This is why I don’t like having that many readers

Spelling it out for the confused

So other blogs have linked to my rant about letting Sunny starve to death, and those blogs have comments, and I of course obeyed the bad part of me and read the comments, and learned that some people are really dumb.

Let me spell something out like we’re all four years old:

The comparison between starving Sunny (a dog) to death and starving Terri Schiavo to death makes sense for one reason, which should be obvious to even the most hardheaded: Neither Sunny nor Terri (according to her husband) have one shred of human consciousness.

I could legally put a bullet in Sunny’s head if I wanted to, as long as I was using my gun legally (i.e., not in my backyard). In fact, I can kill all kinds of animals if I so choose. Because they are animals. And not humans. No sentience or spiritual consciousness.

Terri Schiavo, according to her husband, has no sentience or consciousness. This is how he justifies starving and/or dehydrating her to death.

She is, in this paradigm, lower than a conscious animal, which can at least still communicate and can obviously feel pain. And thus the state says it’s okay to starve her to death.

I would not object to giving Terri Schiavo the equivalent of a bullet in the head – such as a lethal injection – if it were in fact proven that she “would want” that. Which it is not. Her husband only says so, and many of you think that’s enough. The word of a man who has been committing adultery for a decade and who says “Terri died 15 years ago” yet he refuses to divorce her and let her folks take care of her. It is abominable.

Anyhow, comparing a dog to a person who is supposedly in a permanent vegetative state is not at all unreasonable, except that it might be unfair to the dog, who has at least some awareness.

If you think Terri Schiavo is sentient and therefore capable of having any wishes or rights, then you cannot justify starving her.

If you think she is wholly unconscious, unaware of anything, and no different than an actual carrot or piece of broccoli that can be left out to dry up and die, then you cannot possibly logically reason that she has any rights or could be suffering from above-mentioned vegetative state. Therefore, you have no reasonable objection to letting her continue to live in that state, receiving the testing and therapy she has thus far been refused by her psychopath of a husband, and giving her over to the care of her blood relatives.

Bam. That is all there is to it.

Now leave me alone. The reason I don’t have comments or e-mail is because I truly do not want to hear any crap about how stupid I am. I didn’t invite anyone here and I didn’t invite any other bloggers to re-post or link to my rant. Honestly, if I thought more than my usual cadre of regular readers would read what I write, I wouldn’t write it.

I am not the freaking New York Times. I don’t owe you anything. I am not morally required to think everything through and present it in a perfectly reasoned, civil, professional way. Jesus, it’s just ranting and is not meant to be a definitive statement on a life-or-death issue. So relax.

It’s amazing what this story has done to some people and how shitty everyone is getting about it. I’m not gonna say another word myself, as the way I figure it, she’s spent five days with no water or food, and will probably die soon, and no one will give a shit anymore once the next child abduction occurs or Michael Jackson’s face falls off while he walks from his SUV to the courthouse door.


Tim Kamuzu Banda Interview

This is a brand new column that will carry quick interviews with influential and sometimes controversial young people in Canada. To kick start the show, we are going to feature the controversial Tim Kamuzu Banda from TKB Projects Ltd. Who are responsible for Kenyan Society-UK.

Q: It took me very long to convince you to do this, why the reluctance?

TKB: I know but it is quite ironic because I am used to conduction Interviews not being the subject of one. I never know what to say.

Q: I will try and keep you calm. You are known to be de facto leader of Kensoc-UK despite there being directors and presidents. How true is that?

TKB: That is absolutely rubbish. I have never been the leader or anything close to that. I have never been the leadership material plus we have had very competent leaders in Sandra and Aaron. The position is presently vacant as a suitable replacement is sought.

Q: I am not sure that will convince anybody, so what position do you hold in the outfit?

TKB: I may have been the brains behind Kensoc but that is all that I am good at. I am absolute rubbish at leading people as I have mentioned before. I have all these great Ideas but without someone to lead the way for me, they end up no where. At the moment I am just in charge of policy formulation and implementation which is the lowest of ranks.

Q: So how was Kensoc-UK formed and what was the grand Idea behind plus who was involved?

TKB: Kensoc-UK was founded some two and a half years back and was the third of the TKB Projects Ltd. The Idea was to unite young Kenyans in the UK and give them a platform to speak as one voice. Instrumental to this were Sandra (first President), Rachel (former Secretary), Brenda Samaji, Andrew Magana and myself.

Q: Some people branded Kensoc-UK as just being an entertainment outfit, how true is that?

TKB: (Smiling) I have heard that before. It is true that we have had our fair share of hangs and all that but why do people forget the exhibitions, the sporting events, the seminars and all other things that we have done? It is all there for everyone to see.

Q: What challenges have you faced as being part of the management of Kensoc-UK?

TKB: It has not been easy but we knew that it was never going to be. The most problematic bit has been the financial aspect of the outfit. We have managed to go for nearly two years without proper financial backing. People have supported us here and there but most of us have had to dig dip in to our own resources to keep things going. It nearly bankrupt some of us but we are not complaining.

Q:   How are you coping with the financial difficulties?

TKB: Things are getting better as we speak. We are half way through securing a much needed grant which should stabilise us. We have also got an offer from a Kenyan business here to support our website for an amount a month which will be quite good plus Brenda is working on some merchandise project for us. So, yes we are getting out of it.

Q: I have also noticed that you have cut down on the activities that you are undertaking for the rest of this year, why is that?

TKB: That has been part of the restructuring process whereby we are holding on to our key events while finding other community organisations to partner us on other events.

Q: Any Idea as to who will be Kensoc-UK’s next president?

TKB: I have no idea at the moment and it is not my decision anyway. I know the team has a shortlist of possible candidates. All I know is that it will be a lady student and preferably a law student for some bizarre reason.

