2003

August 1997

Rocked up to the RTA in North Sydney for my Learners Test, feeling rather confident (and cocky) that I was going to pass with full marks. Decided to do a trial run before taking on the real thing.

Question 27: What does ‘No Right Turn’ mean?

a) Do not turn right
b) Do not turn left
c) You must turn right

What kind of a spastic question is this?

Managed to get question wrong.

February 1999

Failed driving exam.

Apparently, driving too slowly constitutes a hazard on the road and signalling 200m before one turns is misleading and just plain stupid.

March 1999

Failed driving exam again.

I was cautiously driving along at 60km/hr around 9am in the morning when the examiner suddenly posed the question: “Isn’t this a school zone?”.

I looked up and there it was – a big fat red School Zone sign that I had never ever seen before.

Crap.

April 1999

License finally obtained! ‘Third time lucky’, as the annoying cliche goes. So excited that I would’ve leaned over to peck the examiner’s cheek, save for the fact that she was a woman. I think.

July 1999

Momentarily forgot footing whilst on the road.

Left, brake. Right, accelerate.

October 1999

Completed contract law assignment 40 minutes before it was due to be handed in at uni. Didn’t help that I lived 50 minutes drive away from uni. Drove ‘quickly but safely’ (paradox of the century) and managed to arrive 5 minutes before deadline.

Decided to loan Sandra’s carspot. Pole on the right seemed precariously close. Somehow the voice in my head convinced me that I would make it.

Voice in my head turned out to be wrong.

Body of car was only half-way into the spot when I heard the imminent high-pitched scratching sound. Leaned out of the window and groaned. Pole had successfully embedded itself into the right side of my car. Or more correctly, I had successfully driven into the pole. Parents were not going to be pleased.

Left car in precarious position and raced to the law building to submit the stupid assignment. Met up with Kenny and implored him to assist me in extricating my car.

Back at the carspot, Kenny cacked himself at the rather hilarious sight of my car ‘stuck’ to the pole. Unfortunately, neither of us could work out how to ‘unstick’ it.

Suddenly, a man who had been watching us from his balcony (scary) came down to assist. He suggested that we remove the pole. Kenny and I looked at the man, then at the pole, then at the carport that the pole was obviously supporting.

Somehow removing the pole didn’t appear to be a viable option.

As I desperately attempted to come up with a polite refute of the suggestion (after all, didn’t want to risk offending some strange man), another unknown man (Stranger No. 2) suddenly appeared from nowhere (note to self: should play damsel in distress more often – not). Before I could utter anything, Stranger No. 2 had slid into the driver’s seat of my car and had started the engine. Within five seconds and three turns of the steering wheel, he managed to remove my car from the dreaded pole as Stranger No. 1, Kenny and I watched on in awe.

I was so ecstatic that I felt inclined to give Stranger No. 2 a big hug. Fortunately, managed to restrain myself. Instead, thanked both Stranger No. 2 and Stranger No. 1 incessantly before taking off with Kenny into the sunset.

November 1999

Attempted to reverse parallel park in the city. Gave up after two minutes, what with the line of cars queuing up to get past. Spent next 30 minutes searching for ninety-degree angle parking.

Must learn how to reverse parallel park.

March 2000

Needed to pick up four tubs of ice-cream today for lunch-time barbeque at uni. Cassie kindly offered to navigate so the two of us took off around 11am and headed for Surry Hills.

As we drove along South Dowling Road, I was suddenly informed by Cassie that I needed to turn right at the next light. On reflex, I cut into the lane on my right.

Silence.

“What are you doing?”

“You told me to turn right at the next light.”

“But this is the oncoming traffic lane.”

Mental freeze. Sure enough, the double white lane looked a tad out-of-place appearing on the left of my car. Immediately cut back into the lane on my left.

Glanced over at Cassie and noticed that her face had gone a somewhat disturbing shade of green.

Must give Cassie an extra big bowl of ice-cream.

May 2001

Offered to pick up Kenneth and Jean from Chinatown. Turned right off Goulburn Street onto Sussex Street. Wondered why everyone was staring at my car. Didn’t think my Toyota Corolla Seca was that hot. Suddenly realised that all the cars parked on the road were facing my direction.

Crap.

Performed three-point turn in record time and mentally wished I’d never gotten my license. Decided never to pick anyone up from the city again. Decided I needed to start paying attention to road signs.

