Sunday, August 10, 2008

We're worth a lot less than our child

According to a recent impartial valuation, Sonny is worth 333 times more than either of his parents.

We're flying back to Pa's hometown in a few weeks' time, to catch up with Sonny's grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousin, who are just back from a stint in Boston. An airline has been dangling the absurd price of 9 Singapore cents per passenger. Sonny, however, doesn't qualify for the special deal, so his ticket will cost us 30 Singapore dollars - a relative fortune - even though he doesn't even rate a seat (he'll be on our laps the entire way) or a baggage allowance.

For the amount of money we'll be shelling out, we could also have chartered a taxicab to pick us up at home and ferry us all the way to Pa's mother's doorstep. It'd be a longer journey (probably four or five hours' driving time), but there'd be no need to make our own way to the airport two hours before the stated departure time, or find our own transport to Sonny's grandmother's place.

So why fly at all, you might ask? Sometimes, we don't do things strictly according to what cold price and time computation might suggest. For one thing, the computation might not be be the most relevant factor, any more than comparing the price of our respective tickets is the right way to assess the relevant worth of Sonny and ourselves. It's been a while since we've visited Pa's home airport (and Kuala Lumpur International is still a visual feast, with its conceptual throwbacks to Arabic desert tents). And the old romance of flying beats comfortably in Mum's breast, so that a trip to the airport is always something she savours - and wants to transmit to Sonny.

That said, there's a place (and it's an important one) for calculation and weighings-up. We'll probably be booking a taxicab for the trip home, since we'll expect to have done a wee bit of shopping and be somewhat tuckered out: We'd be better able, in short, to savour the luxury of door-to-door service. It seems that the taxi driver doesn't give infant discounts either, though. Whatever his age, each passenger attracts the same charge.

Still makes better sense than charging Sonny 333 times more than us.