Sometimes, I wish I weren’t such a cheapass and got myself a camera-phone.
It was 1 AM, and I was walking back towards the hotel, after a coupla beers at a few places in Jonkers Walk. Melaka is a tourist town, but also very laidback – most places are shuttered down well before 10. The last thing I expected to see in this town was a line of Kelisas (a popular hatchback in the Malaysia) all pimped out with crazy body kits, snazzy paint-jobs and strobe-lights, as though designed by neo-grunge hippies on LSD. Hatches open, all sported 100,000 W mega-woofers that thumped out beats deep enough to shake teeth loose. A super-young crowd milled about, dressed dandy and doll-like (in a manner I can only describe as “Asian Fop”) chilling by the souped-up Kelisas, swigging beer like it was a crime and bragging (I assume) about past conquests – on the road, and in bed.
If a movie called “Fast & Furious: Melaka Drift” ever comes out, look out for a long-haired dude wearing a Transformers t-shirt, in the crowd scenes. You’ll find him following women with finely sculpted butts.
We humans are weird.
We have conquered the highest mountains, explored the deepest seas, and have even flung ourselves in tin cans to the Moon and back, and lived to tell the tale.
And yet, we still haven’t figured out a proper way to greet someone who’s walking down a long, long hallway towards us, that isn’t awkward.
So there’s the two of you, on either side of the long, long hallway. Do you keep eye contact all the way, do you intently observe the lighting switches on the walls as you pass by, until you’re within earshot to say “Hi”? Or do you pretend to fiddle with your phone, until the crucial distance is reached? Won’t the other guy know that you’ve pulled out your phone just to avoid eye contact? Also, when exactly – between sighting your colleague and walking past him – do you have to start smiling? Do you smile early on, in which case the other guy may feel you’re eager to see him (which also means you may have a job/favor to be done, which means he’ll have to chalk up an escape plan pronto)? Or until you’re close enough to see the zits on his face, which simply makes the walk up till that point all the more awkward?
Or do you – as a colleague from the days of old loved doing – shout out a hello from afar, and continue with small talk in the same pleasantly boisterous manner, and let everybody on the floor know about the other guy’s secret crush on the girl by the copier machine?
Walking past one another in a long, long hallway – where all known laws of civil discourse break down.
I get annoyed at the littlest of things, sometimes.
Slow-moving old people.
The key to my home, when it doesn’t unlock the door at first turn.
The coffee machine in the office pantry, when it dispenses diluted crap instead of the knockout brew I need to chase a hangover.
Old people, in general.
The award for today’s pet peeve goes to the Facebook profile of a friend of a friend of a… actually, a complete stranger. Lovely hipster chick. And by hipster, I mean she wears horn-rimmed glasses without lenses, has this odd vapid expression that’s supposed to look dreamy, or that she’s grieving over the dent on her iPhone 5. Aaaaand it’s instagrammed. It can’t get any hipper. She describes herself as “straddling the fine line between athlete and geek.”
As much as I’d like to make lame jokes about how she’d rather straddle a line than an athlete or a geek (“bitches be weird, yo”), what really bothers me is how confused the metaphor is. What “fine line”? It’s used for things that can be associated. Fine line between geek and sociopath? Yes. Fine line between athlete and oaf? Yes.
But fine line between geek and athlete? They’re not associated, even if you stretch it. I’m not one to typecast, but Miss Hipstress clearly implied the contrast. In which case, NO FINE LINE! GO BACK TO SCHOOL! GET SOME REAL GLASSES!
Clearly, not one of my more sunny days. Beer with the work buds on a Monday night isn’t the best of ideas.
You’re right, I mustn’t judge. As an English teacher once told me, “If the other guy can understand you, anything goes. Unless you’re going for the Man Booker. Now shut up and rewrite your damn essay!”
65 years since we as a nation broke free from the shackles of Imperialist tyranny, we are still chained to a far greater enemy. Ourselves.
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There is no tribute I can give my dad that will ever do him justice. I would never have told him this, and now I never can: that I’m so proud of him. He was a good man. A great man. Despite being a single parent, despite the amputations, despite the crushing poverty, he raised three kids to be far, far from the fuck-ups that everybody else predicted we’d be. He did twice what any man with legs could do, and was three times what any dad could hope to be.
Good bye, Daddy. You did great.