Lex's Arrival

Lex texted me the afternoon, "Bro...  I wanna cry. I missed my flight."

That must be the first time someone I was supposed to pick up from the airport did that. When I checked with his wife what happened, she was livid and told me she would lose her head if I didn't call. I allowed her to do an hour long rant on work-life balance and her displeasure on how their lifestyle was tipped sharply towards work back in Singapore. I listened intently and found myself in them and I told Angie mama I ever felt alienated because none of my neighbours, being several years younger than me, didn't know how I felt back then and questioned my departure.

Well, they were starting out in their careers, earning their first full time pays. With some luck, they all balloted successfully for one of the finest locations in Punggol (that was how we became neighbours) In their minds, the future was bright. With a B.T.O flat to look forward to and exciting career paths, who wouldn't feel rosy and sweet? Needless to say, none of them heeded my advice not to hack their flooring or walls and indulge in fancy pantsy renovation. All of them seek to create a dream home. A Bali resort or a posh hotel to return home to. When I returned to Singapore and visit some of the beautiful homes, I noted algae in grout of some toilets or toys filling to the brim concealing expensive renovation finishes. They did not realise life was not living in a poster. Most of them were very young couples, first time living apart from their parents. They did not know what hit them.

Over these 4 years, I saw how some were forced to leave their jobs to take on another or leaving their original industries cleanly. Terrible bosses, unearthly hours, poor health, unhappy at work, you name it. I wonder all these while if any of them remember what they told me to dissuade me from leaving. They told me life was good and asked why leave for a non-existing greener pasture? I hope they finally understand how I felt then. Some of them barely have enough hours to sleep nowadays. I bet they don't have time to even have a meal with their spouse, let alone think of a grumpy old fart living far away from them now.

Lex finally arrived at midnight. He was happy to see me and thanked me for picking him up. He told me he was lucky to catch another plane or he would have miss his course the following day, though the last ditch effort to catch the next plane costed him nearly $600. "Too busy with work until you miss the flight?" I prompted.

"Yes, too much things to do," Lex groaned.

That night, Lex even had the time to update me on the Singapore situation. He seemed surprised to hear that my kids sleep at 7.30pm and despite that, I cook and dine with Jen and Albany everyday. I waited for him to say, "I wish I could do that!" but he didn't or I would have given him some advice. Everyone has different priorities in life and it wasn't my position to impose mine on the others. I suspect I wouldn't mind not having meals with my family if I had never left. In fact, I never minded that at all. I suspect, I wouldn't mind my kids sleeping at 10pm or later because that was the norm in Singapore, judging by how nonchalant parents are over such things.

I thought Lex's arrival was just a simple 5 day hosting for me. Little did I expect him to rouse a lot of thoughts in me in the coming days.