Friday, January 15, 2010

Mom-ness Part I (and I imagine there are many more parts to come...)

I wake to the sound of a brass band playing inside my very own bedroom, and, in fact, very close to my ear, and I wonder how and why they got inside the house to play for me at 3 a.m.

Wait a minute! 3 a.m.? Then I realise that it's only my phone, and peer at the screen and see that it's my Mom calling. Mom? Mom?? Ohmigod! Has she fallen down the stairs? Is she ill? Is she hurt? Did my grandmother (with whom she lives) die in the middle of the night? Ohmigod, Ohmigod, Ohmigod!

"Mom," I say breathlessly into the phone, only moments away from a panic attack, "what's wrong?"

"Hi!" she trills, "you're awake?" She doesn't sound at all like she's lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs.

"Er...yeah," I say, "because you just woke me up!"

"Listen," she continues conspiratorially, disregarding me and my apparent miffed-ness, "I just received this message that reads 'CONGRATS!!! YOUR MOBILE NUMBER HAS WON YOU $1 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE SHELL MOBILE DRAW 2009/2010.TO CLAIM, CONTACT MR. BROWN AT' "

"Mom, that's a scam. I get messages like that almost everyday."

"But what if I really won? Me! Imagine!"


"I want you to mail Mr. Brown tomorrow telling him that I got this message and I would like to claim my prize money and see what he says, okay?"

He'll say send him some money to claim your prize, and the next thing we know, we'll be arrested and thrown in jail for aiding and abetting something nefarious, and there we will spend the rest of our natural lives weaving baskets.

"Okay, Mom," I sigh.

"I wonder what I'll do with the prize money? I know! I'll buy a new car, and I'll get the house painted and I'll buy that garden set that I've been wanting, and a gazebo!" I can imagine her almost salivating at the mere thought.

Sedatives. What about sedatives? Would you like to buy some of those?

"Mom, I'll tell you in the morning, okay? I mean, when I wake up again. After I reach work and have a chance to mail him.Okay?"

9.00 a.m.

Message from Mom :Did you mail him yet?

Me: Mom, I haven't even reached work as yet.

9.45 a.m.

Mom : Did you mail?

Me: Mom, I'm in a meeting. I'll mail him later.

10.30 a.m.

Mom : Just wanted to remind you to mail, in case you'd forgotten...

Why? Because the trauma of being woken up by you at 3 a.m. has caused me to develop short-term memory loss?

Me: I'm doing it right now.

So I promptly mail the honourable 'Mr.Brown', expecting someone to send me a reply containing numerous typos and a demand to send money. I can imagine him sitting at his ramshackle computer, in a dingy room, all gaunt and bald, an evil grin on his face, thinking to himself - Sucker! There's one born every minute!

To my surprise, the mail returns to my mail inbox undelivered, and I'm overjoyed, ecstatic, that there is now no apparent way to contact the mysterious Mr.Brown, and that this harassment will finally end.

I call her. "Mom, I sent the mail, and it came back undelivered, because no such ID exists. See? I told you it was a scam.I looked it up on the internet, and there are tons of people who've had the same thing happen to them. Can we just forget about it now, Ma?"

I expect a sad and philosophical sigh, and an end to this madness. Instead, I get "Are you sure? Did you type the name correctly? It's Ronald Brown. R-O-N-A-L..." at which point, I hang up, because she has just gotten on my last nerve.

Not one to give up easily (a trait I have inherited from her-I call it sticktoitivity, and everyone else who knows me calls it manic stubbornness-but hey, you know, potayto-potahto) she calls back.

Mom: "Hello? I think the line got disconnected. So as I was saying, I think there's been some mistake..."

Me: (trying to sound like someone else-anyone else but me) "I'm sorry Ma'am, but I believe you've dialed the wrong number. Perhaps you meant to call someone else?"

Mom: "No, I'm quite sure I dialed my daughter's number."

Me: "I'm sorry, Ma'am. But this is the eBay customer service helpline."

Mom: "Oh,wonderful! In that case, I'd like to place an order for a gazebo with you please."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Why I was just happier before facebook

I've decided not to access my facebook account anymore. Okay, let me rephrase that. I have decided not to access my facebook account AS OFTEN AS I DO NOW. Because, really, which neurotic, obsessive-compulsive-type person can really live in the real world without having facebook to run to when it all gets too much to handle? Glad I'm not one of those people!

It's just annoying, to get ****ing updates about what your friends did on ****ing Farmville. These are the same people who probably couldn't care for a goldfish in the real world. My friend G even killed a virtual fish screensaver that was her pet on her laptop, and on Farmville, she's won ribbons and awards and what-have-you. Yes, I am aware that I am probably amongst the 2% of the facebook population who hasn't succumbed to Farmville, but hey, shoot me!

And really,when you read a status update that says 'Really rocked the house with my speech at the Commonwealth Education Forum.Yeah!' aren't you just tempted to reply with 'Really?? I'm so excited for you that I almost peed in my pants!' Disappear, and come back only when you win an Oscar, okay?

Another thing - albums containing pictures of kids from ever since they were pushed out at birth to like, five minutes ago.Yeah, yeah, we know you think that your baby's the cutest little thing on two legs, but other people have had babies too, you know? The earth's population didn't get to be 6,692,030,277 by magic. Most kids might look like angels, but ask their parents, who're living with them 24x7, and are just about ready to give them up for adoption, or even give them away for free.

