Monday, December 6, 2010
Due to popular demand (a.k.a mild interest by RD), I’ve decided to elaborate on my spa incident.
It amazes even me how I can manage to squeeze out utter self-humiliation at the inopportune moments. Doubtless you are dying to know what the latest fiasco was. Your wish is my command.
As you know, I turned older a few days ago. Not something I am proud of and a process that I promise I will have a chat with the Gods about on all middle aged women’s' behalf. Or should that be 'behalves'? Never did quite figure that one out.
My boyfriend, knowing quite well by now how much wrath would be unleashed on him if he didn't make me feel as pampered as possible on the momentous occasion of my birthday, did justice to his role of sensitive, considerate male and booked me a session at a leading spa in town for a full body massage. He's a perceptive fellow, my boy. Always knows what a woman wants, to the point that I should be worried about closet homosexuality. But I'm not. I've seen the way he pales and shrinks away when gay guys make passes at him. It's smirk-worthy, really. Even men like my boy. Hurrah.
Digression is a sign of the ageing mind. Bear with me.
So, armed to the teeth with enthusiasm, the boy and I took to the spa. I insisted he come and sit outside like a good chaperone, lest I was uncomfortable with any of the procedures. One never knows, especially when one has never HAD a full body massage before. Like the good chap he is, he didn't protest (it was my birthday, so he wasn't allowed to anyway) and came with a book that would help him look learned rather than bored out of his mind.
A charming young lady with a flower in her hair (all part of the spa look) escorted me to a room with a massage bed and closed the door, almost sinisterly. I began feeling nervous. What if she took a hot rock to my head?
She merely passed me a packeted face towel. One of those rolled up tissuey thingies wrapped in plastic that you get on planes. I whipped it out of the polythene wrapping and began dabbing my face with it, still rolled up. It was neither moist nor warm. Just tissue. Perhaps then, I mused, it was just a paper napkin to wipe off any excess oil on my face. I rubbed harden along the ridges of my nose. I noticed the girl staring at me so I stopped to inquire why.
"You need to wear that, ma’am" she said, ever so politely.
Wear? I inspected the roll in my hands. Ahhh... there it was... a little rubber hemline. It was a SHOWER CAP, I realized They must want me to cover my hair so as to protect it from any balms or oils they'd be using. Without giving much further thought to the matter, I quickly strapped the gathered opening of the cap around my head.
Now the woman was laughing at me. Was she insane? I frowned at her. Surely, spa people should behave better. In between sniggering hiccups she informed me, "ma'am... that's a panty. You wear it on your body."
I stared at her, feeling blood, pus and horror seeping into my face. I slowly took of the shower cap, and lo and behold, there was paper underwear in my hand.
I mustered up dignity and gave the girl a baleful look. In case she didn't realize, I coldly informed her, I was a decent person. I was already WEARING underwear. Really... did she think I walked around commando?
She didn't look apologetic enough. Rather, she explained to me that the paper-wear was a way to protect my actual underwear from the massage oils.
To add insult to injured ego, she amusedly asked me if I had ever BEEN to a spa before. Godayata magic moment. I hoped my withering glare was enough to silence her. She left the room still giggling as I undressed, put on the wretched tissue over my under garments and hastily covered myself up in the large towel provided so that she couldn't catch a peek at my wobbly bits. After a certain age, you don't want to be showing your tum and bum off to anyone. Not even spa girls who snigger at you.
I poked my head into the convenient hole in the massage bed and pretended to be asleep when the woman returned.
To her credit, I must say the massage itself was heavenly. I couldn't help but forget my embarrassment with the panty episode and sink into the sheer bliss of the experience. That is, until I managed my next faux pa.
I'd eaten some birthday achcharu just before coming to the spa, you see (That's spicy pickle for you foreigners out there). By default achcharu gives me gas. Perhaps I should have thought twice before I ate a whole bowl. In my defense, how was I to KNOW this woman would start kneading my stomach and kidneys like dough??
Do I need to spell out what happened? I'm sure you would have figured it out by now.
Let’s just say that post tummy kneading moment, I was redder in the face than the burgundy towel she’d wrapped me in, and she was choking for fresh air. This situation needed PR. I did what any person of decent breeding would do. I continued to pretend I was sleeping, whilst calling my boyfriend all sorts of names in my mind for ever thinking of a spa voucher as a birthday gift. He should have known better. I silently swore to make him pay.
The girl didn’t touch my stomach after that. Every time I felt her fingers get close, they would hesitate and quickly scuttle back to my legs or arms. Half an hour later she was done and I was almost ready to forget the whole flatulence episode and give a good tip for such heavenly service when she carried in a tray of tea and pointed to the moist face towel rolled on it and said ‘THAT’s for your face’ with a bad attempt at hiding a snigger.
I left with my head held high and a snooty look on my face to let them know that I, their discerning customer, was not the least bit affected by all this.
Although I don’t know if they noticed, given that I was running too fast.
According to those counsellor and therapist fellows who have nothing better to do than listen to other peoples' problems, writing down your issues apparently helps you release steam and gives your heart a chance at not going into cardiac arrest. Lets see if their theory works....
I have issues...
...with people not willing to accept that humans are NOT the masters of the universe. What goes around comes around. Each and every one of us will pay for our actions in some form or the other. The sooner the better.
...with the fact that I seem to be the only one who's seeing the direct co-relation between certain dire situations happening to people I know and some questionable decisions they've made in recent times. I'm not a conspiracy or paranormal theorist, but there are forces at work that humankind will never fathom and it pisses me off that no one can see or understand that.
...with people who see animals suffering or neglected and turn the other way, just because it's 'not their problem'. You wait until the day YOU suffer. I hope you all get eaten alive as the world passes by without giving a hoot.
...with three people with whom I work. I call them the 3 B's; the Bully, the Blonde and the complete Bitch. Usually I'm all up for a challenge, but these three just ruin the day for everyone in office.
... with complacency and laziness. Call it my Monica complex, but it peeves me to see people slacking off and not making any efforts to improve themselves.
... with people not willing to display affection towards those they supposedly love.
... with the government. But then again, who doesn't?
