Sunday, October 29, 2006

A few days ago Negar of Location Texas made a comment about me being pregnant. As I’m sure you would all agree, predicting that someone in Oxford is with child, all the way from Texas is no easy feat.
Now those of you who know Negar know that she has been fasting all Ramadan and altogether really is quite holy (overlooking her foot obsession. Actually Jesus quite enjoyed washing other people’s feet) So I’ve been thinking, now we don’t know yet if I am or not but supposing for a minute that I am pregnant, shouldn’t that be considered a kind of miracle on Negar’s part? And if yes, shouldn’t that make her allegeable for canonization and ultimately sainthood? Of course she will still be needing one more miracle to become a fully functional saint but it’s a start isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be cool though? Saint Negar of Texas. Has a real ring to it wouldn’t you say?

I don’t want to alarm you but did you know ‘Saints almost went out of style in the 1960s’? (according to Don Lattin of San Francisco Chronicle) I know! It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? ‘Those were the days when many church leaders saw Catholic saints -- and the miracles performed in their name -- as outdated…’ Uhh!
Those were the terrible times during which many saints were either downgraded to mere martyrs or were stripped off their holiness altogether.
They even made a television programme about it called, ‘The Weakest Saint’ which was presented by the fierce Sister, Anna Robinson.
‘Now, who is two miracles short of a sainthood?’ she would say to the terrified saints standing all around her in a large circle, ‘Who has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints? Which one of you has been canonized when they should have been shot out of a cannon?’ she would throw her icy stare at the saints; unforgiving, brutal, ‘Which one of you has been acting all holy when in reality you are only as holey as a tramp’s undergarment? It’s time to reveal, the weakest saint.’
The BBC refused to air the programme however claiming that no one would watch it on account of saints and martyrs being so passé. Well they had almost gone out of style then as we said earlier.

One of the saints that were dropped during the downsizing was poor old Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travellers (I don’t know why that was, I suppose he had dreadlocks and lived in a caravan) who once carried the weight of the whole world across a river. Well he did it by accident actually or more to the point, he was tricked into doing it.
One day poor old Christopher was about to cross a river when a child came up to him and said, ‘Hewwo mister Chwistopey. I’m onwy a wittoy baby. Wiww you take me to the othey side of this big wivey wiv you pwease?’
But when Christopher put the child on his shoulders, he realised that he was unbelievably heavy. On further inspection he noticed that the child was in fact none other than our own Lord Jesus Christ (who died on the cross to save all our sins) carrying the weight of the whole world! Talk about mardeh rend, Minoo! That’s just so unfair isn’t it?
God asks his son to take the world from one side of the river to the other and he’s thinking, ‘Ugh, I have to do evvverything around here.’
I heard that.
‘Course you did, you’re always eavesdropping.’
And you are always moaning, ‘Oh do I have to daddy? but I don’t like touching other people’s feet’, ‘oh why do I have to walk on water? Why can’t I part the sea like Moses?...
‘Ok ok, I get the massage. I’ll do it. Why do I need to take the whole world across the river anyway?’
We’re going on a picnic.
‘Can’t we just take sandwiches like everyone else?’
HuH, see? Always moaning, ‘Oh but do I have to daddy? why Can’t we just take sandwiches…
‘OK OK! Jeeeesus! I said I’ll do it didn’t I?’
Ok then you move the world and I’ll go and get the Thermos and the picnic blanket.
‘Yes you go and do that father, I’ll just take the world to the other side, no problem.
Is he gone? Phew. I thought he’d never leave. I’m just sick of this you know, he’s always giving me inappropriate tasks, ‘Let them eat your flesh and drink your blood.’ ! ‘Raise the dead.’ It wasn’t even Halloween.
Now I have to carry the whole world to the other side of the river and what for? We’re not Iranians. We don’t have to take everything we own with us on a picnic so we can cook rice and aubergine stew from scratch…Hey who’s that? Is that Christopher coming this way? Hmm, that has just given me an idea.
Hewwo mister Chwistopey…’

