No Alchemy Here

We gathered in the space carrying our welcome drinks and wearing our coloured dots like bullseyes. We were encouraged to mingle outside our circle of friends, but it was clear that most felt comfortable with the people they already knew.

It was difficult to tell whether the hum was due to anticipation or feedback from the audio speakers. And as more people came, the attempt to set the mood for the evening resulted in having to compete with the singer just to be heard.

But it was easy to share in the two virtual expressions of excitement from around the kitchen table, when the numbers gathered there were seen.

The group of women who were chosen to inspire mingled only after they told their stories – before that they stood apart, and the tales and their deliveries were as varied as the women who told them – unlike the identical musical crescendos that followed each one.

“Like” did not follow “like”, that evening – at least, not in the way it was intended. At least, not for me. It was, however the perfect opportunity to renew old alliances, just not to make any new ones.

It’s kind of hard to find alchemy if your “connection” doesn’t show.

Holding My Tongue

Image credit: mebaneumc.com
Image credit: mebaneumc.com

I don’t make resolutions

At the start or at the end

But this year I made the promise

To change a bit, to bend

To see the good in others

Less judgments to be made

But people make it hard to do

To not – you know – throw shade

The drivers who “misjudge” the road

And end up on my side

The ones to whom I give a chance

But won’t let others slide

The parents with “outspoken” kids

When what they really are is “rude”

The teachers who feign sweetness

Masking their true attitudes

The women who genuinely believe

That every spoil creates a style

The people who of customers say

“Oh, she can wait a while”….

I’m trying to be kinder now

And gentler in my thoughts

Here’s to my self-improvement goal

Of never “going off”.

 

Adam and Steve – What I’m Telling My Children About Gay Marriage

Image credit: wildsvillegallery.com
Image credit: wildsvillegallery.com

I heard about this commercial which if you watch TV you may have already seen:

A woman is sitting on an unmade bed with a cup of yogurt in her hand. We are aware that in the background there is someone else who is lying in the bed, but the person’s gender is not immediately obvious. The camera gets closer and as the person rises and gathers the bedclothes, we realize that the person is also a woman. The commercial is made by a company that sells yogurt – although it wasn’t selling yogurt that day, but it’s probably hoping to sell a lot more of it in the future.

The 13 year old girl who saw the commercial told her mother that it made her feel a little uncomfortable.

I saw this cartoon which if you love Looney Tunes you may have already seen:

Daffy Duck, up to no good as usual and wanting to get rid of Elmer Fudd, asks him whether he has a fishing license. Elmer replies in the affirmative. Nonplussed, Daffy inquires as to whether he is in possession of a “license to sell hair to bald eagles”. Elmer must have been a boy scout when he was younger because he produces that too.  Daffy then asks whether he has a marriage license to which Elmer replies that he isn’t married. Not missing a beat, Daffy asks, “How ‘bout you and me go steady?”

My two children laughed and said in unison – “But they’re two boys!”

It reminded me that I needed to have that overdue talk with my young ones, and that maybe it was a good thing that I waited this long to have this discussion about the birds and the bees, because it means I won’t have to open up the conversation again since I would have made no mention then about Adam and Steve.

The smartest parents will tell you that it’s better to discuss important or uncomfortable subjects with your children before they get the information (some of which may be wrong) from someone else. My children might not know about the latest American Supreme Court Ruling, but it’s a sure bet that sooner rather than later, they’re going to see two people of the same gender locked in a passionate embrace.

I’ll have no qualms informing them that it’s not something that I believe in or agree with, and I’ll admit that I don’t really understand it, but because somebody who is gay doesn’t share my viewpoint it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t talk to that person and have them as a friend. It’s no different from when they misbehave and I make sure to say that I still love them – it’s the behaviour that’s really the problem.

I know just how I’ll begin the conversation with them, but I’m hoping that anyone else who’s listening and who doesn’t “see with me” knows that we can agree to disagree. I’m perfectly fine with stating my case without trying  to bring anyone over to my side of the argument, so I hope she won’t be disappointed when I don’t make my way over to hers.

There’ll probably also be a  set of people who think that “still and all” I haven’t gone far enough and that I’m being overly simplistic and that the acceptance of things that we never used to tolerate will be the death of us. I’m not attempting to be politically correct – because I contend that trying not to mash corns will kill most of us. It’s just that hurling fire and brimstone really isn’t my thing.

 

I Choose You…No, You

ceramic cake topperWhen my husband and I stood at the altar those many years ago, he was surprised that I married him first. I don’t know whether  the minister conducting the service just wanted to change it up that day, but I actually gave him his ring first and declared that I “wed” him “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”.

That recollection came to mind when I heard about the Indian bride who decided to marry one of her wedding guests when her husband-to-be fell ill and seemed unable – at least when it mattered the most – to hold up his end of the bargain.

I don’t pretend to know how weddings are conducted in other cultures so I’m hoping that she wasn’t so desperate that she couldn’t wait for him to recover – but rather was  just a little pissed that her special day wasn’t going exactly as she’d planned it.

