Take a Deetour

"I write to find out what I think." - Joan Didion

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Spot the Traumatized NDP* Commentators


Repetitive Stress Injury.

Call me a hyperchondriac hypochondriac, but I'm so sure that's what I've been suffering from. Hand-wise and heart-wise, I suppose.

Physically, the ache from finger to elbow has been enough to make me stay away from my beloved i-book, but what does one write when one feels so affected by the events that have come to pass?

And a sort of overwhelming paralysis has taken over.

So as usual, instead of dwelling on the immediate and present, which bores me and scares me, I shall totally waste everyone's (including mine) time by transcribing an actual MSN Messenger conversation I had a little while ago, just after I'd done the huge (and on-going) clean up.

This incessant need to clean and clear all the clutter from the rooms in my house - I guess you could call it a need to clear the old mental cobwebs. Rawrrrr! Does that sound schmaltzy & cliched? I HATE schmaltzy & cliched! Which probably means I AM schmaltzy & cliched!!! Make that schmaltzy & cliched AND Queen of Finding-Ridiculous-Stuff-on-the-Internet!

Anyways, back to the MSN Messenger transcription...

D says: (3:47:39 AM)
   back to my work crap, i discoverd a lot of your crap too! also, pictures of when we were all thinner and younger!


T says: (3:48:35 AM)
   heheh i wanna see

D says: (3:48:51 AM)
   and the first b-day card i got from u and P. for my (gasp!) 25th bday!


T says: (3:48:57 AM)
   oh my god

T says: (3:49:05 AM)
   u were so old then

D says: (3:49:17 AM)
   shaddup!


T says: (3:49:18 AM)
   that makes me even older now that i'm older than u were then

D says: (3:49:29 AM)
   SHADDUP


T says: (3:49:45 AM)
   heee. yeah we had some fun times

D says: (3:50:57 AM)
   and not so fun ones... I just tossed a giant bag full of NDP* 2000 crap!


T says: (3:51:14 AM)
   holy cow i almost forgot bout that

D says: (3:54:32 AM)
   glamour and glitz seems to have been your fave phrase then. noob head!


T says: (3:54:49 AM)
   i've since learnt never to use that again

T says: (3:54:59 AM)
   along with pagentry and pomp

T says: (3:55:09 AM)
   joy and jubilatiion
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And now, D adds:
how bout DUMB & DUMBER...


Owww. My wrist really hurts. Ok, that does it. I'm calling it a night. RSI is not in my head. Repeat: IS NOT IN MY HEAD! Is in my hand.

*NDP = National Day Parade, otherwise known as the televised event no one I know watches.

Deetourguide - slave to the system. Gahmen say must do, so I do!



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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

You might be covered
by eyelids closed
over your whole being,

or reach with desperation
for something alive
to hold onto.

Your fingertips will hide
in a fist. No more palms
open to life.

Humbled, the very ground
will seem so large. Someday
the earth will own you.

Or you see there's no time
to waste, and plow
into previously feared goals.

Try to be patient
if it takes you years
to return.

This is the exit from Eden,
when you have chosen life
while wanting to die.

This is the fall that gives
wisdom, perspective, gratefulness.
It is worth the crawl, back to life.


~ for T: battered, bruised, but not consumed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little...


what's it like on the other side of the counter?

"When are you gonna stop torturing yourself?" P. asked, referring to my inapptitude at being a shop girl.

This is something I've been pondering for the last couple of weeks. When, indeed.

And my conclusion? Never. I will never stop torturing myself. I can't stop. I'm addicted to pain and suffering. Turmoil of my own conjuring, as it were. I chose to be a shop girl, so a shop girl I will be!

Ah, yes, something I haven't as yet described in shocking, lurid detail... My adventures as a sales person. What joy! What fun! What crap!

Me, Lady D, University Graduate, holder of B(A) Hons in English Literature & Theatre Studies am a shop girl, workin' hard for her money, hawking pretty paper to rich tai tais who are sometimes not very nice evil fire-breathing, small child-eating, she-devils?! Busting my ass for up to 10 hours for a measely $50 a day?!

Oh wait. Silly, silly me. I have a B(A) Hons in English Literature & Theatre Studies. IN SINGAPORE. Land of Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, Engineers, PROFESSIONALS. Is it really any wonder?

But nah, aching body and aching ego aside, I do what I do, part-timing, part-channelling Donna Summer & Dolly Parton because I can. I quit my old job to find more peace of mind, more time, more me. And ME says I should help a friend in need. The clever, entrepreneural Miss E, who found herself up to her eye-balls in part-time staff woes, asked if I could help her out in her scrap-booking store. Of course I said yes gladly.