That’s a joke obviously but I’m not surprised if Jesus is a little bitter about his miracles. Moses got all the best ones really didn’t he? He turned a cane into a snake, parted the red sea, ate red hot charcoal and burnt his mouth. Now those of you who are not familiar with the story of Moses are probably thinking that the latter can’t have been a miracle if he actually burnt his mouth, but it was.
Basically Moses being a prophet was different from all the other kids right from the start and as time went by, Pharaoh got more and more suspicious. Until one day he said to his wife, ‘Listen Missy, I’m not all that crazy about this basket boy you’ve brought in here. I’m thinking about having him you know…What do you think?’
‘What?’ his wife replied, horrified, ‘Are you crazy?’
‘Well he just makes me feel uneasy you know.’ Said the Pharaoh, ‘Look at him sitting there all quietly on top of the desk.’
Wife: ‘What’s wrong with that? He is just drawing.’
Pharaoh: ‘He is drawing up blueprints for a bridge that he is planning to build over the river Nile.’
Wife: ‘Hmm, yeah maybe he is a little advanced for his age but he is still only a harmless wikkle baby.’
So they walked over to the desk.
Wife: ‘Helllo wikkle Mozy pozy. Do you have a little kiss for mummy?’
Moses: ‘Later doll, yeah? I’m really busy right now.’
‘You see what I mean?’ Pharaoh whispered to his wife, ‘He’s not normal.’
Moses: ‘Yo Pharaoh, wanna come down to the river with me tomorrow? I’m going to pick a nice spot for my bridge.’
Pharaoh: ‘No I don’t like going by the river. There are frogs there. I don’t like frogs.’
Moses: ‘Really? You don’t like frogs? Huh, wha’doyouknow!’

So the next day when Moses came back home from picking a nice spot for his bridge, a table had been set for him with two plates on it, one containing a piece of red hot charcoal and the other a piece of cold, black charcoal. This was a test devised by the Pharaoh to separate the prophets from kids and the logic behind it was that the genuine child, being a bit of a dumb-dumb by nature, would be attracted to the redness of the red, hot charcoal while the baby prophet, being a bit clever and having supernatural powers, will eat the cold charcoal! Or say, ‘Goodie! Is it Egyptian fondue night? Make your own kebab type thing? Where’s the meat?’
However the poor Pharaoh had not taken into account that prophets don’t always play fair, especially the baby ones who can be extremely crafty at times. So he was tricked by baby Moses who picked the hot charcoal.

For a while now I’ve been begging a friend of mine to let me try this out on her baby but she is just one of those overprotective mothers who would never let their kid do things like eating hot charcoal (hopefully Saint Negar is correct and soon I won’t have to keep begging others for every little experiment that I want to do).
Finally the other day, we settled on a much safer option. I was well up for it at first but then I lost interest when I realised that she’d said raisin and not razor.
She offered the baby a raisin and a grape. He picked neither as he was busy chewing on a slug he had found in the garden. An imbecile or a messenger from god? We will just have to wait and see with that one I suppose.

When it comes to prophets, I really think Noah drew the shortest straw. The poor guy really had his work cut out for him there didn’t he? First he had to single-handedly build a ship. Then he had to go and pick out two of each animal to get on his ship so they could later repopulate the world. That must have been really hard because he must have had to put them through vigorous tests and interviews to be able to pick out the best and the healthiest. Well it would have been terrible if after the flood he realised that the male zebra he’d picked had a low sperm count or something.

Is there anyone in the family with this problem?
Have you attended alternative practitioners like an Osteopath?
Has it stopped you going to work?
Have you felt resentment for being off work?

Do any problems arise out of going to the toilet so often?
What about social problems, work problems, with opening your bowels so often.
What actually was the original problem?

Are you able to get about?
Can you walk upstairs?
How far can you actually walk?
Are Social Services involved (e.g. meals on wheels, home help)?

What actually happened at the time?
Is there any difficulty with speech?
Are there problems with swallowing?
What treatment are you on at the moment to prevent further attacks?

Do you get the Flu Vaccine and Pneumonia Vaccine on a regular basis?

Have you ever been admitted to Hospital with too much sugar in your blood?
Has it affected you from an Insurance point of view?

How did you first notice that her memory was going?
Would she get lost if allowed out alone?
Is she able to take part in any conversation?
Does she repeat things very often?
Does she get more confused at any particular time of the day?
Is she likely to wander?
Is she likely to do other things like leaving the gas stove on?

