I don’t need to tell you that we’re living in a world turned upside down. It’s now no longer safe to even be on Facebook. I know this because that’s usually the first place I read that someone has died or something awful has happened. If it’s not poor Chekov, it’s some kid that gets dragged off by an alligator or a gorilla. And if it’s not Brexit, it’s Zika. And if’s not the season finale of Game of Thrones, it’s Andy Murray winning a tennis tournament. Seriously, the bad news just keeps coming.
And just to drive home the fact that nobody and nothing is safe from what I’m now calling the Curse of 2016, Amanda recently announced that she is constipated.
Of course, she had to bring up the subject over breakfast at our dining table.
I remember the moment. We were all on our respective tablets, ignoring each other like honest to goodness children born in a year beginning with ‘20’. I was reading all about Donald Trump’s plan to bring back torture, while Saffy was inspecting the abs on the new Tarzan.
Amanda looked up from her iPad and sighed dramatically. Saffy’s eyes swiveled up from her screen. “What’s the matter?”
Amanda sighed again, turning her head to the side to show off her lovely long neck. “I’m constipated,” she said in the same tone of voice a child might use to tell you she’s bored in the fifth minute of an 18-hour flight.
“But you’re always so…regular!” I pointed out, temporarily abandoning the Donald.
“I know, right? You could set the clock by my number twos!” Amanda pouted. “I just don’t know what it is. My diet hasn’t changed, mealtimes are still the same, so what gives?”
“How many days has it been now?” Saffy asked in a frosty tone. I glanced in her direction.
“This is day three. I’m feeling very bloated and heavy!”
“Uh huh.” Saffy’s lips disappeared into a thin disapproving line.
Amanda, clearly preoccupied by the stationary status of her lower intestinal tract, didn’t notice. Like a pregnant woman who’s a week past her due date, she heaved herself out of her chair and schluffed towards the bathroom. “Excuse me, but I need to go sit on the loo for a bit. Maybe something will happen. Gawd, I feel like a rock!”
The minute the bathroom door closed, Saffy leaned towards me over the table.
“Can you believe…”
“What is wrong…” I began.
“…that woman?” she hissed.
We paused, and waited for our sentences to catch up.
“Constipation?!” Saffy said, practically spitting out the syllables.
I was perplexed. “What about it?”
“Constipation is my thing! She couldn’t get her own illness, she had to steal mine?”
“You’re seriously crazy,” I told her. “You can’t steal someone’s illness!”
“She’s just doing this for attention!”
“You have got to get a grip on yourself!”
Saffy sniffed, clearly unimpressed by my conflict resolution skills.
Later that night, at dinner with Sharyn – Amanda having decided that in her current state, it hardly made any sense to eat more food and add to the blockage – it was all she could talk about.
“Aiyoh, like this you must also compete! You very free, issit?” Sharyn said. If she could have rolled her eyes any higher, we would have only been able to see the whites.
“I am not competing, but I’m known for my constipation!”
Saffy complained in much the same tone Louis Vuitton might use when suing a knock-off distributor in Shenzhen.
“Aiyah, poor thing, lah. It’s no joke, you know, when you cannot go toilet! I ever kena before. Wah, I tell you, can die, ah. My mudder-in-law, she so bad, she stand outside the toilet and tell me I should drink more water!”
Saffy gave her best friend an icy look. “That’s would be really fascinating, Sharyn if we were talking about your hurt feelings, but you really need to focus on me!”
Sharyn, long immune to Saffy’s barbs, shrugged.
Just then, our phones all pinged at once. Saffy tapped her screen and read. “It’s from Amanda…‘I took a laxative and it’s all out!’ Smiley face…”
“Aiyah, good lah! Now, you can have your constipation all to yourself again!”
Saffy pursed her lips. “Yes, but I hope she’s not going to make this a habit! She’s tall, rich, thin, gorgeous and a lawyer whilst I, on the other hand, have so few USPs of my own.”
“I love how you think having constipation is actually an interesting character trait!” I told her.
“Hannor!” Sharyn said.