Expat@Large

Mr Grumpy Stoned Out

Posted in drug abuse, feet, Mr Grumpy by expatatlarge on May 11, 2011

I think I’ve mentioned the core of this (the last two or three paragraphs) before, but as I have forgotten whether or not, you probably have as well, so I’ll repeat myself (or not, if I haven’t mentioned it before after all).

~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr Grumpy was shopping for some obscure objects he desired, one of which was tamarind paste (a jar of which, unbeknownst to himself, was already at home in his fridge) and some fragrant jasmine rice. Fortunately, though at the time he did not realize it was fortunate, the Chilled Repository was bereft of said items, or at least of the former item and so he did not bother to purchase the latter at that time.

There was another Chilled Repository across the way (i.e via the tunnel under the road) that might have a small jar of the (seeded, strained) paste of the fruit of tamarindus indica, said the helpful young man who had been unloading bottles of sparkling mineral water (of which, damn Mr Grumpy had forgotten to buy any, for it was sparkling mineral water he really had wanted when he had walked to the shopping mall in this sticky Singapore heat, and such is what happens when you don’t make a list of things you need before leaving home, whereas not being able to find tamarind paste when you don’t even need it, I mean didn’t anticipate you’d need it, even though you really didn’t – need it I mean – is another matter all together, basically due to only thinking of using tamarind paste after you had browsed through a recipe book in the Chilled Repository so that you were now looking for jasmine rice and tamarind paste, and you forgot about the sparkling mineral water, all because you saw a photo of a dish – stir-fried chicken with lemongrass and tamarind – that made your mouth water and that you have all the ingredients for, conveniently, but not, you incorrectly assume, the key ingredient, tamarind paste), the young man who had looked at the same display that Mr Grumpy had been examining and re-examining just prior to his enquiry, a display of jars of various curry bases, chili pastes, sambal olek pastes, black bean pastes, but not, Mr Grumpy could have told him (what, is Mr Grumpy blind? Is Mr Grumpy stupid? he almost thought but, in the end, didn’t), tamarind paste, and said there was no tamarind paste here, and who had then gone off to ask someone more intelligent and approximately omniscient in the matters of this particular Chilled Repository’s stock, and who had come back to report that not only was the store out of tamarind paste but also that the supplier of tamarind paste was similarly shocked by the absence from his own stocks of the sour, sweet ingredient Mr Grumpy thought he needed, but didn’t really.

Mr Grumpy said to the young man, thanks, that’s great, he’ll try over (through the under-pass) there.

So he walked out of the Chilled Repository sans tamarind paste, sans jasmine rice (to go with the chicken and tamarind dish as he only had brown rice at home which is healthy in a low glycaemic way, but yuck in a low appropriate taste for rice to go with this Vietnamese dish way – well, it was in a Vietnamese recipe book), sans, he now recalls, sparkling mineral water, and into a throng of pedestrians caught in a bottleneck between stores and stalls in the shopping mall, adjacent to and blocking his path to the escalator he needed to descend.

This ambulationary stenosis had a variety of causative agents, and of predisposing risk factors. Some pedestrians were floating in the absent way of people (oops, he nearly said ‘people in Asia’, phew!) who want to buy to something but are not sure if this is the shop that sells that something or if that might be it in the window over there or if it might be better to come back tomorrow. Some were precessing on one spot as they rotated and counter-rotated while conversing with shouts and gesticulations (some might have interpreted this as arguing) about which way to go next. Some were iPoblivious and ambulating irregardless of the traffic in the slow-time-warp of some hideous Asia-pop ballad. Some (particularly the old and infirm) were just on-coming, relentlessly, in the manner of those who don’t give a fuck, a broken hip would finish the day off nicely thanks.

There was a width of maybe five people available between the stall selling revoltingly sour sweets (those made of tamarind) and the pretentiously unpretentious Shoppe d’Body, but fifteen had converged to that one area and more were coming….

