18 March 2009

Deliver us from Evil. Amen.

Certain people should come with a warning label like food products or chemicals- Warning: Totally and utterly dangerous, do not let within a 100 miles of you. The Pope is one of them. I was following the story of his current run through Africa when he landed at Cameroon and made the most ridiculous statement imaginable- Condoms could make the African AIDS crisis worse.

Yes, you heard right. He said that. I saw it. I heard it. I read it. I'm not going to bore you with the statistics on HIV and AIDS in the world. There are over a billion sites on the Internet if you are interested. What I'm concerned about is this: There are approximately 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, give or take a few hundred thousand. And they think it is okay to accept this man, no wait- this IDIOT, as their spiritual leader and guide? This blundering fool who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to deepen a very serious, downright critical crisis by talking through his arse?

Sexual abstinence and fidelity- this is his counsel. What planet is the man from? The Vatican has long been criticised across the world for its positively archaic and utterly unrealistic, thoroughly stupid views on this matter and here he comes along, traipsing into a continent that is crumbling under the weight of this crisis and tells them without a single moment's hesitation that "The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS."

Failsafe? Traditional teachings? Is he barking mad or does he have an agenda? Either way, it makes him a sinner and a criminal. What about that, pontiff? You think disseminating information that could directly lead to an action that causes death by AIDS is permissible? Why isn't this man being tried in a court of law? Does idiocy fall under crimes punishable by law?

In places like Africa and India where the AIDS crisis festers on a minute-by-minute basis, where the number of deaths are increasing instead of decreasing and where the majority of the population is illiterate and are driven by religious leaders and religious practice, there can be no greater damage than the damage caused by these so-called moral guardians of faith. Whether it is the Pope or the Hindu religious leaders or the Islamic fundamentalists, when a common man relies on them to steer his life towards salvation, the only thing that's going to happen is that he's going to find himself up shitcreek without a paddle.

If there is a god, may he strike all of these holier-than-thou wankers dead and save the rest of us from them.

10 March 2009

UFO- Unmarried Freaky Object.

2009 has been a wonderfully quirky year so far. I decided intentionally that I would develop a quirk. Apparently it makes you more lovable/admired in an Emma Thompson kind of way. So I decided that I would randomly volunteer one piece of information to acquaintances/friends/relatives in the course of a conversation, which I would normally consider myself well-mannered enough not to. In early January, I'd been vaguely toying with the idea of a proper exercise schedule and began running outdoors for a couple of weeks. People who ran past me or alongside me or around me in circles, decided to stop for a friendly chat. Now in India, this can be a many-headed dragon. It can be as innocuous as 'hi, haven't seen you before/seen you here a couple of times now, are you new?' or it can be 'hey I know you from x's party and I was wondering if you're interested in meeting my newly single brother who has no hair but makes a lot of money?' or 'hello young lady, are you back in India and why haven't you called us?' or 'ooh, look, that's the bitch who broke my best friend's brother-in-law's heart.' You get the picture.

In trying to put my new quirk to the test, I answered a few of these queries with 'I don't usually run but apparently my ovaries will shrink if I don't get enough exercise' or 'You know, I'm sorry I only date women over 40 who run the bank your brother makes lots of money in' or my favourite, 'I didn't want to call you because I have a secret crush on you and I didn't want our families to fall out because of it' or 'Yes I am the bitch who gave your brother syphillis, is he dead now?' But of course the problem was that people didn't see my Charlie Brooker side of it and I got strange looks and my family got concerned phone calls. In the end, everyone put it down to- oh well, she's 35 and isn't married, doesn't have a boyfriend and so this must be how the poor thing must amuse herself. After all, writers are a little crazy. Tsk Tsk.

Were we? Crazed because we wrote? Or crazed because we weren't married? Or crazed because we were living in a society obsessed with marriage and relationships? Right around this time, a very very dear friend of mine from California got engaged and I congratulated her and we talked about the ring and the wine in Napa and the recession on Wall Street. Following this, another friend in India got engaged and I congratulated her and she started telling me about how many single friends her fiance had and could she set me up with all of them? I was suddenly, her poor Bridget Jones-friend who needed help in this department.

Soon after that, I had friends visiting from London, then Sydney and now New York. In the course of all those conversations, I brought up this topic. Was it a real concern that I was still single? They looked at me, blinked a little bit and hesitatingly asked me if I thought it was a problem. I said no. They said okay, then, should we order another red or a white? But wait, I cried. What's wrong with me? I'm smart, I'm reasonably sexy, I speak six languages and I can ride a horse. Isn't it strange that I haven't been snapped up? Some jokes were made about turtles and the Venus flytrap and they all went back to the wine. Sydney said: Don't do it. See the world instead. London said: Oh date, sure. I don't know about this whole settling down thing. I mean how long does love really last? NY said: I'm in love. It's a blast. But you have a pretty good life even without it. Don't you think so?

Cut to a family gathering a week ago. Question: Oh why isn't she married? Answers: These globetrotting independent girls don't make good wives and men know that. She's too loud and opinionated. She's put on a little weight, hasn't she? She had a boyfriend abroad who broke her heart and now she's sworn off men. Maybe she doesn't like the men here. Maybe she doesn't like men. Oh I'm sure she has a different man in every city; she's just that type. She's an atheist. Except one relative who cheerfully answered: Yes, isn't it amazing! No wonder she's got such a fab life. (Thanks darling, you know who you are.)

It's March 2009. I exercise at home. I am going to be 36 in May. And I've just discovered that my single status gives a lot of people as much entertainment as it gives me. Hurrah! I knew it was going to be a good year!