A Wife of Crime
By Dave Fox
And to answer the question you are dying to ask: Yes.
Yes, nine days later, Kattina and I are still married.
Granted, we’ve had the International Date Line to scooch things along. Flying over the Bering Sea last week, somewhere between the Aleutian Islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula, we lost a day. So I suppose I should not exaggerate and call it say nine days. As I write this, it’s 9 a.m. Monday in Singapore, but back in Seattle, it’s still Sunday, which if you do the math, means we have barely completed eight 24-hour periods of marriage.
In any event, for those of you who have not yet tried the marriage thingy, but are thinking of doing so, I have some sage advice: An excellent way to add excitement and test the durability of your marriage is to get on an airplane and fly halfway around the world 36 hours after your wedding reception ends. And I don’t mean going on one of those so-called “honeymoon” junkets you might have heard of. No. Honeymoons are for wusses. I’m talking about moving, quasi-permanently, to a faraway land that has people who speak in unfamiliar accents, a place with less than half (!) the number of Starbucks you would find in your own community.
Kattina and I left Seattle in a post-wedding, exhausted stupor. We changed planes in Tokyo ten hours later in a more exhausted stupor, and flew seven more hours south to Singapore. We landed just past midnight Wednesday.
As we stood in line at passport control, Kattina was the first to violate a Singapore law, which is something else I highly recommend doing if you would like to experience the Singaporean custom of being fined half of your life savings for what we Americans would consider minor offenses. As Kattina fished in her bag for our immigration documents, a small scrap of paper –- one of those clingy bits that hangs off the end of a page that’s been torn from a spiral-bound notebook -– drifted to the floor of Changi International Airport. She watched it fall. Too exhausted to pick it up, she pretended not to notice.
Or maybe she was not pretending. Maybe she really didn’t see it fall to the floor. That’s what she claims, but you know how criminals are. Anyway, a first-time littering offense in Singapore carries a fine of 300 Singapore dollars (roughly $240 US).
“HA!” I thought. “She’s about to get a 300-dollar fine! That’ll teach her!”
I scanned the airport in search of a police officer I could report the offense to; however, I then realized, “Holy crap! We are married now! We’re supposed to share everything – ‘for better or worse,’ as they say. That means half of that 300-dollar fine would be my money! And I had nothing to do with the dropping of the bit of paper!”
So at that point, I did what any self-respecting husband would do in order to save face, not to mention 300 Singapore dollars. In spite of my own crippling exhaustion, I bent over, picked up the bit of paper, tore it into two small bits, and placed one half in my pocket, leaving Kattina’s half on the ground. That way, when the police rushed to the scene, which I knew they would do momentarily (there were security cameras), I would show them, “Look, officers! I picked up my half! Just like you and all the good people of Singapore, I too am an innocent victim of this brazen litterer!” I would then plead with them to waive Kattina’s fine and make her perform community service instead.
Luckily for Kattina, however, the anticipated SWAT team never arrived. The security cameras must have been on the fritz. So we were stamped into the country, greeted by two nice people from the Singapore American School, and whisked to the York Hotel, which would be our home for the next couple of weeks until we found an apartment.
We were in our room by 1:30 a.m. We slept four blissful hours before waking up to get dressed for the 7:15 breakfast meeting for new teachers.