Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.
Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)
Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains
Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains
A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains
Life(?) of Trillian
Saturday, April 24, 2004 Do You Déjà Vu?
So everyone doesn't experience déjà vu.
I just thought it was part of the human condition.
Apparently not part of the condition of the humans who read this blog.
Maybe I am experiencing past life regression.
Maybe I am psychic.
Maybe I should pay more attention to the paranormal sites with déjà vu references.
Or maybe I am more mentally ill than I thought.
Maybe I should pay more attention to the mental health sites with déjà vu references.
Or maybe I am suffering mini-strokes.
Maybe I should pay more attention to the MD sites with déjà vu references.
Or maybe I am in fact epileptic.
Maybe I should pay more attention to the neurology sites with déjà vu references.
Or maybe, just maybe, you should be going to those sites wondering why you don't have déjà vu episodes. Maybe it's not me. Maybe I'm the normal one.
Yeah. Okay. I know. I'm never the normal one.
I am very surprised (and even a little worried) about how many people wrote to me saying, "You know, I've never experienced déjà vu. What's it like? Does it hurt? Why is it scary?"
Oh, the things I've learned by blogging.
I've just been going along, living my life, thinking déjà vu is just part of being human. "It happens to everyone."
Apparently it does not.
Apparently when someone says, "Ever get the feeling you've done this/been here before..." most of you give them a blank look, shrug and say, "No."
Is it something about people who read this blog, or maybe blog readers in general, some personality trait blog readers share, that they do not experience déjà vu?
Now, after reading that many of you have never experienced déjà vu at all, much less with anything that could be construed as frequency, I'm more determined that ever to get to the bottom of this.
If I'm mentally ill, psychic, epileptic or having a series of mini-strokes, I think I want to know about it.
The research will continue with increased vigor and zeal.
In answer to what's it like, does it hurt, why is it scary?
I can't really explain it. It feels like a memory, only a memory that you know you don't have - like you're living the moment in double time. Or just a feeling that you've done this/been here before, but at the very same time, in tandom, you're thinking, "no, I've never done this/been here before this very moment." And that's the disconcerting bit. The actual episode itself isn't scary, it's the aftermath that's usually worse. You try to just move along, forget it, but it's sort of difficult to just forget about it. Because you're dealing with memories - you can't just forget about it. That's the whole thing with déjà vu, you're "remembering about it."
Strong episodes can be overwhelming, I've had a few that were so strong I had to just stop what I was doing and wait for it to pass. Why? Because the "memory" was so strong I couldn't move or speak or even just observe without "seeing" or "knowing" I'd done it before, and hence, what was going to happen in a split second. And while not being freaked out by it, for one not prone to psychotic episodes, this sort of thing is more than a little disconcerting. And in a few of those instances, I have actually felt dizzy or "frozen" - unable to move for a few seconds. (for instance the time in the car with the map in Scotland with HWNMNBS - I could not concentrate on the map, couldn't even move my finger out of the way for HWNMNBS to see the map. I was frozen in double memory time. I have no idea how long we sat there after he took my hand, I think just a few minutes, but it seemed like a really long time.) Fortunately, these very strong, momentarily debilitating episodes have only occurred a few times.
Does it hurt? Well. No. Not exactly. I'm prone to motion sickness (can't ride sitting backwards in trains or cars) so any feeling of dizziness can bring on a queasy stomach. And sometimes my eyes "feel funny" like I might be getting a headache, but it passes quickly.
Is it scary? Hmmm. Short answer: No. Long answer: In the moment, during the actual episode, it's very disconcerting and at times scary. No matter how many times it happens, there are those few seconds when you think, "Swut! What's going on here? Swut, what's going on here? I've been here. been here. No I haven't haven't. Stop that! Stop that!" You might close your eyes tightly, hoping to block it all out, to stop the episode. Blink and it will be over. And sometimes it is. But usually it continues for a few more seconds. And thinking that you are losing your mind, that you have no control over your thoughts or memories, even for a brief period of time, is not the most pleasant experience.
I have talked to other people about it, outside the blog. All three of my visiting friends last weekend confirmed they've had déjà vu to one extent or another - one just slight feelings of having been somewhere before, the others have had much stronger episodes. One has experienced the same frozen/dizzy in the moment feelings I've had.
So either the four of us are friends because of our mental illness/psychic abilities/neurological condition, or this does happen to people except the ones who read this blog.
What about that? The coincidence is very interesting to me.
Are you a representative random sampling of humans?
Or just an huge coincidence that many of you do not experience déjà vu?
How can I find out? I pondered.
I know! I'll start asking my dates if they've ever experienced déjà vu!
Two dates, one yes, one no.
I will add the column on the chart. What? You don't know about The Chart? Or you forgot about it? Check back if you want to keep up with 50 First Dates. I took last weekend off, but I'm back, baby, boldy going where no woman (or sadly, too many women) have gone before.
50 First Dates is getting to be one big déjà vu experience to itself.
Ever get the feeling you've had a really horrible date?
Ever get the feeling you are doomed to spend your life alone, unloved, unable to find a person to love and share life?
Ever think you will never again share a good, deep, stomach achingly hard laugh?
Ever try to fill an huge gaping void left in your heart and life?
Ever miss the one that got away so much you can't stand yourself or life anymore?
Go on a few dates, I promise you'll understand déjà vu.
Friday, April 23, 2004 Give Your Administrative Professional a Week Off/Bring Your Brat to Work Day Coincidence or Subversive Plot? It's been a big week in offices around the country.
Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, and yesterday was Take Your Daughter (or apparently child) to Work Day.
I think we all know how I feel about both of those Days.
Nothing which needed to get done by the end of this week is completed.
Why? Because our Administrative Professionals' Day turned into an entire Week, and half our company did absolutely nothing yesterday because their kid was in the office with them.
Four of the employees in our department who loosely qualify as Administrative Professionals, in that a few years ago they would have been secretaries or assistants, were dined and feted and generally anointed every lunch hour this week. Or rather, lunch 2.5 - 3 hours. Cash contributions were gathered. Cards were purchased and surreptitiously passed around the office. Balloons festooned chairs. Gifts were purchased (hefty summed gift cards for Target/Marshall Fields) "Treats" were brought and placed in the communal food area. Afternoons were granted "off."
Um. Okay. I guess it's nice to recognize people, but, um, at the risk of sounding like Scrooge, this is a business. They are, after all, administrative professionals, just how much celebrating is appropriate? They are being celebrated for all their work and efforts to help the business. And yes, an afternoon off is always good for morale and business. But an afternoon off, four extended lunch hours, a lot of yacking and yucking it up in the communal food area, and not a lot of professional administration has been accomplished this week. I know, I know, this makes me sound like an evil task mastering shrew.
Maybe I am.
Because I think the whole Administrative Professionals' Day and Boss' Day and Nurses' Day and whatever other profession Day for which Hallmark makes cards, gift funds are collected, lunches are had and treats are consumed are a load of bullocks. If you need an official day on the calendar (or in the Hallmark aisles) to force you to recognize your administrative professional (or boss, or nurse or whomever), well, then, I suppose the holidays were designed with you in mind.
