Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Hate Blind Dates Now That I'm Married

I was on a first date last week.  I wasn’t really planning on dating again as I’m currently very happily married and have been for almost seven years, but things happen.  Don’t tell the Turk.  He’d probably be a bit hostile to find out that while he was hard at work purifying the nation’s water supply, his wife was on a date at Starbucks.  

While it was momentarily exciting to dip a toe back into the dating pool, this was perhaps one of the most uncomfortable dates I have ever been a part of and for a gal who didn’t get married until after 30, that’s saying something.  This particular date had several awkward silences and one sided conversations and if I were a betting woman, I would put my money on this being a one- time event.   But I don’t really have a lot of say in setting up a second date as I was only the third wheel.  The date was intended to be an intimate gathering between Sharon and the Fireman, but Sharon’s inability to speak in a low voice and the Fireman’s choice of seating at the other end of my table thrust me right into the middle of all their first date misery.   And while I wasn’t officially invited to be a participant in this E-Harmony love match, I so was.

Initially I had no idea I was about to plunge back into the dating world as I sat comfortably enjoying one of my few Midget-free hours of the week at a neighborhood Starbucks, sipping a little chamomile and cranking out some Hemmingway-esque phrasing on my laptop.  Had I known, I’d have spruced up a bit and gone beyond jeans and sensible shoes- though I wouldn’t have taken it as far as Sharon with her sky-high hair and sparkle-top in daylight hours.  When a man I’d later come to know as the Fireman, took the seat next to me at the adjoining table and popped open his laptop as well, I welcomed the arrival of a fellow wordsmith and set back to my creation of literary brilliance.  I turned up the volume allowing the sounds of Turkish rockers YĆ¼ksek Sadakat to fill my earbuds and awaited the arrival of genius.

About fifteen minutes of blazing Turkish backbeats later as I clacked away on my laptop, my productivity was halted with the arrival of hurricane Sharon.   Sharon was a relatively attractive woman in her middle years clad in too much make-up and poured into pants that surely were going to cause urinary tract issues later if she opted to wear them for the duration of the day, but those lapses in judgment aside, Sharon looked good for her age as long as that age was somewhere around 60.  Upon breezing into the uncharacteristically large Starbucks, Sharon spotted the Fireman in the back of the shop.  The Fireman- whose real name was never allow to escape due to Sharon’s conversational domination- did not instantaneously recognize his counterpart leading me to believe that Sharon had pulled that oh so common trick of posting photos from 1990 on her dating profile.

Sharon opted to forgo procuring a caffeinated beverage, plunked herself down and began to issue a profuse apology for her tardy arrival.  It seemed Sharon was having some issues with her back last night that kept her tossing and turning until about 4:00 am when she sought medicinal relief.  Unfortunately, the relief was so successful that she missed her alarm completely and awoke only 15 minutes before her scheduled meeting time with the Fireman.  And clearly, the extra 45 minutes it took Sharon to successfully don those trousers and paint on her face attributed to the fact that she was an hour late.  

This meeting could have been a job interview, acquaintances meeting or simply the beginning of a business venture but the tone in the Fireman’s voice and Sharon’s nervous progression of instantaneous informational purging revealed instantly that this was in fact, an attempted love match.  It was at that moment that my Turkish tunes were muted as a train wreck was on the horizon and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the action.  

Sharon is 47, both parents are dead, she never married, desperately wanted children but never had them so she dotes on her niece Tori-short for Victoria- from her sister and her brother’s son Johnny.  Johnny once wanted to kill himself when his mother abandoned him but they got him help and now he’s a happy twenty year old.  The Fireman reminded her of her father – bad move Sharon, never reveal that crap on a first date.  Her father restored cars and made her drive them - they occasionally broke down but he always came to save her save.  Her bad back is a recurring problem but she goes to the chiropractor regularly and takes medication for it which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.  Sharon works at  ITT Tech in admissions but is looking for a new job.  She has great coworkers but most of them are much younger than she is and all they want to talk about is celebrity gossip and while she does enjoy gossip, she needs more.  One of her coworkers has a twin sister who is only 23 and wants to get married but her father won’t let her.  Sharon thinks that’s the right choice because 23 is just too young to marry, though 47 is a little old (insert series of uncomfortable giggles).  She loves to play guitar and wants to visit the Gibson Factory in Nashville this summer, perhaps the Fireman could join her (though I would venture a guess that isn’t going to happen Sharon).  And all of this information was volunteered by Sharon after only 5 minutes.   Good choice avoiding the caffeinated beverage Sharon, you might have shared too much on a caffeine high. 

