Monday, November 10, 2008

The Tranny at the Checkout and the Phone in the Pool

"Don’t do drugs because if you do drugs you’ll go to prison, and drugs are really expensive in prison."

John Hardwick

Last month, I realised that I'm sitting on a big pile of tea leaves I bought from India and I have yet to start drinking any of them. One reason was that I did not own a proper mug big enough for my appetite, and brewing teensy cuppas are not at all labour effective (and I consider any labour from my part to be too valuable to squander so unproductively). I needed one of those big ass bowl mugs that people sometimes eat instant noodles from. D-cups, at the very least.

So, to cut pointless story short, there I was at the checkout counter in the Parkson Grand in Mahkota paying for this nice bowl glazed-ceramic mug I chose and there was this short Malay girl behind the till (who is not the titular tranny, be patient). After handing me my change, she wrapped up my mug with some paper. And then, just as she was reaching for a plastic bag, I remembered just in time to stop her.

"Tak nak plastik," I said. No plastic, please. That's me; responsible citizen of Planet Earth who gives a fuck enough to say three words. Plus, I think I could definitely handle a bit of ceramic walking between the checkout and my car.

She instantly glazed over, and stared confusedly back at me. It's like she's on the verge of spouting some computerised error message; "Does not compute, critical system failure." Shit, I thought I was going to be the first guy ever to get a Microsoft Blue Screen of Death out of a human being.

"Huh," she finally managed.

"Tak nak beg plastik," I repeated and gestured for my paper-wrapped mug. Gimme. I want it to go. I'll eat it while I walk. Chop chop, lady. Ain't got all day.

"Tak boleh!" She was clearly horrified at the thought of me walking out of the store holding my mug in my hand. I don't know - was it one of the signs of Apocalypse? People walking out of stores taking their purchases without their plastic bags? "Store policy," she added triumphantly, as if she just threw a glassful of holy water in my face. She seemed almost disappointed that I did not turn into a screaming cloud of evil and brimstone.

With the air of someone who would not negotiate with terrorists, she dropped my mug into a plastic bag and thrust it at my nose. I gave in, of course. What can a mere customer like me do against the holy commandments of "store policy".

Oh wait, I can stop shopping at the Parkson Grand store - which I did. Suck on my policy, evil corporate entity.

Just yesterday, after realising that soggy tea leaves don't in fact taste very good, I dropped by the Carrefour hypermarket in Pahlawan Megamall for some sort of strainer thingy which I can use to brew tea I can drink without getting mouthfuls tasseographical portents with every sip. In spite being such a big fan of tea, I never have had much hands on experience making the stuff myself so I haven't the slightest idea what I was going to buy. A mini-sieve? A specialised tea funnel with some of those filter paper we use in Chem labs? Empty teabags? Gosh, everyday's an adventure to me!

What I found was this device called a teaball,

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"A teaball, you say? Tell me more."

Cutting to the chase, I found myself at a different checkout counter this time which was manned either by two guys, one-and-a-half guys, or just one guy depending on your definition of the word 'guy'. Okay, there were two cashiers at the counter and one of them is a tranny. I wanted to say "tranny who wasn't in character" but I just remembered that the Carrefour crew uniform is unisex. He was, however, wearing more makeup than a Chinese opera trouper at the time. Surprisingly, I do not dislike trannies at all in spite of how much girly lala boys disgust me. Maybe I just don't like half-assed effort.

So as I was saying, the tranny person was doing the bagging while instructing the unambiguously-male cashier on the operation of the cash register. Before I cound even tell, er, her to skip the bagging bit, she actually asked me that on her own volition. Wow, full of surprises in so many ways.

"Nak plastik?" She looked straight at me, waiting for my answer. I admit I was a little taken back - that was the first time any cashier or bagger in Malaysia asked me that. Then again, maybe it was just the intensity of her "don't judge me" stare - or at least, what I imagined to be a "don't judge me stare." If I'm a tranny, that's probably how I'll look at everyone. With poisonous daggers of hurt from a lifetime of prosecution out of my eyeballs, yo.