I don’t know what he did about lazy animals like pandas and koalas and things like that. Koalas are apparently as lazy as they come. I once saw this programme about koalas and in it they were saying that koalas are too lazy to mate and so there was this guy who was in charge of koalas’ mating. So I thought he would be lighting scented candles for them and playing Barry White on the stereo but I was wrong, his job was definitely a lot more hands-on.
This is what he did: He went over to a sleeping male koala, holding onto a tree and started, humm, let’s say, “pleasuring him”, manually. Once the male koala was good and ready, he grabbed him by the scurf of the neck and rammed him on top of another sleeping koala, on another tree (this one female). You would think the koalas would take it from there themselves but oh no, the job of the koala fiddler was not yet complete.
The female koala didn’t even wake up all the way through. The male opened his eyes briefly (well I say opened. Half opened really). He looked unimpressed and rightly so; the guy didn’t have much of a rhythm. And to top it off he was talking to the camera the whole time which must have been quite off-putting.
That’s some job that guy has, isn’t it? ‘And what does your father do little Sheila?’
Hope poor Noah didn’t have to do that.

Oh sorry, I just realised I’ve left you all high and dry by dropping the bombshell of, ‘Saints almost went out of style in the 1960s’ on you at the beginning, without letting you know that there really is no need to panic because only a few years later, saints made a huge comeback all thanks to the king of cool, John Paul II and the one and only, Mother Teresa. Phew!
Now Mother Teresa, like our very own Negar, has performed one miracle so far. A medallion with a picture of Mother Teresa was taped to the stomach of a woman suffering from a cancerous tumour and after a while the tumour disappeared.
Now there are those, like Dr. Ranjan Kumar Mustafi who refuse to accept that this was a miracle. ‘She had a medium-sized tumor in her lower abdomen caused by tuberculosis,’ he (nicknamed Dr Tattletale by the supporters of Mother Teresa) told the Sunday Telegraph, ‘The drugs she was given eventually reduced the mystic mass and it disappeared after a year’s treatment.’
Doctors, ey? Always trying to take all the credit. So answer me this then Mr Smarty Pants, who made the tumor in the first place, ey? I suppose next you’ll be wanting to take credit for that too. It’s all me, me, me with these doctors isn’t it?

Anyway enough about Mother Teresa. I think Negar’s miracle is much better. Predicting pregnancy from thousands of miles away! That’s really something. I’m sure neither Dr. Ranjan Kumar Mustafi nor the Pope himself will able to argue with that one.
Humm, Saint Negar of Texas, the patron saint of bloggers.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

This year when I was in Iran, I was told by an uncle (a few times removed) who looks a bit like Sloth from the Goonies (in a nice way) that on account of my great grandfather and a little sack full of screwed up pieces of paper that he was buried with, I will be going to heaven regardless of what I do in this world.

It’s a strange feeling knowing that you are going to go to heaven no matter what. It kind of makes me wish I enjoyed doing more bad things. At the moment the worst things I do are probably not picking up the phone sometimes, throwing away mouldy bread and not listening to the great advice of prophet Mohammad, ‘Stop eating at one bite before feeling full’
To top it off, I used to get these terrible migraines when I was younger that would stay on for hours and according to Prophet Mohammad suffering through one hour of headache is the equivalent of seven years of praying (or seventy? Ok, let’s say seven is correct) which means discounting the hangover pains (which I have a feeling will not count) I have many more years of praying banked up than I’ve lived in this world.

I’m thinking of putting some on ebay if anyone’s interested. I mean why not? Some people (who are very busy or simply can’t be bothered) employ others to pray for them. It’s true. If they go out drinking one night, the next morning they’ll call up their employee and say, ‘Fancy some overtime?’
Things could be a lot simpler if instead of employing someone and having to listen to their whines about holidays and raises and bonuses, you could just go and buy however much praying you needed on ebay. I’d always known I was destined to become an entrepreneur.
Now I’ve patented this idea so don’t you migrainy types think you can just go and start up your own business because I will sue your Nurofen-starved heads, not only in this world but also in the next.

Now back to the subject of my great grandfather and his little sack of screwed up pieces of paper.
My great grandfather was a man of god. He prayed. He read the Koran.
Every time my great grandfather…Aah I don’t know why I keep saying ‘my great grandfather’ it’s a bit formal isn’t it? I’ll just use his name from now on, Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam. That’s better. So every time Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam read the Koran from start to finish, he would take a little piece of paper, screw it up and keep in a little pouch. This was the pouch that was later buried with him.

