The $40 breakfast

I recently shared a cab from Tiong Bahru to the east coast of Singapore with a local woman. It was late at night, there was a paucity of cabs to be had, and we both managed to avoid the unpleasant stand off when one taxi pulls up to two different waiting people.

It was very agreeable; she lived a mile further than me, it made sense to share. Conversation was amicable, she sat in the front, I sat in the back. She asked how I liked it here; yes, very much I said. Did I take a cab to work, she enquired; sometimes, I said.

It was just idle conversation for a late night, twenty minute drive, but what she said next appalled me, as much because she had simply thought about it at all as because it had even been necessary to consider.

“I take a taxi to work each morning. My son is six years old, and I carefully calculated the cost of a taxi journey each morning, versus the cost of leaving home forty five minutes earlier and taking public transport. Even with the cost of a taxi, and the return I would get for that money each month if invested, I cant buy time with my son at this age in the future when he is older. So I decided the money is better invested in spending breakfast time with him now.”

Nothing speaks of the monetization of life like a mother who needs a spreadsheet to calculate if spending time with her children is viable.

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