When it comes to scary moments—at least to me—in life, I’ve definitely sampled a fair share of them. This discounts the usual daily triggers, such as talking to strangers, going to lunch with distant acquaintances, and having a chatty Grab driver.
Much like religion and politics, I’ve found some topics to evoke a certain passion in people. There’s the “Is it rude not to reply on WhatsApp,” and the “Should you wash your jeans,” but my favourite questions has to be: “Is it okay to dine alone?”
Of course, whenever I broach this topic, the conversation naturally steers to other social activities, and I enjoy watching people’s faces slowly fade from amusement to horror.
Would I watch a movie alone? Yes.
Travel alone? Done it, love it!
Visit a mall? Attend a dance workshop? Skateboard in the park?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
So I woke up one day with this ache that ran from my neck to my hand. The pain was a solid six (on a scale of ten), and it was constant enough to interfere with my day-to-day.
Googling wasn’t the best of ideas, since the symptoms matched that of a heart attack. Two doctor appointments and one Chinese masseuse (not a sitcom) later, I’m still perplexed as to what it was.
So you’re just gonna quit writing?”
Jim shrugged, taking a deep breath. “I don’t know,” he exhaled. “There’s just… nothing to write about anymore, you know?”
“What about the shitty things you face at work?” I asked.
“That’s the thing,” Jim replied. “Work has been great.”
“Have you ever tried writing without emotions?”
There’s a weird relationship between happy tunes and horror movies; the twinkling of a baby mobile, or tunes from a theme park. You don’t get the same chill from, say, dubstep or emo rock.
The advertisement jingles in supermarkets are right up the horror-movie aisle (heh). How could anybody be happy about a ten percent discount off a two-dollar item? My heart goes out to the staff every time I shop in a supermarket that repeats music and the month’s current offers.
Today, I find myself at the hypermarket deciding on a door gift for a new year’s party. Should I go for the wine, or the snacks? I visualise a wine snob at the party—and it’s a real possibility because I don’t know anyone there—frowning at my ten-dollar bottle of wine. But ten-dollar wine is classier than twenty-dollar bags of Lays, surely?
I don’t know about you, but every time I return from a trip, I come home with an extra olfactory association as well—another stamp to the collection, so to speak. Singapore’s underground MRT stations smell like stale grass, the streets of Mandalay like boiled pork, and the back alleys of Saigon carry a hint of ham choy.
I remember signing up for that Writers Bureau course when I was still dressing hair for a living. I spent years fantasising about having my byline in magazines, the wonder of reading feature articles and hoping to do something similar one day.
I didn’t complete the course, but my dream remained. This morning I just realised how far I’ve come since then, and how I’ve actually realised my dream without even noticing.
This piece is particularly meaningful because I really loved my time on assignment and the writing process. The formatting’s a little off when compared to the hard copy though, so I’ll try putting up the PDF version soon.
Click here to read the story!