I Welcome My MIL With “Teary” Eyes And Other Encounters


Last Saturday I woke up with my right eye red.  I suspect that has something to do with the intense online gaming I had the night before, not entirely sure.  Cynthia and I woke up early on a Saturday morning because her mother was due to arrive in town.  At the airport, while Cynthia was waiting at the meeting point, I looked for a pharmacy to buy some eye drops.  If you were to ask me, eye drops should be sold in bulk.  How often do you wake up in the morning, look for a bottle of eye drops and find that duh, it has expired?  So I grabbed two bottles at the counter and made my way back to the meeting point.  I wish I could lie down and apply eye drops.  Instead, I bent my back backward, tilted my head as far as I could.  Right first, and then left.  It was more misses than hits.  By the time I was done with the exercise, my eyes were soaking wet and my face was in a total mess.  Cynthia was poking fun at me and we had a good laugh role-playing the scenario of long-time-no-see in the airport.  Cued to perfect timing, before I had a chance to clean my face up, my mother-in-law appeared from the gate.  Cynthia greeted her first with a big smile and a hearty hug.  I bettered Cynthia.  I greeted my mother-in-law with a big smile, a hearty hug, and on top of that, with my teary eyes and my tear stained face.  Now, that was embarrassing.

Yesterday’s Spanish homework was to write a joke.  My Spanish is so poor that it itself is a joke.  Nevertheless, it is often the effort that counts.  I used my Saturday story as the material for my Spanish homework.  Before I could reach the punch line, the entire class – our teacher included – laughed out loud.  I wish I was that funny.  Instead of “farmacia” – which means pharmacy – I said “francia”, which means France.  So in my Spanish version, while Cynthia was waiting at the meeting point, I went to France and bought some eye drops.  Consider all things, this farmacia-francia blunder is still not as bad as the guess-which-country exercise we did in class not too long ago.  Each of us was given the spotlight to describe the people of a nation in Spanish and ask the classmates to guess which country the people come from.  I wanted to pick a country whereby her people are not as warm as the Spanish people.  But instead of frío (means cold), I said feo.  “Feo?!” they screamed in disbelief.  “Feo,” I insisted.  To my surprise, no one could make a guess.  As soon as I recalled that “feo” means ugly, I wanted to bury my head deep into the toilet bowl.

One time, Cynthia brought me along for her girls-night-out.  I wanted to decline but since she has been joining my all-guys-events online and offline, it seemed only right that I participate in hers, or some of hers.  To be frank, that evening, I felt strange as the only guy on the table.  My presence had substantially stripped out the depth of what would-have-been a fruitful and detail analysis on men in general.  I wanted to chip in but I would feel bad turning my back on half of the population in this world today.  It is true.  Men, in general, are not that smart.  Our brains may not be in our heads all the time.  But we have a role to play in the propagation of our species.  One girl asked another, “Why did you break up with your boyfriend?”  Filter off all the frustration and confusion, all the emotion and debates, it appears to me that the breakup has something to do with the guy not bonding well with the girl’s family.  That is an inspiring piece of information.  Lucky for me, I love my mother-in-law as much as I love my own.  And I shall remember to bring along eye drops the next time I pick up my mother from the airport so no one could claim that I love my mother-in-law more than my own.

It must be hard to imagine that I am a man of few words, given the fact that I write thousands on a weekly basis.  Last Sunday, Cynthia has handed me a wonderful opportunity of being alone with her mother because of a social appointment of hers.  Well and good, I had this mental picture of having a relaxing Sunday lunch and the restaurant inside the bookstore Borders came to my mind.  I could read a book while my mother-in-law could browse the books as we waited for our food (note: it rhymes!)  The restaurant is still plagued by its signature slow service and if it was not my mother-in-law’s sharp eyes in spotting a 1-for-1 promotion, I would not have known that the restaurant has been rebranded to Robert Timms, an Australian themed restaurant.  Initially, I wanted to order a plate of salad and my mother-in-law, pumpkin lasagna.  Because of this 1-for-1 promotion, I can now pick a main course and my mother-in-law, prawn pasta.  Eat more with less!  I scanned through the menu items.  It read: Stout braised Kangaroo loin, braised crocodile casserole, along with names that I could not even pronounce.  Kangaroo and crocodile meat selling in Singapore? The last time I tried kangaroo meat was when we were in Melbourne.  That was not a pleasant experience.  Kangaroo meat does not taste like chicken (there is a myth that says all unknown meats taste like chicken).  It had no taste.  Cynthia described eating kangaroo meat as “eating shoes”.  I do not disagree.  My mother-in-law was in good spirit and she asked me to try crocodile meat.  If I was still going after her daughter, I would have showed some courage and ordered the braised crocodile casserole in a heartbeat.  Too bad, Cynthia said “I do” close to 12 years ago.  So I ordered half a spring chicken instead.  My mother-in-law was shocked that I could finish up half a chicken on my own.  In Indonesia, half a chicken can feed a family.  The spring chicken dish served at Robert Timms was somewhat cold.  I was not surprised.  Slow service, low food quality, some not too good things never change even when a restaurant changes its name.

My right eye is not that red anymore.  But I still game as hard in the evening.  Some good things never change either.

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8 responses to “I Welcome My MIL With “Teary” Eyes And Other Encounters”

  1. u know what? I read your article almost in the middle of the night. And I can’t help myself not to laugh, giggle or whatever that made me looked crazy! It’s really funny, maaan!

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