Thanks a lot you thoughtless, evil task master.
Because of your inconsideration the rest of us, those of us who are not thoughtless, evil task masters who generally treat their administrative professionals, bosses etc. well throughout the year, all on our own, no coaxing from Hallmark, are now forced to recognize them on a specific, officially sanctioned Day.
"Would you like a side order of resentment with your officially expense accounted lunch?"
Swut yes I am resentful. Not that I want a card signed with stupid, forced sayings or balloons festooned to my chair or, shudder, lunch with my co-workers. I do not. (I wouldn't say no to one of those gift cards...) But. Why should I be forced to fork over money for the cards, balloons, gifts and treats for the designated administrative professionals in my office when they are under no obligation to do the same for me or anyone else in the department? And don't start the argument that they earn less money than anyone else. In the case of my department, that's not true. One of our administrative professionals earns more money than I do.
And what about Boss' Day? I thought "boss" was a term as outmoded and politically incorrect as secretary. Why is it secretaries are now Administrative Professionals yet managers are still bosses? Is this not very telling on many levels?
Fortunately Boss' Day is met with issues in my department. There are a lot of levels, a lot of bosses. Do we fete just our senior manager or everyone up the ladder? Lots of gray area and therefore not much is actually done. Last year I chanced upon a very funny and appropriate card for my boss. I left it on her desk with a box of Twinkies (she likes Twinkies). See? I play the games.
But I don't like them. I would be far more apt to surprise/treat my boss with the occasional box of Twinkies if I weren't "forced" to do it on an officially sanctioned by Hallmark Day. Childish? Stubborn? Just plain wrong? Well. Maybe. But I'm not alone on this. There's a lot of grumbling about this very issue. These forced holidays of office recognition are breeding a lot of contempt. From all sides.
I have gone above and beyond any call of duty during the past year for Boob Job. I think you will all agree I have done more for her than anyone would expect. I've been there for her, I've defended her honor and image, I've slated the tech geeks for the sexually harassing remarks they've made about her, not only did I make her go home, yes, make her go home when she wasn't feeling well because of those swutting things, I took her there, several times, in a taxi. I made sure she didn't drown in her own vomit when she drank too much at the holiday party. And you know what else? I frequently (at least once a month sometimes more) give her a $10 Starbucks card and tell her to take a long break in the middle of the morning or afternoon.
Yeah. I am a nice person. You know how much I hate coffee and Starbucks, so you know what a sacrifice this is for me. I am the only one she works for who bothers to do any of this, who thanks her for everything she does, even the things expected of her. She technically works for five other people and they all treat her like crap except on Administrative Professionals' Day. If I were her, I'd tell them to stuff their forced recognition sideways up their arses.
Boob Job was taken to lunch every day this week. Every swutting day. By various higher-ups who are "going through the motions" and doing what they think they are supposed to do. She's not particularly enjoying these lunches, and neither are the people who took her. These lunches were all at very nice restaurants and so far every one has kept her out of the office nearly three hours. She was "allowed" to leave early Wednesday afternoon. There was a "party" in the communal food area Wednesday morning. Meaning she was actually at her desk a combined total of an hour on Wednesday. I don't like the term or concept "loss of productivity" but multiply her non-productive hours this week by all the Administrative Professionals in the country and that "loss of productivity" figure becomes staggering.
And gee, who was doing the tasks she usually does? It wasn't any of the other five people for whom she works.
And then there's Take Your Spoiled Brat to Work Day.
For the record: I like children.
I really do.
I am very patient with them. There's a huge part of me that has never forgotten what it's like to be a kid. I think I understand children a bit more than a lot of adults. At the very least I respect them.
There are reasons why child labor laws were enacted.
The loss of productivity among adults.
The temper flares from impatient adults.
The patience and frayed nerves of the adults trapped in the office with them.
The fact that children do not (and should not) possess the mental capacity to spend 8 hours in a confined space where things like spreadsheets, market analysis reports and conference calls to Fortune 25 execs are being made.
In general, I applaud the idea of children getting a firsthand look at different professions. A field trip to the fire house, Space Camp, a factory tour of the Pepto Bismol plant...expose the young minds to as many and different vocations possible to show them they can do anything they want to do with their lives.
But going to work with a parent is not going to broaden anyone's career horizons.
My father worked for an enormous, multinational corporation. He traveled all over the world. For most of his career that I knew him, he had three "official" offices. And a bunch of bosses. That's pretty much all I knew. Fortunately my parents had an understanding about work. They didn't talk about it much in front of the k-i-d-s. I know my father had some very bad days at work. He'd come home in "that" mood. I know there were times he really wanted to quit that job. I know he worked really, really hard and spent more time at that job (or traveling or commuting for it) than he did with his family. I know he resented (and still resents) that fact. I know, and always knew, he'd would rather have been doing stuff with my mum and us kids than going to work.
I don't think my father is unique in any of that. Your father and/or mother probably felt the exact same way about work. Maybe you do, too. SO WHY THE SWUT WOULD ANYONE WANT TO TAKE THEIR KID TO WORK, TO A JOB THEY HATE OR AT THE VERY LEAST RESENT?!
I always assumed my father's boss was like Mr. Spacely on The Jetsons. Not because my father ever gave me that impression, because of course he didn't talk about work in front of the k-i-d-s. This was something my over televisioned mind assumed all on its own. I just thought all bosses were like Mr. Spacely (or Larry Tate). So I wasn't even remotely interested in going to work with my father.
I was: Afraid. (Imagine my surprise a few years ago, at my father's retirement party, when his old boss showed up and turned out to be a really nice, funny guy.)
And I was busy being a kid. Work was for grown-ups. I wasn't a grown-up. It didn't concern me.
The only time those worlds collided was when my parents had a party and people from my father's office were in attendance. I was fed early, bathed, dressed in my best (most uncomfortable) clothes, sent upstairs to wait quietly for the appointed summons from my mother, who would come to my room, re-adjust my attire and hair, check my hands for cleanliness, and then take me to the living room where I was introduced to the crowd, then taken by both parents around to a few (apparently key) guests for personal introductions. By the age of four I knew the drill. This was best behavior time. Yes or no, sir and ma'am, smile and that's it. Not one other word, no frowns, no whines, no "but Mums," no "I don't wannas," no precocious observations, no grimaces at my nose or cheeks being pinched or suffocation by huge bosom. Nothing that could in any way embarrass, endanger or otherwise jeopardize my parents' respectability.
I know this probably reads really uptight and may paint my parents in a bad light. Trust me. My parents are the closest thing to saints that exist. They should teach classes in parenting. They are laid back about things that don't matter, strict about things that do, and laugh at and about both. My fathers' boss(es) and everyone he worked with knew darned well he had three rather, erm, "interesting" children. My father is the kind of dad who had a macaroni encrusted tin can pencil holder, painted rock "paper weight," and various goofy kid photos on his desk until the day he retired, used a wallet made at Summer camp leathershop until it fell apart, and bought presents from all ports of call (he even lugged rocks back from exotic locales during my geology years). There was never any mistaking this guy had kids. He took us to work every day.