And Mr Grumpy stood back. He let the macrame of human bodies untangle itself and he waited to move, obligingly avoiding kids who would be described as feral were they not so impeccably attired (patting the delightful creatures on the head as they attempted to blow the legs from under him with irresponsibly fast and furious public games of chasey, or hide-and-seek or kill the ang-moh, on the slidey, slippery floor) by their completely inattentive parents, and wheel-chaired centenarians, and he smiled.

I say again, he smiled.

He did not curse, nor did he wail, nor did he ger-nash his teeth (Matthew 13:42). He allowed it (them, the kids) to slide by, to let it (them, the parents, wheel-chaired) pass (as must all things, a phrase that is incorrectly attributed to that unknown someone who is known as the apostle Matthew, quoted above, who actually saith “all these things [wars and the rumours of war] shall come to pass”, that is, they will happen, not that all things will die or fade away, as the phrase is normally interpreted, particularly when the George Harrison album of that name came out, and E@L thinks this Biblization was perhaps an attempt to rehabilitate George back into the Christian fold although he was a deeply committed follower of the Hare Krishna movement [“Krishna is God,” he said in that interview, and it’s patently obvious that ‘the Lord’ in “My Sweet Lord” is Lord Krishna and not Lord Jesus] at the time, and that phrase is actually a variation of the Sufist mantra, ‘This Too Shall Pass’, i.e. fade away – the story is that it was inscribed on a gold ring [sound familiar?]) and Mt Grumpy bided his time until, as they say, the coast was clear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Point of all this being, Mr Grumpy is no longer grumpy. He is chilled, relaxed, in tune with the universe. Placid. Easy-going. He hardly retains the shadow of the former great whinging and whining Mr Grumpy – being E@L in a bad bad (but not violent, never violent, merely grumpy) mood.

E@L doesn’t have those bad moods anymore. He does, fortunately have good moods, like when the words are flowing, as here, and when he works from home, in order to answer his few emails, be on stand-by for the return visit to the hospital that is just up the road, a mere three kms from his house, whereas his office is 15km and $25 in taxi-fare away, where yesterday he gave some training to eight young women and a Professor, all the time with his fly undone, in order to repeat everything with his fly done up, and nobody calls.

However, when he plans to spend this work-time in and/or sunning by the pool (phone at hand) and he sees that the pool-repairmen are disinterring the pump mechanism in order to preform a noisy repeat autopsy on it, and the pool’s water level is dropping and the water, no longer circulating, is souping up with bacteria and viruses and germs, he is not necessarily ecstatic but nor, verily, is he majorly pissed off. Water, whatever, will swim in it another day, will write on it another story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Neither is he amazingly affronted when he is forced (kicking and screaming) to pay $2,000 for three months supply of the drug which is making him so benign. Money, drugs, since when haven’t they gone together? Three dollars a tablet, five tablets a day, you do the math, or more correctly, the arithmetic.

It’s sort of an ouroboros loop, you know the snake eating its tail (an Egyptian motif) – he doesn’t worry about paying big for the drug when that drug is the one that keeps him from getting upset about things as temporary as money, for money, that too shall pass (into the hands of Big Pharma, in this case GSK).

However what won’t pass is the underlying problem. Idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. Which is medical term for having sore feet (or hands, but not in E@L’s case) and no-one knows the fuck why.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lamotrigine was initially prescribed for severe epilepsy, then for bi-polar disorder and other mood disorders requiring stabilisation. Off-label (non-FDA approved) uses include peripheral neuropathy, headaches, neuralgia, An expensive off-label use.

Foot pain almost gone – certainly the electric shooting pains and the hypersensitivity (gout-like in symptoms, but not gout) are passed away, but the side-effects?

Calm.

And of course you appreciate that with the foot pain being mostly gone, he would be less grumpy anyway, right?

