Found it!


This afternoon my wife emailed me a picture of my watch, sat inside one of La Serpiente’s play saucepans. If she’d been a cruel woman, she might have tried ransoming my watch back to me, but for her it was enough to give me the glad tidings. My mood lifted instantly. It’s strange that getting back my watch would make me so happy, but it’s not really a watch, so much as a sign that I was incapable of organising myself and keeping my stuff together. Knowing that my watch had just ended up among La Serpiente’s playthings, rather than mysteriously vanishing or just being a casualty of my forgetfulness, was a great relief from all the friction in my mind. At last I could stop swearing and raging at the world once more.

I took La Serpiente to school on the bus this morning. If we leave the flat at 8:20, that gives us jsut enough time to catch the same bus that one of her friends, a little Japanese girl called Aoi, is travelling on, and then it’s quite sweet how the two of them sit next to each other and squawk all the way to Tiong Bahru, and then race each other up the alleyway to the entrance to the school. La Serpiente was so excited to be at school today that she charged right into the classroom, hardly even pausing to say goodbye to me – quite the transformation from when she would howl for her mother whenever we dropped her off. We’re very lucky, as I should constantly remind myself.

This evening I went out to a dinner that our agency was hosting for some of its clients. It was in a slightly overpriced restaurant in the Botanic Gardens. For dessert, I had a combination of different chocolates and fruit compotes, which was very nice, except some genius put popping candy in there as well, and I must say, I don’t like the sensation of tiny lumps of chemicals exploding at the back of my mouth. I must be old and grumpy, very grumpy. Afterwards, everyone was presented with two free postcards of the Botanic Gardens, so I really mustn’t complain.

While there, talk went on to how many clothes everyone has (one of my colleagues has more than 200 pairs of trainers). I revealed how I had ten shirts (so I can wear a different one every day for two weeks) and this was met with some surprise, as though not everyone there knows exactly how many shirts, pants and socks they have. Honestly, it’s like people lack eidetic memories. (Although then they won’t lapse into paroxysms of doubt when their watch goes missing…). I realise now that 10 shirts is the wrong number to have – I should really have a rotation that isn’t a multiple of 5, so I can be sure I won’t always wear the same shirt on Mondays. But then I’m not sure anyone notices that. My shirts have grown a little scruffy in the years since I bought them, but I now think $800 for some ok, but not amazingly tailored shirts may have been a touch exorbitant. Maybe it’s time to start wearing 10 different t-shirts.

All at once.


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