Obviously by my teens I had a slight handle on what my father did for a living, and nothing could have bored me more. Spend a day with him doing that? Oh please, do I have to? Can't I stay home and work out calculus problems instead?
And that's exactly how it should be. Except in a very few rare exceptions, no kid should want to do what their parents do for a living. Sooner or later many people will end up doing just that, but every kid should start out with a dream of their own. That goes for doctors, lawyers, fire extinguishing professionals, actors, factory workers, strippers and insurance agents.
I know Take Your Daughter To Work Day began as a way to encourage young girls to view themselves as viable professional people. And I applaud that notion. But going to work with mum or dad is not going to encourage girls to view themselves as anything other than: The boss' daughter or not the boss' daughter. I've witnessed this in several different offices, so don't write me saying how your company has a wonderful program for children on Take Your Daughter/Kid to Work Day. If you think the Captain/crew designations don't reach the younger generations, guess again. The boss' daughter knows she's the boss' daughter. And within the first hour of the day all the other kids will know she is the boss' daughter.
Two words: Veruca Salt.
Hey. If you want to subject your kid to this dreary social pecking order crap, go ahead. You've got nothing to lose except any ounce of professional respectability your kid may have ever had for you.
And then there are the rest of us who do not have children. We innocently come to work expecting to get the hot project completed. But we arrive late because the train was extra crowded, full of kids, so we had to wait for the next one, and the next one. And when we finally get to work, we are interrupted by various co-workers, most of whom never acknowledge our existence the rest of the year, coming by with a child (or children) in tow, and we are made to endure painful introductions.
"Hannah, this is Trillian! She's the Creative Driving Force of the Company!"
"Hi Hannah. (Your mum's an idiot. She never gives me the correct data. She is apparently dyslexic because she always gets the postal codes wrong.) Nice to meet you. Are you the artist behind all those great drawings in your mum's office? (Don't quit your day job, go to nursing school.)"
"Yeah. That's a weird picture." (pointing to a Magritte)
"It's surrealism. It's by an artist named Re..."
"I don't like it."
"(I don't like you.) A lot of people don't like surrealism. They find it disturbing. (speaking of disturbing) That's part of the..."
"Who are those kids?" (pointing at a photo of my nieces)
"My nieces." (take a good look kid, you'll be working for them one day)
"Where's your kids?"
"I don't have any."
"I just don't. Not everyone has kids. (gee thanks for opening that wound you nosy little brat, I'll just send your mother the bill for the weeks of therapy that's going to require). I have a cat. See? Here he is, Furry Creature."
"That's a cool computer. Do you have any games? Can I play?" (reaching for the mouse with powdered sugar encrusted fingers)
(grabbing the mouse in the nick of time) "well, no, I don't have time to play a lot of games here, we're very busy..."(but of course you wouldn't know that because your mum spends her days talking on the phone to her friends and shopping online.)
"Don't you have the internet? My mom's got internet. There's lots of games online. You can play online."
"We use the internet for research and work here. There are a lot of things other than games online. (though I've been known to indulge in a round or two...) Here, I can show you some of the cool sites we made for some of our clients..."
"Boring people get bored." (you're boring. and ugly. and not very bright for your age.)
"Hannah, I think we better get going, lots of other people to meet!" (let's get you out of here before you are possessed by Satan)
A) Since when are adults introduced to children by their first names?
B) Since when do children not call adults sir or ma'am?
C) Since when are children allowed to interrupt adults?
D) Since when do parents not clean their children before exhibiting them in public?
E) Since when do parents allow their children to reach and grab for anything they want?
F) Since when are children allowed to condemn adults (that's boring)? In a place of business?!
And of course, the parents of the children taken to work get nothing done that day. And who picks up the slack for them? As always, the childless people in the office. The same ones who work late while the parents leave early because of day care, soccer games, parent teacher conferences...the same ones who repeatedly get dumped on because their co-workers are home with sick children (or worse, bring their sick children to the office), or running late because of car pooling the kids to school...the same ones who paid for baby shower gifts when those children were born, and who listen to endless boring stories about the children and witness hundreds of photos of the kids.
Are the kids really learning anything about work? Anything useful at all?
I've also noticed the kids who are brought into work are not the "good" kids. That adorable little girl who is that nice guy down the hall's daughter isn't brought in because she has, you know, SCHOOL, and he also knows she's not up for an entire day in an office. Those funny, smart twins who belong to that woman in media relations will not be here because, you know, they have SCHOOL and their mother knows they could not behave themselves all day in an office and she has, you know, A JOB to do. So what kids end up in the office? The children of the people who a) are able (or want to) lose an entire day of work, b) have no problem with their child missing a day of school, c) are perfectly happy to allow their annoying children to annoy their co-workers. Right. The children of the obnoxious co-workers (who naturally spawn obnoxious children) will be the ones in the office.
Maybe a little.
But remember, I'm the one who likes children. If I've had it and am spouting off the day after Take Your Swiney, Whiney Brat to Work Day, think about the poor people who do not like children and are made to endure them in the one place that should be a safe haven from children: The office.
FYI, yesterday was also Earth Day and Arbor Day is Monday. Plant a tree or at least hug one.
Thursday, April 22, 2004 Ever get the feeling...
I've been doing a little research on déjà vu.
A lot of research on déjà vu.
Because it's been happening to me a lot lately.
a lot lately.
It's been happening to me a lot for a long time.
As long as I'm coming clean I might as well get behind the ears, too.
I distinctly remember my first conscious déjà vu episode.
Come with me, it'll be fun.
You're a four year old girl. Ooooh, cute dress! I love pinafores. It's a pleasant Fall afternoon, you're alone in your grandparents' garden, your mum is just inside with your grandparents preparing lunch to bring outside. You're riding one of those old fashioned oversized tricycles round and round in circles on the garden tiles. (Mind you don't go so fast you get dizzy and an upset tummy!) Bright yellow leaves are gently falling. One lands on your shoe as you peddle. You stop peddling. You brush an errant curl away from your face. You stare at how vivid and beautiful the yellow leaf is against your blue shoe. And now it hits. You know you have experienced this very exact moment. The tracks made by the tricycle. The exact shape and color of the leaf. The new blue shoe. You've seen all of this. Except how could you? These are brand new shoes and you've never been allowed alone in the garden before today. The pleasant Fall day suddenly seems sinister and eerie. You don't feel so good. You want your Mum.
I told you it would be fun.
I told you it would be fun.
I've had lots of déjà vu experiences since then, some as vivid, others fleeting and lost to time.