Apparently there were so many pieces of paper in there that would make Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam the…well I was going to say ‘the king of heaven’ but I suppose a position like that has probably already been taken by someone like Prophet Mohammad or Jesus so he will be something like Secretary of State perhaps. Anyway even after becoming a high ranking heaven official, he will still have so many screwed up pieces of paper to spare that (according to uncle Sloth) all his children and all his children’s children and their children will get all their sins washed away and enter heaven too.
Great, isn’t it? It’s like having your name on the best guest list ever. While all you lot will be queuing with the rest of them outside the gates of heaven, putting your most holly faces on to try and get in, I’ll be pulling up in a white chauffer driven Bentley and waltzing in through the VIP door to pick up the keys to my three bedroom Victorian semi with a river of milk and a river of honey running through the bottom of its backyard.

Ok so maybe it’s a bit mean of me to rub it in your faces like this. But don’t worry I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be all milk and honey and Bentleys and Victorian semis for me either.
Think about it. First of all there’s going to be The Judgment Day where everyone (literally) will be present along with God and Gabriel and the Devil and lo and behold, Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam and his little sack of screwed up paper which I’m guessing the Divine Court is probably going to be a little offended by. I mean they’re supposed to be the biggest record holders ever. They’ve been keeping records since the dawn of time. They know exactly how many grains each ant has picked up in its lifetime and how many times you have passed wind and tried to blame it on your senile grandmother. And then my great grandfather for some reason has felt the need to take his own evidence down there.
I just hope their records match with his screwed up pieces of paper because what is he going to do if they don’t? Is he actually going to have it out with Gabriel? In front of everyone? Ooh, I don’t even want to think about it. You know how it’s kind of embarrassing when one’s parents get drunk and start doing karaoke or re-enacting scenes from Saturday Night Fever? Well I’m not sure but I’m kind of guessing your great grandfather quarrelling with Gabriel on Judgment Day in front of every creature that has ever lived in this world plus God and the Devil and all the angels is going to be quite embarrassing.

And then of course we will have the matter of my sentencing.

Gabriel: Shirin, you are hereby sentenced to shuffle excrement in Hell for all eternity. Any questions?

Me: Yes. Th…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: What? She can’t be going to hell. There must be some kind of mistake. What about all those headaches she used to get?

Gabriel: Yeah well she was fine with those but then she started selling all her banked up prayers on ebay. Then when she saw what a great demand there was out there for prayers, with the help of a friend she opened up a praying sweatshop in downtown Tehran and started exporting affordable prayers to Europe and the US.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: I can’t believe this. This is terrible. So that is why she is going to hell.

Gabriel: No that’s fine. There is actually a legal loophole in Islam that makes it absolutely fine to buy or sell prayers but your great granddaughter’s problem is that she forgot to keep any prayers for herself.
Now dear I believe you had a question for us.

Me: Emm, yes… about what I’ll be shuffling for all eternity, do you know if that will be human or animal excrement?

Gabriel: Hmm, let’s see. Half burnt stakes, yada yada yada, getting ripped apart by angry dogs, yada yada yada. Oh here we go. Yes, pool of excrement. No that’s not it. Oh yes here we go: shuffling excrement… Hmm, no I’m sorry dear. Unfortunately it does not specify which type of excrement you will be shuffling.

Devil: Sorry to interrupt but can I say something? Now don’t take my word as Gospel but seeing that the act of shuffling excrement will be taking place in Hell, I would imagine it’ll be mostly demon shit.

Me: Oh, I should think that is quite acidic. Am I right?

Devil: Yes but you don’t need to worry about that; we will be issuing you with special protective gloves and boots…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Ok that’s enough. You know I’m not going to let her go to Hell and that’s that. So let’s start our negotiations about how many Koran readings it’s going to take to keep her out of there.

Gabriel: Fifteen.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: FIFTEEN? You havein’ laugh? Is he havni’ a laugh? No way. I’ll give you one.

Gabriel: ONE?! ONE?! I know you’re haggling Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam but that’s ridiculous even by Iranian standards.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Two and that’s my last offer.

Gabriel: No way Pedro.

Devil: No way Pedro?!

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Ok then, three and I’m not giving you a Besmellah more.

Gabriel: What did you say? Because for a minute there I thought you said ‘three’ and I was going to get seriously insulted. Thirteen and I’m not accepting a Gholho vallah less.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Well tough because I’m not giving you any more than four.

Gabriel: Twelve.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Five.

Gabriel: Eleven and that’s only because you are a direct descendent of Prophet Mohammad.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Six or I’m walking.

