Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

by venitha

"Winston, ah?"

Oh, God, not again.

I moved here with an aversion to the telephone (IM me, SMS me, e-mail me, but please do not phone), and Singapore has only made it worse: the low quality connections, the difficulty in understanding and being understood, and this guy Winston.

"Winston, ah?"

It is impossible to spell in Latin letters and html emphasis the word(?) ah, for it is nasal and harsh and rakes down the spine like nails down a chalkboard.

"No, there is no Winston here."

"Winston, ah?"

Three times is my limit, and I hang up. I've been through this far too many times before. I have no idea who Winston is, but the guy gets more calls than I do. At least his admirers call only during the day. Or so I thought.

Last night the phone rang at two in the morning, causing both Jim and I to leap up in alarm, for we are already concerned for the health of loved ones back in the US, and when is a call in the middle of the night ever good news?

"Winston, ah?"

Jim answered the phone, but I could tell by his calm and measured response in spite of our wildly beating hearts that the call was not for us. Jim is so much nicer than I am, though to be fair, as he is rarely home on weekdays, he has not been through this a times already.

"Winston, ah?"

He told the caller very patiently and with perfect pristine precise pronunciation that Winston was not here, has never been here, will never be here. We do not know him, have never known him, do not want to know him. To my amazement, Jim actually appeared to have a conversation with the inhuman shriek.

"Winston, ah?"

Finally, though, his patience exhausted, Jim hung up.

"Apparently Winston owes someone some money." The bastard.

I smiled ruefully in the dark as we headed back to bed. This is more information than I had gleaned in nine months of wrong numbers. You really do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

But who wants flies?

Me, I have my golden honeyed moments, but deep down, I am vinegar. And the potent combination of the middle of the night, annoyance, relief, and the screeching ah has cooked up... something new. Now, I am piss and vinegar.

Next time they call, Winston's dead.