10 January 2011

Readjustment Blues

The clock on the wall no longer speaks sensibly to me.

I wake up at 0300H  in the morning and sleep again at 0500H, to wake up again at 0630H.

I just haven't 'bedded' into my new apartment.

Meeting my old schoolmates in the coffee shop at Tanjung Aru in the evening for tea offered no relief from the readjustment blues. There were lame aviation jokes tossed in my direction because I was the last to arrive, so I just grinned and bore them. Veeramani was curious about how I was surviving. Harry nodded in knowing fashion when I spoke to Veeramani about the location, the rent and the vista from my balcony. Being in the industry, Harry explained that the reason for the low occupancy of the Waikiki Condominium is that having been vacant for a long time, many units were haunted.

Yeah, haunted. I didn't bat an eyelid. Any air force officer will tell you that our bases are haunted. Enough men have died therein to justify the ethereal occupancy. Many bases were battlegrounds during the Japanese occupation. Gruesome crashes and tribal sacrificial rites comprise a portion of the reasons why some newbie officers don't sleep well in some rooms, finding themselves waking up where they didn't lay their heads.

"So if you find that after you shower your bed is made, You Know Who did it!!" Veera said with all Indian dramatism.

"Well, if that happens, I'm keeping it from the landlady."

"Yes..." Veera agreed. "She will raise the rent."

My feet are still wet from Labuan.

I am not yet done fine tuning the apartment to comfortably accomodate the Matisas when they drop  by for visits and shopping. When you get to a new place, you can't be too sure where to get spare signal lamp bulbs. Or shower curtains. A town changes much in 29 years. There are new norms and conventions to observe and live by. You start calling friends to find out where the good yellai sappadu shops are. I haven't started cooking yet. I want to, however at the moment I find that I have just enough time upon reaching home, to leap into my cycling gear and go for a quick ride to 1 Borneo and back, returning to the apartment at 1830H in total darkness. Then a jaunt to the Chinese restaurant where I am now a regular, for a hot and healthful meal and then back by 2000H to watch a movie or listen to music before tossing and turning on my futile way to the next sunrise.
For the duration of the tenancy agreement, this is home.

It really is nice being able to scoot to work at 0758H and still be a minute early for duty, which starts at 0800H. My conversion hasn't commenced yet, so it is a bit of a drag. Food is all around the place, but I am apprehensive about the gluttons' square across the road. Dingy as an opium den, and the fluorescent lights are too dim for me to spot if my food is host to guerilla vermin.

Still, in  the lazy evenings, it can be rustic as I look out on the landscaped golf course, its pines and firs and the rippling pond stirring in the coastal breezes. Occasionally an airliner rumbles on departure but rarely reaches a roar. It doesn't get to be a schkullschplittenshcreaminschmoken fliegen wagen from where I sip my coffee.

Then there is the restlessess from missing home. I would take again, the deathly dealings with my teenage son, the Latina dramatics of my adolescent daughter who started being a teenager at  age nine, the incessant chatterboxing that my youngest can keep up, the lengthy domestic details of a tormented wife, so long as I could be home again. In this respect, being in Kota Kinabalu is really kind, because a three-hour ferry ride takes me home comfortably in a cool air conditioned cabin with broadband internet access.

Life outside of His Majesty's service is looking up.


  1. It is tough not having your loved ones there when you need them the most. Being alone takes a battering even to the toughest of men.

    I pray that things will look up for you. You're too much of an adrenalin junkie to just be sitting alone home and do nothing. Take care of yourself out there bro.

  2. I am pretty sure the landlady will raise the rent, too. Perhaps you can ask the ghost to make you some tea and polish your boots while it is making your bed for you.

    I know all the best vallai yillai sapaadu shops in KL and PJ. Come over and I'll take you out for excellent pulunga arasi and Madras filter kaapi. Bring Brenda and the young'uns, of course!

  3. LOL!!!! Thanks for the offer. It all sounds very tempting and I have a terrible weakness for Indian food.
    It will take me some time to learn KK all over again after three decades. But I do know that what few samplings I have had tell me that we have better stuff here than in Labuan.

  4. well, at least it is a very decent and relaxing place to be called home(: where does your condo face? i still think that property is a very nice one, given the location and the subtle simple design with a beach front.

  5. It looks onto the golf course. It is for now, as you describe, and does provide respite for my frazzled nerves at the end of a nasty day.