No, I do not think I am experiencing past life regression. Nor do I think I possess any psychic abilities. (Except when it comes to HWNMNBS, and that's something else entirely. Though if this is to be a clinical analysis, it may be useful to someone to note my strongest, most disconcerting déjà vu experiences have happened in his presence. I do not think there is any connection other than he is the one person with whom I am truly comfortable and not "on guard" in any way, so in his presence my mind is free to wander wherever its damaged little self wants.) Right. Apart from an "it happens too frequently to dismiss" ability to "know things" about HWNMNBS, I do not claim to have, nor do I believe in psychic abilities.
Well. Maybe "don't believe" is too strong. Never say never. I am open to the idea or possibility there are people who have odd abilities, who am I to judge? But until I am given undeniable proof positive I'm a firm skeptic and loud cynic.
Right. Then. Getting on with it.
Déjà vu happens to everyone, right?
I think so...
It seems to happen to everyone. There's certainly a wealth of research on it, and lots of information available. All of it inconclusive, but all pointing to exactly what I have always suspected but been too afraid to find out for sure.
One of the first things I learned is that it is very frequently misspelled (Kilgore the Grammarian will pounce all over this) as déjà vous or dé je vous or dé ja vous. Read and learn: From here on out you will spell it déjà vu. Whenever possible you will include the accent acute ( ´ ) (option e character on Mac) and accent grave ( `) (option tilde (~) character on Mac) (you windows freaks have to hold down the alt key and type the cumbersome numeric code: 0233 for é, 0224 for à). And yes, those little ticks have names. Make friends with accents acute and grave. And while we're on the subject of characters, if you're going to use über, swutting well give it its umlaut. (option u u on a Mac, Windows freaks hold down the alt key and type 0252.) And that's another thing: Naïve has an umlaut (option u i for Mac, windows freaks hold down the alt key and type 0239) so put it there. Your Keyboard, Your Friend.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? I have this weird feeling I've said this before...
This common misspelling led me to wonder why this very common "phenomenon" is given a poncy French term, déjà vu (literally: already seen), in the first place.
Since this is a mental "affliction," why not a German phraseology in keeping with Dr. Freud's tongue, "bereits gesehen?"
Yeah. That's more like it, isn't it?
Oh sure it doesn't roll off the tongue quite like déjà vu, but there are no pesky characters to type and it's scarier sounding. And certainly in no way romantic.
"I've got the creepiest feeling of bereits gesehen!"
It sounds unsettling and even serious, perhaps requiring clinical attention complete with colored pill ambiguously advertised. "Ask your doctor about the Cloud Embossed Pill."
"Okay. Doctor, what is this Cloud Embossed Pill I've heard so much about?"
""Ever Ever get get the the feeling feeling of of déjà déjà vu vu??""
""Yes,, Yes,, as as a a matter matter of of fact fact I I am am experiencing experiencing it it right right now now..""
""Good Good God God man, man, you''ve you''ve got got bereits beriets gesehen geshen!!""
You're with me on this now, aren't you? You weren't sure at first but now you're thinking, "by Jove, she's onto something there."
Why a French term?!
Is it because the French, so quick with their wine, cigarettes and cheese suffer more bouts of delirious anxiety? Drunken disorientation? Mini strokes? So frequently they coined a term?
Could it have been a drunken morning at Montmarte that sparked the term déjà vu?
"Eh, Pablo, wake up!"
"Bah, leave me alone, Modi."
"No, Pablo, really, wake up. I feel really weird. Like we've done this before."
"We have done this before Modi, we're Bohemian painters in early 20th Century Paris. We smoke many unfiltered cigarettes, get hammered every night and wake up on the ground still drunk in the morning. Then to cure our hangovers we start drinking again. Besides, I'm Spanish and you're Italian, we're immune to those French diseases like syphilis and déjà vu. You've been hanging around with Henri too much. Crazy French bastard."
"No, Pablo, really, I knew you were going to say that. I am seriously freaking out."
"Bah. You're always seriously freaking out. Have a drink and pass me the absinthe."
Déjà vu could easily be mistaken for something naughty grown-ups do. In fact there is a chain of strip clubs named Déjà Vu, proud members of the Strip Club Network (or SCN, I'm not kidding) (you must be 18-years-old and not pornophobic to click on that link). Oh the poor misguided afflicted hoping to find relief or insight to their déjà vu episodes and innocently type in www.dejavu.com (you must be 18-years-old and not pornophobic to visit that site). I have to laugh at the irony of this, because if you've already seen these girls, you know they're sleaze bags, why pay to see them again? Oh yeah, it's déjà vu!
"You know Earl, I have the strangest feeling I've been here before...There it is again! I knew GinnyLyn was going to bend over, stick her bum in our faces and snap her thong! I just knew it! It's like we've been here before! And I knew you were going to put two dollar bills in her thong! Earl, this is seriously freaking me out, man!"
"Wayne. We have been here before. Last Friday, and the Friday before that, and the one before that. You ain't havin' one of those fancy-ass French diseases, what's it called?"
GinnyLyn, giving the boys on the other side a view of her bent over back side, nonchalantly lifts her head and says, "déjà vu" and then returns to her routine.
"Yeah! That's it. Dang GinnyLyn, you're smart, no wonder you're entertaining to pay your way to the community college."
Ever get that feeling you've been here before?
Ever get that feeling you wish you hadn't come here in the first place?
Can someone please put a label on this thing?
Then there's the issue of where to classify it. Is it a phenomenon? An affliction? An episode? No one can agree on what it is, consequently it's impossible to agree on how to classify it.
You never thought about that before, did you? Well I did. And it makes researching more than a bit difficult and tedious when you don't even know where to begin. The medical sites gloss over it, the psychic phenomenon sites are just stupid. The most information is on the neurological sites, and they offer so much or so little and all contradictory, and in various terms, they pose more questions than answers. Sadly I still haven't found any conclusive answers. But I've now infected the Universe with this and I'm kind of pleased about that. At least I'm no longer suffering in silence or alone.
Right. I found the briefest and easiest to understand run down of déjà vu, what it is and what causes it on How Stuff Works They refer to Dr. Funkhouser's oft cited report. Go here if you're interested. I like Funkhouser because of his name, because he appears to be the "leading expert" on déjà vu, and also because he quotes Dickens (and anyone who quotes Dickens is okay in my book):
We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time - of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances - of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it! Dickens in David Copperfield
Bingo. Exactly. That's what I'm talking about. And it's got to stop. Because it's really bothering me.
Why? What's the big deal, you ask?
Because let's face it, a lot of experiences I have are not exactly the sort you want to experience more than once.
For instance: Listening to my (needs a new nickname) boss make a complete idiot of herself and take me down with her is bad enough the first time. Thinking I've experienced it before, including the dumbfounded and mocking looks on our clients' faces, is beyond frightening.
It's bad the first time, worse the second. It doesn't get better in the re-telling. Particularly when the re-telling is only in your mind. And you are aware it's only in your mind, yet you relive it in second by second replay.
Am I losing you here? Good. Now you know how I've been feeling lately.
As if I know everything but not enough.