...with the fact that my life seems to be going nowhere. I once had plans and shitloads of dreams for where I'd be at this stage of my life. I should have been travelling the world by now. I should have been running my own company. I should have been managing an aninmal shelter. I should have been famous. What the fuck happened???
... with parents who just don't know when to let go.
... with trishaw drivers who think they're buse drivers, bus drivers who think they're trishaw drivers and motorcyclists who think they're God's gift to road systems.
... with people wanting more babies. For fuck's sake grow up and look at the bigger picture. This planet doesn't NEED any more humans! you're not doing anyone or anything a service by adding another one into the population problem.
... with China. They need to get their heads screwed on right.
Lemme check my heart rate...
Yep. Still ticking.
To you who simpers about human suffering-
Look around you. Take stock of everything we, the humans, have done. We've spent the better part of every millennium of our existence destroying everything around us and causing the earth to suffer. We've made sure to place our dirty, corrupted, rotten thumbprint on every square inch of this beautiful planet and inflict pain and suffering on everything that breathes. We've done everything we can to push nature into utter devastation.
And you're COMPLAINING that the God and the universe are fighting back?
I could have meant that in many ways, but alas, much to your dismay, I meant soaked by rain. Stop getting so excited.
This weather is a right royal moody bastard and there's no telling what it wants to do next. Do you suppose the Gods get a sadistic pleasure out of watching me get drenched to the bone on the one day I wear my brand new jeans and classy high heels to work? I don't even know why I did that...just felt sex and the city-ish this morning and decided on turning some heads. Well, ok... it didn't turn any heads... but my dog looked mildly interested, but only because he wanted to chew on the shoes.
Either way, there's nothing left to look at, thanks to the heavenly watering can.
So much has happened since I wrote last and yet life remains the same. The more time goes by, the more I'm starting to hate my job. Not the actual work or the industry... just the place I work for and the systems therein. Certain cretins in management, blondes in control of the workflow, political finger-pointing and mediocre attitudes have all accumulated to making it one bad deal for me, so much so that I've given up heaps of my normal life (including updating this blog regularly) just to manage the ridiculous state of affairs. Next year, I'm going to get out of here if nothing's changed for the better.
That's your cue to offer me a paying job - you who runs an animal welfare organization or an advertising firm. You who runs a bank are also welcome to offer me lots of money.
In the meantime, let me give you the quickfire low-down on life as I know it. Just in case you're interested.
I had another birthday. Yay. Not. Amongst all the lovely things he did for me, my long-suffering boyfriend gifted me a posh spa voucher for a full body ritual. Big mistake. I can now proudly say that I have farted in the face of a perplexed masseuse as she pressed my stomach. Beware, all ye other spas I may enter in future.
Hopped over to Singapore for a workshop/festival thingamy. I love Singapore. I could live at the zoo. My mother would agree with me.
I went to India on work. Except for the work bit, it wasn't too bad, considering it was the better part of Mumbai and there was much shopping and good eating to be done. Needless to say I managed to make my presence felt and nearly got thrown out of my hotel for wanting to shelter street dogs from Diwali fireworks.
I visited Malaysia on an all-too-short holiday. Quite the adventure. Especially the bit where the hotel fire alarm went off at 2 am and I ran down the fire exit amongst a sea of shrieking Chinese schoolgirls who were sharing my floor (they can be EXTREMELY loud), only to be informed that the hotel was fogging for mozzies. Apart from that, it was two tiring-but-exhilarating days of theme park rides, ice skating, shopping, eating and learning to master the monorail system.
I kidnapped 8 puppies from a plot of serpent-infested land I found them in. Five of them went to excellent homes. Three of them continue to give my cats headaches. Want one?
I lost a few. Pounds as well as brain cells. La la la. Come Christmas, it'll all be back.
I know, I know.... this post ain't funny or interesting. I can do better.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I am shameless that way.
Ironic, that my last post has a title well worthy of today. Do you suppose it's some accumulated psychic ability; to know that I would not be posting after the 29th July and the next one would be on my birthday, therefore the post would have a title directly reflecting the next post to come?
Of course I'm not making any sense, you twat. I'm OLD now. So I'm just going to say what everyone feels but no one has the balls to say when they reach any birthday beyond 25... FUCK the human body clock!
Phoo. That felt good. I've been depressed ever since I performed a massive bat-wing flap session at the mirror this morning. Even the cat was frightened.
Now, given that I am 31 and therefore old enough to pontificate at you, I thought I'd take this opportunity to pass on pearls of wisdom collected over the last 31 years, just in case you're stupider than I am and could learn a few things from my advice.
Thus, without further ado (what exactly IS 'ado'??), I give you my list of
31 Lessons in Life.
Thought that was a grand title. Not too pompous sounding and not to poety... just right to get the general gist across.
Ok. Over the last 31 years I have learned that....
- Every moment of your life is precious, in that it will bring you sufficient popularity as the village retard when you reminisce at dinner parties later on.
- Cellulite will come. If you are over 30 and possess that unbelievably hot, toned body that hasn't even heard of flab ("fla-who??"), then it's because some plastic surgeon out there helped you. Don't think I don't know.
- You cannot put your hand into your pants intending to pull out an ant on your inner thigh, without being seen and thereafter labeled as a pervert.
- Fairy tales don't and won't exist unless you nag them to.
- If you're born a female in South Asia, then your whole life will be a lost cause.
- You aren't as sexy as you or your pets think you are. The skin-tight pants are a mistake.
- The perfect man is, in fact, quite gay. There's a close second but he's taken. By me. Smirk.
- You should NEVER eat your own poop. Even if you're just 2.
- That bull your mother fed you in your tweens about sex being the gateway to hell is nothing but a tactical covert mission to give you and future partners a serious complex for life.
- You will become your mother sooner than you think.
- There is no life worth living without animals.
- No matter how much and for how long you assert your femininity to the world, someone will always send you an email begging you to buy Viagra.
- The Viagra they sell online is fake.
- People don't like women with a mind of their own. But who cares?
- No matter how much you love your job or how good you are doing it, there's someone out there who wants to screw you over.