… E@L examines his pre-neuropathy life…

Nope. He was always a grump.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

E@L heard of a person who had been placed on 50mg per day in order to calm his mood swings, where was either yelling at the dog and kicking the kids (or was it the other way around?) or sitting in the bath for days on end with an electric toaster held over his head while downing bottle after bottle of Verve-Cliquot (all he could afford, he wasn’t gone enough to drink domestic sparkly), during a period of “taking it easy” after being retrenched, and he (I may have been exaggerating a bit there about these symptoms) was back on the Mr Happy trail after merely a fortnight.

He was on 50mg. Per day.

E@L is on 500mg. Per day. Forever. If not longer.

No wonder Mr Grumpy is out of the office.

He is stoned.

E@L

Faster Lifts : Faster Stupidity

Posted in frustration, lifts, misanthropy, Mr Grumpy, stupidity, wankers by expatatlarge on October 2, 2010

What is it with people and lifts? What is the rush?

When the light on the call-button is lit – obviously someone has pressed it already and one of the lifts will eventually be on its way – why do they have to press it again? The lift is not going to come any earlier because of your redundant poking. Why does the next person come up and, even though they have seen the last person press it, even though the light is still on, why do they press it yet again? The lift is fucking coming, all right? Shit-for-brains.

Leave. The. Call. Button. Alone.

~~

What do these impatient and hateful people, those who force their way into the elevator against those coming out, what do they hope to gain? Why is this millisecond of aggression so important? They’re only going to amble off casually once they get to their floor anyway, chat absent-mindedly on their phones, take emails on their phones, read texts on their phones. What is with the fucking rush to get into the elevator? It’s not going to get you to your floor any sooner.

Why? Because I am still at the back of those waiting to go in. The lift is not going to leave until the last person squeezes in, and that’s me. Maybe I’ll even poke my ample tummy – the tummy you stare at with such contempt, you are so disgustingly rude – into the infra-red beam that senses people coming in. Your pushing and shoving will be wasted. I am taking my fucking time, just to fuck you up, wankers.

~~

And you, hunched at the side of the lift’s interior, why do you hover over the controls floor-buttons in the inside of the elevator as if they were a secret set of controls? Why do you block me? I want to press the button for my floor. Maybe in your mind these are controls to make contact for a 1.21 gigawatt burst of stored static electricity to surge through giant glass discharge balls, to send artificial lightning into a dead body, to bring a hybrid monster to life?

Or do you think your are lift operator? Maybe you have lift operator genes in you? Do you dream of an oversized, two-pronged lever to close the lift, like in the good old days? Are you a throwback to the grandfather on your mother’s side, the grandfather who was a lift operator? Maybe your grandfather was Dr Frankenstein, working-part in a department store?

Get out of the fucking way, let me press the button for my fucking floor, crazy pricks!

Step. Away. From. The. Buttons.

~~

Why do people feel they have to press the door-OPEN button while the other people are coming in? Do they think they are in-charge, or that are being nice. This is an automatic lift with sensors, with retractable inner doors that trigger the reopening of the door if someone or something obstructs them. Anyway, the door is already open, stupid. It is not going to close yet as the infra-red beam has not been broken and the mechanism of closing cannot start. I can open a 99% closed door by running my hand in, either breaking the infra-red beam or holding back the inner pressure-sensitive doors which forces them to make contact with the door opening trigger. I don’t need you help to get in. I am adult. I have a University Degree (equivalent). I can get into a lift by myself.

This is not your ancient HDB lift, one that stops at every second floor (Grandma in her wheelchair has to carried downstairs, welcome to Singapore) and tries to crush Grandma and any slow moving grand-children when it guillotines closed unexpectedly. This is a modern building, it’s not going to happen, this is the modern world. Wake up to the 21st century. The ironic thing is that you are rude and aggressive everywhere else in your mean and petty life; I know your type, arseholes.

