A week or so ago, we were in the living room looking at our respective handheld gadgets, happily ignoring one another. I was enthralled by Bruce Jenner’s physical evolution into a different person. Saffy’s bug eyes and manic grip on her phone told me that she was deep into Candy Crush.
I was just about to send Amanda a WhatsApp message asking her what she was doing when she suddenly looked up and said, “Am I alone in thinking that all this WiFi is killing us?”
Saffy later said that she wasn’t sure if Amanda was asking a serious question or if it was one of those existential moments. “Kind of like ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’, that kind of thing, you know?”
It turned out Amanda was reading another one of her conspiracy theory blogs and the latest obsession is the idea that all the WiFi spots around us are slowly cooking us alive. “Or at the very least, we’re being altered on the cellular level. Who knows what genetic mutations are happening to us? We could wake up tomorrow with psychic powers and the ability to bend metal!” Amanda concluded, channelling the full force of her Harvard University education to the occasion.
Imagine our surprise when it turned out that Amanda was not alone in her X-Files meltdown. “Yah, what!” Sharyn said. “You tink all those WiFi rays in your home and all those billions of telephone waves are safe, is it? How can? If microwave can cook your breakfast, you tink cannot cook your brain, meh?”
Saffy’s legendary bosom inflated. “But phone waves are…”
“Is same ting, lah!” Sharyn interrupted. “Look different but same, same! Confirm one! One day, hor, we all wake up and look like Hugh Jackman, ah, I tell you!”
“Oh my God, Sharyn, you sound just like Amanda!” You couldn’t tell if Saffy was saying that in admiration or as an insult.
Sharyn, always a glass half-full kind of a person, preened. “Yah, I oh-so could have gone to Har-vahd!”
A few days later, Amanda announced that she was no longer going to shampoo her hair, a comment that had roughly the same kind of impact as President Obama saying that from now on, he was only going to serve chap chye and mee rebus at state events.
Saffy frowned. “What do you mean you’re not going to wash your hair?”
“Shampoo!” Amanda said. “I’ll wash my hair, but I won’t be shampooing it!”
Saffy’s frown settled in. “What’s the difference?”
Amanda looked surprised, as if this was patently obvious. “Shampoos are filled with nasty chemicals! It’s stripping our hair of the natural oils! We don’t need it! Look at all those Amazonian natives! They don’t shampoo, but their hair looks amazing!”
“They don’t wear clothes either,” Saffy pointed out, “but that’s no reason to follow their lead!”
“Well, I’m doing it,” Amanda said even as she began filling a huge plastic bag with her expensive shampoos, conditioners, hair serum, leave-in conditioners and hair masks.
After the first day of not shampooing, Amanda said she could actually feel her hair responding. “It’s amazing!” she insisted.
On the second day, she started scratching.
On the third day, her hair had turned limp, its usual volume, so bewitching to any man not attached to a wheelchair or a respirator, deflating like a soufflé. “It’s just rebalancing itself!” Amanda said, doubt etching every word.
“I wish you would rebalance yourself!” Saffy murmured to me out of the corner of her mouth.
On the fourth day, white flakes began to fall from Amanda’s hair, turning her black Jil Sander sweater into a Christmas wonderland.
“Everyone says this is a normal process,” Amanda said. By now, her hair scratching had taken on a particular urgency.
“Who’s everyone?” Saffy wanted to know though you could tell she was a little distracted by the light flurry of snowflakes falling off Amanda’s hair.
“It’s all those years of natural oils being stripped off!” Amanda said weakly. “My hair is detoxing!”
“Aiyoh, hair got detox, one, meh?” Sharyn whispered to Saffy the minute Amanda had disappeared back into the bathroom to investigate the state of her follicles.
“You see, this is what I have to live with!” Saffy hissed back.
On the fifth day, Amanda began wearing her hair tied back into a pony-tail, though by now, the oily sheen made it look like an anaemic fish that had been plunged into hot grease.
On the sixth day, she was starting to emit a distinct odour.
“Seriously, please just shampoo your hair!” Saffy shouted.
On the seventh day, Saffy began sharing my bathroom.
It’s practically Biblical. Saffy says the only thing missing is the snake.