Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Taylor Made

I didn’t know this was a thing, but apparently people – and by people, I mean, Saffy – daydream about being friends with Taylor Swift.
            Just the other day, we were both on the 238 bus to Orchard Road to have lunch with Amanda. Saffy had grabbed the window seat on account of the fact she hates standing up for anyone.
She’d once surrendered her seat to a woman whom she swore looked six months pregnant only to be shouted at.
            “How can you be so rude? You think, what? I’m fat, issit?” the woman yelled. Saffy panicked, opened her purse and stuffed twenty bucks into the woman’s hands and leapt off the bus at the next stop.
            “Hah?” Sharyn later said. “You give her money for what?”
            Saffy wrung her hands, still traumatised by the event. “Oh, I don’t know what I was thinking! I wanted her to shut up. The whole bus was looking at us! I’m just amazed no one video’d it and uploaded it onto YouTube!”
After that incident, which she’s since dubbed The Pregnancy Episode, Saffy has made it her life policy to only ever stand up if the person looks like Betty White. “It’s just not worth risking that kind of abuse,” she says.
 Which is why whenever we catch a bus, I’m usually the one staring off into space in the aisle seat. After a few minutes of watching endless rows of HDB blocks pass by, Saffy suddenly turned to me and elbowed me in the ribs.
            “Uhm…ow?” I said.
            “Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be friends with Taylor Swift?”
            “Uhm…” I said again. “No?”
            “It must be so much fun. All those girls’ nights at her place, in silk PJs and singing and dancing! I wonder how I would go about friending her.”
            “I think you would have to be someone famous. Or at the very least, be a supermodel,” I told her.
Saffy pouted her lips, chafing at the unfairness of life in general and, specifically, the arbitrariness of genetics that makes the chances of her ever becoming a supermodel completely non-existent. “Karlie Kloss is so lucky!” she grumbled.
            As I later said to Barney Chen, it’s just so crazy what some people are thinking when they stare out the window of a moving bus. “You’d think she’d be wondering about…about when the haze is going to lift, for example!”
            Barney Chen put down his strawberry and chia seed soy smoothie to admire his biceps in the café’s mirror.
            “Oh, I don’t know,” he growled, his baritone voice rumbling like grinding boulders. “It would be fun to hang out with Tay Tay and sing songs all night! I do a killer version of ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’!”
            I put my peppermint tea down and stared at him. “You do? Why?”
            “It’s my personal anthem. I’m always singing it in my head when I’m walking around. It’s very empowering! You haven’t said anything about my new tee shirt. Do you like it?”
            Of course, as soon as our coffee catch-up was done, I was on the phone with Amanda. “Do you have a personal anthem?”
            “Oh sure,” Amanda said. “It’s Jamelia’s ‘Beware of the Dog’!” From the 2006 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
            On the other end of the line, my jaw dropped. How do you live with someone at such close quarters and not know something like this?, I wondered.
            “You mean you don’t?” Amanda asked.
            Sharyn later told me that her personal anthem is ‘I’m Every Woman’.
            “But not the Whitney version, hor! Is Chaka Khan, the original, ok? Every time the chairman of the board scold me, I sing this song in my head. Confirm I don’t cry, one!”
            I was completely bewildered. “Who are you people?” I asked. “Does everyone except me have a personal anthem?”
            Saffy says her personal anthem is the theme song to ‘Wonder Woman’.
            “Of course it is,” I sighed when she told me.
            Saffy’s legendary bosom inflated to a superhuman volume. “It’s just so empowering! Sometimes, I swear, it’s the only thing that gets me through a day at the office!”
            “So, you actually sing it out loud?” I asked.
            “Only if no one’s around! You don’t want people thinking you’re a nut job! But, sure, I sing it, or hum it under my breath. Especially when I’m walking into someone’s office to fire them!”
            Of course, now whenever I’m in a crowded room, I find myself looking around me and wondering what people are singing in the quiet privacy of their head. Meanwhile, I’m searching for my own personal anthem. If you ever see me on the bus staring off into space, that’s probably what I’m thinking about.


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