- If you build it, they will come. Never mind that it's a bunch of termites.
- Asking your hairdresser to decide will be your biggest mistake yet.
- The grass IS, in fact, greener on the other side.
- There are people out there who will actually read your blog.
- Industrial glue is not to be toyed with and should never be used as a facial product.
- Farts tend to announce themselves at the most inopportune times. Often in front of top-calibre people you're trying to impress.
- Somewhere out there is someone who is sniggering at your sorry ass.
- Diamonds are not a girl's best friend. A cat is.
- I am not normal by social definition and that's ok.
- Puke green is no-one's colour.
- When you try to think of 31 lessons you've learnt in life, you will struggle by the time you hit 25 and realize you've learnt nothing.
- The best way to mask you rage or sorrow is with a joke, a sarcastic comment or murder.
- Women really CAN'T be understood. Who'd have thunk.
- The toilet roll will always be over only when you go to the loo.
- Green hair dye is for the mentally challenged.
- The dog understands you more than most people do.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Now there are plenty of reasons why my tresses would whiten, given the way of the world around me. It could have been caused by a number of things, ranging from my mother's latest snoop session in my room to the sight of Duminda Silva. I have also been known to drop a few strands every time I receive a new brief from a particularly shitty client of mine.
But yesterday was entirely different.
It all began with the phone ringing a few days ago. I received a call last Tuesday from a guy I'd worked with way back when he was a youngster with a handycam, looking for cheap work in video editing. I vaguely recall having given him headaches over an AV edit five years ago, and I honestly thought he'd never speak to me again. It turned out he's now a young director of sorts and had an acting job for me. How worms turn.
"Hi", he says with the typically glib I've-made-it-in-life-and-you're-not-my-client-anymore tone of voice. "I'm doing a short film for a really big, important client and we've thought of you as our lead actress.”
At this point I'm preening like a poodle on the other end of the phone. I love it when directors grovel at my feet, begging for my talent and participation in their work. This call would count for a total of two times that such a thing has happened. The last one was for my 12-year old cousin's class project. Next step, Hollywood.
"Ummm... I'm not sure... I need to check my schedule...", I say, careful not to give away my eagerness and play it cool. Like Nicole Kidman would. I’ll bet you anything she doesn’t have a schedule either. He begs a little, which pleases me immensely. I ho and hum through the praise he is showering on me and then make little modest giggly sounds when he claims I would be perfect for the role. Giggly sounds are good when trying to act uninterested but still keeping the carrot dangling.
I decide to be magnanimous." Alright. For you, ok. I'll be in your film." I consent like a queen. Nicole would have done it that way. "What's the film about?" By now I'm seeing myself draped in finery, smokily swaying into a room full of adoring men who stop and stare at my entrance. One might even drop a glass of whiskey out of sheer admiration. I can visualize the drama and aplomb with which I will deliver my lines and render my audience speechless with my magnificent screen presence. I am so blown away by my excellence in the day dream that I take almost two minutes of silence to digest what Director boy has just said in the meantime.
"It's about ageing" he explains. "We need a woman who can be an old granny."
If he hadn't continued to beg, I'd have slammed the phone down so hard it would have rendered him deaf for at least three years. I could have sworn I heard him wrong.
"I BEG your pardon??!?" Temperature rising. Palpitations. Sweat. Nostrils flaring. Was I having a stroke?
The director formerly known as my friend chirped on happily. "You need to age on film. We're looking for a good Aachchi." Noticing my silence and realizing he may have just lost the deal he hurriedly added, "And they'll pay you. Plus can we use your boyfriend too? He could play your husband."
Ok. That's different. There's money in it and I'm broke enough to be old for a buck. Having the Doc around to suffer the same humiliation was also a plus point. I could also then cross out June on my ‘weird couple things to do’ calendar. I took a pause. A pregnant one, because that's what we actresses do at times like this, and then said 'ok' in a not-so-pleased way. I let the irritation linger in my voice so that he knew just exactly how much I liked the idea of being told I suited the character of an 80 year old. I quoted my fee and he rang off, happy that he’d clinched the deal.
A day later he called back to tell me that his client felt that my boyfriend didn’t seem right for the aged husband, so could he play the role of a young photographer instead.
I spluttered, frothed and took a good day before revealing that point to Doc. Luckily for Doc’s well--being, he’s been around for long enough to know that hooting in victory and jeering at me would have cost him dearly. So he stayed quiet and supportive, occasionally coughing politely while I ranted and raved at him for looking younger. He’ll make an excellent diplomat, that boy. I think G.L. Peiris should step down and hand things over to Doc.
And that’s how I ended up at a production studio last evening with my hair grayed. In retrospect, it wasn’t as bad as I’d foreseen. I even found myself enjoying the whole shenanigan. The make-up artist was a real wizard, and by the time he’d finished with me even I couldn’t recognize the face in the mirror. He used wax plastic and texture to create bags and wrinkles. I looked a typical kooky old bat – the kind you find squatting and muttering to themselves on street corners in Fort. He’d even aged my TEETH, dammit. Some odd tasting varnish made it look like I had a load of gunky plaque on severely yellowed aging teeth. My hair was whitened from root to tip and parted in the middle into a granny bun. It was kinda sorta beautiful, if you consider butt-ugly wrinkled old women beautiful. By the time they'd dressed me in an ancient Kandyan Sari costume, I’d thrown myself into the role completely and had a whale of a time hobbling around the studio and wheezing at the production crew, who couldn’t stop laughing at the transformation.
They’d made Doc up to look older too, since the script called for the ‘photographer’ to grow old alongside his model (me). Unlike my new look, his actually SUITED him. If there’s anything that can piss a girl off more than being told she fits the role of a geriatric, it’s that her boyfriend can actually end up hotter in old-person make up while she just reeks of Quasimodo. I put it down to the chauvinist in the make-up guy…. Doc looked far too good.
And so we shot the film. I put on my best attempt at walking with a hunch and arthritic difficulty. I squinted through the enormous glasses they made me wear and gave my hands a shiver. I guess I must have been a natural, coz someone’s kid who turned up in the room started referring to me as ‘that aachchi’. Aside from making mental notes to kill the kid on my way out, it was fun.
