Saturday, December 5, 2015

Time Out

It is a cliché that we all remember things differently. A week ago, I found myself being included in one of the group whats app created by classmates from my primary school.  I found it a little incredulous as I had recently quitted from whats app group consisting of my secondary school friend and now I have to decide if I should exit . While it is nice that friends from the past show up and play catch up, they can be a little overwhelming when the phone is swamped with a hundred over messages in one day.

I am amazed that some of these school friends could recall  things that happened in school as my own memory bank has since been reprogrammed  and many memories have been erased and replaced by more recent events. Perhaps I am not too nostalgic about childhood not that I had a  bad one. I just do not travel back in time with the same degree of sentimentality and enthusiasm that my school friends demonstrate. A school friend lamented about how one Bahasa cikgu used to hit every pupil on his or her hand for not performing well in ‘ejaan’ ( spelling test) and I was apparently spared the rod as I used  to ride the same taxi as the teacher for my trip to and from school.  I asked my sister if she remembered any of it. She told me I used to be picked up from school in my dad’s business van or truck and occasionally the ice cream truck belonging to our neighbour. I had trouble remembering any of this though I could remember  the super thin and tanned driver who used to smoke a lot and resembled what I thought a drug addict would look like. Our late dad was an entrepreneur and I remember he was never on time. He did make it a point to take us on a beach or movie outing on Sundays. I also had some fabulous time practising duets with him playing the violin and me the piano when we were young. So to me, he had pretty much redeemed himself.  Nobody is perfect and everybody is different. That is probably the best motto anyone should have in life. 

When I was studying in Sydney, I used to enjoy retreating into the world of old movies that played on television so much so that there was this one time I was late for a part-time waitressing job I took during my first summer holiday. I can still recall the yelling from the Greek cook but he was not intimidating at all. The café I was working at was located at Bondi Junction and the breakfast crowd arrived after 7 am and many of them had to start work at the departmental stores in the vicinity. It was the month of December so Christmas was approaching just like now.

Chick lit can be nauseating because it is often  pretty much a fairy tale. A night in with Audrey Hepburn is an entertaining read.  But Lucy Holliday  has made it really hilarious about how aspiring actress Libby Lomax has retreated into the world of classic movies as her dad had been instrumental in influencing her for her love for movies. Her dad has left the family to focus on writing a book about Hollywood screen icons like Audrey Hepburn. And at her new bachelor pad which has been reduced in its size by her  dishonest landlord, Libby meets her screen idol, Audrey Hepburn complete with little black dress, tortoise shell sun glasses and vintage cigarette holder sitting on the Chesterfield sofa that her childhood buddy has picked up from used furniture store at the movie studio. Just as she feels everything is going wrong and she has been unlucky then things start to look up when she starts whining to her sofa about her life.

The story is written in the voice of Libby.
'I mean , I may just have been chatting to my new sofa, but I ‘m not 100 per cent crackers, not yet. Obviously there’s no way this is the real, bona-fide, sadly long-dead Hollywood legend Audrey.

 She’s got the voice down absolutely pat, I have to say. The elongated vowels, the crisp, elocution- perfect consonants, all adding up to that mysterious not quite-English –not quite –European accent. Exactly the way Audrey Hepburn sounds when you hear her in the movies. ‘

 Libby has issues with her estranged dad and she needs to work them out of her system. Audrey encourages her to re-connect with her dad. So  Libby listens to her alter ego and responds to her dad’s tweet and agrees to meet up.

 Once again, I remind myself to give Audrey a piece of my mind when I get back to my flat tonight. Because this is going even worse than I thought. I’d forgotten, somehow, just how flat and unenthusiastic my dad can be. How it’s not just the way he smiles at me that makes me feel like that tiresome neighbour: it’s the way he talks to me as well. The way he’s always talked to me, in fact.’

When she is with her dad, she wonders if ‘Dad happens to recall – as I ‘m doing, right now – the occasion we watched Charade, together, when I was nine or ten. It was at a time , a rare and brief time, if only I’d realized it back then, when he was making sufficiently good progress with the book to mean that he wasn’t canceling our one weekend a month at the last minute , and that he was in a relaxed mood when I went to stay with him.’

We have to accept that nobody is perfect not even our parents. We should not forget  the good part and accept that not everyone thinks alike and we have to work out what works for us. 

A night in with Audrey Hepburn is definitely a girly escape as the protagonist has  a hot and popular actor  falling for her, a wonderful girl pal whose brother constantly looks out for her and he is sweet, caring and reliable. Life is definitely looking better for Libby whose story is  continued in Lucy Holliday's next novel A night in with Marilyn Monroe.

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