They say you should never go on holiday with the people you live with. Well, when I say ‘they’, I am, of course, talking about me. I have learnt from bitter experience that it’s never a good idea to board a plane with the same people you see first thing in the morning and the last thing in the evening. It’s almost as bad as, to take a random example, sleeping with your secretary.
There’s a very good reason for this rule. Things tend happen on holiday that, if known by the wrong people (such as friends and family), could amount to social suicide. It’s like that YouTube clip of those sorority girls bobbing up and down in the Jacuzzi and then suddenly one of them does a very liquid Number Two. In the water. To this day, I’ve yet to see people leap out of a hot tub faster. Or scream louder.
“I cannot believe you’re making such a big deal about this!” Amanda said the other morning at breakfast. “It’s not as if the three of us have never gone on holiday together before!”
I put down my cereal spoon and pointed out that on our last trip, we were nearly thrown off the plane after Saffy drunkenly gave the chief steward an impromptu lap dance.
Saffy’s bosom immediately puffed up. “Hey, I gave that man the biggest thrill of his life! He should be thanking me!”
“And what about the time we were in Bangkok and somehow we all ended up in that tiger show club and you insisted you wanted to try and blow a dart out of your…your…whatsits!” I finished lamely.
“I was drunk!” Saffy shouted. “You guys were the ones who kept buying those shots! You know I’m free and easy after two tequilas!”
“Well, you and Amanda can go on holiday together,” I said firmly. “I will be sunning myself on a beach in Penang!”
Amanda exchanged glances with Saffy. “What, by yourself?” she asked.
“What’s the fun in that?” Saffy added.
“Living with you two is such 24/7 drama! It’ll be nice to work on my tan in blissful quiet and solitude!”
“Huh,” Saffy said, looking glum.
Amanda sniffed. “That’s fine, you go to Penang and get fat on char kway teow, while Saffy and I will go to London! The pound is so weak against the Sing dollar now, we can go shopping and eat at Michelin star restaurants all day!”
Saffy looked at the ceiling for a few moments and then said: “But London is so far away!”
“Just think of it as five George Clooney movies and we’ll have arrived! Let me check ticket prices!”
A few days later, Saffy sidled up to me in the kitchen and said very casually, “So, are you still planning on holidaying in Penang?”
I paused my onion chopping. “Yes. Why?” I asked suspiciously.
“Oh alright, stop badgering me, already! I’ll tell you!” Saffy complained. She went on urgently: “Listen, you’ve got to save me from this London trip! Amanda has gone nuts! She wants us to fly business class! On Singapore Airlines!”
“It’s a great way to fly,” I pointed out loyally.
“Are you crazy? Do you know how expensive an SQ business class ticket to London is? I could feed three entire African villages for a decade with that kind of money! And she really was serious about eating at those Michelin star restaurants. I mean, look at me!” she commanded. “I’m wearing a Giordano tee-shirt! My favourite dish is fried beehoon and I love beer! What do I care about foie gras and champagne?”
“Well, just say you don’t want to spend all that money.”
“But then she’ll be miserable! And you know Amanda. Remember that time we flew economy to New York? She literally threw money at the stewardess and begged to be upgraded to business class! I can’t be responsible for her unhappiness. She’s not been on a date in five months. Flying economy might just tip her over the edge! Listen!” she grabbed my arm. “You have got to let us come with you to Penang!”
“Oh, no–,” I began.
“You have to!”
“That’s not a good idea, at a–”
“Yes, please say yes!”
As I write this, I’m sitting on the balcony of my lovely room at the E&O in Penang. Through the adjoining door connecting our rooms, I can hear Saffy shouting, “Seriously, Amanda, what did you have for dinner?”
There was a knock at my door and Saffy stalked in. “I’m sleeping with you tonight! Amanda’s farts are practically weapons of mass destruction! Uhm, why are you packing?”