When I was at primary school I had a friend that my father
named 'Phona' because we spent so much time on the telephone
talking to each other. God only knows what we talked about,
I'm imagining highbrow things like, 'I'm lying on the bed
and I can see a fly walking across the ceiling.'
I used to like going and staying the night at Phona's, we
would organise midnight feasts - and her mother would
actually go and buy us sweets for such occasions. Midnight
feasts in our household involved sneaking out of bed, arming
ourselves with two spoons and slowly working our way through
a three litre container of ice cream while sitting on the
deep freeze, hoping that we wouldn't be busted by my eagle
eared parents. And Phona was a really fussy eater, apart
from sweets, she would only eat potatoes and peas. There was
none of the 'If you don't eat your dinner you will get it
for breakfast' carry-on in her house.
Anyway, as lives do, ours then meandered off in opposite
directions. We went to different secondary schools, she went and
learnt how to be a hairdresser and set up her own business in
Palmerston North. I, meanwhile, embarked on a career of doing
no work at university until it eventually dawned on me that
in order to get a degree you actually have to attend lectures.
I would have last seen her at my grandfather's funeral
which was in 2000. But my Fruitcake mother has just
received a long, newsy email from her.
Pop quiz, where do you think Phona's life has taken her?
A) Married with children with a thriving hair salon in
B) Just got out of jail having finished a sentence for fraud?
C)Living in Washington with her husband who has an
Important Job that includes regular meetings with Obama?
D) Having retrained as a teacher is now living in Cambodia
working for Volunteer Services Abroad?
The correct answer would be, C.
My old childhood friend's husband gets more facetime with the
most powerful man in the world than our Prime Minister.
Sometimes life is so grand that I just want to pick it up
and give it a great big hug.