"Tak nak," I answered, and she handed me my tea ball, my packet of Ricola and my receipt. I walked away feeling cheerful for some reason. I mean, I don't know whether she was really thinking for the environment or merely has a dislike of wastage (I'm not discounting the possibility of an enlightened store policy here), but it made me feel good thinking that there is at least one cashier out there who would regularly give customers a chance to reject the use of plastic bags. Our society is horribly backwards when it comes to environmental issues. I had a friend who was behind me at a checkout line once in the Jusco supermarket who praised me for my initiative in rejecting plastic usage, but accepted a plastic bag regardless when his turn came (he only bought like some candies, by the way). We need all the training wheels we can get.

Oh, and regarding the other half of the title of this post,

I went swimming with Sanjeev last week at my college's pool (yes, we got a pool - and a sauna too!) and I dove right into the water with my cellphone still in the pocket of my shorts. Also, I swam an entire lap before realising it. Who da man? I da man!

Right before I start my second lap, my gut instinct kicked in. Quite calmly, as if this has happened to me a million times before, I reached into my pocket and pulled my phone out of the water. The LCD screen light was flickering and a spluttering static noise was clearly audible. I deftly popped the back and snapped the battery out onto the poolside. Then, I disassembled the whole thing and left the pieces there to dry - but to be honest, my heart wasn't really in it. It wasn't like a dunk and pull, you know. I swam a fucking lap with it. RIP, phone. It's been swell and all.

I did bring the bits back with me though. Sanjeev told me to try airing it with a hairdryer but again, I didn't think it was worth the bother - false hopes, disappointments and whatnot. I left it on my dresser and went to bed.

And the next morning, my cellphone came back to life - with absolutely no loss of function or memory to boot!

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"Noli me tangere."

How's that for a ringing endorsement for Nokia? They built these babies like rocks. I dropped this one nonchalantly like all the time and every single time I did, people around me gasped in horror. Then, I'd hear regretful mutterings from them like "Gone" or "Finish" from them. It's like a gavel rap of a confirmed death sentence or something. It's broken for good. Kaput. Kerplunk. But each time, I'd just pick up my phone and put it back in my pocket without even bothering to check if it's still working. I never felt the need to because it's always still working no matter how many times I dropped it.

Of course, this just shows how flimsy everyone else's phones really are.

Considering how confident I am about the sturdiness of Nokia phones, it's amazing that mine can still surprise me. I still remember when I bought it in India,

"Give me the cheapest, most durable Nokia you got," I said.

The dealer put this pathetic, toy-like phone on the counter.

"Okay, give me something slightly more expensive."

The dealer took out something less tacky.

"Now, a little bit more expensive..."

The dealer then took out this baby and I bought it on the spot, without even bothering to check what functions it has. What? Don't everyone buy phones this way?

I'm not crazy about those hybrid phones that has a high end digital camera, an MP3 player, GPS and a lightsaber beam emitter built into them. To me, hybrids are like these pampered quasi-adults who keep changing college, totally unsure of what they want to do in life - trying a bit of everything without being really good at any of them. What I need is a cellphone, and I need my cellphone to be really good at being one - none of that namby-pamby bullshit about malfunctioning after just one drop, especially when I really need to make a call.

And when I first saw the Apple iPhone, the first thing which came to my mind was
"One-drop-insta-kill". Plus, I wouldn't know what to do with a touchscreen. I can see myself compulsively wiping it every second, and agonising over every hairline scratch. That's not for me - I don't want to be my phone's bitch. I want my phone to be my bitch, just like how God intends.

I shall henceforth call my phone 'Lazarus', y'know, to commemorate its ressurection. It's not my first pick, but I think people might just get a wee bit touchy if I call it 'Jesus'. Can you imagine me going, "Wait, Jesus is ringing!" or "Whoops, I dropped Jesus down the stairs!" No sirree, I'll stick to Lazarus.

"I put Lazarus on snooze, LOL."



P.S. Hey, hey, what's in a name, eh? Like half the blokes in Mexico are named Jesus anyway.



Owner of Lazarus,
k0k s3n w4i

15 comments:

bevE said...

lol xD
man nokia phones are the best
....
*nth to say*

Anonymous said...

