Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Uncle Scrooge's Money

I wonder how it feels like to be filthy rich and have everything at my feet. Imagine, not having to consider the babysitter’s fee or the baby diapers and formulas when buying that obscenely expensive pair of stilettos. Not that it’s practical for me to wear a pair considering that I have to climb up three flight of stairs at least three times a day to get to class, and occasionally chase after the naughty students who love to make you run around like some kindergarten kids at the playground. But to just buy things because I fancy them, and not necessarily because they are useful to me...I really don’t mind having that vault of money Scrooge McDuck of Disney flaunts around at the intro of Duck Tales.

I know someone who was not born wealthy but made it good career wise. Even better, she married a man who’s on his way to become even wealthier than he is now. From the $50 baju kurung she used to wear, none that she owns now costs less than $150 - all silk and satin and crepe. The shoes and the handbags…everything has to be of the same colour! Sometimes I laugh at her poorly coordinated attire. Imagine fluorescent green shoes, handbag and baju kurung all at one go. From a certain angle, she kind of look like a banana tree!! At other times it was all yellow, or all blue. Worse still, they are all in the same shade!!! And don’t let me start on the sequins and Swarovskis…she strongly believes that the more the merrier- even for school, in the heat, among dusty, smelly pre-pubescent adolescents who despise taking baths.

But then again, could that be jealousy talking? Of course not! I’d never want to be mistaken for a frog…

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Taxi Driver From Hell!!

My hubby works outstation and at the moment I don’t drive, so I have to get to work by public transport. The bus is extremely unreliable, and I carry too many things to climb up those unfriendly stairs and search for the exact change to insert in the similarly unfriendly money slot, because it doesn’t return the balance no matter how much. So, I opted for a taxi, and apart from the afternoon heat that melted down my MAC and Maybelline even before I reached school, everything was fairly satisfactory. That was until a couple of months ago when an Indian taxi driver freaked me out to the moon.
One day, I was waiting for the taxi as usual, around 11.45 a.m. I flagged down one and it stopped. The driver was in his late 30s, with thick curly hair dampened with so much coconut oil I was sure I could set his hair on fire and fry some banana fritters! The taxi smelled kind of funny too, like old sweat and worn-out leather. He immediately struck up a conversation, which was pretty normal as I too, sometimes, liked to talk to strangers I was sure I'd never meet again. The topic was harmless at the beginning, weather, current politics, price hike. Then he began to talk about his wife, which he claimed was not serving him well, in bed and out of it.
“When we marry, she like sex. Then she had a baby and say she don’t like sex anymore. Everyday, baby only. I sleeping in living room. Now baby in standard 4. Still no sex. 10 years already!”
What am I supposed to say? So I kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t about to comment on some stranger’s sex life, especially when he held the steering and could, to his heart’s content, drive me to hell! But like most Asians, Malaysians especially, who considered silence as a sign of consent, continued with the sad story of how sexually deprived he was. Thank God, my school wasn’t that far and soon I was safe in the school compound.
The next day however, by some strange (bad) luck, I flagged him down again. And the tales of sex deprivation continued. On the third day, he started asking me about my sex life, which I said was highly satisfactory and if he didn’t believe me, he could always drop by the District Police Headquarters opposite my school and asked for Inspector Rahman, my supposedly husband.
“Your husband police?”
“Sure”. I was impressed with myself. He sure wouldn’t spin me anymore tales after this. Wrongg!!!

On the fourth day, I flagged a taxi and it was him again. I began to think that this was no coincidence. And the probe on my sex life continues…with some subtle suggestions that he could offer more than any police officers could because policemen come home tired while he was extremely virile after 10 years of having none of it. On the fifth day, I purposely came out a little earlier, and managed to get a different taxi. But he got smart too. One day, I noticed him waiting for me under a nearby tree. And when all failed, I told my husband. He chartered me a taxi, driven by a man in his late 50s and a friend of my father’s. Uncle Jamal picked me up at my house and made sure I was safe in the school compound before he left. Kind of funny considering that I’m in my 30s. But, problem solved!!

Except that my forgetfulness is making Uncle Jamal miserable. Twice, I forgot to tell him that I was on sick leave and wouldn’t be needing a ride to work. There he was, waiting for me for at least 15 minutes before he called to ask if I needed a taxi. And my phone was on silent mode because I was enjoying a drug-induced sleep and didn’t want to be disturbed.

Oh well…

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Perils of Surviving

It's a miracle that I'm still alive today, and I'm absolutely thankful for that. Nobody would want to die after months of struggling with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and surgery. I've had so much general anaesthetic I couldn't remember my hubby's phone number anymore. There's some truth to the claim that GA makes you forgetful. I've had it 3 times, the last one lasted at least 14 hours. My immediate superior at work must be wondering why do I suddenly become careless and a bit useless. Datelines are more like deathlines to me. I can't seem to remember when to submit what! Thank god for friends.

I teach, and this lousy memory is a huge problem. Sometimes, my students handed in work I didn't remember giving. Just last Friday...

"Since I helped you with the computer lab and all, will you excuse me from submitting my magazine advert today?" asked a loudmouthed saint of 13.

Then it dawned on me that I had asked a class of 13-year-olds to produce a magazine advertisement, which they had to hand in on the third period.

"Let me think about it", I calmly answered, as if I absolutely know that it was due that day.

Then I went back to Google Maps and tried to zoom in on a RM229, 000 condominium that I'm in the process of buying. Nothing but barren land could be seen.

10 minutes passed...

"So teacher, do I have to submit my advert today?"

"Hah? Oh, that advert. I'm still thinking about it".

I typed in Countable & Uncountable Nouns on mywebsearch and was engrossed in work, with the now and then visits to youtube, when the same student, persistent to the point of irritation, asked the same question again. Pissed of, I told him he had to, regardless of the hours he spent helping me reformatting the dying harddrives of PentiumIII, moving CPUs, keybords, monitors and mice around.

On the third period, he appeared with a piece of A4 paper, promoting a condominium worth RM9999999999...countless nines that I didn't bother to count. That amazing condominium had everything but a kitchen, but that was expected of a boy. And what did I say?

"What's this?"

"Teacher, that's my homework!" he exclaimed overdramatically.

Of course, after 7 years in the profession I know exactly how to cover up my mistakes.

"I know it's your homework, but that advert fails to entice me. See, it doesn't have kitchen..., and it's much to expensive..." blah...blah...blah...

And that's just one of the many things that I forget.

Two weekends ago my brother who had just finished the compulsory course on marriage, told me a story told to him by one of the speakers. It's about a woman who called JAWI to complain about her husband who had forgotten their wedding anniversary, and when asked how old the husband was, she replied that he was in his 60s. Well, I'm in my early 30s and I'm not sure if I got married in August or September!

Surviving cancer is miraculous, but to be what you once were...that calls for another miracle.