When friends and family are late, Wendyl Nissen lets her imagination get the better of her.
Having an active imagination is all very well in some circumstances. It really helps if you happen to earn your living as a writer. It's also great if you have a nearly-four-year-old granddaughter.
"I'll be the princess and you can be her mummy and we'll make a tomato cake," she instructed the other day.
I sat there doing the best impression of a tomato-cake-baking princess mummy and hoped to get away with it.
"Say something," she commanded.
"Umm, where's the oven," I answered meekly.
"Right in front of you, silly. Careful, it's hot!"
Unfortunately, my imaginative streak is very shy and can't quite bring itself to act out, especially when the audience is my husband.
"Look at you being all cute and having imaginative play," he'll say, overflowing with delight.
"Whatever," I mumble.
"I'm sick of being a princess mummy, can we do something else?" I asked our preschooler.
"Quick, call the Fire Girl, the cake is burning," she replied, oblivious to her grandmother's plea and handing me an imaginary iPhone. I know it's an iPhone because she holds it in her palm and dials the number on its "screen".
"I think you mean the Fire Brigade," I say before "talking" into the "iPhone".
"Whatever," she says. "Tell Fire Girl to hurry up."
One place my imagination does enjoy running rife, however, is when people go missing. Not in a bad, lost-in-the-bush or never-came-home way. Just when they are late. Ten minutes late will do it.
I have imagined my husband's funeral more times than I care to remember simply because he was held up in traffic.
The scenario rarely differs and involves a car accident, an impassioned farewell in the hospital where he rouses himself from a coma to whisper: "I could never have done it without ..." before dying and leaving me wondering if he was about to say my name or someone else's, like God, or Shirl, our dog.
Then there's the funeral, where I manage to give a magnificent eulogy, which is rudely interrupted when he finally arrives full of apologies for being 10 minutes late.
Last weekend my imagination had a rare but significantly long outing because a friend had arranged to "pop around" at 4pm to get an iPad lesson. I love my iPad and most days sit with it scanning newspapers and magazines which is about all I do with it, but it's an enjoyable half hour.
She got hers for Christmas and has spent most of her time staring at it in its box. I know how she feels, I stared at mine for a month before I got the nerve to switch it on and ask my children how to work it.
By the time she finally rang at 6.45pm to say that she had, well, sort of, forgotten and gone to the gym without her phone and then had to ... I actually can't remember what else she had to do because I was so busy blurting down the phone how glad I was that the following hadn't happened:
* She and her partner had argued and were unwilling to pick up the phone when I rang, such was the intensity of the discussion. I could see them in their kitchen. One with head in hands, the other gazing out into the garden.
* Her mother had been tragically injured in a car accident.
* Her child was involved in a terrible drama of unknown origins, unknown because I hadn't quite had time to work on that one.
The only thing which hadn't happened to her in the nearly three hours she had been missing was that her dog hadn't died.
"Well thank goodness for that," she said. "Shall I come over now?"
"Certainly not," I replied. "I am far too exhausted from dealing with the events which didn't happen to you in the past few hours."By Wendyl Nissen Email Wendyl