Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Letter to My Six-Year-Old Self

Dear Six-Year-Old Basically Blah,

Look what I found! Your first “published” article.

Remember how proud you were because it was the first article in the school magazine that year? I suspect this was one of the worst editorial decisions ever made in the history of editorial decision making. It would be safe to assume that this caused a considerable decline in the number of student applications made to the school the following year.

You ought to be ashamed putting something like this up for the world to see. Here are a bunch of reasons why:

Firstly, which kid in their right senses keeps tadpoles? Were two goldfish in a bowl not fascinating enough for you?

More importantly, where did you get these peculiar mutant tadpoles? They appear bigger than the dogs and even the cows. If indeed those odd hunched creatures with the unicorn horns are cows. What is your standard excuse - “The tadpole ate my homework” or "The dog that ate my homework was eaten by my tadpole"?

The big cow appears to be a paedophilic pervert. I will not go into the details.

Are all your dogs two-legged? And I use the term “dogs” loosely, since it appears the third such creature is actually a paramecium.

Your MOTHER keeps those tadpoles in a bowl? Really now. This is a bit of a stretch even for your family of oddballs. But congratulations on publishing that bit of fiction to all and sundry. I believe your mother resented attending PTA meetings for months afterward, having to deal with the shame of being called the ‘crazy tadpole lady’. You are quite the tale weaver. Would it be more truthful to say that your mother looks after your precious tadpoles when you go off for months together to boarding school?

Also, here’s a revelation: When those mutant tadpoles grow into little frogs and hop away, your sneaky mother replaces them with more before you come home so as to avoid your throwing a tantrum. You could never tell the difference, you pint-sized pinhead.

Here’s a little lesson about life while we’re on the subject of amphibians. Seeing as I am much older and somewhat wiser now. You are better off when frogs go away. You have far more trouble when frogs come hopping into your bowl…err…life. In addition to being slimy, they, most importantly, never turn into princes.

Well, don’t feel too badly about all this, 6-year-old BB. You will be glad to know that that precocious and loquacious little girl with the affinity for all little creatures of the animal kingdom still lives on in this woman who is now hurtling toward “old age” faster than your mother could replace those errant tadpoles.

Oh, and do keep writing! It makes your life far more interesting and eventful in more ways than even you can imagine. So brace for the years ahead, moppet.

(No kisses and hugs because I know you hate them.)

Present-Day Basically Blah.

P.S. Whatever you do, do not become friends with this KO person. She appears to be delusional and harbours suicidal inclinations, judging from her article in the same magazine:

Note to the school magazine editorial team:
I am totally baffled as to why you would choose such an article to begin your magazine. Was it because your other choice was this?

I suppose it stands to reason that this could cause some fears among parents about the safety of their kids, considering that their first grade teacher appears to be a molting, stilt-walking Sasquatch.

Read the exchange my discovery sparked off with KO here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Waiter, Wipe that Smile Off Your Face

How Do You Solve A Problem Like BC?

BC is possibly the most foul-mouthed person I know and takes offence - in a rather comical way - at the most absurd things. Her surliness over seemingly ordinary circumstances or people is what prompts me to claim that she harbours a dozen complexes (hence her pseudonym). A charge that she refutes with profanity that most certainly cannot be published here.

So the other day, KO called me to join her and her two German friends for dinner at this rather good Punjabi restaurant. BC said she would join us later. The four of us were guided to our table by a rather cheerful and friendly waiter named Alistair.

Now, I love cheery people. BC, for reasons best known to her, detests them. She even objects to the dozen smiley magnets on my fridge door. This would explain why she issues death threats if I so much as greet her in the morning. It is why our opinions of cheerful people differ so. While I completely “heart” them, she finds them “annoying”.

Anyhow, back to our waiter Alistair. The sincere fellow fussed around our table, ensuring we were comfortable and took our beverage orders. Then while we mulled over our food menus, he decided we must all be foreigners. As I listed each dish we wanted, he painstakingly described what it was, even going so far as to explain the meaning of “achaar”. Not wanting to offend him, I patiently heard him out and nodded understandingly as he completed each elaborate explanation.

I blamed his assumption on KO’s accent. KO blamed it on mine. The gospel truth is that only one of us has an actual “accent”. The other (me, me, me!) has what is universally called a “neutral accent” with an occasional inability to pronounce certain names. Capisce?

BC arrived a while after our food had been served. As she pulled a chair up to our table, Alistair appeared and beamed down at her. “You’re late!” he remarked as he helped her settle in. Now, here is where our perceptions differed. While the rest of us chuckled, BC was offended, thinking he had admonished her for her tardiness. “Oh, I wasn’t aware we had some kind of a set time”, she mumbled dryly.

Then Alistair “offended” her again. As she picked up her glass to drink, he asked, “Would you like a drink?” BC started, almost sloshing her drink onto me, before bemusedly pointing out that she already had a drink.

In an effort to make up for his faux pas, Alistair then served BC with some kebabs and added, "Madam, have some onions." The problem BC had with this? There were, in fact, no onions in the dish. She hissed, "But there are no onions in there!" He beamed down at her again and said, "No, do have some more onions." "This man has lost his onions," BC mumbled to me.

The last straw (to her - the rest of us were completely amused) came when he took it upon himself to explain to her what “gulaab jamuns” were. “Balls of dough fried in sugar sy--” he began before she cut him short. “I know what they are. I just don’t want those stuffed ones. You know, the ones with that c**p in it”, she said, gesturing wildly while the rest of us chuckled again.

As we left, seen off by the cheery Alistair, I remarked, “What a pleasant waiter. One of the nicest I’ve met.”

BC scowled at me. “Brilliant, go ahead and worship the man that crushes me with his venomous tongue”, she spat. “May his sugary dough balls turn to bitter ash."

And just like that, the cheery Alistair was a marked man.

Sigh. Did I mention complexes before?