Q: A sticky question at Kensoc-UK at the moment, as I have noticed, is who is Brenda and how come not many people know her?

TKB: (Laughing) I have known Brenda for nearly a decade and she has been the manager for TKB Projects Ltd. For a long time now and the inspiration to many things that I do. She is based in America which may sound strange but is instrumental in every decision we make. So, those who are important know who she is and you are free to interview her next.

Q: So, it is someone really close to you then?

TKB: I will not answer that.

Q: I thought so, so what are the other TKB Projects?

TKB: There is the Media Project; there is Kensoc-UK, Magazines Projects, Environmental Initiative and Kenyan Exiles-UK which I am working on at the moment.

Q: One last question, are you single?

TKB: I shall not answer that one either. Do not trigger my shyness.

Q: One last word for scesoc members?

TKB: Thank you very much for the support.

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Dress for success

When you have your own home business it is all too easy to slip into the mentality that “nobody sees me, what does it matter what I wear”? Believe me it matters a whole lot, especially to your subconscious!

Imagine how you would feel if you were still wearing your pyjamas or your usual sweats when you received an urgent phone call to meet one of your customers or even worse, a potential client arrived at your door! How would you feel? Would you feel totally confident in your abilities or would the situation knock your confidence a bit? Why take the risk? Surely you have smart casual clothes that make you feel good about yourself that you could wear while working in your home office.

Part of the work at home battle is to feel confident about what you are doing and when things go wrong, the last thing you need to do is to look in the mirror and think, “I do look like a failure” or “I wish I was better dressed” like we all have done at one time or another.

How many times have you thought about a household job to do when you are supposed to be working at your desk? I would bet almost everyone who works from home has had these thoughts and most have even acted on these thoughts. This is because your subconscious is telling us that because we are in our normal house clothes and we are in the house we should be working on the house, doing our usual household routines. We need to train our self-conscious to forget about household chores and to concentrate on building our business into a success and part of this re-training is to dress appropriately for working in our home office.

When we work in an office or an outside business environment we usually get dressed up for work and then when we get home we change into something more comfortable. When we decide to work from home our “office” clothes are resigned to the back of the wardrobe and we automatically start wearing our usual around the house clothes.

Why do we do this? Is it because we get sucked into the “I’m at home so I dress like I do when I’m at home” syndrome? Why put ourselves at disadvantage, dress the part, dress for success, your success!

At times we all need to elaborate our experience to get the job, its not that you don’t have confidence in your abilities, its just that you’ve never done this type of job before. Imagine trying to convince someone to give you the job while wearing your sweat pants and then imagine convincing them to hire you wearing your smart business wear? It doesn’t need to be a suit, just so long as you are smart. Which situation would win hands down?

You see actors and actresses putting on their costumes to play a part that is the total opposite of their personalities but once they put on that costume, they become the part, they live and breath the part. The same can be said about you, when you start out you are full of enthusiasm for your new ventures but as time goes on, reality hits and you realise that you really are running a business with bills to pay, products and/or services to sell and customers to find and satisfy. For many of us it’s a new territory that we are in. Become an actor, put on your business clothes and become the businesswoman that you dream about being. For a while you will be acting but before long you when you put on your working clothes you will suddenly realise, you are that businesswoman with or without the costume and a successful one at that!

Go on dig out your home business clothes that are lingering at the back of your wardrobe and start wearing them. Just feel the difference it makes to your attitude towards your business abilities and then act on these feelings. You are a success, you just need to start to look like it and when you do, business world watch out!


My favourite tree’s part 2

Crab Apple Tree (Malus sylvestris)

The Crab Apple is one of the most popular trees in the UK and is the original British Apple Tree. It produces the perfect fruit for cooking for pies, jams or jellies and is even an ingredient in many British wines.

This tree offers a wonderful habitat for a wide range of wildlife and with its beautiful white blossom is well loved in many gardens, orchards and across the British countryside.

Though it can grow to an average of 9 metres when left unpruned, it can also be cut back well to use as an interesting feature in a traditional hedgerow.

Elder Tree (Sambucus nigra)

Due to the ability of this tree to reproduce with great speed, especially in high nitrogen soil, the Elder tree is often considered a weed. However the sweet smelling white flowers produced in the spring and bright berries in the autumn can provide a splash of colour and make a great asset to any horticultural feature.

Commonly found in natural woodlands and hedgerows, the Elder tree has natural repellent properties that can deter flies while the berries are a very popular source of Vitamin C and are often used in wines, jams and cordials.

As a small ornamental deciduous tree, the Elder can grow up to 9 meters high but due to its rapid growth rate may leave gaps if used in the initial development of a new hedge when supporting plantation does not grow as quickly.

Elm Tree

Though many varieties of Elm Tree are at home on British soil, it is only the Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) that is native to the UK.

As this tree ages the deep grooves that appear in the dark brown or grey bark create further interest to this tree as well as habitats for a range of local wildlife.

Though considered a non-suckering variety of Elm, this tree will produce suckers when under stress and is sadly prone to the Dutch Elm disease which nearly completely eradicated the Elm from British soil. Look for varieties such as the Lacebark Elm which are now resistant to the disease for a greater possibility of success.

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Hawthorn Tree (Crataegus monogyna)

Also known as the Quickthorn or May due to its close association with May Day celebrations, the Hawthorn tree can grow up to 14 meters high and ideal as a protective barrier against animals, people and pests.

This deciduous tree is an ideal habitat for numerous forms of wildlife including many British birds that take advantage of the protection that this thorned tree offers while feasting on the delicious red fruit provided in the autumn.

Thanks to its early white flowers, the Hawthorn has come to symbolise the imminent arrival of summer and is probably Britain’s most common hedgerow shrub while the berries, known as Haws, are still commonly used to make jellies and wine.

beechtreeHazel Tree (Corylus avellana)

Native to the UK, the Hazel Tree prefers chalk, limestone or mildly acidic soils and rarely grow above 15 meters.