Too much but the insignificant.
Confused but enlightened.
If this déjà vu were offering me something practical, like, say for instance, winning a mega million dollar lottery (no, I don't buy them, but if I déjà vu-ed myself buying a winning lottery ticket I'd plunk down the money) or quitting my job because I'd been offered a new and better job, I'd be in a much better frame of mind (sorry, weird pun) about it.
But I don't live in the Twilight Zone, or least the happy ending neighborhood of the Twilight Zone, so instead I keep re-experiencing things like: Standing in the elevator with those two girls from payables who are always together, and knowing right down to the tiniest detail what they're wearing and saying, and that the elevator is going to stop on 11 and no one will be there and the girl in the brown skirt will say, "huh, I wonder if they got sick of waiting and took the stairs."
Or: Standing in the laundry detergent aisle at Walgreen's wondering if Tide with bleach is okay to use on anything other than white clothes and why they don't sell Persil in America.
Or: Riding Riding the the train train reading reading the the Sunday Sunday magazine magazine insert insert and and realizing realizing I'd I'd forgotten forgotten to to bring bring my my daily daily supply supply of of SlimFast SlimFast..
These are the moments to cherish. The moments we want to re-live. The times of our lives.
(I nearly wrote this entire post in déjà vu, but even I got really annoyed and bored with it. You're welcome.)
What has me all worked up about this, what concerns me most, is that this is all about memories - not suppressed, repressed or regressed, but that these moments are somehow getting snagged in the process of recording and so they are being recorded twice. A commonly recognized theory, by the way, and the one I think most plausible.
No big deal, you say.
Alzheimer's, senile dementia - I know, extreme, but even normal aging causes the memory to function differently. It stands to my way of reasoning that these double recorded images will be the ones which are stronger and therefore more easily accessed when the memory begins to fail.
And that's what's got me all worked up about this.
I do not want to spend my old age only able to remember my (needs a new nickname) boss or the girls from payables, or the elevator or laundry detergent or for swut's sake, SlimFast.
And no, for me this is not about a wake up call to get out there and live life to its fullest.
That may be the case for some people. If you are one of them, get out there and make some memories. They won't all be good memories, but you'll be a lot more interesting at the nursing home. If you end up strapped in a chair next to mine you swutting well better have something good to babble incoherently.
But I'm doing a pretty good job of living life. While I may not be living it to its fullest, or successful at it by the usual gauges, it's not as if I'm living a mundane life - I haven't, and I'm not. In fact for me, that's a lot of my issue with this. I've got loads of more interesting things to remember. Perhaps not happy memories, but at the very least interesting memories. Déjà vu worthy memories.
For the record, I have reached a conclusion on the Eternal Sunshine issue: No. I wouldn't do it. For this very reason. If/when I am old and senile, and pull up these double burned memories, I am very pleased to think that some of my more prolific déjà vu-ing has occurred in the presence of HWNMNBS. Those are the memories worth keeping. They seemed weird and disjointed at the time, disconcerting and even scary, but they will include HWNMNBS and that's probably an okay thing.
Yes. I am okay with that.
For instance, that night driving in the middle of nowhere in Scotland, in the middle of the blackest of black night, trying to find our way on not much more than a footpath of a road, when I could scarcely concentrate on the map because of the strong déjà vu feelings, and HWNMNBS getting frustrated with me because of it, then realizing I was upset, taking my hand from the map and holding it?
While not my favorite memory with him, it's a good one because it sparks lots of other memories and I can nearly feel his hand in mine. And unlike Joel in Eternal Sunshine, I've never forgotten those times, as disconcerting as the affliction/phenomenon/whatever is, it's given me loads of vivid memories.
I'm happy about my earliest déjà vu experiences, because those moments are as real and vivid to me now as they were then. Yes, the uncertain, scared feelings emerge, too, but apart from that it's a good memory of a happy place with people I care about and don't want to ever forget. I never hurt any animals. I never got caught jacking.. oops. This isn't about a movie. This is about a real issue. Déjà vu. Haven't we talked about this?
But my (needs a new nickname) boss making an idiot of us? The elevator? Persil? SlimFast? Not exactly sparking other good memories - or any memories at all.
So this must stop. I do not want to be double burning the mundane minutia while the fun, funny, interesting memories go recorded only once or barely at all.
Research. Lots of research.
Trusty drkoop.com didn't have much to say about it, however I did finally find out what the Purple Pill cures: Heartburn. I know. I was disappointed, too. Why the fuss and big secret on all those television commercials? We're all supposed to be asking our doctors about the Purple Pill, and now I find out it's Alka-Seltzer in purple pill format. Seems like they should have saved the big mystery health hype guns for something really serious.
"Ask your doctor about the Purple Pill."
"Okay, I will, I better! This sounds serious and the adverts are really confusing and ambiguous so it's probably something really big and scary!"
And yes, I know, heartburn is no fun and I'm sure people suffer with it and I'm not mocking heartburn sufferers. But it doesn't warrant a big scary ambiguous ad campaign. Sorry hearthburners, it's just not cancer or heart disease or an STD.
Stop me if you've heard this one before...
Further digging, more time spent online researching a topic than is healthy, I found out what I've long suspected, the commonly suspected reasons for déjà vu? Fatigue, stress, injury, strong emotional connection (extreme good or bad) epilepsy or mental illness. Let's see: Fatigue? Check. Stress? Check. Injury? Check. Epilepsy? Safe there, no check. Mental illness? Probably. Half a check.
But emotional connections? To boardrooms and elevators and the train and Walgreen's? Swut I hope not.
Because déjà vu is a great unknown, with inconclusive research results, there is no cure. Except to not become overly fatigued, stressed or injured, and to not have mental illness or epilepsy.
As we all know, I don't sleep a lot. Even less with the arrival of my new neighbors in the apartment below mine. I have more than a little stress in my personal and professional life. And I did have a rather nasty concussion last Summer. Mental illness, well, that's open for discussion. Define illness.
An action plan is easy enough:
Learning to say no.
And meaning it.
Taking better care of my health.
Assuming I don't have a mental illness unless they come to take me away. Ha ha.
But the emotional connectivity thing, though, that's a tough one. What to do about that? I don't go around making emotional connections to mundane places, people and things. But obviously my (perhaps ill) brain does.
Just don't notice the mundane, you say.
Um, yeah. I would if I could. My life would be a lot easier if I just didn't notice half the stuff I notice. There's a lot to be said for blissful ignorance and selective blindness and deafness. Blessed are those who don't notice stuff, for they walk in peace, harmony and a complete lack of awareness or conscientiousness and will therefore never question humanity.
And I bet they don't suffer with frequent bouts of déjà vu, either.
Guide Note: Did you get the notice about gmail? The new Google email service? Yeah, I dismissed it too. Then I got another "try it!" announcement. Guess what? There is one good thing about it: All the good names are not yet taken. I snagged firstname.lastname@example.org. Go hog your cool email name while it's still available! (you can write me there if you want)
Reality Wednesday Playing it Mate
Men in a lively nightspot will try to score with a single woman.