However, I clearly did not know what I was getting myself into. Like a rasher of bacon wandering into an Overeaters Annonymous meeting, I showed up at the shop on the first day and since then, it's been a WHOOOSH!!! of !@#$%^&*@#$*&^%. Words cannot describe the frenzy of ladies of leisure at a 20% store-wide discount, picking patterned paper to go with their photograph collections.

Ah yes, the tricksy 20% store-wide discount. Where do I begin with this doozy? Three days ago, I went a little cash-register mad. Giddy with glee at being cashier for the day, drunk with my sub-totalling power, I neglected to notice what I'd done till it was WAAAY too late. 10 customers & hundreds of dollars of sales later, I realised I'd been happily dishing out 20% discounts on stuff that weren't really on sale. Uh-oh.

A quick round of mental sums revealed that the amount I undercharged customers was almost equivalent to the amount I would've earned at the end of that day. Good going, Shopgirl! Duh.

I'm so lucky Miss E is very gracious and forgiving. But feeling very sheepish and guilty, I embarked on a shopping spree in the store and ended up spending 3 times what I lost through discounted sales. Talk about overcompensation!

So returning to the very beginning of this post, Torture and Turmoil. That's my specialty. But in every excruciating situation I get myself into, I must admit, there's always this little nugget of pleasure. And I ain't just talking about when I'm working in the store, either.

Although it has to be said, back-breaking boo boos aside, I actually like being a shop girl. And I like doing something good for a good friend. And while I think about the moola and how much more I make per hour doing my other projects, it only draws attention to what I lack. Experience of the real world. Minimum wage. Unpleasant tai-tai customers. Taking the bus. Getting caught in the rain. Rubbing smelly shoulders with the plebians. Bah.

Millions of people do this everyday. I feel like a nothing, a nobody - people look right through you when you're on the otherside of the sales counter. It's like I have a secret life, slumming it with the rest of the service industry. And then next moment, I can be strolling into a recording booth, talking for 15 minutes and making 60 times more $$$, before driving off in my A3. Oh no, I'm a sheltered, spoiled snob! Double bah.

See? I always feel something then feel guilty for feeling it. The sense of being in limbo and being pulled in two opposite directions is something I keep writing about. And then, because (contrary to my illusions of grandeur, I am not the great writer I expect myself to be) I'm probably more of a great READER, I read this. Thus behold, my innards have been given eloquent meaning:

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. ~ Anais Nin

*******

We are all made of stars. ~ Moby


*******

Which simply means we are all full of hot gas. ~ Me (haha!)



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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Little Mirthquakes

  • The reason why boy bands are fun. Takes a while to buffer, but soooo werf it!

  • Overheard on a bad sitcom: two characters exchanging breakup rhymes...

    Run to your mother cos' I've found another.

    Yes, you are hated, so it's time you vacated.

    Kicked to the kerb 'cos you smoked too much herb.

    Smack your lips cos' you're losing these hips.


    Er, maybe you had to be there.



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    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Wing... Wing a Wong...

    "Things move on, D, things move on," he said.

    And he's tritely right.

    The magic slideshow of tragedy-mirth-tragedy-mirth clicks away and we oscillate between sobs and laughs.

    Sometimes both.

    Always the limbo queen, I found myself exactly there, stuck in the middle, last night.

    4 Asahis later and feeling no pain, I mentioned to Mr T what Mr E had playing in his car on the way to Wala. An absurd, ridiculous, delicious combination of two incongruous ingredients - This Little Old Lady sings ACDC (amongst others)! Sheeeeeeee's WIIING!

    T: Who?

    Me: Wing!

    T: What?

    Me: WING! She's a little old lady from Hong Kong who lives in New Zealand & records covers by famous musicians! She rocks! Wing!

    T: Okaaay... I guess her albums really took flight, huh?!

    Me: Grrrrrrrrr...

    T: Come on, we're birds of a feather!

    Me: Grrrrrrrr...

    T: OK, OK, that was a chirp shot.

    Me: GRRRRRR... Why must you tweet me this way?!

    T: Wahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Me: Wahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    [pause]

    Me: Hey, no one else is laughing.

    T: That's 'cos it was only a mynah joke.

    Me: Squeeheeheeheeheeheehee!

    T: Rawrhahahahahahahahahhahahahaha!


    Yes, so we get pushed along by bouts of contrast. Yesterday, tragedy; today, mirth. And I am grateful for it.

