I used to have a big green leprechaun hat in London, a gift from Brian and Esther when a visit of theirs coincided with my birthday one year. Unfortunately, when I was leaving London and drastically pruning my possessions before shipping them back to Singapore, I ended up having to leave the hat behind. Alec promised to donate it to a needy leprechaun, but you know you can never trust these wily Irish and their meaningless promises.
But once I’d been in Singapore a while, I started to really miss my hat. I could have replaced it with one of those Guinness hats the Irish pubs give out for St Patrick’s Day, but I’m usually too busy celebrating MY DAY MINE MINE ME ME ME to be in the pub letting some snake-wrangling saint dude steal my thunder.
So when Alec asked what I’d like for my birthday, I jokingly said I wanted a Guinness hat. I was too lazy this year to throw a sequel to my 2006 Craic Whores birthday party, but someday I will, and I’ll need a good hat.
So there I was a week ago, the night of my birthday, on the way to meet Alec for a nice dinner at Senso. Alec had messaged that he was already at Maxwell hawker centre, where we’d meet and walk to Senso together. I got off the bus and walked towards the big traffic junction to cross over to Maxwell, phoning Alec to say I’d arrived. He didn’t pick up. I shrugged and figured I’d just walk into Maxwell and probably find him somewhere among the uncles nursing a beer.
I reached the junction, pressed the button to cross, and waited impatiently for a few seconds. Then I saw a man diagonally across the junction, standing very straight and tall and still, getting anything from furtive giggles to outright laughs from the locals standing around him, almost like they thought he was one of those human statues and they were trying to figure out what would happen if they tossed him 50 cents. Standing there, looking straight at me from across the junction. Wearing a Guinness hat.
[BTW, this is not the “simultaneously best and worst present ever” I mentioned earlier. Still working on an entry about that one, photos are crucial and I might even try a video.]