I don’t have a lot of close friends in Dubai, many acquaintances, but not a lot of close friends, but the ones I do have, are gold. Most of us like to watch football (soccer) and we spend a lot of Saturday nights at my apartment watching the English Premier League. I live fairly centrally for most of them, have a pretty nice television, and most importantly, subscribe to the satellite channels that show the live games. And my cats don’t seem to mind the company either.
I had a couple of friends over the other week, and one of them brought over his new girlfriend. No worries there. I always keep the toilet seat down, have lots of magazines and books should she lose interest in the football, and don’t just have beer in the fridge in case she wants something else to drink. Turns out, beer worked just fine.
It also turns out that my friend had mentioned that I have a slight stutter at times. The first time I stuttered over a word she didn’t bat an eye lid. And she fit in quite comfortably with the dynamic of teasing and, as the Brits say, “Taking the piss”. If my friends are making fun of me for my stutter, I know they don’t care about it and know I don’t care about it. So she joins her boyfriend in some good-natured ribbing, offering a pen from her purse if writing it down would be easier. I thought that was a particularly good one, I must admit. The boyfriend, who shall remain nameless to save the blushes that follow, was never quite that bright with his remarks. Usually he just tells me to stop being stupid and think of the right word to say; or ask if I want our other friend’s 2 year old daughter to find the right words for me. Again, this doesn’t bother me.
Football is done and the movie Jack the Giant Slayer comes on. This is just a re-imagining of Jack and the Beanstalk. You all know how that goes. We’re watching the film, that isn’t that bad, and towards the end of the film there is a scene where Ewan MacGregor’s character is clinging to the beanstalk after it has been chopped down and is crashing to the ground from thousands of feet up. As the beanstalk hurtles towards earth and breakneck speed, MacGregor sees his chance and leaps from the beanstalk into the moat of the castle where he is the captain of the royal army.
My friend makes some kind of “Tsk” noise. “God, at that speed the surface of the water would have been like concrete. He’d have died.”
I fail to stifle a laugh. Not a giggle. A laugh. Nearly peed myself if I’m honest. “Really?” I ask him.
“Yeah. I mean, come on. He’d have at least shattered a few dozen bones.”
More laughter. His girlfriend joins in too.
“What?” He questions us.
“Let me get this straight.” I start without a stutter. “You are questioning the realism of this movie because that fall would have killed him and he didn’t die?”
“Yeah. Kind of stupid don’t you think.” Not a question, more of a statement.
“Do you want me to get Daisy (the 2 year old) down here to tell you that questioning the realism of a guy not dying after he hurtled thousands of feet from the sky while riding a beanstalk, grown from magic beans, after escaping from giants is by far stupider than the guy not dying after he hit the water, or shall I let you try and figure out why it is far stupider?” Not a single stutter either.
You could hear the rusty hamster wheel inside his head kick into motion. CLUNK. The penny dropped. He looks at me after a swig of beer. “I like you better when you stutter.”