The bride – who asked a member of her brother-in-law’s family to step up to the plate – decided to move on because the epileptic condition that her first husband-to-be suffered from (and which had taken him to the hospital before he could say his vows), had not been disclosed to her.

I have watched a number of those road-to-the-altar shows and I’m thinking that this bridezilla was a little late in coming out. A lot of counselors will tell you that prior to marriage it’s usually a good idea to discuss matters relating to money (who’s got the most of it), sex (how often – if at all),  children (if any) and religion (where the kids will go to Sunday school).

Apparently they forgot to add pre-existing medical conditions to the mix, but it does make sense because they can certainly have a bearing on your finances.

I quite agree that when two people are getting together there should be as few secrets as possible, but maybe the medical condition over which he had no control made him feel a little less-than and his disclosing it would have made him an unsuitable candidate in her eyes.

Seems like he guessed right….

The woman, like most of us, was probably looking at all the money that had so far been spent – and seeing that she had made up her mind that she wasn’t marrying anyone who could be walking next to her one minute and succumbing to a fit in the next – decided that it shouldn’t go to waste.

And since everybody was already there….

For quite a while now, a lot of us have been guilty of putting more effort into the weddings than into the marriages themselves. So if there’s a hitch in the ceremony a whole lot of money could go down the drain, not to mention the fact that nobody would ever forget it. A failed marriage on the other hand, doesn’t quite make the ripples it used to.

The formerly incapacitated groom returned from the hospital to find that his bride had moved on, but was still trying to salvage his pride (by asking her to reconsider) even though it was clear that her priority had been to salvage her wedding.

One commenter on the story wondered whether the new groom had undergone a physical before saying “I do”. I think that’s more than likely, because there’s nothing like having insurance when you make that vow to stay with someone “in sickness and in health”.

 

Year End Update

Image credit: coloring.thecolor.com
Image credit: coloring.thecolor.com

I thought I’d do an update on some of the stories that made news during the year on this blog. Feel free to refresh your memory from the links I’ve provided and that way you can see how far I’ve come.

Seven months after I complained about the salesman with some serious stalking tendencies, I still haven’t managed to ditch him. I’d already mentioned that he had an iron-clad constitution for rejection coupled with a hearing problem, because no matter how many times I told him that I didn’t want to buy what he was selling, he kept trying to make that sale.

I knew I wasn’t creative enough to find the multiple ways required to tell him “no”, and he wasn’t listening anyway, so I decided to make good use of caller-id and immediately disconnect him. I think he must have liked the game we were playing because every time he called I would pick up the phone but say absolutely nothing.

And every living time he seems surprised that he’s greeted with dead air. Without fail, he’ll call back thinking that he got cut off by mistake. No learning taking place there, it seems. I’m lulled into complacency when I don’t hear from him for a couple of weeks, but after what he seems to think is a suitable hiatus, he diligently resumes his pursuit.

Seems like the only way I’ll shake him is by changing my number.

Five months after I’d heard that my marriage was over, I saw the person from whose lips the news had come. I literally bumped into her coming out of a changing room and I immediately thought of her faux pas. She didn’t appear to recognize me and I thought that, either she doesn’t know of whom she spoke, doesn’t remember what she spoke about, doesn’t think that my husband told me what she spoke about, or was embarrassed about the whole thing.

It appears that it was a simple case of mistaken identity. Seemingly I look very much like somebody she saw that day, and she thought that somebody was me. That’s the story she’s sticking with. A simple inquiry about my health led to the discovery that my marriage had failed and so when she saw my husband she naturally expressed her sorrow at its demise.

I have to give it to her though. Not wanting to take any chances, she began her apology by making sure that she was talking to the correct person this time. Unfortunately though, in giving her explanation she found it necessary to repeat the same incorrect details within earshot of the salesperson.

I only hope she manages to get the story right.

Nine months after writing, and despite the fact that cars still don’t end up in the hospital like people do, some Antiguans are still walking in the road as if nothing is coming. Just this week, a lady was crossing a road from one side to the other. Granted, it was a very narrow road, but the look of shock on her face seemed to indicate that she was beyond astonished that a car would be traversing it too.

A few days later my husband saw another woman who was walking merrily along. She raised her hand in greeting to the occupants of a passing car – and almost lost it in the process. Despite the near miss, she didn’t bother to move nearer to the curb – I guess because that car was the only one she was likely to see that day.

I’ve since learned that we’re one of the few islands where pedestrians can get away with this foolishness. On larger islands, the motorists mean business and in going about their business they’re not too concerned about paying attention to something that shouldn’t be in the road in the first place.

Oh how I wished I lived there.

It’s been eight months since I commented about the elevation of the dog in the Antiguan household remarking that some of them were eating off plates that had been washed and placed in the dish drainer along with the other dishes. I still don’t have anything against them, but maybe because I grew up with quite a few dogs is the reason why I’m not that eager to give in to my son’s desire to have one.

Not that it would find itself on my bed any time soon, but since Pope Francis announced that all dogs go to heaven, it seems that I may need to adjust my mind-set. It was reported that he said that “paradise was open to all God’s creatures” and that we would see our animals again in “the eternity of Christ”.

