Doctor dread

I took SmallMonkey to the doctor. Unexplained pains – I think he’s just stretching. The doctor was one we hadn’t yet seen: a classic local elderly medic, serious, very Singaporean and stern. He rattled out questions, directing them all to SM, who stuttered his answers. When I asked if I should leave the room while all the prodding was being carried out he shot back: ‘Why should you not be here? You’re his mother.’

The elderly doc worked his way around my small son’s skinny little form, palpating and prodding with wizened fingers, and when everything had been poked (standard appendicitis ‘push’ test carried out, a little sample presented and deemed negative), SM was prescribed painkillers and told he had wind. And at this point the elderly man totally changed demeanour like one of those Chinese New Year face-changers, breaking into a lovely smile and telling us how pleased he was that everything was OK, and making sure SM personally knew that he had to come back if anything at all was wrong again.

How I hate it when I judge books by their covers.

For C

You know those times when there is only one person on your mind, and every song that comes on the radio is written for them, and every thought that you have links back to them, and the world is suddenly a different place because of them – or lack of them? This blog is about me and what I do, but every now and then I might have to write about things that have no real interest to anyone other than a small group of likeminded or linked people. That’s this week, that is.
Caroline, this came on the radio yesterday, and I wanted you to have it. I can’t recall if it was on your List Of Strong Tunes, so it might not have a link to you and it might not make any sense (much like a lot of things in the world this week). Still, the song is strange and strong and I like it (much like you). Here you are, have it, wherever you now are:

random weird song

[See? Even an accordion for Viktor]

The saddest cab

Today I had to interview someone for a feature, which meant that instead of pottering down to the office on foot, I ordered a cab. It arrived straight away, unusual for a weekday morning.
‘So lucky,’ said the driver, ‘you are going exactly where I need to be, that’s why I picked you.’
The luck soon oozed out of our cab, though, because it transpired that the reason why the driver was ‘lucky’ was that after my fare, he was on his way to a funeral that was close to my location. His good friend, another cab driver, had been in a smash on Sunday (just three days before), killed outright after a cement truck cut a red light. Four kids. Youngest 6 months. Oldest 7 years.
‘We only had breakfast together that Sunday morning.’
The story was longer than that, and it came out in bits and pieces as we travelled, leaking out of the driver in sad little sentences as we nudged through traffic. He weaved a few HappyandGrateful comments into the tale (as we often do when we’re grieving) – what God had given him, how lucky he was to have picked my route – but the chatter kept on slumping back to sad silence as we digested each fact, him in front and me in back, and all the while he rubbed his eyes as he drove, apologising for the tears.

I know that a lot of cabs *are* in accidents, and I thought about this as we drove, and the driver gulped back tears.
‘We get so tired,’ he said, as if to confirm.
Usually I check the rearview mirror in a cab to see if the driver is falling asleep, but today I checked for tears. I’m not sure what’s worse.