Monday, February 16, 2015

Leave of Absence

It’s that time of the year again when I start thinking about holidays.
            Where should I go? The possibilities are endless. Just as long as I am careful to eliminate the places I don’t want to go.
            Just the other day, the travel agent rang and asked if I wanted to go on an African safari in Tanzania.
            “Got really good deal!” Sunny said. “Some more, hor, if tree go, get discount!”
            I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.
            “Is he mad?” Amanda said when I told her. “He must think we came down with the last shower!”
            Saffy looked up from her latest issue of Men’s Health where she’d been engrossed by an article called ‘Lose weight without exercise’.
“Why?” she asked.
            Amanda blinked. “Hello? Tanzania?”
            Saffy, who’d barely passed geography in school, looked mystified. “Should that mean something to me?”
            “It’s right next to all those Ebola cases!” Amanda said, her eyes almost rolled to the back of her head.
            Saffy pulled out her phone and called up a map of Africa. “No, it’s not! All the Ebola cases are on the east coast. Tanzania is on the west coast! There’s a whole continent between the two areas! They’re nowhere near each other!”
            “But it’s on the same continent!” Amanda told her. My head nodded like one of the spring toys on the dashboard of a taxi.
            “Oh, I see your point,” Saffy said. “No, let’s not go to Tanzania. I don’t want to end up on the evening breaking news on CNN.”
Amanda sniffed. “No wonder Sunny was offering a discount! Really, we should change travel agents!”
            So, that’s one thing to stress about…where not to go for your holiday. That, and the conundrum of when not to go.
See, if you go too early, it’ll be like showing up for dinner at a Spanish restaurant at 9pm – there’ll be no one there because no self respecting Spaniard eats before 10pm, and there’s nothing more depressing than sitting in a restaurant all by yourself picking away at a paella.
But if you go too late, then it’ll be like arriving in the middle of the restaurant’s rush hour and the horrible waitress tells you a table won’t become available for another two hours, which will make it midnight by the time you get your menu.
My point is, timing a holiday is crucial. Too early, and there’ll be no one at the resort. Boring. Too late, and you won’t be able to chope a chair by the pool for love or money.
            Sharyn says this is clearly a problem that only single people with no children have.
            “Ay, you know I don’t take leave for how long? Two year, ah, I tell you!”
            “But you just came back from a trip to the Cameron Highlands!” Saffy pointed out.
            “You siow, lah! What holiday? Had to drive there and drive back. Get lost four time. The road sign cannot read. My eldest got car sick. My husband this cannot eat, that cannot drink, but somehow got food poisoning! My youngest one upset because his iPad break. Who ask him to be so fat and then sit on it? Sure got break one, what, right? Where got holiday? Aiyoh, stay home better, ah!”
            “I really should record all this,” Saffy said. “And then on dark lonely nights when I’m feeling sorry for myself that I’m not married with a family, I’ll play it back.”
            “Yah, boy!” Sharyn said grimly, her eyes large as saucers behind her Coke bottle thick spectacles.
            Meanwhile, Amanda called Sunny back and after telling him what a stupid idea a Tanzanian safari was, asked sweetly if he had any other suggestions.
            “Uhm…I doh-noe, leh. You everywhere already go. Except…” His fingers rattled some keys on his computer. “Russia! You want to go to Russia? You never been to Russia, right?”
            Amanda coughed up the cappuccino she was drinking. “Russia? Are you mad? It’ll just be my luck if the Cold War breaks out all over again!”
            Sunny paused, but gamely regrouped. “Not cold, lah! Now is autumn! Still very shiok! Hello?... Miss Amanda?...Hello?…” he spoke to the dial tone.
            Amanda later said that it was quite possible that Sunny and Saffy had gone to the same school. “Dumb and Dumber Junior High!”
            “I hate organizing our year end holidays. It’s all just too stressful,” I told her. “I think I’m just going to stay home this year and watch my ‘Breaking Bad’ box set!”
            “Well, that’s really anti-social!” Saffy said, dissatisfaction oozing from every pore.
            “You say you want to be single, mah!” Sharyn reminded her.

            “Oh, shut up, Sharyn!”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi! Are you coming up with another book?
im hoping so!