Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oh, I see!

One of the few things that unites me with my two flatmates, Saffy and Amanda is our collective myopia. We’re all blind as bats. Without our assorted visual aids, we’d be forever bumping into a wall. Which is why when an ocular catastrophe happens to one of us, it’s of immediate deep concern, galvanizing the entire flat into a flurry of frantic and often pointless activity. United we stand, divided we fall with blurred vision.

So, you can imagine the chaos a few days ago when Amanda came out of the bathroom and announced that she was going blind.

“I’m going blind!” were her exact words before she burst into tears and fell to the floor, sobbing dramatically.

“What? What? What?” Saffy immediately started shouting, racing to Amanda’s side.

“I can’t see!” Amanda wailed, hands covering her eyes. “Everything has gone blurry!”

“Well, wear your contacts then!” Saffy said, clutching Amanda maternally to her heaving bosom.

“I am wearing them!” Amanda moaned. “I can’t see a thing!”

“Blink hard!” Saffy advised. “Sometimes, you just need to clear the air from the contacts.”

“I’ve tried everything,” Amanda sniffed. “I’ve put eye-drops. Rotated the lenses. Taken them out. Put them back in. Nothing. Nothing is in focus. I’m going blind!”

An emergency phone call was made to the optometrist. “I’m going to sue if he’s damaged my eyes!” Amanda said stoutly, her killer legal instincts briefly reasserting themselves.

“Uh huh. Uh huh. We’ve tried that,” Saffy said into the phone. “Uh huh. Mmmm. Nope, tried that as well. She’s blind. Uh huh? Really? Huh!”

When she hanged up, she reported that Mark, the cute optometrist had instructed us to come down at once to his office. By the time we arrived, we were all slightly breathless and a little ill tempered on account of a little mascara accident. On the way there in the cab, Amanda insisted Saffy help her put on some make-up.

“I can’t show up looking like a dog!” Amanda said, ever conscious of potential dating opportunities in any situation. Just then, the cab suddenly swerved to avoid a bus and Saffy’s hand slipped while fluffing Amanda’s eye-lashes, drawing a thick black slash across Amanda’s forehead.

“I don’t see why it’s my fault that the cab swerved!” Saffy grumbled to me as Amanda groped her way into Mark’s office. “And hello, but don’t you think there are more urgent things to worry about at the moment besides her stupid make-up? Ooh, maybe I should see Mark since I’m here. I’m also having trouble with my vision.”

Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I’d turned off the stove before rushing out of the flat. It’s funny how people react differently to a crisis.

Amanda wasn’t in there very long before she emerged. Somehow, she’d managed to fix her hair and tidy up her make-up and was presently beaming up at Mark.

“Oh, thank you!” she lisped attractively, laying a hand gently on his arm. “You were just wonderful! Simply wonderful!”

As it turned out, Amanda wasn’t going blind after all. In the misty gloom of our bathroom, she’d mistakenly switched her contact lenses, inserting them into the wrong eyes.

“I can’t believe how silly I was!” she exclaimed cheerfully, the world suddenly bright again as we waited for Saffy’s examination to be over. “And Mark’s asked me out on a date.”

“How do you do that?” I demanded jealously. “You just breathe and you get dates!”

Meanwhile, the world was not as bright for Saffy.

“It’s outrageous!” she reported later. “He says my vision is a bit wonky because the eyes are dried out because I don’t shut my eyes fully how is that at all humanly possible that I don’t shut my eyes fully and how come you got asked for a date?”

“You mean you sleep with your eyes half open?” Amanda gasped. “Like a snake?”

“Apparently!” Saffy huffed. “He wants me to check if my eyes are closed when I sleep and how am I supposed to do that if I’m supposed to be asleep men can be so stupid!”

Then a thought occurred to her and she turned to me. “You have to sleep with me tonight and watch how my eyelids close! I can’t ask Amanda – she’s such an auntie, she can’t stay up past 10 o’clock!”

