Cold out east


It was only about nine p.m., as I sat at a table covered in chilli crab, that I realized I was ill. Up until then, I’d just felt confused, tired and disgruntled, but as I sat there with my daughter dribbling down my shirt, fluid began to seep from my nose as if in sympathy.

In the grand scheme of things, a headcold is not a massive disaster, but on the back of a week of concentration capped off with a late conference call last night and an early one this morning, it’s enough to suck the energy out of you and leave you confused about what the point of life could possibly be.

(The point of life is to do more programming. Eventually, you’ll get good enough at programming to be able to automate all the things you do. This will give you more time to program. Until you automate that too, which will give you more time to program…)

Once you know you feel bad because you’re succumbing to a cold, you are at least aware that this is what you should be upset about. Not the constant whine of Formula One cars this evening, whizzing around Singapore’s city centre. Not the aggravation of the traffic jam that is Friday night on the Eastern Parkway. Not going all the way to the East Coast to a seafood restaurant when you are a vegetarian and you want to stay home watching Spanish zombie films. All these things will pass, and so will your cold.

In two weeks, I’ll be about to board a plane to the UK. I struggle not to just say "back home", because having been away from Britain for five and a half years, it feels just as odd to refer to it as home as to claim it isn’t. All my complaining about Singapore’s vehement air conditioning may be nothing compared with some proper old-fashioned English weather. Hopefully I’ll remember warmer clothes for the flight, rather than repeating my attempt to get hypothermia on the flight from Tokyo to Seattle in June.

In the meantime, I have the slightly strange experience of having to wrap up to keep warm in an air conditioned room, in a tropical country. I wonder if there are other ways to make this confusing.


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