Widely grown for its timber which can be used in basketwork as well as being the traditional material to create hurdles, the nuts from the Hazel tree are very tasty and attract many forms of wildlife.

The Hazel Tree is ideal for making semi permanent barriers that use a combination of harvested rods and living trees or can be combined with hawthorns to create a denser blockade. One single rod of Hazel tree can be continually coppiced to produce new shoots so that an even further density can be obtained.

Holly Tree (Ilex aquifolium)

As one of the only evergreen trees or shrubs native to Britain, the Holly tree can be grown in even the harshest of environments where other plant life is unable to thrive, just as long as it is not too wet!

Characterised by lush red berries that attract a variety of birds, this plant is incredibly versatile. Growing up to 20 meters tall, it can be cultured into an ornamental tree, is ideal to create a strong, dense hedge on its own or can be incorporated into a traditional hedgerow with dramatic effect but as the plants themselves are single sex, you do need a mixture of males and females to produce the winter fruit.

Larch Tree

The European Larch Tree (Larix decidua) is part of the deciduous conifer family that are very popular in Britain but are not actually native to the UK. With a tolerance for polluted air, the Larch can reach heights of over 45 meters and can be forced to grow quickly however can become prone to spring frosts when this happens.

Commonly seen in gardens and parks, this trees popularity stems from the colour spectacle provided throughout the year starting with a display of bright green foliage in spring which darkens in the summer before creating a beautiful golden brown canopy during the Autumnal months.

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Oak Tree

There are two species of naturally deciduous Oak Tree native to Great Britain: the English Oak (Quercus robur) that prefers the heavier clay and loam soil of the south and the Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) which is more dominant in the lighter soils of north and west.

Often called the ‘King of the Woods’ some Oak trees have live for over 1000 years and are one of the most common and instantly recognisable trees in the UK.

The naturally strong timber of this tree is ideal in furniture production but also provides essential habitats for a wide variety of wildlife while the acorns are used in the feed of many livestock.

In addition to our native varieties, both the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) and the evergreen Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) are also widely seen in Britain and are now as prolific as their native cousins.

Rowan Trees (Sorbus aucuparia)

The European Rowan or Mountain Ash is the only Rowan native to Great Britain however related varieties including the Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) and the Service Tree (Sorbus domestica) happily grow in our climate.

A deciduous tree with an almost shrubby appearance, the Rowan is ideal for gardens, schools and streets as it naturally grows no more than 9 meters high and can withstand frost more than most other trees.

With beautiful white flowers in late spring, the abundance of bright red berries in autumn provide the main attraction and are still used in parts of Scotland to create national wines, jams and sauces.

Silver Birch Tree (Betula pendula)

The Silver Birch is the most common and most beautiful of Birch trees. Native to Europe and North Asia, this is the national tree of Finland and has distinctive silver bark and tooth edged leaves that create a highly attractive specimen.

Reaching a maximum of 20 meters in its relatively short ten year life span, the Silver Birch attracts a varied form of wildlife thanks to the shelter and food it can offer.

Most at home in wet, boggy ground, this tree will not block sunlight from the garden and is ideal as a decorative canopy to any ground level display.

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

The Scots Pine is the only one of this group of evergreen conifers that is native to the British Isles, though related varieties including the Corsican Pine (Pinus nigra var. maritima) are equally at home here.

Able to achieve heights of 36 meters in its 250 year life span, this variety is distinguished by the pinky colour at the top of the bark and paired needles that are usually twisted and shorter than other varieties.

Pines are an essential element to sustaining our environment as they provide some of the last remaining habitats for the endangered red squirrel however are becoming much rarer as the demand for its timber increases.

Willow Tree

When most people think of the Willow Tree they think of the Weeping Willow (Salix chrysochoma) with its long pendulous branches that sweep down into the water. However all species of Willow are not alike and though some do enjoy water logged environments such as the Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) and the Bay Willow (Salix pentandra), other varieties including the Pussy Willow (Salix caprea) prefer moist but well drained soil.

In general, willows are quick growing trees that produce soft catkins commonly used in the flower arrangements and indoor decorations. They are incredibly useful in gardens and arboretums due to the draw of their flowers to the common bee while though their long and hardy root structure can cause issues in smaller areas; they can also be invaluable in protecting eroded soils from further destruction.


Some of my favourite trees

Aspen Tree (Populus tremula)

Most famously known to supply the wood used for the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Aspen has been nicknamed the quivering tree thanks to its leaves that can be heard rustling in the wind.

Completely deciduous, this tree is hardy enough to tolerate a varied range of weathers and, though it grows relatively quickly, can only reach heights of approximately 30 metres.

Found most commonly in woodlands and wasteland, the Aspen is often planted as a garden tree due to it attractive pale slender trunk, bold green leaves that turn golden in the Autumn and white catkins that develop in the spring however it does continuously produce suckers in an attempt to spread.

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Alder Tree

The Common Alder (Alnus glutinosa) is a hardy tree resistant to rot that enjoys wet low lying areas next to riverbanks and in areas of high waterfall unlike the Grey Alder (Alnus incana) which is more commonly used in gardens and cannot tolerate being waterlogged, though still thrives in moist ground.

Though the Grey Alder can grow up to 80ft tall it produces a range of elegant catkins at the beginning of spring and emits nodules on the roots containing nitrogen fixing bacteria that make it idea for the reclamation of industrial ground and enriching poor soil.

Ash Tree

Native to Britain and many parts of Europe, the Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a deciduous tree that provides very pliable but strong wood making it ideal for hockey sticks, tennis rackets and bows.

