Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jet Scream

Amanda just came back from a work trip to New York and she’s completely shattered by jetlag. Which is pleasing Saffy – a lifetime chronic sufferer of insomnia – no end, because for the first time in a long while, she finally has someone to spend the early hours of the morning with.
            “For reasons that have nothing to do with sex!” Saffy pointed out this morning. “Make sure you include that bit in your column! I don’t want people, and by people, I mean the police, to have funny ideas about me and my personal life. I’m very happy with my non-controversial, law abiding life here in Singapore!”
            Amanda says it’s just so odd that she is suffering this badly from jetlag.
            “I mean,” she said at breakfast, “I can understand it if I was flying economy and couldn’t get any sleep, but I’ve not been in that cabin since high school, so I’m not sure what the problem is!”
            Saffy said Amanda should stop talking like this in public as it’s exactly the kind of sentiments that led Anton Casey to start a new life in Perth.
            Amanda looked puzzled. “What public? We’re in our flat. And besides, how is that even the same?”
            “I’m just saying,” Saffy replied ominously. “The walls have ears!”
            “I wish you did,” Amanda murmured delicately into her hair as she poured herself another cup of anti-jetlag herbal tea.
            “I heard that!”
            I looked up from my 8DAYS horoscopes. “Seriously? It’s going to be like this? For how long?”
            The thing about jetlag is that it’s the strangest affliction. It’s night. You want to sleep. Your body tells you that you want to sleep. Out on the streets, the traffic has slowed down because everyone has gone home to sleep. And yet, there you are, lying in bed, your body tortured with bone aching weariness, but you’re wide awake. 
            Then, during the day, as you drag yourself to work on the MRT, you suddenly find yourself fighting to stay awake just in case you miss your next stop. And before you know it, you probably will fall asleep, your head lolling to the side and onto the shoulder of a complete stranger. And when you wake up, you find that you’ve just been uploaded onto YouTube and mocked on Facebook.
            Meanwhile, Amanda’s into day three of her jetlag. For two nights now, she and Saffy have been working their way through old recorded episodes of American Idol, sighing over Harry Connick, Jr.
            “He’s just so adorable!” Saffy told Sharyn at lunch. “So handsome. So clever. So witty!”
            “He and Keith Urban have such great chemistry!” Amanda added. “But I agree, if I had to choose, it would be Harry!”
            Sharyn sniffed. “I doan like him!”
“Who?” Amanda asked.
“Hair-ly, lah! So cheem! The first time I watch him, hor, he tell the contestant she sing on the lower register. At first, I think, how he know she work in a check-out? She only say she is a single mud-der! Then my son tell me that lower register mean voice range! Alamak, how I know? But Keith I also doan like. I think he got wear make-up!”
            Saffy shrugged. As far as she was concerned, Sharyn not liking Harry Connick, Jr was good news because that was one less woman she had to scratch and fight off should Harry ever come randomly into her life.
            “But you know who else I think is cute?” she went on. “Ryan Seacrest! I just want to pick him up and take him home!”
            Sharyn raised her eyebrows. “First got Blad-ley. Then got Hair-ly. Now got Lie-yan! Wah, your bed very big, is it?”
            Amanda, never one to waste an opportunity for a girls’ night out, asked Sharyn to join her and Saffy for American Idol night. “Come on, it’ll be fun!” she said.
            Sharyn looked doubtful. “Ay, I have to get up early the next day and work, ok? Maybe that’s why you got jetlag. You doan take care of your body, ah, I tell you. You think you still very young, is it?”
            “I always fly business class. I really don't see how I can take care of my body any better. Oh…I see what you’re saying! You mean I should be flying first class instead? Do you think that might be the problem?”
            Sharyn blinked, then looked at Saffy who stared hard into the distance. Later, when Amanda had gone back to the office to catch a nap at her desk, Sharyn asked, “Ay, I ask you, are you sure Amanda got go to Harvard?”
            “Don't get me started, Sharyn!”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Hunger Games

