Singapore Adventure

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Go Ask Alice
by jima

Some mornings really make you wonder if you fell down the rabbit hole sleepwalking during the night.

As much as I rave about the mass transit system here, there are times when it's not really practical to take the bus, like, for example, when you are carrying a large suitcase that one of your co-workers wants to borrow. That was my situation a recent sunny morning as I flagged down a cab on busy Thomson Rd.

Most people, when they see a stranger pull out a book and start reading, would figure that the reader really isn't looking for discussion. But the March Hare who was my driver was not most people. The emergence of my book, Fear of Flying, prompted him to strike up the conversation with that most predictable of starting questions.

"Where you from?" Without waiting for a response, he continued on, prompted, I realized slowly, pre-caffeine, by my suitcase. "You flying back today?"

From this rather pedestrian start, the conversation veered straight through the looking glass.

"You got kids?"

"Er, no, I don't."

"You know that there was a study, done in your country about 20 years ago, proved that the best time to make a baby is 5-7 pm."

"Really? I hadn't heard that. Do you have kids?" I replied, with more than a hint of desperation as I put my book away, accepting that Erica Jong was going to have to wait until the Mad Hatter had his say.

"Two kids."

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum? Politeness got the best of temptation, and I resorted to the old standby, "How old?"

"32 and, um, 28. But, you gotta get with your wife between 5 and 7."

Damn, I thought to myself, back to the tea party.

"That the time when the sperm is the, you know, strongest. And the egg is most, accepting. You wife, she should be home, take a rest in the afternoon, then have dinner about 4:30 and then lock yourself in the room at 5pm. You do that every night. You have lots of kids."

Fortunately at this point he got distracted because he had to tell me about the new bridge we were driving over and how much time it was saving us.

When we returned after our brief bridge diversion, he had shifted gears to a different, less biological, aspect of parenting: education.

"Now, seven months, that's when you have to start reading to your wife's belly. That determine the future for the child. You want a doctor? You get a biology book and you read a chapter to it every night. You want a stock broker, you read those finance books every night."

"Hmmm..." I said aloud, meaning And what do you get if you read your fetus ? A hookah-smoking caterpillar?

After a few more recommendations for excellent books to read to the soon-to-be-born, we thankfully arrived at work, and I quickly paid my fare.

Climbing out of the cab, I caught his Cheshire cat grin in the rear-view mirror as he offered one last piece of advice. "Get home early tonight!"

Many thanks to for laughs and inspiration!