Friday, 11 January 2013

Senior moments (Singapore)

My friend Valerio’s most recent email (“Three days ago I really wanted to write some thoughts, and I am not even sure I still remember them all. But it had to do with my growing inability to keep track of my schedule. For some reason I associated it with the prosopagnosia at the time but I can no longer remember the reasoning.”) brings to mind my visit home in 1999.  One evening, a group of us were sitting down chatting about various things, and somehow got round to the subject of forgetting things in the morning.  I said my solution was to fetch the said item the very moment the thought occurred to me and put it just inside the front door, so that I would see it when leaving the flat the next day.  My sister-in-law’s sister, Susan, said she’d tried that, too, but in her case, she’d find the item in the morning, think to herself, “Which stupid idiot has left this thing here, blocking the way?!?” and kick it out of the way.  Halfway to her office, she’d then remember what the said item was doing sitting by the front door.

(Singapore, 1999)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Car indicator lights (Singapore)

Back in the 60s, my mother had a Morris Minor which had bar indicators ending in a half arrow head.  They sat, vertically, inside a slot, one on each side of the car, between the front and back doors.  When she was going to make a left or right turn, my mother would activate some switch, and the appropriate bar indicator would swing out of its slot nest, from a vertical position inside the slot to a horizontal position protruding from the car.

In the early 70s, my brother-in-law’s new Nissan car had blinking indicator lights instead, just like the kind we have today.  One night, the car broke down when he was out on the road, so he switched on his hazard lights, another newly-introduced feature.  Behind him was an old man in his much older model (the type with the half arrow head bar indicators).  As the old man overtook my brother-in-law, he shouted out of his car window in great frustration, “Make up your mind whether you want to turn left or right, will you!??!”

(Singapore, 1960s/1970s)