~~

Why do those patently rude people press the door-fucking-CLOSE button – jab, jab, jab, jab – when people are still coming in or even while people a few steps away are approaching the lift and who obviously want to go up or down, whichever way this lift is headed (or footed I guess, going footwards, down). You are the nice person in his true colours. Bastards, I hate you.

~~

Why do they all press that door-close button repeatedly – jab-jab-jab-jab-jab – even if the door has started closing already? Once a second or two elapses since the last person broke the infra-red beam, then, according to the design chosen by the lift-making company, the time-circuitry that controls this door is initiated, and the door has commenced to close. The urge for them to press this button seems irrepressible. What mechanism? Maybe there is a small spring-controlled wheel with a dropout area which allows the magneto to contact (the old way), maybe these days there an electronic program on a chip to to do it, but whatever – nothing these people can do will change this timing once it reached its closing sequence. (Industrial lifts have a longer time before they close.)

OK, the lift might close a bit sooner if the close button is pressed immediately after the last person has just entered, in the short insignificant time before the timing mechanism kicks in by itself. Then the spring will be released and the timing wheel will spin a bit faster and allow the contacts to be made a fraction earlier, either that or the hypothetical program will be over-ridden, but what is the fucking rush? The door will close automatically anyway, in fact it’s already fucking closing, dickheads.

Stop. Pressing. The. Close. Button.

~~

Stop. Driving. Mr Grumpy. Crazy.

~~

Hell is other people in the lift. I hate all vertical commuters.

E@L

c.f: James Gleick, Faster

Breakfast Fail

Posted in breakfast, Mr Grumpy, travel trouble by expatatlarge on May 4, 2010

As one travels the Asian circuit being a jet-setting professional piece of “foreign talent”, one morphs into a grumpy old man quite quickly. Small things which a tourist might not even notice rise the ire of the sensitive business traveller.

And no-one is more grumpy, more sensitive and more foreign than E@L.

Breakfast, especially when E@L’s business discount hotel room does not include a voucher and he must pay for it, is the most important meal of the morning. When he is travelling on a holiday tour, it is of course the most important meal of the late afternoon.

E@L has lost a susbtantial percentage of his body-weight in recent months, not that you’d notice, and not into double figures yet. His method has been a regimen that may be familiar to many of you other fat pigs.

White food is evil. Avoid white foods like rice, noodles, potatoes, white bread and lark’s tongues in vanilla flavored aspic. White foods generally have a high glycaemic index, you see and E@L’s pancreas is on the cusp according to the eminent physician who is taking E@L’s money to maintain his Ferrari.

His (E@L’s, not the windswept Doc’s) typical petit dejuener of choice these days has a core of fresh fruit with colored yogurt. Maybe some wholemeal or multigrain toast with some not quite white topping like Vegemite or peanut-butter (bought two jars of Really Good stuff in New Zealand last trip), or some bran or muesli with the fruit. This been working well to whittle promising amounts of the avoirdupois from his flanks.

So imagine his dismay here in the Metropark hotel in Macau when the Cafe de Ciao had:

  • No yoghurt.
  • No wholemeal bread.
  • No meusli.
  • Not much in the way of fruit (canned peaches and watermelon chunks).
  • Terrible tea.

Desengaño again.

E@L

[Addendum: have only seen Vegemite out of Australia in an Australian owned hotel in Saigon.]

Black Dog

Posted in dentists, despair, diet, movies, Mr Grumpy, news, rants, teeth by expatatlarge on February 11, 2009

As I left the supermarket tonight after doing my post-sashimi-dinner shopping, I felt a wave of immense sadness come over me. For no obvious reason, I felt like shit, like crying, like getting pissed on martinis all by myself. I got into a taxi without any delay and helped the driver navigate the tortuous route to my place, all of 500m away as the crow flies. I kept wondering why I would suddenly feel this hollow blackness throughout my gut. It still has not passed. My comments on other blogs tonight reflect the bitterness of my mood.

Was it merely bad sashimi? (Good name for a band?) Or that that plate of so-so sashimi was all that I had eaten all day (since breakfast, I mean)?