I saw this picture of my friend's son, Rohan, posing with his pet dog, and they just look just so....awwwwww! Except that, when he's not posing for the camera, the narcissistic little tyke, his mother spends every waking moment yelling things like "Rohan, how many times have I told you not to pick Zumba up by his tail? Put him down right now!"

Yes, that's the dog's name, and no, I don't know why they call him that, and no, I have never wanted to find out.

There's also this couple I know, who look(in pictures) like they're made for each other, except that the husband's really a prime jerk and is currently having an affair with his assistant. His wife's pregnant and he's feeling really neglected, because all she cares about is the size and shape of her belly, and eating the equivalent of her body weight in food "for the baby", and exchanging notes about prospective motherhood with other moms-to-be. So which self-absorbed, selfish, randy, a****** who forgot to grow up wouldn't have an affair under the circumstances, right? The part where she threw up every morning and cried every time a pin dropped because her hormones were shot to hell, or felt as bloated as a leech were especially hard on him, because, hey, he said for better or for worse, but this?? But there they are, right there, posing in front of the Sydney Opera House on their perfect little holiday,in their matching 'we're-so-happy-together-we-could-burst-at-the-seams-right-now' facial expressions. Puke.

So what I'm trying to say is - weren't we all just better off the way we were before, when we didn't know where people went after school or college, and we met them just once or twice after that in our entire lifetimes at reunions,where everybody dressed up really nicely, and lied through their teeth about how well they were doing and what perfect lives and relationships they had? Really. I mean, really. Wasn't that just better?

I have now decided to form a group on facebook called 'Let's not log into facebook every frickin' time someone leaves a comment or changes their status or does any other damn thing, or just because we have nothing better to do and our lives on facebook are infinitely more interesting than our real lives.' Okay, so I think the facebook guys may have a character limit on that which I'll have to adhere to, and I'll have to work that out. But you'll join my group, right? Anybody...? Anyone...?


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The sucky birthday party of Jesus Christ or How I made it through Christmas

On Christmas day, I am sitting in the living room surrounded by my mother's relatives - an annual event that I endure only because I love my mother dearly, but which is worse than having my soul sucked out by Dementors, I swear. Everyone is talking at the same time, but above this Babel, I can hear a piercing, shrieking sound that is emanating from the centre of the room, but which, surprisingly, nobody else seems to notice.

It's only my cousin's son who is throwing a tantrum of epic proportions for undetermined reasons.That's all. His mother is only a few feet away from him, but amazingly enough, she can hear nothing, even though I feel like my eardrums will split any second. Nobody else seems to be able to hear anything else either. I, on the other hand, seem to have developed, like a dog, the ability to hear this child's screeching above everything else.Probably a frequency-related thing.

Afraid that I might lose my sanity, I decide to go and 'discuss' with him what was wrong. I go and sit directly in front of him and ask him in a cheerful manner "What's the matter? Is there something you want?"

He stops for a split-second, and then resumes his tear-less wailing with renewed gusto. I try again.

"Are you hungry? Or thirsty? Do you want to go to the bathroom?" That usually covers all bases.

"I want balloons! When are we going to cut the birthday cake?" he squeals.

I blink, not quite sure of how to answer. Balloons? Birthday cake? Huh??

So I ask him, " Er...whose birthday is it? Whose cake were we supposed to cut?"

"Jesus H. Christ!"

OMG! This little tyke is just about 5 years old and is swearing already?

"Who taught you to say that?" I asked him, incredulous.

"Daddy!" he shrieks.


"Yes! I heard Daddy saying to Mummy- Jesus H. Christ, Annie! We're already an hour late! "

Aware that I am ill-equipped to deal with almost-five year olds spewing cuss words, I try again.

"Could you please tell me why you're crying?" I ask in the most polite tone I can muster.

"BECAUSE THIS PARTY IS BORING! When I go for other birthday parties, it's fun. We go to McDonald's, and we have Happy Meals, and we get free toys, and return gifts, and there are balloons. And at Trisha's party, there was a magical clown!And Mr. Bean! And Pocahontas!" he rattles off.

"A magical clown?" I ask meekly, because, quite frankly, by now I'm feeling aplogetic about this Christmas party that I didn't even organise.

"Yes! A clown who did magic tricks for us. He took an empty party hat and pulled out Ben Ten watches for everyone!"

Really? When did magical clowns learn to do that? When I was little, all magicians did was turn a handkerchief into a bunch of paper flowers. And technically, this kid was right on the button. This was a day celebrating the birthday of a man widely considered to be the saviour of the human race, and all we were doing right now was sitting around gossiping with fake smiles plastered on our faces. My pervy Uncle Teddy was even looking down my mom's best friend's blouse, while she tugged at the hem of her skirt that was way too short. This, compared to spoilt little Trisha who celebrated her birthday party with magical clowns and free Ben Ten watches.

"OK, so here's the deal" I tell him, with a glint in my eye. "I know this party sucks, so why don't you and I go and flush all the guava cheese down the toilet and go and ring all the neighbours' doorbells and run away, because that seems right up your alley."

He considers this for a moment, and then says "Okay!" Phew!

So he and I did all that, and even locked the cat in the bathroom so that it jumped out and scratched Uncle Teddy on the face when he opened the door, and that's my story of how I made it through Christmas this year. Aren't you glad it wasn't you? Next year, I plan to break an arm or a leg, or fake my own death, if need be to wangle my way out. Just please don't tell my Mommy, okay?