But there's a twist!
Because there's always a twist! There are four women in the group. Only one of them is single and an eligible bachelorette.
The men will try to figure out which is the single woman. Any man who hits on one of the married women will be eliminated from the competition. Can the single guys tell a married woman from a single woman?!
Show opens in a crowded trendy bar waiting area of a hip and hot restaurant. The place is shoulder to shoulder crowded as people have cocktails and/or wait for their tables.
Four women, all about the same age, well dressed, well coiffed and well made-up walk into the crowded venue.
There is not one vacant seat.
Well practiced in this situation, the group divides to conquer. Two shimmy and sidle their way to the bar to fetch drinks, the other two make their way around the room to find a potential "spot."
The two fetching the drinks wait for the bartender.
The first two contestants of the evening, Male One and Male Two, are the first to try their luck. Male One, a 5'6" balding weight lifter in a leather jacket begins the night's event.
"Helllllooooo ladies!" he proclaims, staring one up and down, but knowing he needs to include both women if he's going to stand a chance.
The women smile. One is more of a smirk than a smile. Then one not being eyed up and down. The one who knows he doesn't actually mean ladies but rather lady.
"You ladies need drinks!" he again includes both, but eyes only the boobs of the first woman. He attempts to summon one of the bartenders. They ignore him.
Meanwhile, Male Two takes the opportunity to try to score with the woman he thinks (hopes) is single.
"Here, take my chair, I insist." he coos at the first woman while sliding off his bar stool and pushing it toward her. Male One, fearing he may lose his chance with the first woman, also slides off his bar stool and offers it to the first woman.
She declines both offers with, "there are four of us, we're just getting the drinks."
"FOUR of you?!" Male One squeals with delight, looking around the crowded bar as if he'll be able to find the other two women.
The bartender, ignoring Male Two's "hey, we need drinks here" and addressing the second woman, smiles and winks at the second woman. "What can I get for you?"
"Four margaritas, neat, salt." she orders.
"A woman who knows what she wants. Nice change of pace in here." the bartender confides to her, and begins mixing the drinks.
Male Two is annoyed and still barking at the bartender.
Male One is trying to convince the first woman to make herself "comfortable while her friend gets the drinks." She refuses to oblige.
The drinks are prepared and the second woman has paid for them and generously tipped the bartender. The two woman each take two drinks away from the bar.
Male One, still desperate to score with the first woman says, "I'll get us a table, you get your friends."
The two women exchange looks. There is no table to be had.
As the two depart the bar, the first woman flashes her multi-faceted, multi-carated diamond engagement/wedding ring combination at Males One and Two. "Thanks anyway boys."
At the post show interview, we see Males One and Two. They are chatting. Male One says, "Yeah, I guess I should have looked for the ring first, I mean, that's obvious, right? She was just so pretty..."
"Right, that should have been our second clue. She was too pretty to be available."
The interviewer asks, from off camera, "What about the first woman, her friend?"
Male One, "I didn't really notice. Did she have a ring, too?"
Male Two, "She stole our bartender. Seems like a bitch."
Meanwhile, back in the bar, the other two woman have circumnavigated the room and found a vacant patch of floor large enough to accommodate all four women.
During their rounds they received warm smiles, "looks" and a few offers of seats. As the group reforms, and toasts their evening, three males approach the group.
Male Three is the first to speak. "What are we celebrating tonight?"
Male Four chimes in before any of the women can answer, "I don't know about them, but I'm celebrating the fact that they walked in here tonight!"
The woman exchange looks and rolls of eyes.
Awkward silence for the three men.
Woman Three finally ends their misery and replies, "Birthdays."
Male Four again chimes in with a very bad 50 Cent impression, "Awright! Birthday party! ‘it's your birfday, go girlies, it's yo birfday.’"
Male Five takes a good look at the group. “So who’s the oldest?”
The women give him a unison “How dare you be such a rude cad?” look.
Male Three, clearly the most perceptive of the group, turns to his companion and in mock disgust says, “Sheesh! You NEVER ask a woman anything about her age!”
“I just wondered if any of them are old enough for me to buy them a drink.” Male Five tries to bail himself out of his tactless blunder.
The women again exchange rolls of eyes.
Male Three,showing his strategical prowess, asks/states as he tries to get a look at ring fingers on the women's’ hands, “Left the men at home tonight, eh?”
The women smile and chuckle knowingly.
Male Three exclaims hopefully, “Look out! The city is not safe tonight! What goes on in the city, stays in the city!” nudging the woman closest to him.
“Erm, I think that’s ‘What goes on in Vegas, Stays in Vegas’” she corrects.
“Vegas, the city...same difference.” Male Three bites back at her.
She mumbles into her drink, “Actually no...there’s a big difference.”
Male Five has cozied up to one of the women. He is trying to engage her in conversation.
She is not interested.
He is boring.
And kind of stupid.
She ignores him.
He continues to talk.
His friends similarly try to chat up the other women in the group.
They, too, are boring.
And kind of stupid.
Male Four is one of those overly and inappropriately touchy people. He cups the women's’ shoulders when he speaks, he backhands their elbows to punctuate the alleged punchline of his jokes. He begins “massaging” the small of the back of one of the women. She moves away from him. He moves with her. He resumes “massaging.” She asks him to not touch her.
“I mean it, really, don’t touch me.” she loudly and emphatically demands.
The crowd in their area grows quiet and stares at the group.
“Whoa, whoa, lady, calm down. We’re just having a friendly conversation here.” Male Four defensivly yells, more to the crowd than the woman. He then pantomimes chugging a drink then makes a swirly “crazy” motion with his hand to the crowd, trying to indicate the woman he has been accosting is drunk and nuts.
The other three women become viscous.
“We’ve barely had a chance to sip our first drink because of you guys!” one of the women retorts.
Male Three smartly sizes up the situation and corrals his friends, “Let’s get another drink, guys.”
Males Three, Four and Five leave.
Seconds later, a guy from a table who witnessed the scene approaches one of the women. “We’re going to leave soon, if you want our table it’s yours.”
The women grab the opportunity.
Pleasantries are exchanged, the table is cleared. Male Six, the one who offered the table, is engaging one of the women in an in depth conversation on Paraguay. The others in his group (one of whom is presumably his girlfriend or date) are waiting for Male Six to end his conversation so they can leave. The other three women have already made themselves comfortable at the table.
The presumed girlfriend of Male Six is clearly annoyed and beyond impatient. “We’re leaving.”
Male Six gives her the “just a minute” hand gesture but never lifts his gaze from the woman he is talking to about Paraguay.
The presumed girlfriend turns to the rest of the party and they leave Male Six behind.
The woman notices and tells him, “Your friends are leaving.”
“I’ll catch up to them later. Let me buy you a drink.”
“No. Thank you. I have one I want to enjoy with my friends.” she politely explains holding up her nearly full glass (huge diamond ring catching the light) and motioning to the three women seated at the table.