Nokia is the best! Plus your phone has extra protection -spells written in Hindi??
Its built to survive Indian heat and rain! So that was just a refreshing swim for your toughie cell!

ven said...

Well, different culture. Phones are free around here if you sign a contract, ie talk a lot on a phone. Changing phone is just like changing your clothes.

MichelleG said...

haha amazing phone! i guess there's no point spending so much on a phone cos it might get stolen and all your hard-earned money gone.. as long as can call and text that's fine..

senorita.. said...

lol

ap said...

there is quite a gulf of consciousness between the sympathisers of environmental causes and the environmental neophytes who are making an uneasy transition to a sustainable lifestyle(me me me!!=S). i call them sympathisers because the principles of environmentalism are all very agreeable to most people but does not translate to the shift in consciousness that is required to make informed lifestyle choices supporting the cause *exasperated

....your blog is becoming a place for me to rant lol go tranny!!
grrr iphone always bring up bouts of vomitous hating.....this is considered restraint practiced

senorita.. said...

n yes, i admire u Kok, for ur insistence in not using plastic bags whenever u can.

bevE said...

...
iphone ok wat. better than itouch thats for sure -.-

*dunno dungivashit*

k0k s3n w4i said...

beve: u dun hav to try, y'know. iphone, itouch... same difference

anonymous: In Hindi, Tullu, Kannada and Tamil!

ven: I heard. Sounds wasteful. How many have you gone thru now :P?

michelleg: still sore about your stolen phone eh? call and text... and alarm! can't do without that feature on mine :)

senorita: that's not deserving of admiration. I'd prefer if more people emulate rather than admire :(

ap: hey, rant all you like. I'd like it if more people would share their views here. takes me back to my days as a message board/forum addict. I learned how to write in English from those places (which explain why I'm still not very good at it)... I blame the general apathy about the environment on the mindset that one person cannot possibly make any difference - and also on the "not my problem" mentality. It's all very convincing, with all the saving the earth jazz and stuff, but people need to see how the problem will affect them on a personal level. by the way, kudos for making a change for the cause - and I wonder, where are you from actually?

bevE said...

got difference -_-

ap said...

:>I've been a forum addict from time to time(when i dip into ff/head-fi/foodie phases), enthralled by the amt of knowledge/entertainment/wisdom gleaned off those pages lol. u have to be kidding about your command of english..... imo it is some of the best from the not many blogs i follow(being selective, or discerning as i hope to be).....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g8cmWZOX8Q i'm going to test this clip on my brother the skeptic apathetic, it has all the drama that only a 12 year old can get away with and hopefully arouses sth other than defiance..... but considering that it was dated 1992 and so many years later when all the talk of eco/green-whatever/sustainability is getting tired and repetitive to me, things have only become worse. if i was any gd at drawing out and engaging pple of the apathetic/sympathetic but Do Not Act variety in effective conversation i would certainly consider such a political career but it's quite set in stone that i have no such skills and so must content myself with the occasional rant and wielding Cosumer Power. which grants me no peace of mind.*mourns and mops for Mother Earth, futile-st of gestures...... or we should mourn in advance for our accelerating Demise, really.
where i'm from is kinda difficult to answer, usually i go with either one of HK-SG-China, but an uneven mix of all three fits better :]

senorita.. said...

"I blame the general apathy about the environment on the mindset that one person cannot possibly make any difference - and also on the "not my problem" mentality. It's all very convincing, with all the saving the earth jazz and stuff, but people need to see how the problem will affect them on a personal level." - SO TRUE.

i try as much as i can, to make a difference. to not use plastics, to be mindful of the things i do.

sE_vIxEn said...

you gave Tropic Thunder 9/10? zomg. -.- i gave it 1 just because Robert is incredibly sexy. *love*

btw lol at your last statement. good one! haha... being unreligious as i am, i dunno how to crack these sort of jokes. :P

Anonymous said...

Cheers! Loud Applause !
That's the 100th post of 2008!



From a loyal kok blok reader.

bevE said...

100th post of 2008? how they know that?

today bought sth from body shop. she put the merchandise into a recycled brown paper bag before looking up at me before folding n asked me if i preferred a plastic bag - she might've forgotten to check or was just a very good tactic in making ppl save the environment