Sometimes in life, you go through a really rough patch that you don’t know if or when you are going to get out of it. The bad patch could be anything really, from a car breaking down, to losing your savings as a result of a US downgrade (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen – although I have faith in you Americans, even though you do come across as completely insane most of the times) to rioting outside your house (my heart is with you, London).
Usually, I like to assume myself as the cheerleader and ask my friends who are feeling particularly down and stressed about things, how bad is it really? Like you still have your health, right? Yes. Your parents are alive and well? Yes. You did not, as a result of poor judgment, result in bringing down an entire bank that had a history spanning 233 years and losing just about 1.3 billion dollars overnight? Yes. You didn’t kill anyone did you? Yes. (Although, I nearly asked this question to a houseman friend of mine, until I realized, well, she is a doctor in ER and the possibility might just be there). Are there rioters outside your door? No. Are the militia stopping you from getting food aid? No.
So whenever I go through a rough patch, I sit myself down and ask myself these questions. Usually, I come to the conclusion that whatever my problems are, it ain’t so bad. Seriously. Just wish that I did not feel so damn low, so much so that I would really rather sleep under the covers and wallow in self-pity whilst refreshing the Guardian.
Yeah, that’s just the way a leftie rolls, man. When feeling sorry for yourself, you commesurate with other lefties to blame the all the ills of the world on the Tories. Damn you, Tories, for my leaky faucet! Yes, it’s all your fault. Even though I’m not even British.
See, my particular rough patch started about two weeks ago with one of my tyres exploding as I drove home. It’s my fault really, my mechanic warned me months ago that I needed to replace it but I was hoping to drive them to last till…well, whenever I really needed to get them changed. I supposed the time finally came when I nearly skidded off the road taking a corner. Heck, I was still hoping to drive the car until some dude knocked on my car window and said, “Uh, kak. Tak boleh bawak kereta ni. Tayar dah letup” (Uh, Miss. You can’t drive this car. The tyre’s exploded.)
Eizwan took the morning off to help me get the car to the mechanics. We headed to a tyre shop where the mechanic took one look at my tyres, wide-eyed and gaping mouth and said, “Waaaah, tayar ini manyak rosak woooh.” (Waaaaah, these tyres are severely damaged, woooooh)
And I go, “Err…tak boleh guna lagi, ah?” (So, I can’t use it?) Still trying my luck there.
The damage was three tyres had to be changed. And something to do with fixing my turning radius. Yeah, whatever man, just bring on the damage to my wallet. I can handle it.
To ease the long wait at the workshop, Eizwan and I decided to grab a bite. The nearest place to the worshop is some little foodstalls nearby. Against my better judgment (I was hungry, dammit!), we ate nasi lemak and drank iced tea. Which made me feel rather queasy almost immediately. But I can handle it. I lived in India, you know. Delhi belly and all. I’ve conquered it. What is Malaysian street food?
The next evening, I ended up being wheeled into the hospital from food poisoning. My blood pressure was very low, I threw up on the nurse and had to get two shots. Thankfully, I did not need to be admitted but spent the next two weeks dealing with on-off nausea.
Over the weekend, Eizwan’s car began to shudder and after my brush with danger (dramatic moment), I insisted Eizwan get his car checked. We did. And we were presented with a whopping RM 3,000 bill to fix the car. After getting over the initial shock, we insisted on getting the bare basics i.e. anything that would make the car work. We fixed it, with a RM 1100 bill. We got into the car and guess what? It still wasn’t fixed! After getting onto the highway, I realized that the spark plugs were misfiring. And the stupid workshop would not fix it, since well, apparently, they did not have the parts. So much for being a Korean car specialist.
Our mood was terribly low that evening that I offered to buy Eizwan dinner at Tony Roma’s, Sunway Pyramid. I don’t usually name and shame establishments like my wedding photographer who took, oh, just about one year to get my photos to me, but you know, when you gotta change your table three times because you keep seeing cockroaches scuttling about…
On the plus side, the meal was free, which was a welcomed reprieve after two hefty car bills in a row. On the downside, well, you know. Cockroaches while you eat is never pleasant.
The next week was awful car-wise. Just awful. Without a second car, Eizwan had to drop me off as he headed to work which made planning evening meals very chaotic. In Ramadhan, there is a big emphasis in spending time with your loved ones during iftar. But Eizwan has huge deadlines coming up, so he leaves work very late, like just before iftar. So we have this crazy, manic routine where Eizwan would rush home to pick me up so that we could go home and eat a piece of chocolate together. Since that is pretty much the only thing I could prepare since I was still weak and queasy from food poisoning. Since I did not prepare any food for iftar, it meant that our morning pre-dawn meals consisted of toast and very cold leftovers. Which is chaotically prepared since we are both so tired from the night before.
Despite all this, we survived the chaos of commuting with only one car!
But it really isn’t chaos is not really chaos unless you do something stupid, like locking yourself out. Which happens to be a speciality of ours. After an exhausting evening of being caught in traffic, breaking fast with a humble meal of McDonalds, we retired upstairs to find that someone had closed the bedroom door shut. The lock on our bedroom door is jammed, and we usually leave it slightly ajar so that we can open it from the outside. Well, eff. (It’s Ramadhan, trying to refrain from cussing)
This was when we find out that 24 hour locksmiths, well, they lie. At precisely 12am, they switch off their phones and stop responding to your calls. The ones that do, charge a bomb for coming in after working hours. How do we respond? Why, by youtubing, of course! After watching countless of videos on youtube, breaking bobby pins trying to pick the lock (if Macgyver can do it, why can’t I?), banging our heads against the door, shoving the door with your shoulder (it works on TV! Why wouldn’t it work in real life?!) we caved in and searched and hunted for a locksmith that actually DID work for 24/7 and paid for his services.
I’m starting to feel that we might not be able to survive the week. But that’s just me..
And then this morning, as we woke up for sahur, whilst washing up, the kitchen pipe fell off. I know, I thought these things were meant to be screwed in. I mean how could it just fall off? In what felt like a scene from a cartoon, we had water spraying from the sink onto the kitchen floor. The two of us wasted precious eating time battling a broken water pipe, trying to shove the pipe back in (no such luck), shoving a cloth in to stop the water from flooding the floor. As we stood there, wet, cold and panicked, it never occurred to us to err…switch off the mains? Instead we battled till we were soaked, only have enough time to eat 5 dates and coffee for breakfast.
I spent the rest of the morning in bed, sulking after that.
I know, I know. I didn’t kill anyone. I am healthy and well. My parents are healthy and well. There were no riots outside my doorstep. And that if I look at it rationally, these things happen. And from a faith point of view. I should take it as a test from God, in the month of Ramadhan, that things are especially trying.
But really, all I want to do is blame the Tories.