Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Hello Again

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Which is harder to say? Goodbye or Hello?

Seems dumb isn’t it?

It’s just that I was on the way to the neighbourhood barber to get Lucien in line for one those $3.88 hair-cuts and happened then to catch a glimpse of an old friend whisking past. Not a random “someone”; but Someone I went out with a long time ago (circa 1990). It’s a long time ago; and somehow, Life has kept our paths out of each other’s orbit the past 20 years.

I shouted his name, seeing I’ve actually always wonderered how he’s been (and actually have been surprised how in a place so congested as Singapore and where people really get into people’s faces…how we’ve actually never ever ran into before…living in the same estate!) You see, while I don’t spend much time thinking about the relationships I haven’t been able to keep over the years, I do, from time to time, wish to know how they’re doing.

So we had that 45-sec at the market place corridor. I guess it’s a little odd; the last time we spoke we were barely adults; and here I was, with Lucien hanging on my hip, laughing about a cheap haircut…

We exchanged the kind of “overview” that’s befitting for ocasions like these. Short. Keep to the good bits.

It occured to me that often times, it might’ve been much harder to say Hello if the Goodbyes have been less than perfect.

However once the first words have been spoken, a kind of breakthrough seems to happen to give possibility to a new wave of encounters, random or otherwise, to come. And if that Hello had never been attempted, then all the memory that remained could possibly have been that of the last Goodbye.

Such is the equivocal nature of Life.

The very thing that you rather not confront could easily be the very thing that’s ever going to make a difference.

The Zero Life.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I love fashion.

Proving this point to shameless applomb, Fashion loves me too.

I’m an easy victim. I have a crater of needs nursed by a bucketful of insecurities; it’s so easy to show me how this season’s new sleek booties will help me deliver more kick in everything I do and stride the often nervy road of corporate awesomeness with great attitude.

Indeed very recently, I’ve sold my soul to a slew of online shops. They weren’t evil as much as I was needy. And over a couple of weekends and a few unthinking clicks, much cash has been splurged on the most needless of wardrobe unnecessities.

In a moment of quiet self-reflection, I had to awaken to the realisation of my utter abuse of and my unknowing but increasing dependency on financial and material successes that’s funding this zero life.

And this is how we lose control. First to what we call Needs; then to the things we hail as Significant; to Symbols; to Marks and Distinctions that are trophies proclaiming to the world Who and Where we are.

In my emptiness I am aware all this is not real. Or I should really be Happy now. I have a stack of new shoes, premium denim, very trendy tees and too much skincare being shipped by UPS Air Mail to reach me very soon.

But all I really want to do, is to fall down on my knees.

About Being Organised

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Just 2 weeks ago before the Husband was to leave on a week-long visit to China for business, I managed to buy a cartload of itsy bitsy things for the trip, things he hadn’t even even knew existed, let alone knew he had a need for.

These were the items: in order of Awesomeness.

1. Little Toobs; rubberized, PBA-free, micro-wave-able, foodgrade little tubes in sizes of S (50ml?) and M (88ml). You put your travel-size dollobs of gel, shampoo, anything into these tubes and they’re spill-free and easy to dispense (rubber, just squeeze). The most interesting part is that each comes with a suction pad on its back so if you’re traveling and going small places in small bathrooms, you can stick these on the walls. Awesome.

2. Rectangular storage bags to organize your shirts from pants from socks to just about anything.. comes in 3 sizes. These are lightweight, washable and are a great way to keep things from spilling out of luggage – great for those trips with many in between stops where you get on trains, buses, planes etc alot and things get messed up in the luggage alot.

In classic style, the Husband rejects all items. He was happy to throw all his shirts, pants, ties together into the luggage, perhaps he had the decency to separate his shoes; and he was not about to bring any toiletries, safe for his shaver. “The hotel provides – branded too”, he prophesises.

I balked. Even it were the Four Seasons that offers a range of L’occitane toiletries – I HAVE TO USE MY OWN.

So I conclude that it’s not so much I am a shopaholic as it is how Inflexible and Highly In Need of Organization I am, that makes me Buy all these “solutions” .

The more inflexible one is, the more one will most certainly develop serious separation anxieties. I establish a single utility purpose to things. For example: I have a lingerie bag when I travel. As I do a bag for toiletries and make up and shoes. I have a type of shoe for every look and a type of sock for every kind of shoe (that requires a sock) and I have a belt for every kind of outfit (that requires a belt).

Like so, I can rest in the knowledge that all the systems are in place and the only person who needs to get organised, is me.

The Frequency of Love

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

There are couples who talk on the phone. And there are couples who simply, don’t.

It struck me that for the years we’ve been a couple, Ken and I rarely ever speak on the phone. Even when he was traveling sometimes for weeks, we probably would do with a crisp 2-min phone call that consisted mostly of updates about our respective days, which unless had any extraordinary occurence, didn’t seem like the kind of stuff that’s worth sharing over expensive international airtime.

