domingo, septiembre 17, 2006

Singapore - Part 4

A man in the corner approached me for a match.
I knew right away he was not ordinary.
He said, "Are you looking for something easy to catch?"
I said, "I got no money." He said, "That ain't necessary."

That’s from a Bob Dylan song called Isis. I’ve had it in my head all night. Funny how I write this and almost guiltily picture my students in Chile, smirks on their faces. Teacher, you are study this Bob Dylan singer? Like you are study Miranda, kiddos. Pero, oye. Ahora es mi solo, no es la guitarra de Lolo.

These lyrics remind me of a feeling I always had living in Singapore, a feeling I loved and miss now more than anything - an anticipation that anything could and would happen. Every day was magic, every day for 3 whole years. This is how I know, or at least how I think I know, no matter how much I grumbled about the place because I was in a bad mood over this or that, my life there gave me something I have to get back. But, wait. I was telling you about Bob’s song. It starts with a man who loses his grip on the love of his life. Her name is Isis. In a devil-may-care burst of craziness he runs out west looking for a change of scene. He winds up in a bar – I always picture some wild west saloon type thing - and a man offers him a partnership (see above). The man, of all things, is going to take old Bob into Egypt. Tomb raiding, no less…

Our apartment in Sembawang faced an open field. I had a problem with the contrast in temperature between the heat outside and the arctic blast of the air con indoors. I rarely let Blue turn the thing on. We often left the windows open, risking visits from all species of tropical bug. Most of what got were mosquitoes and smallish beetles. One day, I walked into our bedroom to find something the size of a small bird knocking itself against the walls. It was a beetle, but the kind you might see mounted in a museum. It had a blue body and two large black pincers on its head. I’m not sure if it would’ve hurt me had I given it the chance, but it sure did scare the crap out of me. It got up and started to fly around the rest of the apartment. Then I watched as what I thought was my very Americanized Chinese Singaporean boyfriend shot the thing down flinging rubber bands, covered it with a take-out plastic soup container, weighed that down with a bottle of laundry detergent, and told me he thought it’d suffocate by morning by which point he’d be able to pick it up and throw it out the window. Blue was slowly but surely showing me he wasn’t the Blue I thought I knew. Blue was Tarzan. Magic. See?

This brings me to an aside. You know, I’m a bit self conscious I write like Singapore was some wild frontier. Those of you who know the country very likely think of it the same way I think of the place I grew up in New Jersey – nice, clean, safe, dull, modern, comfortable. I certainly wasn’t braving any danger living there. My life was not some backpacking adventure. If you sat me down with someone who lived anywhere else in Southeast Asia I’m sure they could top me with cool and exciting stories 100 times over. This was simply a period of my life I never want to forget. And so I’ve decided to write it all out. In a way, I think Singapore might’ve been my Isis.

I was thinking about Isis, how she thought I was so reckless.
How she told me that one day we would meet up again,
And things would be different the next time we wed,
If I only could hang on and just be her friend.
I still can't remember all the best things she said.

Bob, that blows. Well, I'm certainly going to remember what mine said.

Until we meet again,
Tomb raiding in Beantown

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anónimo said...

...you just compared liiiiving in singapore to raiding da tombs of da undead...yup, you need help dorkyvad

1:07 p. m.  

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