Was it something of the ‘black dog’ that afflicted that wonderful peacemaker Winston Churchill, something of the ‘black veil’ of Rick Moody [sic], something of the ‘visible darkness’ of William Styron? No, I am not the depressive type. I don’t think. Probably why I am not as creative/productive as I should be – too busy having fun, mostly.

Was it the thought of all those people killed in the Victorian bushfires?

Was it that there was no-one in when I had come home earlier this evening? The house echoed a stillness. I hate being alone too long, the silence bugs me, that sense of rejection it implies, but I also crave the gratifying solitude I gain when I am rejecting someone who is sitting right near me. Go figure.

Was it that the Pub Quiz I was so looking forward to was cancelled as everyone is out of town except two of us. We need 5 to make the team and I only found out at the last minute – hence, no I didn’t call you, and hence the sashimi and green tea dinner rather than fish’n’chips and multiple Kilkennys.

Was it because I didn’t bring my iPod on the walk to the supermarket and had to listen to my own maudlin thoughts as I rambled up the street, rather than the wailing blues guitar of Buddy Guy (as I am now – a great version of Lay Lady Lay)?

Was it that one of my good buddies has to have surgery soon for a serious prostate condition and he is younger than me.

Was it that I am a just morose bastard? Sometimes this is true.

Was it that I am fat and horrible and ugly and a total bastard? That couldn’t be it – hell, I revel in being such an anti-social anti-fashionable anti-stereotype… type.

Was it that there is a fucking Harry’s bar everywhere you turn these days! I met the Harry’s guy somewhere at a wine-tasting once. You can have too many Harry’s Bars, trust me. Just like you can have too any franchises in general, too many Credit Default Swaps (overvalued cows), too many fatally flawed acquisitions, too many bad debts in your portfolio, too much hubris and bravado and pay too big bonuses to idiotically greedy CEOs

Was it that there is an immense world depression around the corner and that no-one looks anywhere near like knowing what to do to prevent it?

Was it that I will no doubt lose big time on my purchase of a unit in Noosa? At least in the short term.

Was it that I laid out my revised book plot to Izzy (the flat-mate, remember her?) last night then went to bed and slept without writing any of it down. And the essence of the plot twist comes from a memory – I just realized that I had been a genuine bastard to someone once, and hardly even thought about it at the time. Probably ruined their life. No, it wasn’t you.

Was it that I won’t be going to Tokyo for the training in April after all, and miss some great food (the training will be crap and tremendously ad hoc as usual). (However No1 Son and GF will coming up to Singapore for a few days in April! I feel better already thinking about that! Except I have nowhere for them to sleep yet.)

Was it that I spent 3 hours this afternoon with my mouth stretched open while someone constructed some serious new infrastructre in there, the way Ivor Kants put together a maze of scaffolding inside Judy Morris’s tiny bathroom in Peter Weir’s 1979 gem The Plumber. I tried to wash out the noise with some iPodded Beethoven but it didn’t work. The drill and the violin kept harmonizing in my sinuses… The partial cap that kept falling out over the last month or so was broken and had to be reconstructed – I had to sell some CDS to the tune of $1260 for the privelege.

Was it that the anaesthetics are wearing off and I am merely ill with my tooth’s slow fading memory of the pain it felt but couldn’t tell me about at the time.

Was it that I buy and buy all these fucking books without the possibility of ever reading them. Am I a fucking idiot? Currently a fan of pretty much anything published by New York Review of Books. Most of their mid 20th century lost European classics turned up on my desk yesterday, courtesy of Amazon. Fuck the current zeitgeist, take me back to Paris or Berlin with all the other expats, exiles and émigrés.

Was it that The Boss has just sent out an email reminding everyone (um, that’d be me) that office hours are 8:45 to 5:30 and asked everyone (um, that’d still be me) to honour them. The current Boss is about be upgraded with a new model, actually an older, more establishment guy and we are all quaking in our lazy boots. Turn up on time? What next, paperwork?