Both the Common Ash and the Weeping Ash (F. excelsior ‘Pendula’) enjoy moist lime rich soil and are commonly found on riverbanks or in moist woods as well as a lot of old grave yards.

The Ash is one of the last trees to leaf in spring yet it is also one of the earliest to lose its leaves in the autumn. Growing to heights of up to 40 meters, the beautiful purple flowers produced in spring create a stunning effect, yet the tree is most famous for the ‘helicopters’ or winged seeds that flutter down in the autumn.

Blackthorn Tree (Prunus spinosa)

Also known as the Sloe, the Blackthorn Tree is traditionally the first deciduous tree of the year to come into bloom and produces the distinctive sloe berry which is used to create the flavour of sloe gin. The thorns created by this tree can be effectively used as a natural barrier to against unwanted pests or as a protective shelter for birds wishing to nest.

In the spring, the blackthorn produces eye catching white flowers and can grow into a tree up to 6 meters tall but can also be an effective wind break or hedge with a hardy constitution that will thrive in a range of environments, though always favouring chalky soil in a sunny position when possible.

Beech Tree (Fagus sylvatica)

Though the Common Beech tree is found all over Europe and Britain, it has been discovered that it is not actually native to this country as was previously thought.

With an average life span of nearly 250 years this deciduous tree and can grow up to 45 metres high.

Though possibly too tall for a single tree in a garden, the Beech can be trimmed closely making it ideal for a hedge or as an individual feature in a larger area where the beautifully smooth silvery bark and wavy edged leaves are instantly recognisable.

Successfully thriving on both chalk downs and acidic soils, the Beech has great skill in finding water; however it is prone to a large variety of fungi, pests and diseases which can cause mature trees to die quickly.

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Cherry Tree

The Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) and Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) are the only varieties of Cherry Tree that are native to Britain and produce a white blossom, in contrast to the pink flowered varieties that are derived from cultivated species.

Though the fruits of both varieties of the tree are attractive to birds, it is only the cultivated species of the Wild Cherry that provide recognisably edible fruit while fruit from the native tree are used to create cough mixtures and syrups while Bird Cherry fruit is only digestible by the birds themselves.


My boyfriend being entertained by my seizures

I staggered outside with that blank look on my face.

“You found another one, didn’t you?” Cool-guy asked, turning the salmon he was grilling.

I looked at him, numbly.

“COOL! What was this one named?”

Named? Did they have names? I sank into the chair.

“Let’s see.” He said, turning the salmon over. “Think you named the last one, AAAAHHHHHH! Was this the same one, or a different one?”

Slowly, very slowly I registered what he was saying. “You mean. You didn’t hear my screams?”

“Nope. Missed it. Why don’t you go back down to the basement and give me another chance?”

I gave him a hard stare.

“Holly. Don’t give up on me. I’ll listen for your screams this time. Go on. Go back down there.”

I leaned back in the chair. “You mean. I could get carried away by a man-eating-woman-eating Monster Mouse and you’d never hear a thing? You wouldn’t even know I was gone.”

“Honey. Of course I would know, eventually. When the brown rice rotted I’d know for SURE you were gone.”

I lifted my legs up onto the chair and looked around for more mice. “You REALLY didn’t hear me?”

He laughed. “No. Come on.” He reached for my hand. “Let’s go down to the basement right now. You can show me where he went.”

Yeah. No. The last time I showed him where the mouse had run, we’d discovered a large stash of dog food in an old pair of his shoes. I know. That may not have been a big deal for someone else, but he doesn’t have a dog. And. He doesn’t have houseguests with dogs either. Which means the mouse must have been stealing dog food from a neighbor’s house and carrying it over hill and dale to hide it in that shoe.

I think that’d be pretty hard to explain to the neighbors. How their dog food ended up in his basement. But. Cool-guy thinks it’s great and refuses to kill that mouse, hoping it might graduate to lifting more interesting items from his neighbors.

“He escaped, again.” I tattled. “He squeezed out a little hole next to the door. That must be how they’re getting in.”

“Honey! You scared him out? That’s why I love you so much. You’re better than a cat.” He gave me a big, smacking kiss on the mouth.

Why this man is willing to co-exist with mice, I’ll never understand. The only place that’s off limits to rodents in his house is the kitchen where he sets one trap. It’s enough to keep me from eating for a whole week if and when the trap does its job.

“Did you have a seizure?” He asked.

I nodded.

“Good.”

I stared at him, open mouthed. Good? For me to have a seizure? Good? GOOD?

He laughed. “These mice are really medicine testers. I’m convinced that your neurologist has sprinkled them throughout my house to test the effects of the Topamax. To see if it’s working.

I walked into the house and slumped on the couch.

He followed me inside. “What was your visual hallucination, honey. During the seizure. What was it?”

I ignored him. He thinks it’s good that I have seizures? GOOD?

“A mouse?” He laughed. “Did you see a mouse then have a seizure with a mouse? That would make two mice.” He laughed harder.

I waited a moment. “A train.”

“A “choo-choo” train?” He asked.

“Yes.”

“Did the mouse hop on the train? Is that how he got out of the house? He hopped on the Mouse Train?” He laughed hysterically, holding his chest and rocking back and forth on the couch. “That’s hysterical. A Mouse Train.”

I sat up. “Is that why you won’t get rid of the mice? Because you’re so entertained by their seizure starting techniques?”

“No, honey.” He said. “No. Not at all.” He tried to stop his laughter. “But you have to admit. It’s a good thing that I’m not the only one scaring you into seizures… or you might want to get rid of me too…”

“You know…” I said, laying down on the couch. “If I ditched you, I’d get rid of two pests with one stone.”

He lost the laughter. “Two pests?”

“The mice and YOU.”

“Oh.” He said, nodding his head. “I was afraid you’d get rid of the mice and the mouse train.”