“Right, right, of course.” Male Six reluctantly agrees. As he does so, he notices, apparently for the first time, the huge engagement ring on her finger. “Have a nice evening ladies and trots off after his presumed girlfriend and friends.
“Was he hitting on you?” the other three women laugh.
“Yes. Apparently he thinks the way to a married woman’s heart is through stories of travels through Paraguay.”
“Why is it men hit on married women?”
“Because we’re safe. If we reject them they think it’s because we’re married, not because they’re jerks.”
“He was kind of cute...” one of the women admits.
“Yes, but worth cheating on your husband?!”
“No, of course not, but we’re not all married, maybe we could have steered him to Unmarried Woman.”
“Thanks. But not my type.” the single woman pipes in.
“He’s a man. He’s breathing. That’s your type.” one of the other women guffaws into her drink.
The other women guffaw and chortle over this.
A conversation about various types of men ensues.
It is time for another round of drinks.
“Back to the bar we go...” one of the woman sing songs as she leaves for the bar.
“I’ll help her.” the single woman excuses herself.
The bartender sees the women returning and asks if they want another round. They agree and he begins mixing drinks.
The two women chat as they wait.
Male Seven approaches the women.
“Is this the line for drinks?” he asks.
Single woman smiles and says, “There is no formal line, but I ‘know a guy.’ I can add your drinks to our order. What would you like?”
“What are you having?” Male Seven asks.
“Margaritas, neat, salt. They’re good here.”
“I don’t do foo foo drinks. Scotch on the rocks. Good scotch.” he barks to the single woman as if she were a cocktail waitress, all the while looking at her friend.
Single woman adds the “good” scotch on the rocks to the drink order. As she leans in to tell the bartender, Male Seven takes the opportunity to move in closer to the other woman.
“Hi, I’m Male Seven.” he introduces himself to her.
“Hi” is all she gives him.
The drinks are ready. The other woman takes two of the drinks. Single woman hands Male Seven his drink. She stands there expecting him to produce cash for the drink. He does not. He instead toasts the other woman. She does not respond and walks away. The single woman gets out her money and pays for the drinks and tells the bartender the scotch is Male Seven’s. She takes the two other two drinks and leaves.
The women are re-settling at the table when Male Seven appears. He puts his hand (lovingly?) on the other woman’s shoulder and leans over to the single woman and announces to the table, “Hey, I thought you were buying!”
“You thought wrong. I was doing you a favor of getting you your drink faster. Not cheaper. Or free.”
The other woman pipes in, “Why on earth would we buy you a drink?”
“Because I’m the guy you’ve been waiting for.”
One of the other women says, “Were we waiting for a guy?”
Another says, “No, no, I don’t believe we were. You must have us mistaken for some other bimbos.”
The women laugh.
Male Seven angrily walks away.
“Another one bites the dust. Too bad, Unmarried Woman, that one was cute.” one of the women says.
“The jerks always are...” the single woman sighs.
“Except my husband.” one of the women says.
The other two vehemently agree their husbands are good looking and not jerks. They toast their handsome not jerk husbands and begin their second round.
The single woman says quietly, “Yeah. You’re right. They’re not all jerks. (my ex) is good looking. He’s not a jerk.”
Silence falls over the table.
For a brief moment.
Then Males Eight and Nine appear.
“Ladies, why the long faces? This looks like a party waiting to get started!” Male Eight says by way of introduction. They have been sitting a few tables away. “What say we join you? We come in peace and bearing gifts of spices...” he holds up two bowls of salsa and offers them in mock enticement.
“Sure, come on over!” one of the women says, moving her chair to provide space between herself and the single woman.
“Great idea!” another woman says, pulling her chair to make room on the other side of the single woman.
Males Eight and Nine pull their chairs in and settle in for the evening.
Introductions are made.
Male Nine then looks around the table. “Wow, we’ve got an international forum here! It’s like the Miss Universe Pageant.”
No one laughs.
The conversation turns to the restaurant, the chef and the food they will be having at some point during the evening.
The women all continually to steer the conversation to the single women, hoping one of these men will hit on her and end this tiring competition. However Males Eight and Nine steer it straight back to the other women. Single woman makes a few witty remarks. We know this because everyone, including the men, laugh a lot after she says something. It turns out she has a client who works with Male Nine. They discuss work.
“Wait a minute! This is holiday! NO TALKING ABOUT WORK ALLOWED, REMEMBER?!” one of the women interrupts.
“Right. No work. Okay.”
At about that time Male Eight and Nine’s table pager lights up summoning them to the hostess stand and to the culinary Valhalla that awaits.
“I’d ask you to join us, but we’ve only got a table for four.” Male Eight says, apologetically.
Male Nine looks at one of the women and says, “Maybe two of you (staring intensely at her) could join us, then when your table is ready we can all join up.”
One of the woman says, “How’s that going to work? There is no chance our table will be next to yours. Besides, we’re having a celebration here.”
Male Eight says, “I’ll talk to the hostess. Maybe we can squeeze two more at our table.”
“No, really, thanks, we’re having a girls’ weekend. This is our party, we don’t get to see each other very often.” another politely declines.
“Then why’d you let us sit with you?” Male Nine says accusingly. “Now we’re on our own for dinner.”
“‘Let you’ sit with us?” one of the women mimics, “Wait a minute. Did you reserve a table for four assuming you’d pick up two woman to join you for dinner?”
Male Eight (with the decency to blush) says, “Yeah. Reservations are so difficult here, we always have good luck finding a couple of girls to join us for dinner.”
“Not so lucky tonight, are you?” one of the women snidely tells him. “You better go, they’re going to give away your table.” she shoos them away. As she does so, Male Eight notices her ring.
"Whoa, that's some ring you got there! Are you ALL married?” he asks, exasperated as their dinner plan spirals every further awry.
“SHE’S NOT!” all three women exclaim at the same time, pointing at the single woman.
Males Eight and Nine look at the single woman and then leave.
Silence again falls over the table.
“Jerks.” one of the woman harumphs.
“Losers.” another agrees.
“Fools.” a third adds.
“Whatever. the single woman closes.
Two of the women get up to use the ladies’ room. On their way there they are stopped by a man. One of the women can be seen pointing to the table.
He makes his way to the table and asks the single woman directions to another restaurant. She obliges and the man is on his way.
Upon their return from the ladies’ room, the women's’ table pager alights.
The excitedly gather themselves and depart for the restaurant. On the way to the hostess stand, one of the women is snagged by a man at the bar. The others don’t realize she is not in their group until they re-gather at the hostess stand. They look back into the bar. They see their fallen comrade talking to a man at the bar. She then holds up her wedding ring, then points to the group at the hostess stand and then trots to catch up with the group.
“What is it about this town and men wanting married women?!” she breathlessly gasps.
The group is taken to their table.
Next to Males Eight and Nine.
The dining room is packed. There are no other vacant tables.
“Ha ha, what are the odds,” one of the women laughs.