Or was it that the world truly is meaningless and shite and so are we all in despair if we have half a brain to recognize this, and that my blog is just a scrap of electronic toilet paper floating out to cyber-sea…

~~~~~~~~~~

Actually I feel much better after typing all this. I feel like some emo teenage girl who has had a big heart-to-heart on Facebook with her closest 5,644 friends.

Who said catharsis sucks?

Ah, time for that martini.

And how was YOUR day?

E@L

Mr Grumpy Takes The Train

Posted in Mr Grumpy, Singapore, taxis, trains by expatatlarge on October 6, 2008

Mr Grumpy had to get into the office on time this morning. That would mean peak time for calling a taxi here in Disneyland WTDP. Hard one to get taxi, lah!

Calling a taxi early would also mean several extra charges on top of the actual per/100m fare. In non-peak times, since the price changes last year, Mr Grumpy’s typical taxi fare to work is $12. Before the price “rationalization”, it was about $8. With the $3.50 booking fee and a$2 surcharge for this, and 30% surcharge for that (Mr Grumpy has long since ceased trying to figure out the reasons behind all these surcharges) a peak-time taxi ride from Newton to Harbourfont Centre could be as much as $16.

However, taking the train would cost $1.10, plus a short bus trip at 90c. Decisions, meh!

One downside of the bus/train combo is that he has to walk some distance. Mr Grumpy has sore feet. Mr Grumpy has had sore feet for a while and even an expensive and complications ridden operation didn’t make Mr Grumpy’s sore feet go away. It made them sore in a different way.

This is not the reason that Mr Grumpy is grumpy, but it doesn’t fucking help either.

Mr Grumpy hates walking because of his sore feet. But as Mr Grumpy has been spending shitloads of non-insurance-refundable money on a series charlatans and shysters who prod and probe, squeeze and squash his limbs in farcical attempts to relieve his pain (therapy based on whatever mystical hogwash they were trained to believe causes all illnesses), he is financially inclined to humour them in that maybe he IS getting better after all. He must be, otherwise why would he continue to spend all that money? It only stands to reason.

Every now and then Mr Grumpy tries a positive attitude on for size.

As Mr Grumpy took the 47 types of pills and herbal anti-oxidants concoctions that are supposed to be doing something to relieve his pain and cure the root of the problem and purge his system of “toxins” and make his hair grow (it is only working on nostrils and ears so far), he looked at himself in the mirror. He turned on the nose-hair plucker and made the decision to take the freaking train this morning. He can walk that distance without exacerbating the pain, he really can! Yeah, right.

Now, now, let’s not be cynical! We’re with you, Mr Grumpy!

Bus, OK – it’s not raining. Train, crowded beyond all shite. About 8 people alight through the door in front of him at Little India Station but this seems to make no difference to the density of the crowd inside. It’s like everyone else expanded just a little to absorb the gaps. Parkinson’s Rule of Commuter Trains.

Mr Grumpy ignores the seething demons of hell that inhabited this carriage trying to prevent his entry through their sheer numbers and just walks on at his usual steady pace, briefcase on its shoulder strap, with the resulting momentum of a heavy man, as if nobody was in front of him. Remarkably the expansion effect has its antithesis in an absorption effect and he melds into the crowd with imperceptible ease and almost immediately finds himself by the central pylon where three curved hand-holds linked the floor and ceiling. There are about four layers of people between him and the doors, but he is wedged now and can no longer move. By the time the doors are closed and the train starts to move, he is fixed in position, as if the super-saturation of commuters has set into a unbreakable crystalline formation. He has a grip on the pylon’s hand hold. People around try to tumble down due to their inertial resistance but they are held up in position by the crystal matrix effect of bodies around them.

Everyone on the train has headphones on. Mr Grumpy himself is listening to the rock band Audioslave:

I’ve been walking the sideroads

I stare straight into the sun

I don’t know why people are dying

