin Saharan nomads have many, many different words for sand. Bedouin Saharan nomads know sand. It's their milieu. And radiant young Fijian girls, it's abundantly clear to me now, know tropical rain. It's their milieu. But it ain't mine.

So the next time a radiant young Fijian girl says to me "The rain is coming, Mr Laurence - you must go inside now", I'll pay attention. I'll listen. I'll go inside.

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