A few days ago, I was just minding my own business, as one does. To be specific, I was on the lounge, reading my latest issue of Vanity Fair, deeply engrossed in an article about Edward Snowden and the whole NSA scandal.
            Just then, Amanda walked in the front door, burdened with shopping bags from Prada and Gucci.
            “I’m not proud to say this,” she announced, dropping the bags onto the floor with a sigh, “but I’ve probably spent enough money in one afternoon to put three African orphans through Harvard.”
            “Well, don’t say it too loud, the NSA might hear you!”
            Amanda, who was just about to kick off her right high heel, paused. “What?” she asked eventually.
            “I’m just reading this riveting article in Vanity Fair,” I said, waving the magazine at her. “It says here that the NSA have the ability to turn on any mobile phone, even one that is off, and use it as a microphone.”
            Amanda sniffed. “Good luck trying to get any useful information out of our conversations!”
            “They might think we’re talking in code! And get this, the NSA has a five billion dollar budget!”
            Amanda sighed, her lovely eyes misting over as she thought of all the shopping she could get done at Prada with five billion dollars.
            Saffy chose that moment to storm out of her bedroom in a whirlwind of agitation.
            “You’re an hour late!” she yelled into her handphone which she clutched in a white-knuckled clench. “It’s now 1.30pm! Our reservation is at 12.30, and you’re still not here…Don’t you dare tell me to calm down! I don’t care if there’s a traffic jam on the PIE, you should have thought of that and left your house an hour earlier! By the time we get to the restaurant, it’s going to be time for dinner!”
            With that, Saffy stabbed the off button on her phone. Instinctively, Amanda and I ducked, though even in that moment of crisis, I couldn’t help but notice that Amanda had automatically stepped in front of her shopping bags to shield them from any collateral damage.
            Saffy glared at us. “What are you doing?”
            “Uhm,” I said from behind Vanity Fair, “we thought you were going to go all Naomi Campbell on us.”
            Saffy put down her phone and took a deep breath. “Honestly, I’m so angry with Bradley! He was supposed to pick me up an hour ago. Now, it’s 1.30pm and I am starving! It’s going to be at least after 2 by the time we sit down at the restaurant, and 2.30 by the time we eat! Who has lunch at 2.30?”
            “Have a biscuit now?” Amanda suggested as she moved slowly to pick up her shopping and edged around Saffy to her bedroom.
            “I don’t want to have a biscuit, I want to have lunch! Now!” Saffy snapped.
            Later that afternoon, after Bradley had shown up, having broken every speed limit to do so, and taken Saffy out to a very late and expensive boozy lunch, she came home in a considerably more cheerful mood.
            “Honestly, I’m so embarrassed!” she said. “I just turn into such a hormonal witch when I’m hungry! It’s like an out of body experience and I’m just seeing the world through this haze of red hot anger!”
            “Apparently there’s a word for that,” I said.
            “For what?”
            “For that feeling of anger, panic and aggression you get when you’re hungry. It’s hangry!”
            Saffy looked impressed. “Really? Hangry? That’s an actual word?”
            “I read it in a British newspaper the other day, so it must be true. It’s their language, after all.”
            “Well, I skipped lunch,” Amanda said, coming into the lounge room and wearing her latest purchases. “I was so busy shopping, I forgot it was lunch time.”
            “You see, I just don’t understand how people do that. How do you forget it’s lunch? It’s like saying you forgot to breathe!”
            “Well, that’s exactly what happened to me when I saw this handbag in Gucci!”
            “That’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever said, Amanda,” Saffy sniffed, clearly coming down from her post-meal high.
            Later, it occurred to me that Saffy would make the world’s worst spy. If she were ever captured, all her kidnappers would need to do would be to deprive her of lunch because by dinner time, she’d be ready to spill every single state secret she knew.
            “Imagine if she had high security clearance in the NSA!” I told Amanda.
            “Maybe that’s why there’ve been so many leaks,” she pointed out. “Maybe they’re all hangry!”

            Sharyn says it’s a good thing Singapore isn’t run by stupid people like me and Amanda.