It was hazy outside again. I was feeling unwell all day. The moment I got off work, I walked along the road to the taxi stand. It wasn’t long until a blue one pulled up beside me. There it was, my ride home.
"Hello! Good evening uh, Miss. Where are you headed?"
I gave him my address.
"Thank you. So uh, what were you doing around here? Some shopping?"
"No, I just got out of work, actually." I said with a chuckle.
"Really! How old are you?"
"And there I was thinking you were like 12 or something! You look really young, kiddo."
"Yeah, I get that a lot."
"So what’s your job like, selling gadgets and stuff?"
"Yeah, Apple products."
"Ah…. Like iPads?"
"Yeah, like iPads."
"Ah.. See, I’m like a grandpa now. I’ve got six grandchildren.."
"Yeah, I do this for a little spare cash in my free time. Just enjoying life for what it is,"
We were stopping at a traffic light now. The old man takes a deep breath, and asks me, ”Listen, have you been following the news lately?”
"Which piece in particular?"
"Oh you know, the missing plane."
"Yes, of course."
"What’s your take on it?"
"Well.. My opinion……"
"Yes, I’d like to hear it!"
"Given that they haven’t found anything, I’d say chances are that it might be in pieces all over the ocean floor by now. Corpses though, I’m not sure."
"Yeah, there seems to be so many articles and news bites on it. It’s getting harder to tell which one is made-up."
"I agree. If the plane is still in one piece though, something must have picked up some signal by now."
"And what do you think of the victims’ phones still ringing?"
"It was reported that a guy’s phone rang, but I think it might be either that he didn’t bring his phone onto the plane, or that the call got redirected."
"I see.. That seems very logical."
"Do you think it was an accident, or do you think it’s a hijacking?"
"I don’t know, a lot of secrets slip past these days. I do know that it was proven with pictorial evidence that these pilots aren’t exactly the most careful.."
"Well kiddo, I happen to think that this is insurance fraud."
"Is that your theory?"
"It’s just a guess. Maybe the pilot was hiding something."
"We can never be sure now until we find something."
"Well, the chances are getting slimmer every passing day though."
"That is true, it’s been almost a good whole week now."
"Yeah, my guess is that maybe someone was desperate and terminal and wanted to leave some money behind for his family or something," the old man said.
"Well, but is it morally right to exchange over 200 people for just that though? Being a pilot is probably also decent pay unless someone’s threatening him. Still, that’s no reason to take down a whole plane for personal reasons."
"You can never be too sure in this world, kiddo. Desperate people do desperate things."
I sat silently for a while as the city lights flashed by.
"Do you travel much?"
"Not really. I rarely get out on a trip."
"If you could go anywhere on a vacation, where would you go?”
"Assuming if I had the budget for it?"
"Well, let’s just hear your top few picks."
"Mmmmm.. Well.. Thailand would be a convenient place."
"Yes, Thailand is a good pick. Have you been to Taiwan?"
"Not that either. My top picks though, will probably be Japan and America."
"How about Europe?"
"Well you’re still young so you have lots to see. Take your time. My last big was to Hokkaido with my family, it was so cold!"
"My parents just came back from there not long ago! It was -10 celcius."
"My! I went there in spring last year and I was freezing my butt off!"
"Yeah. Japan’s a great place to visit though."
"Yes! Yes it is, the toilets are so clean everywhere and the people are so polite and helpful!"
"Great service too."
"Yes! In Singapore you have dirty toilet floors, so much for being ‘clean and green’!"
"I think it’s just in their culture. They all grew up to be very meticulous and orderly. And neat. And clean."
"Yes, they eat a lot of raw food too. Hygiene is a big thing over there."
"One of the reasons why I love that place. It’s beautiful."
"You been there too?"
"Yes, I went on a trip there a couple of years ago. Hit up a lot of places in a week."
"Nice! I went to Melacca a couple weeks ago with my wife, daughter, and son-in-law."
"Ooh, that’s far up. Drove up there?"
"Yeah, we stayed a nice hotel and everything. You been there?"
"When I was 8. Aunt’s wedding. That place does have great hotels, I’ll agree."
"Sure they do, I love their breakfast! My wife got sick of it after a while, but I love it!" he piped. We were nearing my place by now.
"Is your place on the left or right side?"
"Turn left after the train station," I said.
"Roger that! And I’m going to get something to eat after I drop you off. Oh, do you listen to any music?"
"I was listening to this singing competition on my iPad the other day, this girl was really killing it! Changes my opinion on modern pop music."
I smiled silently. The pains were kicking in again.
"You can drop me off at the shelter there."
"Okay, thank you! That will be $16."
I forgot how painful late hour surcharge was.
"There you go. If you’re looking for food, I recommend the coffeeshop a few blocks down. Great mixed rice vegetable stall."
"Got it. Thanks kiddo, and God bless you!"