Long before their time has come…

As the train approaches the main Orchard Rd interchange at Dhoby Ghaut where 75% of these people would get off, Mr Grumpy feels a tap on his arm. He opens his eyes. Who is disturbing this quality time with himself, and WHY?

A man on the other side the central pylon indicates to Mr Grumpy with a nod of his head and a raising of his eyebrows that he would be alighting at the next stop.

“Well, hoowee!” thinks Mr Grumpy.

This unreasonably tedious request makes Mr Grumpy quite grumpy indeed. OF COURSE the man is getting off at Dhoby Ghaut. EVERYONE (well 75% of everyone) is getting off at Dhoby Ghaut. Mr Grumpy, not being a sheep-like follower, is planning to NOT get off at Dhoby Ghaut and indeed to find a vacant seat for his continued ride down to Harbourfront Centre once those 75% have departed the carriage. But there is nothing he can do about it NOW. He is wedged and crystallized in place. If he couldn’t move at all to maximize his own chances of obtaining a seat, how could he do anything about someone else’s issues? The man who had indicated that he wanted to get off could get fucked. What could Mr Grumpy possibly do? How could he do anything? He couldn’t get out of the way; there were people all around him. He couldn’t try to slide around and exchange places with the man as the central pylon was between them. What the fuck did the man want him to do? What the fuck did he expect?

Mr Grumpy wondered later if the man expected to be told to fuck off. Probably not. But that’s what happened. Mr Grumpy thought later also that he showed remarkable restraint in not punching the guy several times in his great fat ugly face as well, but that would have difficult due to the confinement of his arms by the crowd.

Stupid person. Mr Grumpy shows an exasperated face to the man, mouths the words, and turns away to pointedly ignore him.

The train shudders to a stop and people not holding on nearly fall, but again they can’t break the matrix. As Mr Grumpy had predicted, about 75% of everyone gets off at Dhoby Ghaut, including the stupid (now offended, his entire day ruined) man, without Mr Grumpy having to move an inch. As they slide around him and continue to file out the door, he feels the pressure ease, feels himself expanding to fill a certain proportion of the gaps now available. Then Mr Grumpy is easily able to out-maneuver an elderly, blind cripple to the last of the newly available free seats. He closes his eyes and sits back, listening to his music:

I walk the streets of Japan till I get lost

Cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

With a graveyard tan carrying a cross

Cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

I like studying faces in a parking lot

Cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

I like driving backwards in the fog

Cause it doesn’t remind me of anything

[Chorus]

The things that I’ve loved, the things that I’ve lost

The things I’ve held sacred, that I’ve dropped

I won’t lie no more you can bet

I don’t want to learn what I’ll need to forget

These words make Mr Grumpy feel a little bit better, make him feel a weight has been dropped. He does not know what the weight is, doesn’t even know what the fuck the words mean. Maybe it’s the music…

While Mr Grumpy walks up from the train through the platform and along the corridor to the escalator that leads to Harbourfront Centre his feet continue to give pain. This is no big deal, they ALWAYS give him pain. He is constantly aware of his feet. It’s enough to turn a Mr Nice Guy into another Mr Grumpy.

But then his toes start to fire off brief electrical spasms. The big toes especially rage into a numbness that burns, like instant frost-bite. Each step he takes past the HFC shops cracks this ice and spurs fire into the depth of the bones. Ow. Ow. Mr Grumpy hates walking.

Mr Grumpy should have called a taxi and then everyone would have been better off, especially the Lee Kwan Yew family (aka The Singapore Government) who own the taxi service, and certainly those innocent bystanders in the commuting world who would feel less offended and depressed, and maybe a little less grumpy too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next story in this series: Mr Grumpy goes to the Newton Circus hawker stall for a cheap, quiet, fresh-air, mind-his-own-business dinner. Oh what fun!

E@L