The trouble with giving someone an antique opium pipe for his birthday is that you've rather shot yourself in the foot after that. Once someone has received an antique opium pipe for his birthday, a nice shirt or a good book is always going to pale in comparison, isn't it? Sean turned 30 today and, for a while, I was at a loss as to what to get him.
So remember how ages ago I thought I was going to be bored on a layover and I asked you to ask me some questions and you did? And then the layover actually turned out to be quite interesting, or at least quite short, and I only ended up answering half the questions, and a large percentage of people were probably like "dude, thank god, how boring would it have been to read any more about her Kitchenaid mixer and her days of the week knickers and her clandestine love affair with Jared Leto?" (Oh, wait, I haven't told you about that?
We spent a good part of yesterday picking up grapes with chopsticks. "I need to rehearse if I'm going to be doing this in public soon," said Sean.
My brother Luke, who usually knows about these kinds of things, taught me that it's polite to call the taxi drivers in Singapore "uncle." And since taxis are cheap here, and we therefore use them rather a lot, I've suddenly found myself with a whole bunch of uncles, which, if I were into geneology and all that, would really be kind of a bitch when it came to drawing my family tree. "Hello uncle!" I'll say, clambering across the plastic-covered seat, nearly knocking myself in the head with the air freshener dangling from the ceiling.
Actually, you are going to screw this cake up in 23 ways, but ten made the title catchier, just like that awful Kate Hudson movie which I still kind of really want to see. (Why? Five words: Matthew McConnaughey-hey, hey, hey.) Ideally, this should be a cake you make for a special occasion---like, say, to welcome your family back to Singapore after they've been on vacation in L.A. for ten days---so that the entire process is infused with the maximum amount of pressure. Ready? Go!
Here's a confession: I've never seen Top Gun. I have no idea what people are talking about when they say things like "I've got the need, I've got the need for speed" and "that's a negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full." For all I know, they could be asking for illegal drugs and discussing knitting patterns. And maybe they are! Who knows?
This morning I woke up at half past seven to go to a Singaporean aerobics class. I wish this were actually a punchline to a joke---"Knock knock! Who's there? The absolute least enjoyable thing you can think of doing in 100 degree weather!"---but it's not. It is, unfortunately, absolutely true. Because Sean had lectured me yesterday on always breaking my promises and I had decided that---along with learning to like sushi---this would be The Thing I Would Change About Myself This Summer, I had to stick to my word.
I was sitting out by the pool yesterday, working my way through a novel so trashy and horrible that I'm ashamed to tell you what it was---really, being unemployed in a tropical country is TERRIBLY taxing, now if I could just get Sean to polish each gummy bear to a high sheen before I put it in my mouth---when a couple of little Singaporean boys started splashing around in the shallow end next to me, forcing me to listen in on their conversation, which was mostly centered around weine
Upon hearing that I was going traveling in Southeast Asia this summer, my brother Tom---who had done a similar route several years ago when he was eighteen, thus proving that even though he is three years younger than me, he is still The More Exciting One---immediately told me about the travelers' code for sharing books.
"Whoa, look at all those grapefruits. I can't believe grapefruits still exist."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, do people even eat grapefruits anymore? They just seem so ... retro."
"Yeah, actually, I do see what you mean. Like maybe they should have become obsolete when the 80s ended."
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"What do you think of 'coagulate?' As a word?"
"I don't mind it. Why? What do you think of it?"
"I like it, but I didn't think you would. What about 'defenestrate?'"
Me? Obsessive? Is the pope Catholic? Is Britney Spears slightly tacky? Is Baileys the nectar of the gods? Is nude-colored underwear the best thing to wear under a white skirt?
In exactly 12 hours, I will be leaving for the airport to catch a plane to Hong Kong. Because it's finally, finally, finally here: the day we leave for The Great Southeast Asian Adventure. Would you believe me if I told you we'd been planning this for, ooh, about a year and a half? Would you believe me if I told you I haven't even started packing, I'm confused about how many pairs of pajamas to take, I have yet to buy a combination lock or photocopy my passport, and the teeniest, tiniest part of me doesn't want to go anymore?