It may have escaped your attention – perhaps because you’ve been too absorbed with your Pokemon Go – but the world is not a very nice place to be in right now. Especially if you’re famous. As Saffy pointed out the other day, if you’re famous, the probability of you dropping dead is exponentially higher in 2016.
“I’m so glad we’re nobodies,” she said the other day as she read the obituary of Queen Anne on her phone. We were in the doctor’s clinic waiting for Amanda’s name to be called. She’d awoken in the morning complaining of a headache, which Saffy immediately diagnosed as a potential brain tumour.
“Choy, where got such thing one?” Sharyn had said when she showed up at our flat with breakfast she’d da-baoed from Tiong Bahru Market.
“That’s how it all starts, Shazz,” Saffy said gloomily. “Look at Muhammad Ali!”
Sharyn blinked. “Why, what happened?”
Saffy gave Sharyn the kind of look my mother gave the waiter at Per Se in New York when he confessed he was a big fan of Donald Trump. “He’s dead!”
“But not from a headache, right?”
“You don’t know that,” Saffy told her. “We might be having a memorial for Amanda soon!”
“Aiyoh…” Sharyn moaned. “You are too much, lah, I tell you!”
But if it’s one thing that unites us all, it’s a firm belief that you can never take anything, least of all your health, for granted. Especially since that time Saffy thought she was having stomach cramps because it was, as she put it delicately to HR when she phoned in sick, “her moon cycle”, and it turned out she had a ruptured appendix.
A quick phone call later, and Amanda had an appointment with Dr Lee in the clinic across the road.
“Queen Anne?” Amanda asked. She reached for her iPhone and started tapping.
“Of Rumania,” Saffy confirmed, her bosom trembling with loyalist grief. “Seriously, they’re dropping like flies!”
“Ay, I ask you, Rumania is where, ah?”
Amanda looked up from her screen. “She was 92!”
“Still. This was the year her number was up! Like the UK and Brexit! And the next thing you know, Donald Trump will be president of the United States. I probably won’t be allowed over that wall he’s building either! This is such a messed up year! I seriously can’t wait for it to be over!”
“He’s building that wall along the border of Mexico, not Singapore,” Amanda pointed out.
“I don’t trust his geography,” Saffy said. “Remember that one time when we were in New York and every other person asked me if Singapore was in China?”
“Which is a good thing because China already has a wall!” Amanda said. The quip has us in stitches and we were still giggling when Amanda’s name was called and she disappeared into the doctor’s room.
While we waited, Saffy said it was incredible how much time we seemed to spend in doctors’ clinics and hospitals. “It’s just one thing after the other!” she said. I told her I didn’t think the Zika incident a few months ago should count.
“Hannor!” Sharyn piped up. “Most people get mosquito bite and at most they think, alamak, I have dengue, but you, ah, must so drama and tell everyone you have Zee-kah!”
Saffy was unrepentent. “Where do you think Patient Zeros come from?” she said stoutly. “Someone has to be the first victim!”
By the time Amanda eventually emerged from the doctor’s room, Saffy had managed to convince herself that there was every possibility she might actually have a misdiagnosed case of Zika. “You don’t know that!” she repeated while Sharyn rolled her eyes.
“What did the doctor say?” I asked Amanda.
She tossed her luxuriant hair and beamed. “He said it was either a pinched nerve in my neck or a hangover from the whiskey shots we had last night! Though he said it was probably a combination.”
“What kind of a diagnosis is that?” Saffy wanted to know.
“The more important thing is that he’s asked me out on a date!”
We all stopped dead in our tracks.
“Shut up,” Saffy commanded. “Dr Lee just asked you out?”
“Eeee!” Sharyn added.
“No, it wasn’t Dr Lee. He’s off sick. It was a new guy – Dr Chen. He went to Harvard and he’s super cute. I gave him my number.”
“I’m not sure that kind of behaviour is allowed,” Saffy said primly.
“Wah, you go see doctor can also get date,” Sharyn said with admiration. “Champion!”
“What? Cannot, meh?”
If you ask me, this is way more entertaining than Pokeman Go.