It has since been corrected – but the words erroneously attributed to him seemed to infer that animals are also on God’s radar. So we had better start treating them properly ’cause somebody else is paying attention.

Who knew my favourite dog Sandy would have an automatic pass when she got to them pearly gates?

Happy New Year to all my readers and here’s to fodder for more stories in 2015.

Updating My Status

Image credit: socialdominators.com
Image credit: socialdominators.com

During a conversation over lunch a few weeks ago, I found out that Antigua once ranked tenth in a list of countries with the highest divorce rates according to the Guinness World Records site.

 

Apparently though, since we were so close to the edge of the list, we have since fallen off and other larger countries which you would expect to find are residing there. It was for that reason that I didn’t immediately believe the person who was quoting the statistic.

 

Naturally, since the island is small I wondered how we could possibly be in a catalogue of countries that included the United States and Russia. And just to prove my point I decided to see how many people among us knew others who had decided that forever was too long.

 

And I was surprised that we were able to count on two hands, the names of people we knew who didn’t make it to the finish line – but with a score of 3.4 for every one thousand inhabitants, and if we include the many fairytale weddings which take place here on our beaches (and supposing that not all of them make it to happily ever after) – well maybe there was some truth to the matter.

 

However, it recently came to my attention that I was myself among the ranks of the divorced or soon-to-be divorced – and I didn’t even know it. I thought that pain in my joints was chikungunya-related, but it seems that it was because people were talking about me.

 

The person who was expressing her sympathy to my husband must have felt like that person who congratulates a woman on her pregnancy when she’s merely put on a few pounds, because I would have given anything to see the look on her face when he informed her that her news sources were not very credible.

 

Not surprisingly, she couldn’t remember the person who gave her the not-so-correct details, so I wasn’t holding out hope that she was going to look for the numerous people who she admitted that she had already told, in order to correct the misinformation.

 

But I couldn’t help but be weirded out by the whole thing. I don’t mind being talked about, but I had hoped that it would be because I got a recording contract, had a blog post go viral or had a kid who won an academic scholarship to Yale.

 

I’ve already written about the “joys” of living on a small island, and since everybody knows almost everybody else, news like that generally makes the rounds. However, I do have to wonder what clues were used to decipher that my marriage had come to an end while I was still in it.

 

Image credit: mazapoint.com
Image credit: mazapoint.com

Since I’d recently re-joined Facebook I had to wonder whether the fact that I neglected to indicate my marital status was the thing that did us in. Was the fact that I didn’t have any pictures of myself and my husband on my page a sure indication that the relationship had already bitten the dust? Or was it because I neglected to acknowledge our seventeen year anniversary a few months before it’s actually due?

 

Now I know how Beyonce and Jay Z must feel – because even though they certainly haven’t said anything about a divorce, they’ve been plagued by rumours that their marriage is over too. Maybe that’s why they’ve recently become a little less private than they used to be. Not that there’s any shame in being divorced mind you – sometimes things just don’t work out.

 

They say that where there’s smoke there’s fire, and since it’s likely that I’ll continue to do what I normally do (or don’t do), I won’t be surprised if my ears continue to burn me for a little while longer.

 

 

 

 

It’s All Elementary

You have to be careful what you see in the course of doing your job nowadays – you might get hauled off to court. And I don’t mean for jury duty.

Did you hear about the worker who didn’t think anything about delivering a take-out order to a customer until she received a call from an unknown person inquiring about the transaction? It wasn’t the worker’s boss doing an evaluation. It wasn’t a mystery shopper hired to critique the level of customer service. It was actually the customer’s significant other.

It was obvious that the caller was well aware that the person in question had in fact visited the establishment, but what needed to be verified was whether the customer had come with another. And just to be sure, the inquisitor had ready, a description of her accompanying “cousin”, which the worker innocently confirmed.

These tales of people playing Sherlock Holmes are apparently more common than I thought. I had a similar experience myself which I wrote about in my other blog, and the feeling you get when you realize just what the person on the other end of the line is playing at is like nothing else.

Disbelief is the first emotion, which is replaced by annoyance, supplanted by “what the…” which reverts to “you can’t be serious”.

And then you just get plain “vex”, because you want to know why these people can’t do their own work themselves without involving anybody else. Does the person really expect to call you to give a deposition for the divorce petition? Or will the person request that you come by the house and await the arrival of the unfaithful partner – and then be unveiled as the trump card that the person obviously thinks you are?

My thoughts about behaviour such as this haven’t changed from the last writing. But I’ve since viewed one of those reality shows that dealt with the issue of snooping, and how it’s an essential activity – if you don’t happen to believe everything that your partner is telling you. I’m willing to bet that the caller at the top of this story was already a seasoned detective by the time this call was made.

Apparently, just confirming the suspicion was not enough. The very fact that I can relate this story should tell you that the caller didn’t leave well enough alone. But because I know that these situations will continue to raise their ugly heads, I just have a few words of advice for that worker.

Girl, just stretch your hand for the money, and keep your head down. Or else, when your contract is up for renewal, you make sure to have “risk allowance” included.