Gabriel: Are you kidding me? No way. Ok I’m getting bored of this now. Let’s call it an even ten.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Seven

Gabriel: Nine

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Eight

Gabriel: Eight and a half.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Eight and a quarter.

Gabriel: Done.

Devil: Halleluiah!

Me: Thanks for bailing me out Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam. I’m very sorry you had to…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Come on young lady, we have a lot to discuss.


Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Now tell me. Have you thought of any new money making schemes suitable for this world?

Me: Seriously?

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Yes. Well we have all eternity here so we might as well do something.

Me: Well off the top of my head…a sewage system for Hell?

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Do you think there will be much profit in that?

Gabriel: Excuse me! Can the people who have already had their sentencing PLEASE move their talks of dodgy dealings out of this court?! We really need to get on with things over here!
Ok where was I? Oh yeah. May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please? Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? I repeat, will the real Slim Shady please stand up? We’re gonna have a problem here...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I fasted once. Twice really but it appears that one of the times will not count because I ate at lunchtime and that apparently is a big no-no.
It was the month of Ramadan and my cousin Shadi and I had decided to fast. It was my first time but Shadi was a pro. I was about ten or eleven and Shadi was two years older. We were staying at our grandparents’ house.
I could hear the sound of the call of pray as I was being shaken awake. I pulled a blue mohair jumper with an orange butterfly on the front, over my red, Japanese style pyjamas (very popular with us kids back then) and crawled out from under the stairs.
Now to avoid any misunderstandings let me just explain that we were not made to sleep under the stairs by our cruel grandparents. No, it wasn’t like that. Usually we slept under the dining table like normal people. Well I say normal!
Basically it was during the bombings and my grandmother, Mamanjoon had got it into her head that the safest place for us all to sleep in was under the dining table. It was made of choobeh albaaloo (sour cherry wood) you see, which apparently is very strong.
‘You pack up every night and go and sleep in reinforced concrete shelters?’ I used to say to my friends at school, ‘Maybe you should think about investing in a sour cherry wood dining table.’
So when we stayed at our grandparents’, we all slept under the dining table. All except Madarjoon (Mamanjoon’s mother) that is. Madarjoon was far too old and far too sensible to leave her comfy bed in favour of sleeping under the dining table with me, my two cousins and our two grandparents.
I don’t know exactly what our bomb plan was really but I imagine it was something along these lines:

In the event of a bomb trying to enter the house, first Madarjoon would try to catch it and fling it out of the window.

If she failed to do this however, the bomb would then bounce off the dining table and that would be the end of that.

As you can see it’s quite a plan. Luckily we never had to find out exactly how foolproof it was. Anyway, back to the main story of my failed fasting.

So that night Shadi and I had moved to our own private quarters (under the stairs) so we wouldn’t wake the others when we woke up at dawn to start our fasting.
I slumped myself into a chair at the smaller, round dining table (that was still being used for eating purposes and not as a bunker on account of it being a bit flimsy and not quite big enough for all five of us to fit under)
As I sleepily shoved pieces of greasy aubergine omelette (that had been left out for us by Mamanjoon the night before) in my mouth, Shadi poured me a cup of tea from the flask and stirred in a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, talking non-stop, ‘We’re not doing this right but it’s ok. You’re not supposed to eat after the call of pray. Actually I don’t know…maybe you can eat all the way through the call of pray too in which case we should eat very fast. It shouldn’t matter though because it’s not our fault; our alarm clock didn’t go off. It’s lucky I woke up myself. Anyway I don’t think it matters. The important thing is that we wanted to do this so it’s ok. We will eat quickly and we’ll go to bed and we won’t tell anyone about this. Ok?’
I nodded. I was far too sleepy to have an opinion anything at the time.
A few hours later we woke up again and watched telly while the others had breakfast. A little past midday, I went home (which was about five minutes away) to get something. And within ten minutes of me arriving there, I had raided the fridge and scuffed a huge bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese.
The truth was I had found fasting quite boring and not at all the exciting spiritual experience that I thought it was going to be. I had expected to at least be able to levitate by lunchtime. However I did feel the exact opposite of that as soon as I told my cousin what I’d done. She was very disappointed in me. I said, ‘But it wasn’t going to count anyway, was it? Because we woke up late.’
‘It would have counted.’ She said, ‘Being a few minutes late wouldn’t have mattered, the important thing is that we wanted to do it.’
I hung my head in shame and sneaked upstairs to Madarjoon’s room. It had been another quiet night on Bomb Watch for her and I figured she could use some company.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I was watching one of my favourite programmes last night called QI (Quite Interesting). It was all more than quite interesting and all the way through I was doing the usual pleading with my brain to remember at least one interesting fact from the show so in the unlikely situation of that subject ever coming up in a conversation, I would have something to say about it and dazzle everyone with my cleverness and as usual my brain was refusing to accept anything.
‘Come on please. They are talking about the real people who Gulliver’s travels and Robinson Crusoe were based on. This is very interesting. Could you try and remember this please?’
‘Sorry, no can do. The disc is full.’
‘But how can that be? I don’t know anything really.’
[Yawn] ‘Well you know this morning when you were trying to memorize your mobile phone number?’
‘That took a lot of space.’
‘Oh cool, so did I manage to memorize that at the end then? Huh, I hadn’t realized that I had.’
‘Oh yeah’ [Yawn] ‘077 something, something and all the rest of it.’
‘077?! That’s all you’ve got?’
‘Hey come on, it’s a long number. How many digits? Ten? Eleven? You know I’m not good with numbers.’

