Friday, January 23, 2015

Final Destination

Really, what is the world coming to?
            Regular readers will be familiar with my lifelong conviction that it’s just simply not safe to step out of your home. All manner of misfortune could befall you. A bus might jump the curb. A stray cough from a complete stranger and suddenly, you’re on the news as Patient Zero for Ebola.
            “I’m so not going to Africa!” Saffy said. “Can you imagine? One minute, you’re looking at elephants and worrying about black mambas, and the next, you’re in a quarantined tent being filmed by CNN!”
            Amanda pointed out that the Ebola virus has now reached Europe via the UK. “You’re not safe anywhere,” she said gloomily.
          I puffed up. “Isn’t that what I’ve been saying all these years? One wrong move, one moment’s inattention, and you’re done!”
            People – and by people, I mean, of course, Sharyn – invariably say to me, well, if I’m going to be so scared of leaving the house, I might as well seal myself off in a bubble. To which I would reply, don’t think I’ve not thought of that. However, given the way these things work, they’ll discover that the bubble I’m sealed in (and probably spent a fortune acquiring) emits odorless toxic fumes that will give me severe paralysis.  
            Of course, it doesn’t help that a few days ago, Amanda read in the paper that regular use of a leading toothpaste brand might give you cancer.
            Saffy immediately put down her latest edition of 8DAYS and gasped dramatically. “Cancer? How is that possible?” she demanded. “It’s just toothpaste!”
            “Well, apparently, the lab animals got sick…or something,” Amanda said, her attention now focused on an ad for a Club 21 sale. 
            Saffy looked disgruntled. “Honestly, nothing is safe anymore! My friend Jo said she was on a plane the other day and sat next to this guy who wore latex gloves the entire flight and she asked him why and he said that the plane is a hotbed of germs and he didn’t want to touch anything!”
            “That’s so clever,” I said with approval. “I should do the same, except I should wear latex gloves all day long.”
            “In this weather, I’d be sure to get chronic dermatitis,” Amanda said.
            “Better that than Ebola,” I pointed out.
            It’s getting to the point that I can’t even read the newspaper anymore. There’s nothing happy in there. It’s always bad news followed by more bad news. Really, what’s the point?
            Which is why we were all genuinely shocked when Sharyn came over for dinner a few weeks ago and, between noisy bites of rojak, she suddenly observed that it was such a tragedy that the Kardashians were stuck up that mountain.
            “What?!” I said.
            “When did this happen?” Amanda exclaimed.
            “What, the whole family?” Saffy moaned, her thoughts immediately turning to poor Bruce Jenner on whom she is morbidly fixated.
            Sharyn looked astonished at our lamentable ignorance of current affairs. “Aiyoh! How you not know? It’s all over the news! They so poor thing, got no food and no water, and very cold up there. The Americans must come and rescue them!”
            “What do you mean the Americans are coming to rescue them?” Saffy said hotly. “Where are they?”
            “Hai-yah! Ir-ack, loh! Alamak, how you can not know this, one?”
            Silence descended over the dining table as the three of us frowned. Sharyn took the opportunity to help herself to more rojak.
            Finally, Amanda broke the silence. “What on earth are the Kardashians doing in Iraq? And up a mountain!”
            “Maybe they’re doing humanitarian aid?” Saffy said. As we all later agreed, if the subject matter hadn’t been so serious, we’d normally have broken out into hysterical giggles.
            I cocked my head at Sharyn and asked tentatively. “Uhm, Sharyn…When you say the Kardashians…uhm…do you mean the Yazidis?”
            Amanda breathed out. “Oh. My. God.”
            “What? What?” Saffy said, bouncing on her chair in synchronicity with her fabulous bosom. “Who are the Yazidis?”
            This time it was Sharyn’s turn to blink. “Why? What did I say?”
            “You said the Kardashians,” Amanda said.
            Sharyn turned pink. “Oh. And who are the Yah-yah…what you say…”
            “The Yazidis are a minority Muslim group who are being persecuted in Iraq by ISIS!” I said.
            Saffy looked completely lost. “The Egyptian goddess?”
            It took a while, but eventually, Amanda managed to bring both Sharyn and Saffy up to date on the state of the Iraqi crisis, including its key players.
            “How did I miss all that?” Saffy wondered.
            “How are we even friends?” Amanda replied.
            Saffy shrugged. “Whatevs. I’m just so relieved Bruce is OK.”

            And just like that, all was right with the world.

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