The thing about losing your voice is that...well, actually, there are a couple of things.
Firstly, you wonder why you have to lose your voice at all when you've never lost your voice, not even once, in the 21 years you've been alive. You hear people talk about them losing their voices and you don't quite get the full extent of what they mean, because you've never experienced it before. That is, until now.
Secondly, and consequently, you realise that this ability to talk is one that you have taken absolutely for granted since pretty much forever. Can you imagine being mute? Can you imagine seriously not being able to talk, FOREVER? God, the horrors.
Because it's extremely inconvenient and tedious and painful. I want to TALK, dammit. I can't talk on the phone, I can't talk to my family, I can't even talk to myself. Last night aptly demonstrated how important talking is to me and to everyone, I'm sure. Pearlyn had her 21st birthday celebration at Beaufort Hotel, Sentosa. At first I decided not to go because 1) I can't talk; 2) I had a massive headache; and 3) Have I mentioned I can't talk? But second thoughts told me that it was Pearlyn's 21st birthday party, which is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I would feel shitty if she weren't at mine. Ergo, after finishing off my dinner, I set off to Vivo City at 7.30 p.m., but not before grabbing a writing pad along with me - which turned out to be really, really vital.
From there on it was a mad rush to find the shuttle bus that went directly to the hotel. First I went to the bus interchange and saw some coaches heading for Sentosa. Normally I would've gone up to someone and asked him/her if I was at the right place, but since I couldn't speak, I whipped out my phone, opened Pearlyn's SMS about the location of the party, went up to some Sentosa dude, pointed to the name of the hotel, and waited expectantly for a response.
The dude squinted at my phone, then looked at me and said, "Yes?"
Fuck. If I could ask you whether the shuttle bus goes to the hotel, I wouldn't have bothered showing you the SMS, no? Being in rather dire straits and everything, I opened a new, blank SMS and typed, "Does the bus go to the hotel?"
And so I hilariously "conversed" with Sentosa Dude using my phone. And it turned out that the Beaufort shuttle's pick up point was at Vivo City. I could've taken the Sentosa shuttle but I would've needed to change buses and knowing myself, I'd forget the routes and subsequently get myself lost in Sentosa which isn't fun by anyone's standards, so I hopped off over to Vivo City.
En route, I wrote on my writing pad using the thick end of my green marker, "Where's the shuttle to Beaufort Hotel?"
Reached Vivo, made a beeline for the info counter, flashed my writing pad at the chick. She actually said, "Left end."
I'm sorry, but what the fuck does "left end" even mean? I was already rather irritated by then because Vivo was PACKED, I was walking all over the place, and there was a queue at the information counter because of some lucky draw thing, as per usual. To top it all off, I couldn't talk which was extremely inconvenient. Ergo, the information counter chick did not help at all by telling me "left end".
Thankfully, when my face told her that I didn't understand what the fuck she was talking about, she gave me more specific directions. I reached the "left end" and saw a sign about a pick-up point for patrons going to some Sentosa resort or other, but it didn't say "Beaufort Hotel". What if it wasn't the right bus? I didn't want to take my chances 'cause Pearlyn told me the shuttle bus's frequency is like thirty minutes, so I looked around for the nearest information counter and stormed towards it.
It was a Sentosa information counter. Let me repeat: It was a Sentosa information counter. You'd think that the people manning it would know what they're doing, right? Right. So did I. So I flashed my writing pad in the girl's face, this Indian girl. And guess what she said?
"Ni hui jiang hua yu ma?" In English: Can you speak Chinese?
Huh?! My sign was written in English, obviously, so where did that even come from? I gestured to her that I was sick and that I couldn't talk, and she was like, "Oh, sorry!"
Long story cut short, she told me that the pick up point for the shuttle bus to the hotel was at the cable car tower, which was to the far right of where I was. I gestured to my left at the pick-up point I saw and whispered, "Not that one?"
She went, "No, cable car tower. You can take the bus there."
BULLSHIT. Of course I didn't know it was bullshit then, because I really walked all the way to the stupid cable car tower to look for the damn pick-up point. On the way there, I went up to a security guard and showed him my writing pad. At that point in time I was this close to being completely pissed off, and the security guard did not help matters by saying, "What is this?" Eventually he pointed me to the cable car tower.
At the cable car tower, I saw a dude in a tie and what looked like a tour guide uniform and shoved my writing pad in his face. He asked his colleague if she knew where it was, and she told me that I could take the bus headed for Rasa Sentosa, and that I could wait there. So I waited for ten minutes, after which I spied a Rasa Sentosa bus in the distance, across the road.
So I crossed the road, ran a little towards the damn bus because it was about 8.40 p.m. already and I was still wandering around Harbour Front, waited for the tourist couple in front of me to get out of my way, and showed my writing pad to the bus driver.
And that was when I found out that the SENTOSA INFORMATION COUNTER gave me the WRONG FUCKING INFORMATION. The pick-up point was, in fact, the one I arrived at outside Vivo City, and no, the Rasa Sentosa bus does not go to Beaufort Hotel.
But luck was on my side last night. The bus driver saw that I was sick and that I couldn't talk and took pity on me. He nicely offered me a ride to the Vivo City pick-up point which was totally an offer I couldn't refuse. But his niceness didn't stop there: When we arrived at the Vivo pick-up point, the shuttle bus had just left. He said, "The next one will come at 9. I'll just send you in."
AND HE SENT ME ALL THE WAY TO BEAUFORT HOTEL. EVEN THOUGH HE WAS DRIVING THE RASA SENTOSA SHUTTLE BUS. Like, how awfully nice was that?
He tried to make conversation with me but all I could manage was to nod or shake my head or whisper something in reply. When we were nearing the hotel, he said, "This area is very dark. You not scared I bad guy?"
It WAS very dark. But for some odd reason, I just knew that I was safe. Alarm bells didn't go off, my instincts told me that everything was fine, and so I shook my head 'no'. If I could explain, I would've explained, but I couldn't, so I thanked him profusively (as profusively as possible anyway) as I got off the bus when he got me to the hotel.
What a nice, nice man. I suppose it helped that I was in such a sorry state of unwellness; he even asked, "You sick why still go for the party?"
Because it was Pearlyn!
At the hotel, it took me another forever to locate the villa that Pearlyn booked. Eventually I entered through the back because I couldn't find the front door. And everyone there was amused that I had to communicate using my writing pad. Needless to say I didn't say anything at all throughout, merely sat there in silence. It was TORTUROUS! I don't know how people sit at a rowdy table in silence for like, three hours straight.
It was nice seeing classmates from SN that I hadn't seen in years, like Amanda, Serene, Charmaine, Cherilyn. I obviously didn't talk to them but I wish I could've 'cause it'd be a long, long time bfore I see them again. Oh well.
Pearlyn was made to dive into the pool (there was a pool in the backyard of the villa) to retrieve her cake which was placed on top of this float. Haha. It was funny. She got ALL WET and therefore had to take revenge, so she took out this huge water gun and started squirting water at everyone. Carine screamed, Yun screamed, I opened my mouth and no sound came out. We hid in the toilet - damn big toilet - and started taking photos. Haha!
Fun night, all in all, in spite of everything. Everyone is so old now.