Monday, 20 January 2014


Have you ever read “To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing? It’s about Susan Rawlings, a happily married woman who, in order to get some time alone, rents a hotel room every afternoon where she just sits and thinks.

I am desperately in need of a Room Nineteen.  A secret apartment where I get to keep my sanity. Just for a few hours each Sunday. In my own piece of heaven.  No one will be invited.

Having spent two weeks with a big flu bug. I was looking forward to a restful weekend but it was not to be. My mother wanted to prepare for Chinese New Year. On Saturday, she dragged me to Chinatown. On Sunday, she wanted to clean. “No, we cannot wait for Lori to come in on Monday,“ she said. “She needs to change the curtains. You need to start by sweeping and dusting, ending with mopping. Remember, you need to apply the vacuum cleaner to that wall space behind the TV - it’s FILTHY! Then you need to change the bed sheet. And the kitchen light, I’m positively TERRIFIED of the kitchen light because it’s the hardest to clean …” Funny how she repeats same thing year after year and I still don't see how a kitchen light can induce such terror.  If I survive the CNY festivities, I shall replace our kitchen light with one simple, old-fashioned light bulb.

After lunch, my mother sent me out to buy batteries. For good measure, I was to buy batteries of different sizes.  I must've been delirious from cough medication because I remembered giggling to myself as I cross the street, “I think I may just topple over right here and a car would run me over.”

But no such luck.

At home, I was sure I would've fallen into a deep slumber if my mother hasn't suddenly screeched, “Can you get out here? Your father is having trouble changing the batteries in the remote control!” Really, one would think the sky was falling. I drifted into the living room to find both Mom and Dad sitting on the couch with the remote control, batteries and two screwdrivers. What’s with the screwdrivers, I enquired. “Oh, we couldn’t get it to slide open.”  I started to remove the old batteries.  "Can you place the old batteries FAAAAR away so that they don't get mixed with the new?!!"  The challenges life brings.

My head was pounding hard.  I attempted to get into bed again but Mom just wouldn't give up. “Hey, do you want to eat apples?!”

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