Somewhere towards the 14th hour of shooting, I was struck with an epiphany. Whilst watching a playback of a take of us - me the horrible wrinkly witch and Doc looking like a sexy French aristocrat – I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. I think it happens when you get that old. The scene in front of me was disconcertingly, dare I say it, nice. Watching ourselves standing side by side, old and feeble as hell, smiling at each other. At one point I witnessed myself touching his face fondly and him nodding sagely at me with an adorable smile. We looked comfortable. We looked old and demented, but super cute together. An ‘awe’ moment.
I fleetingly wondered what it would be like if we REALLY did end up together at that age. It didn’t seem as frightening a thought as I’ve previously considered being. Heck, the man even looked GOOD in white hair. I could tap that. Suddenly I felt the fierce need for us to grow old together. I wanted to be with him at the stage when I’m sagging everywhere. I smiled at Doc who was watching the monitor beside me and I took a deep breath, pushed my inner feminist aside and choked out, “will you still love me when I’m that old?”
He looked momentarily startled. It's rare for me to so openly endorse the idea of a lifetime commitment. He took a sharp breath in, undoubtedly moved. “Hell no!” he shuddered. “Yuck!”
And that’s why I love Doc. Coz I know he meant the exact the opposite, even though he did refuse to kiss me goodnight on account of my yellow plaque-filled teeth.
Now I can’t wait till my hair turns grey again. This time for real.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Look. Look at this.
This is what some heartless demon dumped into a drain on the street. No, it's not a couple of rats. It's kittens. Of the soon-to-be-fluffy-and-cute kind. They must be about a week old, because they haven't even opened their eyes yet.
I hope... no, I PRAY and WILL that whoever threw them into the muddy ditch I found them in last night, lives the rest of his/her life in horrible and continuous agony and when it finally kills the bastard, he goes straight to hell for some more torture. It's what I wish on every fucker out there who can't make the slightest effort to find humane solutions to help babies that they can't care for.
Meanwhile, back at my place, I am trying to keep my dog off them as well as convince the excited resident house cats that no, Mommy has NOT brought them live rats for supper. So far, I've been a little successful by feeding the kittens infant formula through a syringe. I figure if God intended for these two to die of starvation, cold or a passing street dog, then I would have never found them and you would not be reading this. But I have neither the time, space nor resources to care for these two angels, given they're still of suckling age and need full-time attention to help them survive the next three weeks.
I am HOPING someone who sees this post will take enough notice and have the heart to be a hero, or at the very least pass the SOS on to someone else who can help.
So... what's it gonna be? Read and forget, or help them find a home? Your choice.
The kittens and I thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon.
P.S. - Think of all those karma points you score if you do decide to take a moment to care and make some calls. Please?
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I could have meant that in many ways, but alas, much to your dismay, I meant soaked by rain. Stop getting so excited.
This weather is a right royal moody bastard and there's no telling what it wants to do next. Do you suppose the Gods get a sadistic pleasure out of watching me get drenched to the bone on the one day I wear my brand new jeans and classy high heels to work? I don't even know why I did that...just felt sex and the city-ish this morning and decided on turning some heads. Well, ok... I didn't turn any heads... but my dog looked mildly interested. It doesn't matter that it was only because he wanted to chew on the shoes.
Either way, there's nothing left to look at anymore, thanks to God and the heavenly watering can.
Oh well... life is damp anyway, so I might as well appreciate the irony of it all. I'm this close to handing in my resignation at work. The only thing keeping me from doing it is that I have still to come up with a dramatic enough way of doing it. Letters of notice and meek discussions with the management is not my style, you see. If I'm leaving, then I must leave them trembling and afraid to hire anyone else. I did that once before. I kid you not.
My first job at a financial company (Yes, reader, this bimbo can number-crunch) ended a few months into the stint with me marching up to the departmental manager and loudly claiming 'I quit' for reasons unknown to anyone (least of all me) and then before he could say anything, walking around the place saying good bye to everyone before packing my belongings and some extra office stationary into a box and sweeping out in grand style. It's how they did it on Ally McBeal and the show was all I had as a point of reference. In hindsight perhaps I should have followed the normal process, considering that the Company later threatened to take me to courts if I didn't. I also had to return the stationery. To this day they haven't noticed that when it was handed back, there was a stapler missing. Muahahaha.
In my defense, how was I to KNOW that dramatic exits weren't normal? My life would be meaningless if not for the paranormal behaviour. If I didn't have an episode on a daily basis, I'd be dead of boredom by now.
Just the other day I managed to outdo myself with the mother of all embarrassing moments. All because of an ant.
It had gotten into my denims, you see. Something to do with the chocolate wrapper that'd been resting on my clothes rack. Anyway, the ant had managed to wiggle it's way in and be worn by me. On my way to office, it started to express its alarm. I've encountered these things before and sometimes I like to test my ability to bear pain and itchiness so I ignored the stingy bites on my inner thigh until I got into the office elevator. At that point it got to me, and figuring that the ancient contraption they call a lift usually takes a good 5 minutes to get up to my floor, I decided to shove my hand into the front of my jeans and take the little guy out.
If I had been male, that last sentence would have landed me in prison.
As luck would have it, my bracelet managed to snag itself into the inner lining of my pants, rendering my hand un-extractable. And because the universe and I have that special understanding going, the elevator stopped and the door started opening. I tugged and pulled with all my might, but to no avail.
I had never gone red over any of my situations before this one. What was even redder was the face of the man standing on the other side of the lift, taking in the vision of me standing in front of him with my hand down my pants, jiggling it up and down. He coughed nervously, wondering whether to step in or not. I, in my supreme ability to react at lightening speed, turned around slowly and faced the wall and continued trying to pull my hand out. We continued upwards.
Once we reached my floor, he turned and looked at me strangely and said "There are easier ways to keep your job, you know."
"Thanks", I muttered, as my boss stepped off the elevator in fits of laughter.