So here I am in bed with Saffy and she’s only just fallen asleep. I can feel my allergies acting up. It’s very dusty in here and there are far too many pink frills about. It’s incredible what I have to put up with. Meanwhile, I’m too scared to move in case I wake Saffy but I’m a bit concerned that I may have left the stove on after dinner.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Doggy Position

There I was, quietly having breakfast a few mornings ago in the little apartment I share with my flat-mates Saffy and Amanda. The sun had only just begun to peep over the neighbouring HDB blocks, turning the sky a mellow gold. 

Saffy emerged from her bedroom, doing her best “Girl coming out of the TV in The Ring” impersonation.

“I’m fat!” she announced by way of greeting and promptly collapsed on the sofa, clearly exhausted by the effort of talking so early in the morning. “Ooh, don’t forget we have yoga tonight.”

A few weeks ago, Amanda had arrived home, flushed with excitement. “I just signed us up for yoga class!” she declared with the kind of fervour she normally reserves for a new Brad Pitt movie. “It’s very tomorrow, and I’m surprised we didn’t do it years ago. And Tock Oon is taking it. He’s gorgeous!”

And after a few false starts – we missed the first two lessons on account of The Voice – we were finally ready for our first lesson; the girls primed for their yoga debut on Orchard Road with a whole new wardrobe and matching scrunchies for their hair.

As usual, we were late, this time on account of the fact that you can never find a single taxi in Raffles Place on a Friday night. After a breathless dash to the MRT and loud complaints on my part that going to yoga on a Friday night with my flatmates was one reason why I was still pathetically single, we arrived in class with everyone already into the Archer’s Position.

And for the record, Tock Oon looks like a dog, and not in a good way either. He also has an annoyingly fake American accent that makes you want to turn off the radio, except he’s not on the air.

“What! Is Amanda kidding us?” Saffy mumbled as she grabbed a mat, looking splendid and not a little like Wonder Woman in her tight Spandex yoga outfit. “He’s a dog! But PS, I’m loving that guy in the third row. He can rearrange my chakras any time! Let’s go sit next to him!”

For the next hour, Tock Oon made us do things that I’m sure would be banned if they ever appeared in a cinema near you. At one stage, I suddenly found myself flat on my back and my legs thrown over the back of my head. It occurred to me that from this position, the world looks very strange upside-down amid a forest of unidentifiable legs.

“Hmm,” Amanda murmured beside me. “This reminds me of that time I dated that Italian gymnast, Paolo. Remember him?”

“Remember him? The painting on the wall between our bedrooms fell off its hook!” I gasped in pain, losing complete sensation in my ankles and wishing I’d worn some tighter underwear.

Meanwhile, Tock Oon had stopped next to Saffy who was struggling with her Forward Bend position.

“Stretch!” he exhorted her. “Reach for your toes! Reach! Why you not reach, one?” his perfectly modulated Mid-West, East Coast, West Coast and Texan inflected accent temporarily abandoning him.

“Well, maybe if you cut off my spine, I would be able to!” Saffy snapped, her body fixed at the vertical, her fingers unable to get past her knee-caps. “This is not natural!”

By the time we progressed to the Wheel Position, I was hurting in places that had no business feeling pain, convinced I’d dislocated my shoulder in several spots while Saffy moaned that her head still hurt after her fall from the head-stand position.

“I’m still waiting to be energized!” Saffy complained bitterly in the cab home. “And if this is how I’m supposed to feel with aligned chakras, then I want a refund! I can’t believe we actually paid money for that. What a rip-off!”

The next day, we received an email from Tock Oon announcing that Monday’s class was cancelled as he’d torn a ham-string while doing his Sun Salutation, completely vindicating Saffy’s conviction that yoga is an inherently dangerous activity, on par with bungee jumping and parachuting.

“It’s karma, I’m telling you!” she huffed with satisfaction as she picked up the phone and dialed the yoga school. “It’s for all that pain he put us through, the sadistic sicko. Yes, hello? I want to cancel my classes. I would like a refund. Yes, immediately. In this lifetime, definitely.”