Sunday, July 10, 2016

Yah, law!

For the past few days, poor Amanda’s been in bed with the flu.  
She says she must have picked it up from the office aunty who serves tea and biscuits every day at 4pm.  
“She had the nastiest cough last week,” Amanda moaned from her sick bed. She was buried under a mountain of fluffy white quilts, only her bloodshot eyes visible. “She breathed all over my Khong Guan cream biscuits and Earl Grey tea!” 
From a safe distance at the door of Amanda’s bedroom, Saffy’s enormous bosom heaved like bubbles in a mud-pool. “Oooh, I love Khong Guan biscuits! You’re so lucky! Well, she paused, “maybe lucky is not the right word for your situation right now, but in general, you’re lucky, if you…if you…why are you looking at me like that? Don’t look at me like that!” 
Apart from a quick visit to the doctor, Amanda hasn’t left the apartment, emerging from her bedroom only to get more water for her Osim humidifier or to pee.  
Now, young people today – and that means you kids born in a year beginning with 2 – will not realise this, but once upon a time, when people got sick, it was almost like a holiday. Before emails and handphones, nobody could get hold of a sick person. So, she just stayed home with a box of tissues and hot congee and got lots of rest.  
Not anymore. 
Amanda’s handphone rings all the time as her office calls with a hundred and one questions about work. Her email in-box fills up faster than Adele’s bank account. You could walk past her room at 10pm and find her eyes peeping over her 500-thread count Egyptian cotton bedsheets, staring at her Blackberry, fingers stabbing at the keyboard as she replies to another e-mail.  
“You need to rest!” Saffy said yesterday morning. 
“I will, I will,” Amanda croaked. She blew her nose and tossed the tissue into a growing bacterial pile in the corner of her room. No one dares collect the used tissues. Saffy’s reasoning is that Amanda can do it when she’s better. “She’ll be immune to her own virus by then. We aren’t!”  
“I have cleared all my work and I can rest today,” Amanda went on. “There shouldn’t be any calls or emails from the office.” 
“Well, OK, so we’re off now. But if you need anything, call us!” Saffy said, radiating sympathy and encouragement from a quarantined distance.  
Shortly after lunch, my handphone rang. 
“Oh my God!” Amanda moaned. In the background, I could hear a loud drone and a heavy percussion beat. 
“Are you…are you at a nightclub?” I asked. 
“Your head, I’m at a nightclub! Someone is renovating their flat upstairs and they’ve not stopped drilling and banging! They started at 9am and they’re still at it! I have not been able to sleep at all!” 
“Well…” I began. 
“Can you hear it? What am I saying, of course you can hear it! What are they doing? Wait, that’s Saffy on the other line. Let me patch her in.” 
“Oh, that,” Saffy said after she’d been debriefed. “That’s the hot boys Jake and Jeremy that just moved in upstairs. They’re taking up all the floor tiles and putting in a hardwood floor.” 
“What are you, the condo management office?” I asked. “How do you know all this?” 
“I bumped into Jake in the lobby and I thought my God, he’s so cute, he looks just like Brad Pitt, and I was going to fix him up with you Amanda, but then Jeremy came up and he looks just like George Clooney, ohmygod, they’re gorgeous, so they’re together and so that was that and then we got to talking and they said they were renovating their apartment and it turns out they’re right above us and they said there was going to be a bit of drilling and not the good kind Jeremy said which got me giggling and…” 
Amanda later said she wondered how long it was before Saffy realised she’d been disconnected from our conference call.  
She immediately called management office and spoke to Glenn who has long harboured a crush on Amanda. Within half an hour, he had personally delivered a copy of the condo by-laws to the apartment. She flipped through the pages and within five minutes, she had dictated a letter to Glenn to deliver to Jeremy and Jake’s apartment. 
“They’re in breach of the by-laws,” Amanda croaked in triumph that evening. “They’re not allowed to drill beyond 2pm.” 
Saffy stared goggle-eyed. “You sent them a legal letter?”  
“I am ill!” 
Saffy says she daren’t tell Amanda she’s invited Jake and Jeremy for drinks this weekend. “You think she signed her name on that letter?” she just asked me.