    *****

    Random Thoughts:

  • Do you think Wing's favourite poem is this one by Maya Angelou?

  • Time heals... Life moves on... Cliches, Schmliches... Solomon Short tells it as it is.


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  • Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Personal Effects


    Much of today was spent going through boxes of my past. Boxes from as far as ten years ago when I was at uni, boxes from when I left my job a year and a half ago.

    I don't know how else to describe the ache, except that it feels like death. It's almost like going through someone else's personal stuff. Someone who was close, but someone who has gone, never to return again.

    Going through old words I have written & photos capturing images much younger than they would be today, I can barely recognise the girl that was. That girl seemed so sure, so confident, so happy, if I knew her now, I'd probably wanna punch her.

    I guess that's the problem with being older. I'm not wiser, just hyper-aware of my short-comings, uncomfortable in this state of limbo. Back then, I didn't look back or forwards, I enjoyed being in the moment without over-thinking it.

    For the most part, I try not to resort to self-indulgent, sentimental drivel, but rifling through sheaves of the past seems to have shaken up more than I bargained for. It smacks of narcissism to speak this way, but I can only speak of things in relation to me. Call it a boomerang butterfly effect - one small gesture has led to this big one.

    As I was making my way through a pile of papers from the past, I got a text message. It was a friend I hadn't heard from probably since I was nine. Y had bad news. Our mutual childhood friend had a heart attack in KL and died. DIED? This same friend I bumped into a few weeks ago who said he'd get in touch with Y so all 3 of us could meet up? he did and that's how she got my number. Only now K is gone without me ever getting to know him again.

    And here comes the irony: I talk about feeling old when looking back at my 19-year-old-self, but can't help wonder how someone like K, who's my age, could have died so young.

    I have no other way of mourning what I don't know anymore, so I'll mourn this way, with the lyrics of a song that came on the radio when I found out you'd gone, K.

    Runaway train, never coming back
    Runaway train, tearing up the track
    Runaway train, burning in my veins
    I run away but it always seems the same

    ~ runaway train/ soul asylum



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    Friday, November 11, 2005

    W-Hoo-oo?


    NIGHT OWLS are evidently LESS dependable, cautious, and persistent than early risers.

    Psychiatrist Herve Caci and his colleagues at Nice University Hospital in France studied the temperaments and natural sleeping schedules of 552 men and women.

    Impulsivity and the desire for new experiments were traits particular to night people, as were extravagance and disorderliness.

    The researchers believe that people with impulse-control problems (about shopping, sex, or aggression, for example) could benefit from resetting their body clock with melatonin or light therapy, in addition to receiving psychotherapy or medication.

    ~ Allure Magazine, November 2005


    Please note time below. 'Nuff said. Bah.
    Just because I don't sleep before 2am, can't get into bed before moving piles of clothes, papers and books, have bungee-jumped under the influence "just-for-fun" and have cupboards full of "what-was-I-thinking-when-I-bought-that" shoes and clothes, doesn't mean I'm undependable, rash, impulsive, extravagant and disorderly... Either that or I should get the shrinks to up my meds!

    ***

    Back Off B*tch II

    The 4-year-old son of a customer called me a Fatty-Bom-Bom yesterday. And the salesmen hawking UZap tummy trimmers from OSIM keep eyeing me like hungry barracudas everytime I walk past the shopping cente atrium. Meds! Bring me meds!


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    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Confessions on the Shopfloor

    My feet hurt.

    My arms hurt.

    My eyes hurt.

    My back hurts.

    My ego hurts.

    10 hours at $5 per hour later, I have been officially initiated as a salesgirl.

    There's a story that goes along with this, but I'm too tired to type.

    Suffice to say, respect to shop assistants around the world. And respect (or derisive laughter) to me for making it through the day on 3-inch suede wedges!

    ***

    Not too tired to mention this, tho':

    Madonna is Dancing Queen again, if Hung Up is anything is to go by (but I'm not 'fessing up to being part of the leak of her new album. Looove her clothes in the video! 80's leotards & glitter belts rule! Confessions on a Dancefloor drops November 15, 2005.


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    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Back Off, B*tch!

    All women bloat, right? Some just more than others. Commiserate with me, if you will...

    I'll be the first to admit my self-esteem is at best shakey, especially when Aunty Flo comes to visit, but can you blame a girl when she's constantly bombarded by invitations from salesgirls to "try this new slimming product"?!

    Obviously I must need it in skinnycentric Singapore, cos' I swear these salesgirls hide behind rows of shelves, scanning the shop for victims to pounce on.

