There are few sights more beautiful on a lazy morning than sleeping Girlfriend's visage. Aah who am I kidding, it's my favourite sight of all time: those few minutes of bliss before Girlfriend wakes up and becomes...well, herself, again.A vision so tranquil that I regularly douse her morning coffee with whiskey just to see those curtains come down again, however temporarily. Not that I'm some kind of compulsive coffee-spiking psychopath. Sometimes, I just pepper her pasta with finely powdered Paracetamol. One particularly lovelorn afternoon, I knocked her out with a rolling pin. Those tightly shut eyes, those gently cascading eyelashes, are the promises, the visions, all relationships are built on- the promise of calm and quiet, the hope that those sleep-gooey lips will not always chastise or criticize or order you to stop smoking during meals.
Since we started seeing each other regularly, I have always made sure I wake up a good five minutes before she does just to get a glimpse of those non-judgmental eyes. It wasn't easy in the beginning, what with my predilection for sleeping in, and Girlfriend's demanding job that requires her to don pinstripes and create PDFs or pour through Excel sheets or whatever it is real adults do for a living as early as 9 in the AM. But when you want something strongly enough, you're all sorts of resourceful. The solution to my little conundrum, I discovered, was fairly simple: I'd just have to wait for Girlfriend to fall asleep at night, and reset her alarm to a later time. Must be love.
Imagine my surprise then, when a few days ago, I woke up to find Girlfriend not just awake, but not even in sight. I shut my eyes, telling myself it was just a dream, that I'd wake up any second now. I was jolted back to reality by the sound of the bathroom door opening, and out peeped Girlfriend's head. It banged shut again almost immediately, Girlfriend's head retreating like that of a startled turtle the moment she caught my eye.
"Girlfriend," I call out, "you ok?"
"Yes," comes her voice, cautious but steady.
"Did you forget to flush again?" I ask.
"I told you that was the cat!" she shouts back.
"I forgot. So what's wrong, baby?"
The door opens again, and out steps suddenly-nonchalant Girlfriend, clad in boxers and tee, her laptop in her hand. "Nothing" she says, defiantly. She places the laptop on the dresser, and busies herself in front of the mirror. "Baby," I say, "were you using your laptop in the loo?"
"What if I was?"
"It's a little...weird, no?"
"There's an entire stack of your magazines by the pot."
"I know, but they're paper. A dump is not traditionally a technology-friendly activity."
"A tech-friendly activity? Why is everything so complicated with you?"
"It's a slippery slope, that's all. Next thing you know, you'll be texting at the cinema, and playing fruit-chucker on your tablet."
"It's called 'Fruit Ninja'."
"Oh my god."
"How do you know that? You don't know any sixteen year olds."
Aah, the calm before the storm. The lull before Techocalypse. That guilty-flirty look Eve gave Adam while biting into Apple.
"I got an iPad, ok?"
"What? But we're against mass-produced consumer goods."
"No, you are."
"But they cut off the poor little Chinese kids' fingers after they assemble those things."
"They build computers, not the Taj Mahal."
"But.. when did you get it?"
"Two weeks ago."
Modern life is rubbish.
"Where is it? How have I not seen it yet?"
"Coz I knew how you'd react. I keep it at work. And in the car, sometimes."
"You've never brought it home?"
"Only..just on that night you were out with Fatboy."
"Is it bigger than me?"
"Sorry, I anthropomorphized my fear of being displaced by technology. It's a guy thing."
"No it's not. It's a you thing."
"How would you know?"
"There's an app for it."
Icy Highs's Music Recco: Video Killed The Radio Star by Buggles, The Age of Plastic (1979)
This blogpost is part of a series called The Girlfriend Chronicles - which went on to form the crux of my second novel Mornings After (2016, Bloomsbury India). You can buy it here on Amazon.