Why is why I have to be extra explosive with my resignation, you see.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
So your boyfriend's got a milestone birthday coming up and you want to do something spectacular. Not only because you're a true girl and you want to guilt him into doing something spectacular for YOUR birthday in return, but also because you love him somewhere beneath all that self-servitude. Welcome, one and all, to the girlfriend's guide to surprise parties. I have a gem of wisdom to share with anyone out there planning to plan a party for anyone else- Don't.
You will thank me later.
Should you still feel the need to ignore my well-meant advice and proceed to go ahead and do it anyway, here are some golden rules to abide by:
Rule No.1 - Choose your Wingman Wisely.
Because your boss just might deliver you with the news that he's sending you abroad on the same day that your man turns a year older, and because you just might not be able to pull off that awesome spectacle you're planning in your head all by yourself, you will need assistance and representation. Someone to man the do in your absence. Make sure you go through the list of possible servants - there are his closest friends and there is his family. His friends are all men without a clue, whose idea of a good party is a crate of beer and a cheap stripper. This makes the choice of delegating party responsibility seem all the more easier, whereby you will be moved to choose his Sister-in-law.
Please note, excited sisters-in-law (S.I.L for ease's sake) have a knack for calling you at the most inopportune moments in the day. And because it is a revered member of his family, you will be under obligation to be nice and listen to it all, despite your Board of Directors coughing politely in front of you, waiting for you to finish your presentation. Yes, you want enthusiasm and proactive contribution, but a S.I.L can have too much of both, lovely as she is. Be prepared to occassionally see merit in that crate of beers and stripper at times like this.
Rule No.2 - Don't Guess the Guestlist
Try to be good about remembering who this party is meant for when inviting people. You will toy with the idea of having all your own homies there, mainly to show off what a cool girlfriend you are and thereafter guilt your man into showing you his gratitude and making you look good. It's all about you, you see. But do pause for a second in between fantasy and realize that you are not dating Chandler from Friends and your other half will not love a party full of intellectual girls and closeted gay men, much as you wish he would. Besides, you're not rich enough to call everyone over. Once this revelation has hit you, you will then proceed to sort, sift and carefully pinch out only his closest compadres and very immediate family. You will nicely work out your budget, cast the guest list in stone and then, BAM... S.I.L will invite others. Rest assured, you will thereafter gnash your teeth to a pulp as she calls you the very next day to solemnly inform you that she sat up all night calling someone ELSE in the family, extended and otherwise, because really, you just CAN'T have a party without inviting them. You'd hurt their feelings, you see. SO now you have Aunty A, Aunty B, C, D and Cousins E- L being added onto the guest list.
At this point, it is your prerogative to tell nicety and obligation to go and take a hike where the sun don't shine and put your foot down. Eager as she is, the lovely S.I.L. must be told to IMMEDIATELY retract the invitations, because you cannot afford to pay or have to explain it to your dearly beloved. Be warned - she will be hurt. There will be moments of accusatory silence on the other end of the phone. Stay the course. Tell her you will NOT include anyone he isn't intoxicated by, and that is a decision you are taking as executive planner and owner of the idea. Eventually, she will understand, or at the very least Brother-in-law will step in and make her understand. Yes, ladies... some men do have their strong points.
When inviting his closest friends for the party, you will suddenly discover that in the last 5 years of your relationship, you've never even met some of them. Don't bother wondering why this is and questioning his interest in seriously making you a part of his life. The simple truth is that had he introduced you to them, he'd have lost them.
Rule no.3 - Go Lean
Once you've settled on the invitees and the date, your next step would be to think of decor. How does one come up with a suitable theme for an adult male's birthday? Check your list of ideas. Reconsider the 'fairyland' idea sprouting in your oestrogen-filled mind. Consider that he just might not like to wear that tutu with wings, cute as you think he'd look in it. If you are still keen on creating wonderland, call his best friend and ask him what he thinks of a purple butterfly cake with pink fairy lights and listen to what he has to say. You may not understand some of the words he uses because your mother raised you proper, but that's alright. You'll get his drift. Feel free to spend a few moments questioning men in general and wondering WHY they don't like fluffy bunny rabbits dressed in ribbons. It would have looked AWESOME. Take some time to sigh to yourself and try thinking like a man. You will become very bored very fast, but at least this will help you settle on the fact that men have no sense of art or imagination and therefore the best theme would be no theme. Decide to keep it simple and no nonsense, because that's what your Cosmo magazine says men like. I agree... the tutu would have really been a nice touch, but you might be single afterward.
Now that you've decided on minimal decoration, call your assistant and let her know. Remember that at this juncture, she needs you. She'd been harboring all sorts of magic hopes and dreams about the most fabulous extravaganza ever, and you just dashed her hopes. Give each other solace and move on. Pat yourself on the back for understanding your boyfriend's needs and be satisfied that you are doing the right thing. Don't dwell on your high too much though, because S.I.L WILL call you within the day in a state of glee because she's 'bought the balloons'. There's no point in wondering if she heard your point about no decor at all... she didn't.
Rule No. 4 - Be sure of your Venue & Menu
By now you have begun to think leaving it all to S.I.L could end badly. This is why, despite her best efforts to convince you of the way to go, YOU must be the sole decider of where the hallowed event should take place and what you will serve. A winner would be the boyfriend's favourite haunt, you think. Like the seedy beach cafe he frequents with his buddies, to guzzle down beer and think of strippers. Fight S.I.L tooth and nail until she gives in to your location and informs her friend at a five-star hotel that you will not be having the party there after all. More pouts will ensue. Ignore them. You will THINK you won the battle this time, until the place you chose screws you over big time when the party's over, and you end up eating humble pie. Lots of it. You should have listened to S.I.L.
Speaking of eating, selecting a menu for a boy's birthday ain't that hot either. You will be torn over whether to choose the asparagus rolls or the teacakes. That is, until you remind yourself once more about whom this party is for and end up going for something as crude as a Kottu. You will snarl to yourself that this party is not turning out to your liking at all, so he had better appreciate it and treat you big time afterwards.