    These flabthirsty flockers of fat-busting products zero in, lock on to their unsuspecting targets and mete out their deadly judgements within earshot of all around:

    Heheh, target approaching, this fatty must die buy!*
    "Hallo Mees, you want to try our new sleeming product? Very good, can reduce your fats. You want, I demonstrate on you now?"

    * OK, OK, words in blue italics are mine. Bah.

    I guess I take offence at the audacity! The humiliation! The discrimination! The sheer lack of tact! Who died and made you Fat Detector, you sales-person-who's-not-exactly-slim-yourself?

    But then again, the truth hurts, don't it?


    It's just as well I bought a spanking new pedometer - it's back to the old 10,000 steps-a-day routine. I'm so excited I could cry. Rawr.


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    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    Welcome to the Hideously Embarrassing Family, Kiddo!



    Dear nephew, barely 2 days old and lookee, your very own piece of virtual real estate! Featuring YOU in all your naked newborn glory, too! Aren't you a lucky boy, yes you are!

    See, stick with me and it'll be champagne dreams & caviar wishes all the way with Auntie D, baby! I got dibs on grilling your future girlfriends and showing off nekkid baby pictures of you to complete strangers, by the way.

    This is your heritage and my legacy to you. After enduring years of much the same, plus the *bonus* retelling of THE STORY THAT WON'T DIE (i.e. my close encounters with a potty full of poo), it's only fair that Auntie D upholds this glittering family tradition. There's soooo much to look forward to, no? Oh yes, there is, baby! Koochikoochikoo...

    ***

    P.S. I still love you even though your dad decided to name you... Sorry, I need time, I'll get back to this when I'm all recovered from the shock. But rest assured, a lot of thought went into your name. But of course your dad won out in the end. Hmpf!


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    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Guilt Trip by Taxi

    Let this be a warning to you: No one is safe anymore.

    Why, on the rare occasions I'm in cab, does the taxi uncle feel the overwhelming urge to meddle? I swear my family are in cahoots with EVERY. SINGLE. LAST. TAXI. COMPANY. IN. SINGAPORE!

    This is how I imagine how the wheel of my misfortune was set on its inevitable path of destruction...

    Last night, after asking the Mother if she'd give me a lift to work in the city, she says:

    "Hah? No lah, no time, I think you take taxi better."

    Shrugging, I say OK.

    (Cut to mom behind closed doors, taking out secret CB radio) "Calling all taxi units, come in all taxi units. The princess has taken the pea. Repeat, Princess has taken pea. OVER."
    (Answer from a thousand eager taxi uncles across the isle) "Roger that, Operation Mattress in motion, rendevous at 1000hrs then 1800hrs. OVER."
    (Mom nods at Dad, they chuckle with equal parts glee and menace) "Excellent, bwahahahahahahaha! OVER AND OUT!"

    This morning, I hailed a cab and had a blissfully quiet ride to work. Taxi uncle, the BBC World Service and me.

    This evening, I should have known better.

    Stepping into the cab, a wall of medicated oil fumes slammed into my nostrils. But I soon got used to it and the ride went swimmingly silent, the way I like it. Just me and the wizened little old uncle with the crew cut, toothless smile and driving skills any Dodgems enthusiast would be proud of. Before long, we were pulling into my road and foolishly, I thought I was home free (figuratively speaking, of course). Wrong-o! He couldn't resist. He turned to me and wheezed in his curious mixture of Hokkien & Mandarin:

    "Xiao Jie, are you married? NO?! WHY? How old are you? Hah? So old, must marry! Got money, what for? No good, got money also cannot finish using. Better have children. Then when you go home, got people say, "Mummy, eat!" Why you no married? No married no good! People must have descendents! I got one friend, borned 1976, you want? He earns more than $2000 a month, never smoke, never drink, never bet horses. Very good."

    I tried to divert conversation to his four daughters and only son, but he persisted:

    "Ya, ALL my children married already. My son, your age, married! Why you no married? Must marry! Must have children!"

    I threw my cab fare at him as politely as I could, laughing in that helpless, hideously embarrassed sort of way and scrambled out to safety. And all I could think of was, here's another gem for the blog. I watched the uncle drive away, grasping for someway to compute what had just occurred.

    (Cut to cab interior, Taxi uncle on his secret CB radio, still in his mixture of Hokkien and Mandarin) "Come in Queen Bee, Princess land on Tilam, liao! Sure can feel the pea, one! Donch worried, tiok liao! OVER."

    (Mom upstairs behind closed doors, cb radio receiver in hands) "Roger that, kum siah, uncle! Bwahahahahaha... OVER AND OUT."


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