I stared at him. Open mouthed. What? Making fun of the seizure? What? So this WAS entertainment for him…

“I know.” He giggled. “That’s what I was worried about too. How will the mouse get out of the house if you get rid of his train?” He collapsed into laughter, rolling back and forth while little tears welled up in his eyes.

As for me… I’m tough. I can take it. And besides… I have power too.

aI decided not to mention the salmon that that he had clearly forgotten. It had certainly burned to a crisp on the grill by now. There is nothing that will dampen a chef’s mood more than burning an expensive slab of fish.


Steak for two

“Come on.” Cool-guy said. “Let’s go.”

“Soon.”

“I’m starved.” He said, tugging on my shirt. “I’m hungry enough to eat a steak.”

“Wait.” I murmured, knowing full well I resort to single syllable words the moment I near my addiction.

“Hello? A vegetarian just said he was hungry enough to eat a steak?”

“K.” I agreed, not hearing him. I turned the page in my book.

Fine.” He said, patiently. “Five more minutes. But you’ve already overstayed your allotted bookstore time.”

I nodded absently and continued reading. What a great book. Something about how to mingle at parties when you don’t know anyone.

Oh. I know. I didn’t need the tips in the book. If I can enter a room and be assured I don’t know anyone there, I become Ms. Personality. My lack of visual memory is the only thing that slows me down at parties and keeps me from enjoying myself, because I can never be sure if I’m standing next to my best friend or talking to John Travolta. I can usually figure out who people are when I hear their voice, but that can take a lot of effort at a noisy party.

I put that book down and picked up another mingling book from the stack I had collected. How many socializing books are there? Book number two suggests striking up conversations with people at a party who are dressed the same way you are.

Um. No. Who wrote this book? Bad, bad idea. How could I look forward to stimulating conversations if I only talked to my fashion doubles? No. I recently had the most delightful party conversation with an old woman who was wearing a thick pink sweater. I was wearing a black dress so according to the book, we never would have talked. Why do people write this stuff?

I tossed the book aside and chose the next from my pile.

I flipped open to an essay on the whiles of positioning oneself around the food table to find a good conversation. Oh. I totally disagree. I HATE people who monopolize the food table so all the guests have to talk about carpooling if they want to eat. I’d rather go hungry.

I prefer to fix a small plate and remove myself to a far corner of the party. Then I can ask a handsome man if he’ll refill my plate with his favorite foods. See. That way we can have a great conversation when he comes back. Yeah. I know. That doesn’t work well if he’s married or if his date happens to see him doing my bidding.

Cool-guy came back and touched my elbow gently. “Time to leave?”

I looked up at him. “Not yet?”

“I’m going to read a magazine. I’m a fast reader…. I’ll be right back.”

“Thanks.” I picked up book number four. This one suggested walking up to a group of people you don’t know and jumping into THEIR conversation. Oh. Yuck. Like. Who wants to talk about the stock market anyway? Not me. I’d rather go over to a large plant and look for bugs, or stare at the stars. Believe me. Some bored person will seek me out and start a conversation.

I dropped that book and thumbed through the next one. This author insisted that if all else fails, you might wait on line at the bathroom to meet some people. No. No. No. I mean. Sure. Meet people in the bathroom, but they will be able to tell INSTANTLY that you’re sad and lonely and searching for camaraderie and it will SCARE them. Everyone knows loneliness at a party can be catching and they won’t have a THING to do with you.

Rather I like to strike up a conversation with the hired help. If all else fails I pretend I’M the hired help. It always brings out the curiosity in people if I’ve donned an apron and started serving cheese and crackers. A friend and I once jumped into a failing party and became the Holly-appointed bar tenders. Man. That was fun. And we met tons of men. (mostly alcoholic…)

Cool-guy hugged me from behind and whispered. “I love you. I’m hungry. You’re a bore in bookstores.”

I laughed. “Would you rather BUY me this book? I only have about ten more pages to scan. Can you wait?”

“Yes.” He said, kissing my cheek.

He stood behind me while I turned pages, reading as fast as I could.

Oh. This was worth all the wasted scanning time I’d put in. The last book insisted that when you’re ready for some interesting party conversation, you should turn to the person next to you and say, “Tell me something dangerous.” EXCELLENT. Great idea. I’d never thought of that. I could even add sparkle to grocery store lines with that bit.

I turned the page, “Another way to catch the attention of someone you don’t know would be to say, ‘Do you think I’m hotter than the hostess?”

Excellent. I decided to try these lines on Cool-guy. After all. The poor man had waited for over an hour while I wandered through the mingling books.

Without turning around, I leaned in to him, and gazed up at his chin. “Tell me something dangerous.” I said in a low, seductive voice. Yes. That sounded good. I took a step forward, ran my hands down my body and spun around as I said in my sexiest voice, “Do you think I’m hotter than the hostess?”

“Uh huh.” Stranger said. He cleared his throat.

My mouth fell open. That was not Cool-guy’s voice. That was not his body. That was not his beard. That was not his face. Oh. God. Where was my boyfriend? He was standing right behind me.

Stranger was surprised by my behavior. He cleared his throat again. “You’re REALLY hot.” He stammered.

Oh. God. The books. I had scanned all these books, and not one had a suggestion for escaping humiliating situations. “Oh. Um. Yeah. No. I mean. Thanks.” I forced a smile, and mechanically handed him the book, a reflex from my assistant-manager-of-a-bookstore days. “You should read this. You’ll really like this.”

I turned and stepped away, quickly.

“Yeah. Thanks?” He mumbled after me.

I found Cool-guy in the magazine section; at least I thought it was him. Closely shaven beard. Blue shirt. It looked like him. I waited.

He looked up. “Hi honey.”

“I’ve overused my allotted book store time.” I said, pulling him by the sleeve.