Interestingly though, we would exchange, throughout the day, little snippets of our thoughts and musings, in what used to be SMS 5 years ago and BBM today. I remember on a trip to France once he had picked up a tiny flower the size of a fingernail. The MMS he sent showed him holding the little flower by the stalk, so tiny but in its full glory of white petals, between his thumb and index; an image fragile and stoic all at once. The combination was starkingly beautiful and it reminded me alot of our relationship. I kept it as a screensaver on my handphone for years. Till today, I have a copy of it.

We hardly spoke on that trip. A couple of Ums and Ahs and “How’s your Day”s would come and go and we’d hang up and go back to our lives and share the bits over SMS whenever it mattered.

Like “On way home from drinks-wish you were here”. Somehow I could never say this to him upfront. “I will miss you and Lulu (our son)” was an sms I got this morning before he left for an overnight retreat. Similarly, I do not think he had ever said anything like this to me in person.

So like this, Ken and I seemed to navigate the often immeasurable and undescribable depths of our emotions for each other.

And for someone who always needed the assurance of words, who found comfort in hearing, this is all surprisingly natural for me.

I can only conclude that in many ways, the heart establishes a language and communicates this at a frequency of its own. You’d think you’re the master of this if you weren’t careful.

My Heart, your Heart, her Heart. One Heart.

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I barely made it to the end of the last work week. Note to self: Energy Vampires exist. I still bore the faint marks of fanged incisions as my car left the building Friday circa Sept 17 at approximately 730pm. My sparkly sequinned outfit did not even lift my spirits one bit. I remember tuning the radio to something upbeat, hoping it would infect me so I could have a viral happiness for a moment.

Thankfully, my spirits started to lift just as I picked up speed over the PIE.

For tonight, is the night of our every-week weekly dinner! Certainly it occurs with such certainty week after week there’s no need to get dramatic. But no. I knew it would be different tonight. Not because we’re meeting for my upcoming birthday. Not because you are my Secret 7 ( i was counting heads and it’s really 9 now!) but because every now and then, even great friends like us who meet up all the time, need a bit of a highlight, a spike, a special occasion, to reminisce, to romanticise and to remember and cherish what we have.

Ken, being one of few words had said that ever so often, the week’s drained so much from us that dinner, although we kept faithfully to them week after week, was blanketed with our ever-evident lethargy, fatigue and worries. I think this could be precisely why we meet at all, because when we do, we often feel much better. We share, laugh, drink ridiculous cups of coffee and almost always leave the week’s cloak of burden on the sidewalk as we hug goodbye to embrace our weekends.

Definitely our weekly rendezous are imbued with an ethereal capacity for healing and rejuvenation. And every now and then, when we have a celebration in our midst, its more than healing and rejuvenation but a firm reinstatement of the gifts we share amongst us. Our ties of friendships that transcend Age (the youngest is 10 months; sometimes we have a 15 year-old; and when my sister joins us she’s the newly wedded 28-year old; the Oldest is…55?), Space (we’ve made it through long-distance) Time (it struck me that Daryl was about Justin’s height when I first met him…) and Places (through dates, marriages, children and all the circuits in between).

I am so happy because all of you are not just my friends; but one another’s friends too.

I am even happier because some of you, are not just each other best friend; but mine too. One of the best things you’ve ever done for me is to share your life (and friends) with me the way you have!

So what can I possibly ever ask for except that we’d always be like this?
Maybe that heart-shaped pendant.
Yeah, you’re right. Thank you! ;)

Time as a Construct

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I eat my lunch out of a metal tin at work and for that hour, I like to time-waste on a variety of things on the limitless universe called the www.

One of the ways I do this is on my twitter list, aptly named, “when-bored”. “When-bored” throws up a word of the day every day. I liked not just being surprised by the vastness of the human etymology, but the varied ways of breaking down seemingly simple words, even more simply, down to their bone. Like how would you describe “Word”? Well it’s “a unit in a language”. Right… oh did you know, i learnt too the … is called an ellipsis…

I found much pointless joy in learning these new words and new ways to understand old words. Especially so, this is what was said of “Time”.

“Time : the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past” [ellipsis ;) ]

It occured to me that I never ever wore a watch (a “measure” of this “experience in which events pass…”) on the weekends. It wasn’t that I didn’t keep to a schedule. I did; in fact, we kept a schedule like clockwork every weekend.

I attribute the oddity of not wearing a watch to how we’ve constructed our lives, most notably experienced during the weekends. Our life, as we know it, had acquired a quality that makes Time relative. It’s not so much Aug but it was the month Lucien held his own bottle. If I was in the bedroom I grew up in, with the sunlight casting lazy shadows on the cosy idyll I call Home all my years before now, it was Sunday. If I was with the girls at a familiar joint, at dinner and grazing through the week’s highlights and misses, it was Friday. If I was sleeping in late, and I can hear the vacuum’s hums rouse me rather than the blackberry’s shrill ring, it was Saturday.

We sought Memory as a surrogate for the (Im)Permanance of life. Strongly opposing qualities of Time simultaneously gave Hope and Life; and warned of its finiteness.

The trusty watch with its absolute mechanical accuracy just doesn’t have a place in this construct.