Who am I?

I. (Ex-)Teacher

When people who know I'm a teacher find out that I go clubbing or drinking, the immediate question on their minds is, "But aren't you afraid your students will see you?" To which my default response has always been, "Never ran into them before."* The question comes up particularly often when I'm at Zouk, because I guess that's where a lot of kiddies go.

Well, I won't be able to say that anymore. On Friday night, I ran into not one --- not two --- but three ex-students.

On the bright side, I only made eye contact and conversation with one of them.

The first one materialised when we were in the line outside Zouk to get into the Very Xotic party. I ducked for cover immediately, turning to Terz with fierce instructions to warn me if the kid got too close. This wasn't a kid I wanted to make small talk with, mostly because he never did anything in class except space out in his seat.

The second materialised outside Phuture. Again, I avoided eye contact, but I was alone, so there was no husband or friend to hide behind. Although this kid hadn't been the same spaced-out wastrel as the first, I still didn't have anything to say to him and it was too late in the night --- and way past too many vodka drinks --- to attempt small talk. Fortunately, it was dark enough for me to pull off another duck-and-cover move.

Third time's the charm, I guess, especially since he actually came right up to me to ask if my friends and I were in the line at the bar for drinks. I said no, and then I had to pull that awful line, "You don't recognise me, do you?" Cue vaguely awkward moment, made less awkward by loud dance music and generous amounts of alcohol, that mercifully segued to a brief and chatty, "So how are you? What are you doing now? I hear you're good? Yeah, I just had dinner with her last week." And so on, and so forth. I wouldn't've minded chatting with him longer, except that the music was really loud, he was with his friends and I was with mine, and it was all getting a little surreal. So I got my drinks, we said our goodbyes, and I walked away, trying not to feel all weirded out.

Is this going to haunt me forever? To feel like something's off whenever my worlds collide --- teacher/student metamorphosed without my engineering into a situation of fellow imbibers or, worse, lackey/boss? (By the way, in this scenario, I'm the lackey.)

* This is also typically followed by the retort, "So what if they see me? It's not like I'm drinking in the classroom."

II. Wife

I only have Burger King once in a blue moon, when I'm craving the taste of a Whopper Junior or when we're at the airport (because until recently, there wasn't any decent non-hawker food at the airport for non-passengers except for Burger King --- if that counts as decent).

However, as we were recently at the airport and there again on Saturday for Terz's flight to Thailand, this means that I've had Burger King twice in a month. Gotta put a stop to that (the excessive BK, not the vacation or overseas assignment).

How this is wifely is that if we need a meal before a flight, we do Burger King. That's just it. Of course, later there's the customary hug-and-kiss-and-remember-to-buy-me-cheap-clothes-if-you-have-time routine at the departure doors.

III. (Ex-)Teacher Redux

After Burger King, I went on to my second lunch (why, yes, now that you ask, I am a hobbit) with another ex-student. Okay, technically, like Agagooga, not a student whom I taught per se, but certainly one whose reputation preceded him into the staff room. A good conversation, except that I can't tell you what we talked about, or I'd have to kill you.

By the way, this new restaurant The Simple Life at Wheelock Place? Nosso good. Local hawker fare served at restaurant prices, which I wouldn't mind if it served fabulous food. But my nasi lemak wasn't lemak (coconut-flavoured) enough, nor the deep-fried chicken and fish (did I mention I was a hobbit?) with the right spicy flavouring to justify their inclusion in the signature Malay dish. However, the barley drinks were quite, quite thick and not too sweet --- precisely that homemade balance that's so hard to find in restaurants or coffeeshops.

IV. Helper-who-tries-not-to-screw-up (as opposed to a teacher, who is professionally qualified as a help-who-tries-not-to-screw-up)

Miyagi needed help. I needed to stop sitting on my butt in a solipsistic meditation on the blogsophere. mr brown needed to take videos to justify his mad skillz, yo. Plenty of organised chaos ensued, though none of us directly caused it. I was mostly trying to sort through the organised chaos in my head: "How do I talk to little kids? How do I talk to little kids with special needs? How come when I say, 'form a choo-choo-train', it doesn't have the same excited, delightful ring as when Miyagi says it?"

I am reminded that I don't have an instinct for children. I am reminded that children have way more energy than adults. I am accused, having fallen a little silent during dinner afterwards, of having "no stamina" again. Cheh!

