I have come to a clinic without an appointment, and have been warned by the matronly secretary that I have to be prepared to wait. So here I am, all armed with my notebook and will fill the hours by filling the notebook, I guess.
Singapore mornings are crisp and beautiful, but most people here do not seem to have the time to enjoy them. Not being a regular office-goer myself, I do not have the poker-faced attitude of most commuters who simply tell the driver their destination and are lost in their newspaper, cellphone or ipod for the rest of the ride.
Since I often smile at people, I smile at the taxi drivers as well, and they immediately come to the conclusion that they have found themselves a good listener. I have heard several dozens of life histories of taxi drivers, some of them genteel old men who say they drive taxis to keep from being bored, even tho they don’t “really” need to, women who drive taxis to keep up their lives as single mothers and today I met a taxi driver who is actually a magician!
He declared in typical Singlish: “Today your lucky day! I the only magician in Singapore who drives a taxi!” and then proceeded to show me various sleight of hand tricks with coins and rubber bands at each traffic light where we came to a halt:)
Since I nodded and smiled at everything he had to say and replied “I’m sure you are right..” he told me in his nasal Chinese drawl:
“You got sweet face, you know, not angry waan, not like most people lah. They angry all the time lah, never have time to listen!“
I reached the clinic and am now sitting surrounded by people with faces absorbed in their papers, magazines or pattering away at their phones(Singaporeans love texting, and do not make as many calls), and realize that indeed the people around me do have grumpy faces…not that any of them is in pain, they are plain self-absorbed.
But maybe all that is just a front, because every time I look up from my writing, I meet eyes that get hastily turned away.
They must be wondering what on earth I could be scribbling into my notebook. But I don’t mind, I have got the post for my blog, and this is not the first time I have been writing at odd places at odd times!