Days in a Haze
Have you ever sat by a campfire? Smelled the sweet smokey aroma of good wood burning? Casually sipped a beer while watching the flames dance?…..This is nothing like that. Let me paint you a different picture. Have you ever sat by a fire for 4 days? A fire completely made up of dried up weeds and swamp grass? Sweet oily smoke so thick that five hundred miles away it shows up as a haze in the streets and school children are advised to wear masks because the schools are open air?
Apparently every spring farmers in Indonesia and Malaysia, our closest neighbors, burn their fields to clear them prior to planting. And apparently every year Singapore experiences at least a few days of hazy smokey weather because of it. Unfortunately this year the burn coincides with the change of monsoon weather patterns and the driest month in two hundred years. These two things conspire to make the haze worse than ever according to the people who have been here for awhile. The change in weather means the winds are slower, lazier if you will. Almost as if the are so beaten down by the heat that even the air is languid and doesn’t want to move. The dryness means more of the ash stays in the air and that the field fires are less controlled.
The air quality index has been steadily moving up. This evening you can smell the smoke and see the haze gathering about the streetlights. It makes me think that maybe Michael Jackson had the right idea. Surgical masks when out in public and respirators for the kids. Or perhaps I need to fly some members of a Plains Tribe over for a good old fashioned rain dance. Something , anything, needs to change. Our new apartment is pretty small compared to what we left and if E can’t play outside daddy pretty much has four options.
Spend exorbitant amounts of money on indoor play places so he can actually be tired. Now on the one hand this is not a horrible idea. We went to one last week just to check it out. It was pretty cool. A four level structure indoors with slides and ball pits and a piano on the floor right out of “Big”. ( If you don’t get the reference Google it, then watch it. Tom Hank’s best movie….ever. ) Also it had a bistro attached to it with very good food, full service coffee ,cappuccino and such, and a full bar. That’s right full bar. While junior runs his crazies out mom and dad can drown theirs. The downside is for a a day of play and lunch (and I did not even partake of the bar) we spent sixty three dollars. Way to much to make it a regular part of our routine.
Try to entertain E at home with the windows closed and the air conditioners running. Again pros and cons for this. Pros being its cheaper, there is no travel time, and I can do this in gym shorts and a tank top. Cons being again our place is small and I don’t think there is enough square footage to keep either one of us busy for long. And certainly not enough for him to get sufficient exercise to be truly tired. As anyone with a toddler knows their energy level can be expressed as a mathematical equation that looks something like this. E= 3(Hs+Cc-Ba). Or expressed as words, His energy is equal to my hours slept plus coffee consumed minus body aches times three.
Let him run amok inside a mall. While this sounds like a good idea at first blush it again becomes a monetary knockout punch. Most stores here take the you break it you bought it rule very seriously. Meaning I would probably buy a lot of things I not only don’t need but are already destroyed. Double whammy.
Curl up in the fetal position and rock back and forth talking to the purple elephants until the air quality improves. While this option sounds quite entertaining, I’m fairly certain it does not equal good parenting.
So let’s hope that the wind picks up and the rain comes down….soon.