Today I was on baby duty in the evening, as my wife was fairly exhausted by an action-packed day of baby wrangling. La Serpiente Aquatica Negra started yelling about half an hour after we put her down to bed, so I went in, picked her up and rocked her back to sleep, then went back to sitting on the sofa and wondering why my blasted database query was taking so long.
About an hour later, she woke up again and started yelling. This time, I went in just as there was a loud thump, which I assumed was her falling over in her cot and whacking her head on the frame. She howled some more. Almost inconsolable, the only way to get her down again was for me to lie on the bed with her on top of me, as in this position she stuck her head in the crook of my neck and immediately went to sleep. This was a bit inconvenient as I had other plans for this evening apart from having my daughter sleep on top of me. Perhaps that will be my epitaph.
Tonight was meant to be track night, but my watch was quite right when it advised me after yesterday’s run that I needed 3.5 days of recovery. I woke up today with barely functional calves, a shoulder so stiff it actually ached, and an unremitting bleakness that lasted beyond my first coffee. But perhaps that was because I went to the Ministry Of Manpower to get my wife and child’s dependent passes.
It’s strange to do this. There’s a sign on the desk that says if you have fake educational certificates, if you admit it then at the point they’re issuing your passes, everything will be fine, have a pleasant day and all that. Which raises the question – do many people try to use a fake educational certificate, and do they often confess at the last moment? And does the official then just grin and go "eh, as a reward for being so honest, how about we give you a work visa anyway?" And why is that sign apparently only in English, rather than in triplicate with Chinese and bahasa, like most signs? (My degree certificate wasn’t made by a graphic design student with a pirate copy of Photoshop so I’m not affected by this, but I’m curious to know the answers.)
My daughter kept running around, even after I asked her not to deny the government property with her head. I worry the lady processing our applications thought I really did value a plywood tabletop more than my child’s brain. (Of course that’s true, I’m not a white devil for nothing, but the irony is that it’s my plywood tabletops I’m worried about, not some random governmental one…)
The forms themselves are a bit annoying. There’s a part on the form where you have to write the ID number of the person for whom you’re applying for an ID number. No, nobody in Singapore is worried about recursion. Luckily, the number that you haven’t got yet is printed at the top of the form you fill out to get that number, so you can copy it from the top of the sheet to the middle of the sheet, but surely if it’s already on the sheet you don’t really need to … well, never mind. It’s not always wise to apply logic to bureaucracy. And perhaps there’s good karma for writing unnecessarily on forms. On balance, it’s better than the Department of Homeland Security micro-Napoleon in Miami, who insisted to me that I’d filled in a form wrongly, because 0 isn’t a number. ("None" is a number, apparently, and four years of mathematics at one of the world’s most august institutions never taught me that.)
So I filled in the forms, had all sorts of bother when I couldn’t supply the ID numbers of two complete strangers, paid $300 and then went to the office, wishing I’d had a leg massage yesterday. Today was a hard Monday, but gradually it got easier. I came home, ate lots of quinoa, wrangled baby, went to sleep. Some time this week I’m going to have a spinning class instead of lunch. I wonder how that will turn out.