Been reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer to pass the time – I have this compulsive need to read when I’m eating alone – and in the middle of dinner tonight I realized I didn’t care for the protagonist at all, and that kind of ruined the book for me. I was at the point where he was telling his mom he would have chosen her to die in 9/11 if he could have, instead of his dad, and he’s nine but still I hated him at that point, and I hadn’t managed to relate to him throughout the rest of the book at all, and so I couldn’t really read it anymore, something I realized in a shock of sudden clarity that felt like a wonderful relief. Then I wondered if it was intentional on the author’s part, the distance put between the reader and the narrator, in order to frame the lives of the people around him more sharply. Then I suppose the author’s been brilliant at rendering the fractured, immature form I would expect grief to take in a child, too young to see the edges of it properly, because there are things the child does that would fall under grief and dealing with it – his whole journey is his way of dealing with it, and it’s not explained or contextualized at all by exposition because well, how could a nine-year-old begin to analyze his own motives? The reader is supposed to fit it all together.

Maybe I’ll keep reading, then, but boy, that kid is still annoying. Also, the writing is a bit hit-and-miss with me.

So is my baby cousin, at close proximity for an extended period of time. Sometimes it makes me wonder if adoption will be a close enough substitute, because what if without that primal mother-child bond, I can’t devote my entire life to my kid and end up resenting him for his constant chattering and demands on my time? I don’t think you’re supposed to be irritated at your kid, ever, and you should succumb to that non-existent feeling of irritation even less. I’ve been so irritated at my cousin the past two days, and I feel guilty about it too, because I think kids need someone to play with, and there’s really no one in the house who can do that with her at her level, and she also needs constant stimulation or someone to respond to her all the time, and now I get how it’s so easy to pop a kid in front of the TV, the temptation. But I don’t feel guilty enough to watch her the whole time, and I don’t think it’s my responsibility either – her parents should be here !! But even my mom is leaving tomorrow and there will totally be no one here to take care of her besides my maid and I am going to be colossally annoyed because I’ll feel compelled to spend more time with her AND IT ANNOYS ME. /rant

I was missing home food all the time while I was there, especially towards the last few months, but it wasn’t until I got back that I remembered that’s quite an illusion of a concept. I’m not a huge fan of my present maid’s cooking, and I’ve eaten a lot of hawker fare since I got back, but I couldn’t have been missing that because I never ate at hawker centres that much before I left. My mom cooks well but not often enough for me to miss it. I would say I missed my previous maid’s cooking, which was awesome and the only other homecooked food (well, and my paternal aunt #2!) I would have had enough to miss, but I don’t feel like I do, concretely. The weirdest thing is that I never felt like I missed her, even though everytime I refer to our current helper I still instinctively think to my previous maid’s name first, and I always have to correct myself. She was with us for ten years! 

As always, I don’t see the point of this post. Today I went cycling in Pasir Ris Park with my family. It started pouring ten minutes into our arrival but it was amazing feeling it. On Monday, I’m going to *Scape to fold origami for an art installation (yes, that’s my kind of volunteer work, though I suspect I might go crazy doing that for four consecutive hours.)

Also, what makes me incredibly happy is the fact that the latest version of Adobe Reader lets you – finally! – annotate PDF files.


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