March 2002

Again drove straight into a one-way road in Chinatown. This time, didn’t notice that the arrow markings were all pointing in my direction until I had traversed almost the entire road. Should’ve known better when I saw a man staring (yet again) at my car (note to self: people staring at car – not a good sign).

Decided it wasn’t my fault this time. The RTA was clearly the negligent party in not erecting any prominent One Way signs. Not my fault.

April 2002

Noticed two big No Entry signs marking the entrance of the one-way road, both of which had completely escaped my notice two nights ago.

Well, perhaps the RTA needs to consider making bigger road signs with fluorescent colours and flashing neon lights. What do we pay taxes for anyway?

October 2002

Was given free lesson today on How To Fill Your Petrol Tank (Properly) by the man at my local petrol store. He must’ve taken pity on me after I’d only managed to fill my tank with 0.897L of petrol despite having stood there holding the petrol nozzle for five minutes – all the while attempting to look like I knew what I was doing. Obviously, the petrol guy was not fooled.

Note to self: Never coming back here again.

December 2002

Attempted to fill my car with petrol on the way to Angela’s place. This time, the nozzle simply refused to go in. After some rather embarassing and futile wrestling with the inanimate object, Emily – although not a driver herself – had the common sense to suggest that “perhaps you’re using the wrong petrol”.

Sure enough, a backward glance confirmed that I was indeed attempting to fill my tank with… Diesel.

Managed to maintain composure as I swapped my Diesel nozzle for the correct one.

Note to self: Another petrol station off the list.

October 2003

Still struggling with petrol nozzles.

Still incapable of performing reverse parallel parking.

Still on the road.

Still at large.

Coffee or… coffee?

Just last week, Rick showed me one of his prized possessions – his mini percolator.

According to Rick, this percolator produces one gigantic mugful of pure coffee and apparently he consumes the entire dosage every single morning.

What’s more, he purchases an additional two shots of expresso without fail around morning tea each day – just in case the equivalent of six expresso shots that he has in the morning doesn’t manage to pervade every single blood vessel and cell in his body.

I, on the other hand, uphold the view that coffee should be taken weak with lots of milk and heaps of froth.

That way, one consumes less caffeine (which is a GOOD thing) whilst reaping the benefits of calcium and all the other really cool stuff that one finds in milk.

No doubt, of course, Rick is heaps more productive at work than I am.

Caffeine effect aside, one shot of expresso is gulped in a matter of seconds but a mugful of frothy creamy capuccino? One can play with it for at least ten minutes without getting bored!

Which is exactly what I do, needless to say. A great distraction to an otherwise tedious working day…

Received yet another email forward from my friend (code-named BHP) at work today. It was titled “Is your mind corrupt?” and instinctively, I knew that whatever the email entailed, the answer was going to be in the affirmative for me.

As I opened the attached Word Document, a particular picture popped up along with the words “What do you see?” I glanced at the rather abstract drawing – very artistically done in grey and white – and immediately saw the outline of an intimate couple. Given the title of the email, however, there was clearly meant to be more to it than that and hence I kept staring at the picture, hoping to decipher the enigmatic piece of art.

However, no matter how hard I focused, how far I zoomed out or how much I squinted, all I could see was the stupid couple. Giving up, I scrolled further down to discover that the picture actually contained nine dolphins. In fact, the text went on to say that research found that young children actually only see the dolphins because they have no prior memory associated with the ‘intimate couple scenario’. The passage ended with the words: “If you cannot see the dolphins within three seconds, your mind is indeed very corrupt.”

Three seconds? What the…?

Scrolling back up, I expected the dolphins to jump out at me but tragically, they remained elusive. Giving up for the second time, I forwarded the email to my learned friends big Jase and lil Jase with the words “I am fully corrupt” – hoping that they might be able to shed some light. Ten minutes later, I received instructions from big Jase, telling me to focus on the grey parts of the drawing. Bearing those words of wisdom in mind, I looked again and – voila – nine dolphins miraculously appeared before my eyes. ‘FINALLY’, I thought.

Given that the entire process – from receiving the email to discerning the dolphins – took me twelve and a half minutes, I think I can safely conclude that my mind is incredibly and unequivocally corrupt…

A fitting fright

Today as I was waiting for my lunch to be made at this Japanese eatery at Macquarie Shopping Centre, I decided to take a browse through the nearest clothes store to kill time.

Now this particular clothes store was still hiring the same salesperson who gave me a very serious fright the last time I was there.

I remember that I was still in the middle of slipping on a certain dress in the fitting room when I heard this voice calling out to me “Are you okay for size?”.