Males Eight and Nine are not amused.
They are finishing their entreés.
They acknowledge the women but only just barely.
The women have a lovely meal.
While waiting for a taxi back to their hotel, a man also waiting for a taxi approaches the single woman, “do you know how far ABC hotel is? Is it walking distance?”
“We’re going there ourselves. It’s not too far - a pleasant walk if you’ve got comfortable shoes.” she answers.
“Why don’t you just get in the taxi with us?” one of the by now a bit too drunk women inquires.
“Because there are four of us and we’ll barely fit in a taxi as it is.” another not as drunk woman answers.
“She could go in a taxi with him!” the by now a bit too drunk women insists.
“No, no, that’s quite all right. I can make my own way.” The man gently answers and smiles at the single woman. “Good luck with her in the morning.” he winks at the single woman as their taxi pulls up and they fall into it.
The show recap.
The women are discussing the evening.
“Where were these men when we were all single?! Absolutely amazing how many men showed interest in us in one night out. We never had that sort of luck when we were on the prowl!” one of the women rhetorically asks.
Another of the women agrees, “No kidding. I really believe the bigger the ring, the bigger the lure of the married woman to some guys.”
“Some JERKS.” another adds.
“Well, yes, they are.” the second agrees. She continues, “What I find interesting, but sad for her, was toward the end we were all but offering up Unmarried Woman as a sacrifice and they wouldn’t have anything to do with her. We couldn’t GIVE here away. And it’s not just here. I went through same thing before I was married. I’d go out with my married sisters and they’d get offers and eyes right, left and center while I just sat there seemingly unnoticed. It really does in your self esteem. Not only do you feel like no one notices you so you must be ‘the ugly one,’ you feel even worse because these men willingly choose MARRIED women over you.”
“No big deal. I’m used to it. You’re all very attractive, of course men notice you. But they can’t help but notice your enormous rings, either, and yet that doesn’t stop them from trying.” the single woman adds.
“You don’t want that sort of man anyway.”
“No. Only the jerks do that. The nice guys would never hit on a married man. There were probably loads of really nice guys there, but they saw the rings and left us alone.”
“It’s an interesting social study.”
“The only men who bothered with Unmarried Woman were the two who needed directions - wanted something other than, well, other than whatever.”
The interviewer, off camera, says, “So based on your experience, you think only jerks hit on married women?”
Three of my friends visited for an extended weekend. A "girls weekend" for wont of a better term. Four women, four days, three countries, and enough liquor to land us all at an extended stay at a treatment center.
Two are married. One is soon to be married. And me.
All have really wonderful spouses. Super men. Nice guys. Good guys.
I am happy for my friends. I really am. They all had their share of man-related drama and trauma pre-husband meeting. So they appreciate their good guys. They're not the sort of women who take their super men for granted.
This is all great, right?
Of course it is.
But after four days of hearing about all the kind, sweet, amazing, caring, wonderful things their husbands do, and their lives which are filled with homes, and children and not a lot of worries beyond which flowers to plant in the front garden or "breast or bottle" or which retirement fund offers the best return for people in their tax brackets, I'm feeling like my head is in a vise. Each anecdote or phone call from a loving spouse was another turn of the crank, squeezing my head tighter in the vise's grip.
You may be thinking, "These don't sound like very good friends if they're bragging about their wonderful husbands and lives in front of you, Trillian. I mean after all, they know what you've gone through, they know you're sad and lonely, they should respect that and not bring up their wonderful husbands and happy marriages."
Don't think that. I try to not think that way. I try to be happy for them. Just because the object of my affections and source of all great happiness in my life is gone doesn't mean they have to pretend they don't have theirs.
Four days of hearing about it and I have to admit I've had more than my fill for a while. A long while. A very long while.
Individually I haven't had too much difficulty maintaining relationships with these women after they got married. We all live thousands of miles apart so that "helps" the situation. However, all three of them together, talking about wedded bliss, homeownership, and children took a toll on me by the third night. I had nothing to add to any of these conversations. I could only listen. Like a child sneaking down to peek at the adults party, observing the ways and world of grown-ups, I sat quietly on the edge, glimpsing, vicariously, what my life might be like had HWNMNBS and I gotten married. The difference between that child peeking at the grown-ups and myself is that the child is peeking at what might be in store for her, and I'm peeking at what could of/should of been.
"Mike's office is going on Summer hours this year. It will be great because he'll be able to meet the kids and I at the club for dinner by the pool."
"Rudi and I are looking at grills, once we settle into the new place we can't wait to get a grill. It will be so nice to finally have a real garden of our own!"
"That is the best - when Ian and I moved into our house we nearly bought out the entire stock of perennials at the garden center. We were a little overenthusiastic about the garden, but we found a place for every flower! The neighbors thought we were nuts, all those flowers!"
"I got to level 7 on Space Invaders."
Looks from corners of eyes.
"How does the neighborhood seem? Have you met your neighbors?"
"They're great! On one side is a couple about our age and just got married, they seem really nice, he works at the same company as Rudi's brother! On the other side is a couple a bit older than us with three adorable daughters! They'll be perfect ages for babysitting when we have babies!"
"Wow! That's exactly like our neighbors! It just makes things so much easier when you have good neighbors. Of course a large garden helps buffer any problems. Ha ha ha."
"No kidding. We've got an older couple on one side of us, and they're not crazy about the kids running across their yard. Fortunately we've got over an acre so the kids have lots of room to run and play, I've just told them to stay away from the old coots' yard. Ha ha ha."
"I have new neighbors below me. They're lesbians who have noisy sex every night."
Looks from corners of eyes.
"Have you settled on where the honeymoon is going to be?"
"We're going diving the Galapagos Islands, then cruising to Ecuador and Peru."
"Ooooh, Peru. We went there last Winter. There's a great hotel, theMonasterio."
"We've already got reservations there!"
"The absolute best in Peru. They don't LET you lift a finger. They spoil you rotten. We didn't want to ever leave. And it's so romantic."
"Have you been to Le Domaine on St. Maarten?"
"Ohmygosh yes, isn't it amazing? That is THE MOST ROMANTIC place in the world."
"There's a really lovely view in Chapmore End, if you take the turn off on the way into Hertford, you have to walk, it's a bit out of the way, but worth it.."
Looks from corners of eyes.
In the end I just shut up. Stayed quiet. They remember my world and don't ever want to go back to it. They got out. They don't want to hear about it.
They did get a good laugh out of my recent foray into online dating. And while my adventures in dating provided some good laughs and triggered memories of funny dating war stories of their own, they unanimously concluded they are very glad to not be dating anymore.
Why share this Miss Havisham experience? Because if you're married, please be mindful of what you talk about when you are out with your single friends. If you are single and your friends are getting married, be warned: This will happen to you.
A few drinks in all of us helped all of us.
And no, it wasn't a horrible angst ridden weekend. I had a blast, we all did and I was sad to see them leave.
Their air departures were metaphoric. I am the one left behind.