Rule No. 5 - Forget the Surprise
Understand that men just have a knack for ruining your plans. So do Sisters-in-law. There is absolutely no point in spending hours at drawing up conniving schemes to get him to the venue without a clue, because your assistant who is meant to casually invite him to dinner so that he comes unawares, will make that dinner into such a huge deal and call him at LEAST three times, WEEKS before the 'casual' dinner to make sure he comes on 'time' and not before. So much so that he will smell not only a rat but what that rat's eaten for breakfast too. On the big day, feel proud that you, on the other hand, managed to keep the secret this long and not look like you were sucking lemons in an attempt to keep a nonchalant face every time you met him. We're girls, dahling. Everyone know that us keeping a secret for more than 2 minutes is a feat worthy of a Nobel prize. Feel free to take the whole covert operation overboard by doing things to conivnce him that you AREN'T throwing him a surprise party, even though he hasn't asked. Park outside his house and set up camp till the clock strikes 12 so that you can wish him. That way, whatever S.I.L has done to give the game away, he'll never know you were in on it. To further disguise that you're cooking up something grand, gift him something as gross as socks and be apologetic about it. Be prepared to feel perplexed for a while as he claims in absolute sincere delight when he sees said socks and tells you he's really needed them. After 5 years you still do not know this man. The socks actually excite him. Perhaps you should have thought of socks as your party theme.
Pretend to know nothing about S.I.L's casual dinner invitation and hmm and haw enough to fool him into thinking that perhaps there's nothing going on after all.
All this effort to cover things up, you will soon find out, is a complete waste of your time. Remember to take your heart medication along with you for the party, because you will receive calls on your way to the venue from your boyfriend's friends, who will ask you 'why there are f***ing balloons eveywhere'. Don't bother explaining things to them or to yourself. You will also discreetly sms S.I.L (who is at the location) and ask her to kindly request everyone to hide their cars, lest the birthday boy sees them. Of course this means that when you DO get to the venue, the most conspicuous of family vehicles will be parked RIGHT in the center of the car park because that's the best hiding place they could think of. Also, when you step out of the vehicle trying hard to keep boyfriend from questioning it too much, the security guard will come up and tell him there's a birthday party going on.
Just be glad that he's sweet enough to act surprised when they all jump out an scream. At this point, also wonder why you jumped when they shouted, and peed a little in your pants from the shock.
Rule No. 6 - Prepare to be wrong.
So it didn't turn out as planned. At all. But once you're at the party, you'll be surprised yourself at how much work S.I.L has put into making the place look nice. You'll need some serious repenting at this point... while you had put her down as a nightmare, she turned out something rather decent and ended up being your saviour for the night. The balloons actually look quite good. So do the creative little table pieces she's whipped up. And really, when you think about it, she's actually been a total sweetheart throughout the process. Here's where you eat your first slice of humble pie and thank the gods for S.I.L. Your second slice is swallowed whole when the seedy beach bar hands you a bill twice as much as what you previously agreed on, and you spend the rest of the night arguing loudly over who ate what.
Ah well... at least you had the party.
Rule. No. 7 - Try not to throw a party ever again.
That is, unless it's to celebrate how cool a person YOU are.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Reality check, people. My life sucks too. On so many different levels it's not even funny. Sitting there and chewing the cud about it ain't gonna make it any less sucky, hokay? Trust me on this one. You gotta adopt a strategy. I, in my infinite wisdom, do hereby offer you a list of options as to how to un-suck your world.
- Get a psychiatrist. Especially those of you dealing with home parental issues. If you're Sri Lankan, then give up hope for change now, unless you're willing to commit a murder of sorts. Or suicide, which is favoured by the greater populace. If death is not something that appeals to you, then go find a greedy shrink who will spend as much time as you want listening to you whine. It will be costly, yes. But you get to complain your depressed little heart out until you've drained yourself of your negativity.
- Run away. Always a good thing. Perhaps the whole problem is that you're way too cacooned in your little comfort zone that everything seems bigger than it really is. Run away and pretend you're the host of a Lonely Planet show, travelling off the beaten path. The street life can give you a little perspective. Of course, none of your problems will be solved, but at least you have something new to complain about instead of the same old shit.
- Fight. Maybe that's why it's the bitches who make it in office (case in point). Big mouths can sometimes make a big difference. Don't like the way things are done around the workplace? Badger the management into submitting to your whims. You have nothing to lose except a job you didn't like anyway.
- Live in denial. Some of us are experts at this. Ignore the issue in the conviction that when you wake up, it will have gone away. At the very least, you'll be oodles of entertainment for the rest of us looking to feel sorry for someone.
- Get thee to a nunnery. Or at the very least, a church or temple and start praying. You'll figure out soon enough that with all the time you dedicated so passionately towards focusing on your problems, you forgot how to put your palms together and invoke higher authority. Don't worry. God's not gonna tell on you.
- Get yourself some perspective. Global warming is at an all time high. The tiger and blue whale are almost extinct. Another earthquake just added itself to the growing list of natural disasters performing live this week. Three little puppies were born down my street in a garbage dump and are dying of the heat. All we've got to show for politicians are a bunch of thugs and imbeciles. And you think YOU'VE got problems.
- Internalize. Don't bother talking about your issues. Keep them to yourself, convince yourself that they're THAT bad and obsess over them daily to the point of them throwing you off the deep end. Once you're mental, everything will be nice and happy again.
- Drink. Always a treat, except for the guy who's taking you home with his lap full of your puke. For best results, become so friggin' alcoholic that your problems never get a word in edgewise coz you're permanently too drunk to give a shit.
- Suck it up. Understand that shit happens, and not just to you. Part and parcel of the process, coz if shit never happened, you'd never appreciate the good times. So shut up and put up.
- Get yourself an outlet. Write. Sing. Draw. Dance. Poo. Whatever relaxes you and takes your mind off your shit long enough to charge your batteries and give you the sanity to deal better. Just do it.
Or here's a crazy idea....
- Change your mind. The only person your life is sucky to is you. How can sucky be sucky if you don't think it's sucky? I know I made sense in that statement, somewhere.
This morning I hit one of my all time lowest on the depression scale. (The last time that happened I went to Sumithrayo and spread my misery to the befrienders there.) A combination of heat, hormones, frustration at work and irritation at home sent me swinging off the charts on stress and pressure levels to the point where I seriously considered jumping off the six-storey building I work in.
