Rent and living in the future


Today we renewed the rental agreement on the flat we’re living in. It seems a bit odd to me that to do this, both my landlord and I had to pay half a month’s rent to our respective agents, when it feels like the two of us could have just amended our existing contract to say it would last for another year. But if you start to chip away at the edifice of bureaucracy, you don’t know how many jobs you might inadvertently demolish. I just have to keep telling myself that our rent is low enough for this extra cost to be insignificant in the general scheme of things.

Plus the landlord didn’t have a fit when he discovered that one of our friends had torn the handle from one of our windows in an overenthusiastic act of window-closing.

It took an hour to sign and countersign every page of the contract which again seems strange: half of everything in Singapore is so computerized that when you bump up against something traditional and real, like ink on paper, there’s this strange feeling of dislocation. Just as William Gibson wrote, the future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.

I wonder if William Gibson is welcome in Singapore, after describing it as "Disneyland with the death penalty". Is that even considered an insult, or a polite comparison to a well-organized theme park with a sideline in capital punishment?

I got to wear my daughter home in the Manduca today, and the only real flaw I can think of is that because she faces backwards, I don’t get as many compliments on how cute she is. That’s because she can’t get to flash her big blue eyes at new people, as she’s too busy peering up at my chin or looking from side to side. I like receiving compliments on the quality of (some fraction of) my DNA as much as the next person, but at the same time we want to raise her having the understanding that physical appearance isn’t what we should judge people on. I occasionally worry that by constantly hearing that she’s cute she (and we) will get too accustomed to that when we should be stressing achievements and positive personality traits.

I saw the word "humblebrag" today, which is an interesting portmanteau, used to describe that kind of sanctimonious downplaying of one’s achievements, in the hope of attracting more compliments. Which isn’t what I’m aiming for; I do think she’s a pretty baby, but I don’t want that to be what she’s remembered for.

Then again, we thought she was cute shortly after she was born, and now when I look back at those pictures I see how skinny, even scrawny she was in her early days, like a half-drowned rat. Perhaps in another three months I’ll again look back and wonder why I thought my baby at this time was cute, when she’s so much prettier there in the future.

And that way lies madness.


One response to “Rent and living in the future”

  1. When they get a bit bigger you’ll start worrying that you’ve put too much emphasis on them having to have achievements…

    On the other hand, the mantra to “just love me for who I am” also has its potential pitfalls.

    Your baby has always been cute.

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