Terminal Ennui


I caught the slowest taxi in Singapore to get to the airport tonight. Usually travelling out along the road to Changi is terrifying, as each driver seems intent on reenacting the final assault on the Death Star from Star Wars, but tonight my driver trundled all the way there at a sluggish 80 km/h, his vehicle throbbing and groaning as he ploughed along. This was no less frightening than any other trip to the airport: instead of being scared of crashing into the back of another car, I was scared of another car crashing into the back of us. But as a cavalcade of Mercedes drove bumper-to-tail past us, we avoided any collisions and I was deposited at Terminal 1 unscathed, just irritated. Quite irrationally, because arriving any more quickly at Changi would only lengthen the time I’d spend sitting around waiting for my flight to depart.

With nothing to do, I look for something to irritate me. There’s not much. There’s the map of Terminal One, where they’ve misspelt "Plaza". As in "Central Plazza". Hardly the worst sin against the English language that has ever been committed, but you would think they would be spellchecking maps before they put them up.

More irritating is the lack of good food here. At Hong Kong International, there’s terrible fast food, and proper pizza, and caviar, and a fairly decent Chinese restaurant. Changi gets a Burger King, a woeful Starbucks and a few misery-inducing cafes that have never existed anywhere else. Oh, and a Subway. If you trek across all the terminals, there’s a decent sandwich shop a couple of miles away, but for a nation convinced that they’re obsessed with food, the paucity of decent options here is pretty shocking. I suppose I could go to Harry’s Bar and die of terminal ennui.

Instead, not wanting to succumb to alcoholism when I have a twelve hour flight ahead of me, I sit with my phone charging from a wall socket (Changi can’t arouse great rage, because they do at least dole out free electricity), sitting between a woman who is wearing a leopard print tent and earrings that say DIOR in two inch square letters, and chewing on a toothpick like she believes she’s Clint Eastwood, and somebody gloomily Australian, poking at a tablet and looking like she’s waiting for the end of days.

Ninety more minutes of sitting here, until I can go and sit somewhere else for twelve and a half hours.

There are always new and exciting things though, if only you know where to look. Tonight, for instance, I’m rocking a different look to most people here. This is actually an experiment to see what happens if I wear my Zoot compression tights for twelve hours. Do I faint from overheating? Do I avoid swollen limbs? Or do I get torn limb from limb by other travelers, enraged by the odd choice of apparel that I have?

I wish I’d brought the inflatable tiger with me, just in case. But that’s not unique to tonight, but a constant refrain.


3 responses to “Terminal Ennui”

  1. Am loving the tiger and the amazingly clean & bright suitcase. Just pondering – is a suitcase meant to be full of suits ? Guess you’ll tell me the answer to that one fine day.

    • But, like most of my other compression gear, they have no feet. So they’re really like very long underpants. Another unhappy, but enduring image…

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