Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Flock Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

While filling out a form recently, I stopped short when I came to the column titled “Who to contact in an emergency”. This was a tough one. I pursed my lips, quite stumped. Pen still poised, I considered my options.

Let’s see, there’s family. Obviously. That’s what most people put down. People who don’t belong to the Blah family, that is. Let me elaborate.

One evening, Cousin Binky, the blood relative I call my mother and I were peaceably watching TV together. All of a sudden, a swarm of bees swooped in. There were hundreds, crawling in through the half-open windows and thronging around the light bulbs. My mother is highly allergic to bee stings. So I quickly bundled her into a bedroom. Just so we’re clear: I was more afraid she’d swallow a bunch of bees as she stood squealing, “Aiyeeee! Bees! Oh! Oh! Bees! Ahhh!” than actually getting stung. 

I then shut all the doors and windows and switched off all the lights in the house, save one. The bees now hummed over to the single light, sounding like the starting grid of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. 

“Quick, Binky, grab the insect repellant!” 

I looked over at Binky. Binky was running all right. She was grabbing all right. Only, she was grabbing a long green banana from the fruit bowl. Close on her heels was my excited dog, thrilled at the sudden action around the house, trying to nip her bottom. 

That sort of response clearly ruled out Binky as my emergency contact. My mother, too. I mean, if her open-mouthed reaction to the bees hasn’t convinced you, consider the evening of the exploding water heater. 

There was a loud “boom” followed by an angry hissing of steam. My mother, evidently displaying complete and utter faith in my clairvoyant abilities, kept screaming, “What is it? What is it?” even when we were three rooms away and unsure what the noise was.

Besides, my mother has a warped sense of what constitutes an emergency. Her recent panicky phone call to me went this way:

- "Thoo Ja!"
- "What?"
- "Thoo Ja! The cow has got warts on her teats!"
- "Eww! Ma, I’m eating!"
- "It’s the name of the homeopathic medicine the vet recommended."
- "Ahh-ha!"
- "No! Thuja!"
- "Okay."
Then, there’s my father and his belief that WD40 is a panacea for all ills. For the above-mentioned wart-on-teats problem, for instance, he’d recommend WD40. My brother Scion? In his world, he claims birds deposit checkered pajamas on his balcony in the middle of the night. Is that really someone one should risk putting on as an “emergency contact”?

I then considered my close friends. 

KO! KO is a gem in an emergency. When BC’s parked car began rolling down a slope, she yelled out to KO to “pull the handbrake”. KO leapt into the car and brought it to a quick stop. There was just one tiny problem with her modus operandi though. Our girl leapt into the car and pressed the FOOT brake with her HAND. Trust KO to bring a bit of Hollywood stunt action to everyday life.

Bin? Bin has a history of confronting possible watermelon thieves with a bottle of Barcardi Breezer, and, most recently, inadvertently walked off with a wannabe cult leader’s bedroom slippers. Bin IS an emergency herself. 

Krook? MW? Krazy Frog? Krook has a tendency to declare, “Don’t worry! I will find your marbles!” under duress. MW’s idea of a travel first-aid kit is hemorrhoid cream, a steel spring and a ring. Krazy Frog very reassuringly says, “No worries! I’ll call you in 5, okay?” and disappears for the next 5 months. 

With a sigh, I realised I had little choice. I quickly filled in a name and number and handed in the form, fervently praying that I would never face an emergency situation. So, whose name did I put in? I'm going to have to leave you guessing about that one.