Sunday, October 15, 2006

Birthdays, morbid thoughts

Today my brother, his wife, their 1 year old son, my father, my aunt, my uncle, and his wife all came round to our place. We had a little birthday thing for my little nephew and my boy O. Their birthdays are ten days apart.

I made made grilled lamb shoulder cubes on skewers, chicken wings marinated with a random bunch of seasoning and then baked in the oven, linguine with ragu sauce, courgettes and mushrooms sauteed in garlic and olive oil, and a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and decorated with strawberries.

My father and the assorted bunch of relatives, they are obsessed with their health. They are not health freaks. Apart from walking around leisurely in the park every now and then, they don't do any exercise. They don't eat particularly healthily, and my dad still smokes. Still, everytime I see them, their favourite topic of conversation is their health. After I picked them up from the train station, I noticed that my uncle's wife was unusually quiet in the car. So I asked her if she was feeling tired:

Ai.... I've been in the hospital last week.... so many tests.

What are the tests for?

Ai.... a whole bunch of tests. For my stomach, my colon, my lungs, my heart...

So, everything okay?

Ai.... can't say okay or not okay ga la, at my age. As you get older, the machine will start to break ...

So... what are the results?

Ai.... they found a dot on my lungs, they don't know what it is.

Is it a... er... growth of some kind?

Ai.... not a tumor, luckily. Some kind of scar wor.

Scar?

Ai.... yes ar, they said, probably from when I had pneumonia.

You had pneumonia?

Ai.... no ar, I never had pneumonia.

Um... that is strange.

Ai.... musn't get sick ga, once you get sick, many problems. Very mahn fahn ga.

.....

Ai... you too ar, look at you, you look so thin, you been dieting mair? Exercising a lot?

Not dieting, not really exercising much... really.

Ai.... it's not good to exercise too much ga, very bad for the bones. Once you have problems with your bones, it's very mahn fahn ga....

.....

Ai... very important to stay healthy ga, must have check ups every year. Ai... if not, ho mahn fahn ga...


And so on.

I know health is important. I know it's not good to get sick. I know all that. But why the compulsion to reiterate these truths everytime they see me? It is almost as if, they are so frightened of illness and death, that at this stage in their lives, living is all about not dying.

But how can that be possible, for anyone? I think there are so many more things much much much more frightening and much much much more horrible than getting sick and dying. Really.

2 comments:

charity said...

I guess it's similar to how people enjoy blabbering about their turmoil weight gain and their perpetual state of fatness. Or even society's obsession with the daily dramas of celebrity figures. Stupid we all know yet so many of us can't stop flipping through the tabloids and bitching about our failures at dieting and exercising.

Pierre said...

The body police. They are everywhere.