This I assumed to be one of those routine things that every salesperson is trained to do. As if on reflex, I replied “Yup, I’m fine” without even so much as a thought as I continued to struggle with the dress.

The very next thing I knew, she’d whipped open the curtain and was standing there telling me how wonderful the dress looked on me as I froze in shock.

How the dress could possibly have looked good on me I could not comprehend in the least as it wasn’t even fully on yet. Even funnier was the fact that she continued to stand there despite the very horrified look that I was giving her.

Seriously, if that wasn’t an invasion of one’s privacy, I’m not sure what would be.

But at least I learnt two valuable lessons:

1) Only use fitting rooms which have a lock
2) Always reply “I’m still putting it on” no matter what the question is from the other side of the curtain or door.

Made an interesting discovery in Chinese class today.

Apparently, in traditional Chinese culture, a goose was often presented as the prelude to a proper engagement gift. In fact, this was deemed to be the first out of the Six Matrimonial Rites.

Of course, most of these would’ve been pre-arranged marriages. Which meant that if you were a young Chinese girl living in those days and upon returning home one day, you happened to find a goose waddling in the backyard (geese waddle, right? like ducks?), your first thought would most likely have been: “uh-oh” (in correct Chinese pinyin of course).

No doubt The Disappearing Goose Act was commonly performed – namely, the eating of the goose followed by the feigning of ignorance (“Goose? What goose?”).

Geese aside, the passage went on to discuss modern engagements/weddings in China and how despite ‘evolution’ of the Chinese matrimonial rites (thank goodness), a large degree of tradition still remains.

This prompted me to ponder about my own parents and what they would expect of my wedding – if I end up getting married of course.

Would they expect the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, the traditional Chinese wedding banquet or even the traditional presentation of a Chinese goose? What if I wanted to marry someone who wasn’t Chinese? Or even someone who wasn’t Asian?

Arrrgghhh…..too many questions and not enough answers!

According to top-notch magazines like Cosmopolitan and Cleo, there is nothing more romantic than a walk in the rain. As such, we are to make the most of rainy days by grabbing our respective partner and coercing him or her into coming for a romantic stroll in the park with us (after all, who wants to be relaxing at home in front of a warm, dry fireplace when you could be getting yourself wet and dirty). An important tip to bear in mind, however, is not to go for one of these walks when it’s absolutely pouring (well, one would’ve thought that that’s pretty much common sense anyway). In addition, one should remember to take an umbrella (again, der). Suddenly, you are able to fully appreciate why you spent a total of five dollars ninety-five on the very inspiring magazine.

But back to my point – rain is supposed to be romantic and a walk on a cloudy day is meant to be able to ‘boost’ the romance in one’s life. Indeed, when one thinks about it, Hollywood movies and Chinese movies alike love to exploit the concept of rain when it comes to those climatic scenes where a couple typically:

1) gets together for the first time
2) breaks up; or
3) gets back together after breaking up.

Well, if there is nothing more romantic than a walk in the rain, there is also nothing more refreshing than a walk in the rain. You’ll have to forget the Cosmo formula though, mind you. Here’s a fool-proof method that I’ve devised after a personal experience of mine today that will GUARANTEE instant refreshment:

Make sure that it is a really, REALLY rainy day.
Make sure that you’re carrying at least five bags of shopping.
Make sure you’ve forgotten your umbrella.
Make sure that you’ve parked your car in the furthest possible spot.
Make sure that your pants are too long so that the hem is able to soak up as much rain as possible as you drag your shopping along.
Make sure you have bought a copy of Cosmopolitan or Cleo so that you chuck it into the fireplace as firewood when you get home.

(See? Suddenly you are able to fully appreciate why you just wasted two minutes of your time reading my website. But hey, at least I didn’t charge you five ninety-five for it…)

Imagine this.

You scoop a whole tablespoon of the mixture onto the petite dish in front of you.

You pour soy sauce all over it.

You ask for a glass of ice water.

You pack the mixture back onto the spoon.

You take a deep breath.

You plunge the spoon into your mouth.

You try to swallow.

It doesn’t work.

You feel your tongue being scorched.

You feel your eyes starting to water.

You gulp down the ice water.

You start to choke.

You start to panic.

You try to catch your breath.

You desperately swallow what’s left of the detestful mixture.

Slowly, your vision begins to clear.

You make a mental note never to eat wasabi by the spoonful ever again.