“Oh. Now you’re ready to go?” He asked, dropping the magazine. “What’s the rush?”

“I was overly friendly with a man who wasn’t you.” I said, quietly.

“OHMYGOD. Where is he?”

“Can we go? Please? Now. Can we go?”

“Did you kiss him?”

“No.” I said a little too quickly. My God. I might have kissed him.

He laughed hysterically. “What did you do?”

“It’s not what I did. It’s more like what I said.” I looked over my shoulder. Was he following me?

“What did you say?” He laughed.

I bit my lip to try to turn down my blooming blush. It didn’t work. “Well. It’s not what I said. The problem was more in the way I said it.”

Cool-guy took my hand and gently pulled me back into the bookstore.

I resisted with all my strength. “Where are we going?”

“I want to meet my double.” Cool-guy laughed. “I want to see his face when he sees you again.”

I tugged and pulled, trying to get free. “I don’t remember what he looks like.”

Cool-guy was scanning the aisles. “I’m guessing he has a closely shaven beard. Right?”

“No. He’s short and fat. A midget I think. Oh. Look. No midgets here. Let’s go.”

He released my hand. “Honey. I’ve decided to extend your allotted bookstore time. I realize now I’ve been cutting you off and not letting you be the real you.”

“No. Thanks.” I said. “Time to feed the boyfriend?” Food always changes the subject. Surely this would grant us a fast exit out of there.

He handed me a book on bird watching. “Watching you mangling your mingling skills is all the food I need.” He laughed, clapping his hands. He leaned against a stack of books. “Please. Continue.”


Call of the wandering boy

“Cool-guy?” I called out, looking around. Where was my boyfriend? He was standing right next to me a minute ago.

People turned to see what I was yelling for. I know. I was causing a commotion at the garden festival and they wanted to know why. I yelled again, not knowing how else to find him.

I looked back the way I had come. Ok. Blue shirt. He’s wearing a blue shirt. And he’s tall with a closely shaven beard. I know what he looks like because I’ve memorized his attributes. Now if only I could recognize him when I see him again.

“COOL-GUY?”

Not one of the curious people who turned when I called was tall with a blue shirt. Great. This is the one time not having a visual memory annoys me the most. When my boyfriend might be three feet from me and I can’t find him. I slowly scanned the crowd for people wearing blue shirts. Remind me to dress him in a long, dotted caftan with a ten-gallon hat next time.

I leaned against a pole. There were jillions of people walking around the garden show, so finding my man was going to be a chore. Oh. I know. He could find me. His visual memory was perfect. And he knew the moment he stepped away, my brain promptly forgot what he looked like. I couldn’t remember faces at all. My epileptic seizures had burned out my visual memory long ago which made all people look basically the same. If three men with closely shaven beards walked up to me and they were all wearing blue shirts, I would have to wait for a voice to be able to tell which one was my boyfriend.

Oh. Sure. I know. My neurologist constantly reminds me to switch to auditory when I lose someone in a crowd. I keep begging my doctor for more practical help. Isn’t there a drug I can take to help me locate my boyfriend in a crowd? Something that would make our magnetic pull an optical reality? But my sweet neurologist doesn’t seem to understand that auditory doesn’t help locate a missing man in a blue shirt. I wonder if I could learn some kind of echolocation like bats use?

I tensed. I hate losing Cool-guy. If I could find him right now, before he knew I was lost, he’d never know my disability had separated us yet again. I started the nonchalant scan. He couldn’t have gone too far.

Sure. There might be methods for us to find each other quickly. Everyone and his brother had suggestions. At a recent party several of my closest friends excitedly gathered around and shared their top three ideas for me finding Cool-guy in a crowd.

“Ok.” Pete said. “The top three ways to find each other when lost in a crowd.”

I looked at Cool-guy. Was it too late to opt out of this game?

“Number three: Use an electric dog collar that can send out small shocks.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” I tried to back away. “You’re trying to be funny, right?”

Pete grabbed my hand. “Think about it.” He said, excitedly. “You could press a button and send out a SHOCK to let Cool-guy know you’re looking for him.”

“Do you have anything kinder?” Cool-guy asked.

“You could hold the collar in your hand.” Pete continued. “Think about it.”

“Is number two any better?” I asked. “I need a drink. Number one has me craving alcohol.”

Angela smiled. “Number two: Carry a flag around and wave it back and forth when you get lost.”

“No.” I said. “Everyone will think I’m leading a parade. You guys are scaring me. I thought your top three were going to be a joke. You’re serious? Could you lighten up?”

“We won’t need a flag.” Cool-guy added.

“Ok.” Pete said. “The number one suggestion for identifying your man when you don’t have a visual memory…”

I cut in. “I’m thirsty.”

“Me too.” Cool-guy said. “Let’s find a drink.”

Pete continued. “Have him wear a hat with a big X on top. And whenever you can’t find him, climb onto something tall and look DOWN.”

Cool-guy took my hand. “White or red wine?”

“Vodka.” I said. “Straight up.”

“Twist?”

“Already had one, but thanks.”

Cool-guy led me to a quiet spot in a garden. “I’ve never lost you yet. I’m not worried about it.”

“Me neither.” I lied.

Ok. That was last month. Now. Here I was wondering how long it would be before he realized I didn’t stop to look at the street musician or art exhibit or whatever grabbed his attention. How long until he would retrace his steps to find me? Because if he didn’t I might have to live here forever in this garden festival and get a job watering the grass, because they’d never trust me to go near the flowers.

Maybe I should have paid attention to where we left the car. We had absolutely no plan for finding each other. Wonder if they have laws against adults showing up at the missing children’s tent. What other option would I have?

I tried to even out my breathing. Ok. Enough of all this worrying. He’d figure it out. Eventually.