So I did the next best thing. I went into the ladies' loo and sang 'Little Peter Rabbit'. WIth the actions. Then I came out and took my shitty day by the horns and threw it off the roof instead, with a little help from some awesome choc-biscuit pudding drowned in brandy.
With that one move I discovered that my life doesn't, won't and can't suck as long as I'm in control.
As of now, guess who's much happier than you are? Ngyah ngyah ngyah.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The Doc and I were doing that sad thing that newly-formed Sri Lankan couples do... holding hands and loitering around a shopping mall like lovesick puppies. The height of cheesy.
Suddenly he turned to me and dropped the bomb.
"My mum might come here now with my sister-in-law. You wanna meet her?"
WTF? We'd been dating for, what, a few weeks? Where did the 'meet-my-mum' come from? Why was she coming to THIS mall? Was she stalking us? As far as I was concerned, I didn't DO socializing with parents. But how to tell our man that? He'd leave me and all. From my previous fling with a typical momma's boy, I knew enough to realize that good stead with mothers meant good stead with their sons. So I'd have to bite the bullet and meet this one if I wanted the relationship to last a while more.
I wasn't even dressed for the occasion. I hadn't rehearsed any 'hello aunty, I'm the best thing that's happened to your son' speech. My hair was a mess. My shoes were not classy enough.I had holes in my undies. I knew nothing of her. What did she know about me?
This wasn't happening. No. Really. I wasn't going to let this happen. He'd pulled a fast one on me. It wasn't fair. I was not prepared to meet his mother. There was no way in hell I was going to stand around and let him do that to me. With as much affronted dignity as possibly, I responded to his insensitivity with fire.
"Yeah I'd love to meet her! Wow, I can't wait!"
After that, I kept shooting dirty looks at his back when he wasn't looking.
I can't remember what happened after that, except that my ticky-ticker kept palpitating every time he looked like he recognized someone in the mall crowd. Suddenly he got a call.
"They're here." He said, eyes shining with joy (at least I think it was joy) at the prospect of my inevitable demise.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, opening them to see him go up to two women across the lobby and greet them. One was a tall, bouncy, bubbly hug-lover with a mass of dark curls framing her cheerful face. The other one was his mother.
Oh. My. Lord. She was stunning. NOT what I expected a boyfriend's mother to look like. I had set myself up to face a stern, sari clad elderly female glaring at me through rimmed spectacles. You'd expect that from boyfriend's mums. They're scary as hell to look it. It's, like, the LAW. This one, however, was anything but.
Dressed in a pair of blue denims and a chic blouse, fair, slim and elegant with a cloud of thick, glossy, red-bronze hair and a face that should have ideally been on the cover of some society magazine, she had an air about her that was almost ethereal.
Great. Made me feel that much more of an unkempt slob. If this female representation was what the Doc had grown up with, I was as good as a cooked goose. And at that particular juncture, I looked like one too, nervous sweat glands working overtime and all.
"Mama, meet DQ", introduced the traitor to girlfriends. If I was Mahinda, I'd have had him taken away in a white van for that one.
"Hello" was her reply, with an obligatory kiss on the two cheeks, true Sri Lankan style. A voice as sweet, silvery and tiny as she looked. Barely a whisper. An evil whisper, perhaps?
In between my stammered greeting, I noticed that she didn't look at me much. Could it be? Was she actually SHY? SERIOUSLY?? Or was she a total snob? She was good looking enough to be one.
No way. I was convinced that this was her composed way of rejecting her son's choice at first glance. I knew it. She'd figured me out in a millisecond like all mothers do, and that was it.... she wasn't approving. It was quite obvious from the way she looked everywhere else except at me.
The sister-in-law on the other hand, was the complete opposite, and I got enough of a hug to keep me warm for the rest of the year, accompanied by giggles and compliments galore. Through it all, 'Aunty' never said a word. Not a single word. How dare she not say words to me.
Of course, the day I'd introduced doc to MY family, my dad didn't say a word either. He didn't even come downstairs. Stayed up the whole time and pretended to be a blind, deaf paraplegic. He's still up there, 5 years later.
But that's doc. Boys are meant to be given a hard time. How could a mother not love ME? (very easily, my mother might interject. It's a good thing she doesn't read this.) I was dumbstruck.
In between the bouts of mental claustrophobia and humiliation I was now entertaining, I heard someone mention lunch. No, no, no, no. I'd barely gotten through the first introduction. I had to EAT with them now? Or was I the one to be eaten? Yes, that was it. They were going to take me to their high-class cavern and rip me into shreds. Aunty, in particular, was going to savour the strips she'd cut out of me with some marvelous sauce that would make me slightly more delectable to her refined palate.
Silently I followed, my head low enough to trick her into assuming I was being girlish and submissive, but all the while plotting attempts to make mad dashes for the exit.
At lunch, I met Doc's dad and his brother. Both affable chaps who could be easily mistaken for being German- bald, white and cheerful. Around the lunch table everyone make noise, discussing the day and cracking loud jokes with each other. But every time I opened my mouth to join in the fray, I could feel HER eyes bore into my soul. She sat opposite my seat and ate neatly, without so much as a tweet, offering polite, one-worded answers to her husband's and sons' questions.
Boy. This lady REALLY hated me, hot as she was. I was sure of it.
Of course, this upset my system quite a bit. I could not have the mother of my boyfriend not liking me, now could I? For many days following that ill-fated lunch, I harassed the poor guy to tell me what she'd said about me. Spill, I would order. I wanted to know everything. Every dirty word she'd used to describe me.
"She didn't say anything."
What? Nothing? After all that staring and internalizing, she hadn't said ANYTHING?
"Nothing. She thinks you look sweet."
This woman was becoming less of a nightmare and more of a mystery. So... that WASN'T exploding rage that caused her to stay silent, then?
"That's the way she is. She's quiet."
A woman? A mother? Quiet? This was too much. I had to laugh cynically. No, I was sure. She hated me.