Anyone else who wants to volunteer, the next session is in 2 weeks' time, i.e. Saturday, September 10. Let Miyagi know if you're able to lend a hand. I'm sure volunteers who can, unlike me, lift a weight greater than a four-year-old child will be appreciated.

V. Colleague

I accompanied a colleague to Book Cafe today. He had the teacher's perennial bane, marking; I had some work to finish.

Of course, that was just an excuse for me to be reading things other than what I was supposed to be reading for work. There was the quintessential I-S, the Ikea catalogue for 2005 (meh, as expected), some expat magazine (which yielded the following useful links for travelling in Tasmania: Bay of Fires Walk, Craclair Tours, Tasmanian Expeditions, Tiger Trails Eco Adventures, Par-Avion Wilderness Tours and Intrepid Travel), the Sunday Times' weekend supplement which grabbed my attention with a cover of pellucid-eyed Elijah Wood for its "Kicking the Hobbit" story and last week's weekly edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. I go to Book Cafe, really, for the free wi-fi and excellent iced lime green tea, but when on days when I'm too lazy to lug the laptop along, free magazines/books and a tasty iced orange tea will do just as well.

VI. Ditz

The dead toenail I've been nursing since June is finally coming off, but I'm loath to pull it off because (a) it would surely hurt, wouldn't it? (b) it would leave an unpainted gap in the sequence of toes. Little Miss Drinkalot assures me that dead toenails don't need extra protection or babying, but this is my first one ever and I'm not ready to take the risk. In fact, I'm thinking about taping a band-aid around it to keep it on.

Oh, be quiet with the mocking laughter already.

VII. Foodie

Restaurants to try with Terz before the end of the year:

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At 8/28/2005 1:25 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

on the bright side, there was an enormous possibility it could have been four ex-students instead of just three.

At 8/28/2005 2:13 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Hey! New Blogger features in commenting?

At 8/28/2005 7:35 pm , Blogger Tym said...

suzanne -- Why, thank you. A new target to strive for :)

popagandhi --- Thanks for the suggestion! We're not often in the Rifle Range area for food, but maybe it's time to use this as an excuse to meet friends who live in the westerly parts.

And if by 'new Blogger features in commenting', you're referring to the verification image, why yes, you're right.

Dead toenail update: It came off, completely of its own volition, as I was settling down to sleep last night. No blood, no pain --- just a very peculiar-looking toenail was revealed. I'm still enthralled by the novelty of it all.

At 8/28/2005 9:37 pm , Blogger kungfuzi said...

Enjoyed that conversation greatly!

At 8/29/2005 12:51 am , Blogger Abigael said...

Haha ... You are a natural! From the way you were handling those "reunions", I thought you see them there all the time! Never once did I sense your discomfiture ... but maybe I was too sloshed. Heh heh.

At 8/29/2005 3:28 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

BK twice a month is considered excessive?

At 8/29/2005 5:00 am , Blogger Mr Miyagi said...

Excited, delightful ring can be achieved by speaking in a pitch one octave higher.

At 8/29/2005 1:11 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean, I suppose being finally allowed to sign in with a name and website like everyone else, instead of Blogger/Anonymous, can be called a "feature". :) Like an iPod without a screen.

At 8/31/2005 6:44 am , Blogger eyes said...

Pepper lunch is pretty much high class fast food --> Jack's place at Macdonald serving speed. The beef is pretty alright. Chicken is only so-so :P

At 9/01/2005 3:39 am , Blogger Kell Ch@n said...

Tried Pepper Lunch recently...

Food is so so, go there for experience sake. However, we ended up smelling like tepanyaki ourselves.

At 9/01/2005 11:42 am , Blogger Tym said...

All the caveats about Pepper Lunch have been duly noted. Perhaps novelty alone isn't worth it.

popagandhi --- The sign-in with a name/website has been around for quite a few months, I think ... since Blogger's last major upgrade.

Miyagi-san --- Will practise my high-pitched tone for the next session...

At 9/11/2005 12:17 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

" technically, like Agagooga, not a student whom I taught per se"

you teach at RJ then? :)

At 9/11/2005 12:49 pm , Blogger Tym said...

In the spirit of my previous replies as to details of my past/present, I will only say that I was in a position where I could have taught Agagooga but I did not in fact teach him.


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