Thursday, November 13, 2014

Party Line

I can remember a time, not so long ago, when all I did was party. Every weekend, I’d be out with friends. We’d start at around 11.30 pm on a Friday night in a dimly lit bar on Boat Quay, and then move onto Zouk at about 12.30, dance till a puddle of sweat had formed at our feet while shouting ourselves hoarse over the music. Then, at two in the morning, we adjourned for a bah kut teh on River Valley Road, and eventually, we’d head home stinking of cigarette smoke, head spinning, and body still vibrating from the music.
            The next morning, we’d wake up just in time for lunch and do it all over again that night. And on Monday morning, when someone asked me how my weekend was, I’d honestly say that I had such an amazing time.
For years, that was the pattern of my life. The work-week was a five day preparation for the weekend, as we plotted and planned which clubs we’d go to, and where we’d have supper after.
            Ahh, the folly of youth.
            Somewhere along the line, I found that unless I took a disco nap round about 7pm, I’d start to fade by the time we rocked up to Zouk, or whichever the hot nightclub was then. And by 1pm, I’d say, “You know, I’m really very tired. I think I’m going to go home.”
            A few months later, I appended this to say, “You know, this dry ice is really bothering my sinus. I think I’m going home.”
            And a few months after that, I found myself saying, “You know, this music is so loud, I can hear myself think!”, to which Sharyn, then still happily unmarried and without children, would shout, “What for need to think? Just dance, lah!”
            “I think I’m going home!” I screamed into her ear.
            And then, one day, I realized that I’d just spent the entire weekend curled up on the sofa watching re-runs of ‘Friends’ while eating my favourite nasi padang from down the road, and finding that I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
            “I love that it’s so quiet!” I said the other Friday night to Amanda. We were sitting by the open window watching black clouds gather on the horizon.
            “I’m so glad we’re staying home,” she said as a soft breeze made her hair flicker. “Imagine trying to get a taxi when that storm hits!”
            “I know, right?” I said smugly.
            From the depths of the sofa, Saffy, who was playing Candy Crush on her iPad, looked up and said, “God. When did we turn into such aunties? It’s so sad!”
             Amanda looked at her. “Uhm, excuse me, we’re not aunties. I’m just saying that it’s nice to stay home for a change!”
            Saffy’s bosom puffed up. “What do you mean ‘for a change’? Hello, when was the last time we actually went out on a Friday night? Like actually get dressed up, put on make-up, high-heels and lipstick…”
            “Well, speaking for myself,” I said, “uhm, how about never?”
            “Oh shut up! You know what I mean! I'm telling you, if we keep this up, we might as well be wearing adult nappies, playing scrabble and sorting out our heart medication!”
            “Leave it to you to dramatise a simple evening spent at home!” Amanda said stiffly.
            Meanwhile, Sharyn was at home screaming at her children to clean up their rooms. Finally, she was so fed up being ignored, she locked herself up in her bathroom and plotted various ways of leaving them and running away with Wayne.
            “Wayne? Who’s Wayne?” Saffy asked over the phone. “You’ve never mentioned anything about Wayne before.”
            “Wayne Loo-ney! There, that han-sum football player, lah, aiyoh!” Sharyn replied, her voice echoing against her bathroom tiles. “He play for England!”
            “Wayne Rooney? Isn’t he, like, short?”
“You think I very tall, is it?”
“But Wayne Rooney is fat!”
“Fat, your head, lah! Wah, I see him on TV run up and down that football field, I get so excited, ah, I tell you.”
“I need to Google him again.”
“Aiyoh, if I know married life with children is like this, I swear I would have stayed single.”
            Saffy, never one to follow the path of a conversation like a normal person would, looped back to the beginning of the conversation. “Wayne Rooney? Really?”
            “Ay, you remember dat time we all go to Zouk? Wah, so fun! Dance all night, sleep all day. Dat night, dance some more. Eat supper at 2 am, never get fat. No children to ka-chow me. No husband to scold. Aiyoh, why you let me get married, ah?”

            “Isn’t Wayne Rooney, like, bald?” Saffy wondered.

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