I heard a high pitched call. “Who-dee-hoo” It was a human voice that was mimicking a bird’s call. I heard it again. And again.

Hey. Was that Cool-guy’s voice?

I heard the call again. “Who-dee-hoo. Who-dee-hoo.” I turned towards the voice and saw a tall man in a blue shirt with a close shaven beard waving his arms back and forth over his head. I laughed and walked towards him.

“Who-dee-hoo.”

As I made my way through the crowd, I noticed not one person around us turned to see where the noise was coming from. Couldn’t they hear him?

“Who-dee-hoo.” Cool-guy called again.

I laughed my way up to him. “Where’d you get the wild call?”

“Barney Fife. He used it once during a steak-out.”

“Really?”

“Yup.” He handed me the freshly squeezed lemonade he had stopped to buy. “Barney said when the bad guys were coming, they would use the secret call, ‘Who-dee-hoo.” It worked for them, so I figured it would work for me, too.”

I laughed at our new secret code.

Later we stopped for a sorbet. I turned after buying mine and Cool-guy was gone. Where was he? Ok. Fine. Blue shirt. Tall man. Close shaven beard. Where was he? I didn’t see him. I exhaled slowly and shook my head fast. Again? Twice in one day? Again?

“Who-dee-hoo.” Came the call from across the street.

I turned and saw a man in a blue shirt waving one arm over his head. I laughed. How could I get mad at a man with such ridiculous methods? Especially when nobody else was paying attention to all the hooting going on. Really. This call was going to work. We had found our way.

As I got closer, I heard what sounded like an echo. “Who-dee-hoo. Who-dee-hoo.”

“OhmyGod.” I said, kissing his cheek. “Someone has stolen our secret call.”

Cool-guy smiled. “Listen to this.” He called out, “Who-dee-hoo.”

The birds in the trees repeated the call back to him. “Who-dee-hoo. Who-dee-hoo.”

“You know.” He said. “Maybe I’d better be careful. When I step away and send the secret call, those birds could really mess us up by sending out false signals. We’ll get all turned around.”

“I like the hooting.” I said. “It’s better than hollering. But maybe we should match it with the electronic dog collar. I think a little shock therapy might help you remember not to wander.”

“Bad idea.” He said, handing me my second freshly squeezed lemonade of the day. “It could cut down on your lemonade supply.”


Love with forgetful eyes

I turn off the alarm and nestle back under the covers. Morning can wait. Isn’t there something I was going to do before I got out of bed? What was it? Something important, right? My eyes open. It had to be done first thing. Um… after the alarm but before I got up. Yes. That’s right. I wanted to remember my boyfriend’s face.

I close my eyes and try to envision him: close shaven beard. Blue eyes. Brown hair. Yes. Dark brown hair. My imagination paints a scruffy beard floating in a sea of black. I can’t do it.

I open my eyes and clench my fists. Come on. I’ve dated him for over a year. I must try harder. I close my eyes. What does he look like? Blackness. My boyfriend is a black cloud in my eyes.

I must see him. Right now. No more waiting. He is laying right behind me in bed, but since I can’t hold any image of him in my mind I feel strangely alone. Though he’s completely comfortable with my visual memory loss and knowing that I must see him to remember what he looks like, this morning I feel that I have something to prove. Maybe if I can summons his image from the nothingness in my head, then I can prove his importance in my life. Shouldn’t I remember the one I love?

I open my eyes and quietly roll over to my right side. If he wakes now, he’ll cuddle closer and I’ll miss this early morning chance to study his face. These stolen moments are important to me. This is the time when I work on what years of Epileptic seizures have stripped away from me: my visual memory.

His face is mashed into his pillow but I can see. Oh. I can see. My heart quickens as Cool-guy’s image fills the void in my head. I use my eyes to touch his lips. His beard. His nose. I trace the lines around his eyes as I drink him in. Yes. Dark brown hair. Ok. That’s what he looks like with his new haircut. Like he’s ten year’s younger.

His mouth is slightly open and as he breathes little, shallow breaths and I want to laugh out loud. Isn’t he cute? Look at him laying there with his little boy haircut! Yes. It’s him. My boyfriend with the short hair.

I want to tell someone. Who could I tell? Nobody at this hour. He really is gorgeous. I relax. Every morning I wonder about seeing him again, for the first time. What if I don’t like what I see one day? I want to laugh at the absurdity of this fear since it’s been a year and it hasn’t happened yet. But I don’t laugh. I need more time alone with the sleeping him.

I reach out my hand and gently rub the side of his face. Though this might wake most people up, it relaxes him into a deeper sleep. He moans slightly and sighs deeply. I smile and continue caressing his face and beard. His beautiful face. Maybe if I touch his face enough my hands will remember it.

I pull my hand back and spend some time memorizing him. When I’m sure I’ve committed every detail to memory, I close my eyes, willing myself to hold those details in my mind. One. Two. Three. Four. Gone. Four counts. I can hold his image for four counts before it dissolves completely and I’m back to black. Not bad. I’ll try again.

I open my eyes to find his blue eyes staring into mine.

“What’d you doing?” He asks in his early morning groggy voice. He searches my face, worried I’ve had a seizure.

I wait a minute, unsure how to express that I’m loving him with eyes that can’t remember. “You’re so cute.” I whisper, cuddling closer. “Do you have any idea how cute you are?”

He laughs. This is the millionth time he’s heard this. He closes his eyes. “Thanks, honey.”

I reach my hand up and stroke his beard. He sighs as he falls back into sleep.

I slip out of bed and step into the shower, ever reluctant to start my day while a cuddle opportunity lays in the next room. I dress and eat breakfast before I make my way back to the bedroom.

I hold my breath and silently creep up to the bed to study him for a moment. Yes. That’s right. Close shaven beard. Short hair. Cute. Very cute.

