Do you ever have the feeling that maybe life is just passing you by? While everyone else seems to be having an absolute blast – Charlie Sheen comes to mind – you are stuck in a rut in a dull, deadly routine.
In the morning, the alarm scares you awake. Tumble out of bed, stumble into the kitchen, pour yourself a cup of ambition, yawning and stretching and trying to come alive…No wait, those are the lyrics to a Dolly Parton song.
But it’s not that far off from your reality. You slog it to work on the bus or the crowded train, your nose jammed into someone’s smelly armpits. Or you try to move your shoulder away from the person next to you who has fallen asleep and whose head is slowly drooping over. Everyone looks grumpy and, because this is not a Hollywood rom-com starring Sandra Bullock, they’re also badly dressed and badly lit. And speaking really badly.
As the woman next to me on the 105 this morning told her friend on the handphone, “And then, hor, I ask him, ‘Ay, you don’t anyhow say, OK? You want to sleep with udder people, I also can!’ Wah liau, I almost give him two tight slap, I tell you!” And this is where my note-taking goes slightly off the page because she then slipped into a string of Hokkien profanities all the way to Far East Plaza where I imagined she was going to work at the Old Chang Kee kiosk.
During these exciting moments, I sometimes fantasize about winning the lottery. What would I do if I won twenty million dollars, I ask myself. I’d quit my job. With great satisfaction, I imagine the look on my boss’s face when I tell him he can take his miserable low-paying, sub-human job and shove it. I bask in the moment and then imagine myself heading for the lift. I get in, press the ground floor button, smile to myself the entire trip down. The doors open and I step out and…
Here, my fantasy comes to a grinding halt.
Because I can’t imagine the next step. The future after winning twenty million dollars is a blank. Who knew?
Because what would I do with myself all day? I have no interest in golf. I can’t play mah-jong. I guess I could go visit my money in the bank, but when you come right down to it, money doesn’t really have much to say.
I also can’t imagine travelling all year. And besides, who would I travel with? Everyone I know still has a job and even though this is a fantasy where I’m best friends with Jennifer Lopez, she can’t take all that time off to tour Italy with me. She still has to judge American Idol.
Sharyn said I could do volunteer work, but I told her I’m not going to start some charity or foundation on the grounds that when I was poor, nobody rich gave me a handout.
“Oh, yah, hor!” she said. “Good point. They can go buy their own 4D!”
“I guess you’d still have to have a job,” Saffy concluded. “Just so you don’t get bored. Boy, would that suck!”
Which then brings me to the whole notion of a dream job. The job you have because you want to do it, not because you have to. So far, the short list involves being (a) a Hollywood star, and (b) God.
But as Saffy points out, when you’re a movie star, you won’t be able to sunbathe nude on the deck of your yacht because of all the paparazzi circling above in their helicopters. And if you’re God, all you’re going to be getting is complaints and stupid prayers like ‘Dear God, please let me win the lottery this Saturday!’
The question continues to fully occupy my days, even as I sit at my computer and bash out stupid articles that I’m sure no one will ever read. Amanda thinks I’m going through a mid-life crisis but I’m sure that’s not it. My mid-life, I tell her, is still a good decade away. It pleases me that she doesn’t contradict me.
The other day, Saffy rang me in a state of great excitement.
“Oh my God! I know what my dream job is!” she gushed. I could almost feel her legendary bosom throbbing over the phone. “I love to eat, I love to sleep late and wake up late, I love to watch TV. My dream job would be…a night security guard!”
Amanda says that if Saffy ever got her dream job, this country would be invaded by Malaysia by day-break.