A few more months into the relationship (yes, it did last beyond that day, whoopeedoo), I discovered that she WAS, actually, quite gobsmackingly, the silent type. Unbelievable. This was a first for me. I am not used to reserved, conservative people, having been brought up all my life in an environment akin to the San Diego Zoo. She turned out to be everything I was not- sweet, well mannered, soft spoken. Not only was she quiet and shy, but she was also quite surprising. She started buying me gifts from her travels abroad, and speaking more than a few mandatory words whenever we met. I still had no idea if she actually LIKED me or not, but she was tolerating me in the nicest way.
What's even more shocking that I had started to like HER. Not in that way, you perverse imbecile. I mean, actually find her a treat for a boyfriend's mum. A mysterious one, at that. I'm sure she had her reservations about me. Let's face it, any mother of a darling boy like him would. But she never uttered a word. Every time we met she was the model of hospitality and charm.
Through the next four years of meeting her at family gatherings, my perception pf her transformed from that of a seething monster to an incredibly lovely lady. Watching her relationship with her youngest son, my victim, opened my eyes to the fact that some mums can actually be cool without being fictitious characters in Hallmark movies.
I recall one particular incident of seeing an sms she'd sent Doc, implying that he'd soon settle down. I also recall having a hissyfit and wanting to jump out of the balcony, because as her luck would have it, I was not the marrying type. For weeks after that I nibbled at fingernails waiting to hear an 'off with her head' when Doc told her I wasn't interested. Not a peep, men. I don't know what he'd told her or how he'd told her, but she'd not gone into raging bull mode. She'd actually ACCEPTED it. Even when he announced that he was moving out to a place of his own- a tragedy that most local mothers would commit suicide over after committing sonnycide- she consented with only a little disapproval and incredible amounts of support. It was a revelation to behold.
It wasn't just her personality either. The good woman turned out to be bloody talented, to the point of my inner green monster coming out to 'shaaah' every time I met her. She'd sew and cook like Martha Stewart never could and I could only drool with insane jealousy. Creative crafts were her specialty, and family lunches and special occasions would be decorated to the hilt with themes and dazzling pieces of art. Watching her deal with her husband, I picked up a thing or two on being a loving and supportive partner. Then I threw them away, but they were nice lessons to have picked up in the first place.
I discovered over the years that I'd struck it rich when it came to picking mothers-of-boyfriends. Smoking hot, dutiful wife, supportive mum and the sweetest personality. Mum-of-doc had become my version of superwoman. A superwoman who still made me wonder about her opinion of me with all those silent moments and nonchalant attitude, but a superwoman nevertheless.
But, as all things go, good things rarely last too long. As cruel fate would have it, she became ill. Fatally ill, with a cancer that grew with such speed in such a short time that the family barely had time to breathe in the news. A news that shattered me more than I expected it to. I began visiting her regularly with the Doc, because as worried and frightened as he was for her, I was terrified. Without us ever having shared a single bonding moment together, she was suddenly too precious to me to lose. For months, I stood by doc's side and watched her bear the physical pain of the disease with as much dignity as she had approached anything else. As I watched her struggle, I began looking back on how my opinion of her had changed so dramatically over five years since that first meeting at a mall from sheer fright to sheer admiration. I had started out by wondering if she hated my guts and moved on to absorbing her goodness like a sponge. Now here I was, holding her hand, praying my heart out and trying to offer her my strength. This woman whom I'd not even wanted to meet that first day, so many years ago. And through all these years, I still didn't know if she liked me or not.
One day, when she was feeling her lowest, she called on her family to say her goodbyes. Doc took me along for the ride, though I was a nervous wreck. I wasn't family. I had not once given her an indication that I was even willing to BE family anytime in the future. Would she really want me there? Was this appropriate of me? I entered the house with every ounce of reverence I could muster. The lady was sick and I didn't need to piss her off by being an unwelcome presence. And, in her state of mind, what if she told me exactly what she thought of me? Sticky situ.
I went up to her and gave her an obligatory and nervous kiss. I was sad for her, and sad for me... I'd never made the attempt to know her well enough to have the kind of heart-to-heart that I knew we should have had by now. If she wasn't at peace, then I was sure to be one of the causes. She looked at me with those searching eyes and held my hand- for the first time without my initiating the move. And then, in a soft voice, still as sweet through all that pain, whispered to me, "You'll take good care of him, won't you?"
That was it. No other promises. No questions of marriage or obligations of any other commitment beyond looking out for the man she knew I loved. Even at this point, she was respecting me! It was the easiest 'yes of course' I have ever uttered, without the slightest doubt or a single crossed finger. At that very moment, I vowed I'd not let him rest for a second without checking up on him for the rest of his life, the poor sod.
Then she indicated to something in her lap. It was a shiny glass bead rosary - one I'd bought for her while on a trip to Belgium. At the time, it was bought with the intention of it being an appropriate and sensitive gift for sucking up to boyfriends' mums. I needed to impress her into thinking of me as spiritual and pure, despite all logic and facts demonstrating otherwise.
"I want to be buried with it. That's all I'm going to take with me when I go" she whispered.
If there's anything that can bring the walls of Jericho in your heart down, it's a statement as simple as that. I was floored. For five years I'd been convinced she'd put me last in her importance list, right next to 'cockroach'. How wrong I'd been.
I began to cry. So did she. And that was it...the moment I'd been waiting to enjoy with her all those years, of that one, intimate exchange that would bond us. It lasted only a second, but it was enough. Quickly regaining my composure, I wiped away her tears and jovially chided her for making me cry. Then I kissed once more and took my leave in a no-nonsense fashion. I cried all the way home. In all of two seconds, she had become my family and I a part of hers.
A week later she succumbed to her illness and moved on to her new state of being. No doubt to take her place as one of the hottest angels in heaven. I was there when it happened, though I felt I didn't deserve to be. Amongst all the tears flowing at that hospital, I wept none. She had made peace with the inevitability of her death, and so had I. We'd become friends, finally. She was ok with me and I with her and I know that will carry us both through this never ending universal cycle we travel in. I am still convinced she's somewhere around, contemplating me with the same silence that she had when she was in her human form. Next time we meet, I wont be nervous at all.
Happy birthday for the 6th of March, Aunty S.