My mother says people today have far too many choices. This, from a woman who, when she saw the YouTube clip of Mariah Carey’s shoe closet, sniffed, “That’s it? You’d think a superstar like her would have more shoes than that!”
Still, she clings stubbornly to her observation, trotting it out as the reason for any number of the world’s issues.
Rising divorce rates? “Too many choices!” she’ll say. “People know if they’re not satisfied with their husband, they can always get a divorce and find another man. In my day, you married one man and that would be the end of it. Not happy? Have an affair!”
Overcrowded airports? “Too many budget airlines!” she’ll declare. “You think if you charged people $2000 to fly to Bali, anyone would go?”
Traffic jam on the ECP? Too many places for people to go to. “Back in my day, there were no shopping malls and theatres and restaurants! After work, you wen home and had dinner!”
Rising obesity? “Hello!” she said the other day, waving her Crystal Jade menu at us. “Look at the pictures of all this delicious food! Deliberately designed to make you want to order everything!”
That afternoon, after lunch, when we were all back in the apartment, beached on the sofa and moaning about how much we’d eaten, Saffy said she really needed to go on a diet before Chinese New Year started. “We haven’t even loh-hei’d yet and I already feel so fat!”
Amanda struggled out of her seat and shuffled to her bedroom. “I need a nap,” she muttered.
“Let’s watch something on Netflix,” Saffy said listlessly, pulling the iPad towards her. “What shall we watch?”
We must have spent at least ten minutes scrolling through a hundred movies and TV shows. “I mean, I love Henry Cavill and everything,” Saffy said at one stage after we’d watched the trailer for The Witcher, “but do I want to invest eight hours of my life on a show with probably no nudity?”
“We could watch Outlander,” I said. “Sharyn says there’s lots of grimy sex in that one!”
“But that’s like four seasons, and there’s only so much of a Scottish accent I can take! Your mother is so right. There are just too many choices, and I… oooh, wait, what’s this? Dracula! It’s a new version!”
“‘Oh, he’s a total spunk!’ Saffy said. “At first, I thought, ‘Meh, pasty white man’, but I have to say he’s really growing on me. There’s a scene where he’s all naked and bloody standing outside the gates of the convent…”
I groaned. “Vampires? Remember how we couldn’t sleep after watching the Gary Oldman version?”
Saffy sniffed. “Oh, how scary can it be? Besides, it’s only three episodes and I gotta say Dracula is kind of hot in a German shepherd kind of way!”
As it turned out, each episode was 90 minutes long — a whole movie, in other words — but by the time Amanda woke up from her nap, Saffy and I were almost all the way through episode 2, scrunched up together on one end of the couch, our knuckles white from clutching a cushion.
“Is it really that scary?” Amanda asked.
Saffy paused the show, grateful for the interruption. “The first one was terrifying,” she said, “and the second episode, not so much, but I know I’m going to have nightmares anyway for days.”
“That vampire baby in the box!” I murmured.
Saffy’s bosom inflated. “Oh my God, that baby! If that thing doesn’t make me want to tie up my tubes, I don’t know what will!”
Amanda peered at her Netflix screen on her laptop. “Dracula is kind of hot!” she said.
“Oh, he’s a total spunk!” Saffy said. “At first, I thought, ‘Meh, pasty white man’, but I have to say he’s really growing on me. There’s a scene where he’s all naked and bloody standing outside the gates of the convent…”
Amanda raised a finger. “No, don’t tell me anymore, I think I’ll watch it. The thing about Netflix is that there’s just too much to watch and I always end up watching something I’ve already seen before because I can’t be bothered investing time and energy in anything new in case it’s a total dud!”
Saffy gasped. “That’s exactly what we said! We must have spent hours scrolling through the options before we found Dracula!”
“Fifteen minutes at most…,” I murmured.
“Hours!” Saffy repeated.
In the end, we took a break and waited for Amanda to catch up — “My God, that baby!” she said — before we all watched the last episode together.
“I’m definitely going to have nightmares,” Saffy said at 10pm that evening.
“I may have to sleep with you tonight,” Amanda murmured as she double checked the locks on the windows.
“That crazy undead child in the bedroom!” I said, the hairs standing up on my arms.
“You wouldn’t need to teach birth control in school,” Saffy said as she rummaged in her cupboard for a copy of the Bible. “Just screen this show!”
Dracula is now streaming on Netflix.