But as soon as a picture of a kangaroo came up, for some reason I knew that I was going to remember this interesting fact no matter what. And I did!
‘What is it that kangaroos can not do?’ Asked Stephen Fry.
‘Play the piano.’
‘Oh shut up Brain.’
‘Drive’ Said Alan Davis
‘Vote’ said another guy
‘It’s a bodily function.’ Said Stephen Fry
‘Yes’ said Stephen Fry, ‘kangaroos can not fart.’

Interesting! But it gets even better. Apparently, as I write this, cutting edge experiments are being done by scientists who hope that one day those species of bacteria that live in a kangaroos’ guts can be fed to cows and with any luck stop them from farting so much and ultimately end global warming.

Uhum, yes. Sounds like a great plan. But is there a plan B that maybe we could work on before starting this? The thing is I’m just not comfortable with the idea of experimenting with trying to improve cows again. We all remember what happened last time when we tried to do that, don’t we? And who would have thought that something as innocent as feeding some cows to some other cows would start such an appalling chain of events with the cows all going mad and even worse, making some of us go mad too with the terrible thought of not being able to eat burgers for while. Oh those were tough times.
[Yawn] ‘Oh yeah, very tough, very tough. Is it lunchtime yet?’
[sigh] ‘No not yet.’
‘Snack time?’
‘Play time?’
'Sleep time?'

Sunday, October 01, 2006

One of the situations that make me feel very uneasy is when someone calls me and I get the feeling that they are after a very long conversation because they’re bored. Oh just thinking about it sends shivers down my spine. ‘Hi’ they say in a miserable sounding voice, ‘I’ve been stuck in traffic in Headington for twenty minutes; I’m bored out of my skull.’
This is when I start to panic. But then I think, no no no, let’s not be hasty now, it might not be what I think it is. So I say (in a oh-no-you-poor-thing way) ‘Oh no, that’s bad.’ And then ask, ‘Are you on a bus?’
‘Yeah’ they sigh. Oh no, I’m really panicking now. ‘Where are you heading?’
‘London’ they say cheerlessly. My worst fears are realized; this means they’re after a two hour conversation.

I’ve never been a big telephone fan. When I was younger I never went through that period of spending hours on end on the phone. My mum, who was extremely worried over my lack of interest in this teen must, even went and bought a little, red telephone especially for me and put it in my room. But it didn’t work; neither my mum’s plan nor the phone. It was one of those cheapo plastic ones with very sharp edges and built in Random Disconnecting System (which did exactly that). Bad for having a conversation on basically but great if you were after something sharp to slit your wrist with. The man in the shop may not have been lying after all when he had said that these were very popular with teenage girls!

Living so far away from my family and a lot of my friends for so many years however has taught me to appreciate a good phone conversation with a loved one. But I still can’t get my head around the idea of calling someone not because I miss them or have something to tell them or ask them, but just because I’m bored. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do that or anything, I just don’t understand it especially when the bored person has absolutely nothing to say and it’s like they’ve called you to entertain them.
I was having one of these conversations this morning. Oh it was like pulling teeth. There were many ‘Hmm’s and long silences and ‘So what else is new’s. It was clear that neither of us was enjoying ourselves much but still every time I tried to direct the nonexistent conversation towards an end, the person on the other side brought up another subject. Twenty three minutes and forty five seconds this suffering went on for. It really was quite painful.