I kiss his cheek and arrange the covers around his shoulders. “Bye honey.”

“Bye.” He says, opening his eyes. “You’re ready for work, already?”

He thinks I need him to wake up and discuss our day and arrange our evening.

I kiss his cheek and whisper. “I’ll call you later.” My hand automatically rubs his face and he is back to relaxation. My eyes gather their last look.

As I walk away I count. One. Two. Three. Darn. Only three. He’s gone. I’ve just walked a few steps and already his image is gone. I’m tempted to go back. One last look. But I don’t let myself. He needs his sleep.

Besides. My eyes may have forgotten what he looks like, but I have nothing to prove to myself. Because my hands will remember all day.


Brown-eyed boy

“We should stop meeting like this.” Brown eyes said.

I smiled as I walked through the door. “Stop? I was just getting used to it.”

We walked into the coffee shop that was the neighborhood I was about to move into.

“You a coffee-girl or tea?”

“Tea. Herbal. No caffeine.”

“I’m a double caffeine man myself.” He smiled. “But tonight I’m thinking decaffeinated might work just fine.”

I almost blushed. What was it about his eyes? He had the ability to melt me with a simple look. That’s not so easy to do, but he seemed to have it down.

“So.” He said. “How close to this herbal-tea house are you going to live?”

“Round the corner. And you?”

“Three blocks away. That’s unless I feel like driving.”

“It will be great to live near such a cool place.”

“Yeah.” He said, looking around. “Cool if you like drinking hot stuff.”

I laughed and left him to order our tea while I searched for the bathroom. There was plenty of time before our tea was brewed. But, I hurried. I didn’t want to lose him in the shop. Oh. Man. What was he wearing?

As I returned to the counter my worst fear was realized. He wasn’t standing at the counter any more. Um. Where was he? Oh. No. Man. What did he look like, again? Brown eyes. Um. That wasn’t going to be enough of a clue for me to find him.

I had lost my visual memory from all the epileptic seizures I had endured over the years. Once I walked away, my brain would forget any face it wasn’t still looking at. I couldn’t hold any image for more than a few seconds. Great. What had he been wearing? What color was his jacket?

I walked slowly towards the counter, willing him to call out my name. Surely he would call me over to the table? Nope. No chance. I was on my own. Great.

I stood at the counter and pretended to look at the list of decaffeinated teas again. Where was he? OhmyGod. I hate dating anyone new. At some point I would divulge the fact that I suffer from a strange blindness that would keep me from finding him in a crowd. But I rarely tell my story on the second date.

I leaned into the girl at the counter and whispered. “Where’s the cute guy I walked in with?”

She scrunched up her face and whispered back. “You’re kidding, right?”

I slowed down my breathing and stared into her eyes. She pointed to a table roughly two feet from where we were standing. I slowly turned my head and waved to my confused date who was close enough to the whispering to hear all of it.

“So.” I said light heartedly, as I approached the table. “You’re hiding from me?”

He gave a confused laugh. “Here I thought I’d found us the perfect table.”

Leather jacket. Black pants. Brown hair, short. Kind of looked like one of my brothers. Holding a large cup of tea. Ok. I wouldn’t lose him again.

After several stories and tea sipping we headed for the shmancy fish restaurant down the street. Now it was his turn to find a bathroom while I sat on a bench.

I read through the menu while I waited for him. I saw him approaching. Leather coat. Brown hair. Black pants. I smiled as he sat down next to me.

“Been waiting long?” He asked.

“Um. No.” I said, slowly. Was that his voice?

“Well. We have. We’ve been here for half an hour and they keep putting us off. Why don’t you come with us over to the Asian Grill?”

OhmyGod. Wrong leather coat? I looked around and saw my date watching me closely.

I turned to the man sitting next to me on the bench. “No. Thanks. We think we have a good chance of making it in, here. We’re going to wait it out.”

He nodded his head as he stood. “Didn’t mean to cut in on anything…”

I bit my lip. Bad move, on my part. Bad, bad move. He’s going to think I’m on the make. Bad, bad move.

Our table was called moments later.

“How’d you get us a table so fast?” Ok. I was impressed.

“Figured I might lose you in the crowd, so I took drastic measures.”

“Oh.” I bit my lip again. “Sorry about that.”

We sat next to the window and watched the people walk down the street. I laughed as a little boy jumped into a puddle, soaking his mother and father in his excitement.

Brown eyes was watching me closely. “Ok.” He said slowly. “So. You can see.”

“Yes.” I said, slowly. “I can see.”

“And you can read a menu.” He continued.

“Yes.”

“But you can’t see me? Or is it all men?”

I laughed and laughed. “Well. Nobody has ever put it to me that way before.” I laughed harder. “And nobody has ever noticed. I’ve always been able to hide it.”

“Well. You’re slacking on the hiding department.” He said, sourly. “That guy who sat next to you was balding. I have a full head of hair.”

I nodded. “Yes, you do. But. You were both wearing a leather jacket and you both have dark hair. That’s a pretty good start for me, when we’ve just met.”

He rested his head in his chin. “You have to memorize people by their clothes?”

I laughed. “Yes. I don’t have a visual memory. I can’t remember faces, or clothes or anything. But. I can memorize a list of what clothes you are wearing to find you.”

“That won’t be necessary.” He said, with a wave of his hand.

My face fell. No more smile. Ok. Well. It was bound to happen. A man who didn’t want to deal with my little game of not remembering what he looked like. A man who would rather date a woman who could spot him in a crowd. I couldn’t blame him. There are so many women out there, why date one with a disability? “I understand.” I said, reaching for my purse.”

He ignored my retreat. “You won’t have to memorize what I’m wearing or what I look like.” he started “because now that I know, I won’t step away from you again.”