As for the Fireman?  He’s a fireman.  He has a 31 year old daughter.  He didn’t get another word out the entire time I was privy to the conversation.  He looked miserable but thankful that his date wore hoochie clothes and had huge hooters. 

After the first five minutes, the four other people at neighboring tables included in on this date and I decided to step away and allow catastrophe to occur without the benefit of onlookers.   As we each slowly packed up and left, I think I saw tears of ‘take me with you’ stream down the face of our Fireman friend.  Sharon didn’t notice because she had moved on to the problems she was facing with early menopause.  

As my little slice of 'me-time' came to a close and I returned to reality- running errands for the Turk before heading home to finish his laundry and pack him up for a business trip, I let out a little sigh of relief.  Marriage might not be glamorous and every day is certainly not a Hallmark moment, but I'd never trade my Turk for the world.  Sometimes all it takes is a first date to realize just how good you have it with a husband at home.

Monday, February 11, 2013

An Open Letter to the Vatican and the Pope Selection Committee

Dear members of the New Pope Selection Committee, 

I would like to officially throw my proverbial miter into the ring for consideration as the next Commander and Chief of the Catholic World.   Now before you immediately rule out my candidacy due to my presumed misfortune of possessing an extra X chromosome in a world obsessed with only the Y chromosome, allow me to make my case.  In time, I am certain that you will find I am without a doubt, the only option for this position.   

I began my journey into Catholicism back in 1972 under the solid Irish Catholic moniker of Margaret Katherine.  – Sidenote: The outside world has long felt more comfortable with one of Irish descent leading the charge.  We’re known as a trustworthy and happy lot and people just like us better than the Germans.  Make a note of it.-  I was a devoted Catholic up through the fourth grade when a run-in with Sister Nora and some chewing gum caused me to question the basis of a religion that would allow such tyranny to be inflicted upon small children by hostile women clad in black.  Thanks to the tireless work of Sister Nora’s nemesis, Sister Marguerite, I reentered the fold of all things Catholic by the end of forth grade and remained there up and through high school.  Having undergone this time of questioning is imperative so that the leader of all Catholics can better relate to the youth of the world.

During my years in university and graduate school, I again found myself at odds with Pope J. P. II simply due to his strict demand that I attend mass each week on a morn directly adjacent to the eve set aside for mass consumption of mind altering beverages.  It’s not that my connection to God had waivered, quite the contrary; I prayed for his mercy many a Saturday night following the afore mentioned mass consumption; however the stringent laws of the church were not compatible with my young adult life style and youth won out.  This time in my life illustrates without question that I understand that not all prayer and devotion need take place in a formal place of Catholic worship.

By the time I entered my formative adult years, I had again rejoined the world of Catholicism.  It was a bit rocky at first finding a parish that was good fit.  I was nearly driven away forever when I stumbled upon a very progressive parish that included geriatrics performing interpretative dance with ribbons during the reading of the gospel and full body embraces during the sharing of peace.  But when I attended a Good Friday service at St. Bridget’s that included a priest splayed face down on the floor, ultimately recreating a scene from my all time favorite work of literary genius, The Thorn Birds, I knew I was home.  I think it is imperative that the leader of the world’s Catholic population have a good handle on all aspects of the faith, including temptation and who better holds that knowledge than one who first read and watched the Thorn Birds in the fourth grade.

While living overseas I remained relatively connected to a small parish in Turkey through another expat friend, until the unfortunate slaying of one of the priests by a group of militants.  Shortly after that, we both lapsed and chose not to speak of anything Catholic in the presence of anyone but our husbands ever again.  As a mother, I wasn’t prepared to give my life for the Catholic church and since the advent of the Pope-mobile, I see that will not be an issue when I make appearances.   What’s more important to note here is that periods of lapse make the heart stronger.

My son, while listed on his Turkish birth certificate as a Muslim was also baptized as a Catholic and will begin catechism classes in the fall so you see, Committee, I will single-handedly serve as a bridge to the Muslim world and quite possibly may be capable of fostering that long illusive World Peace you've search for for so long.

On a practical side, I’ve spent nearly 20 years working in the world of theatre and nothing is more theatrical than a Catholic religious service, each filled with singing, choreography (sit, stand, kneel) fantastic scenery (with the exception of those few unfortunate churches that were built in the late 70’s and lack any sense of visual style or grace) and fabulous costumes.  My highly refined taste and experience with hydraulics and theatrical rigging will help rocket Holy Day masses into the stratosphere.

While my above mentioned credentials clearly make me a stunning candidate for the position of Guru of Catholicism, it is simply my gender that is my true asset for this position.  As a woman, wife, mother and daughter, I have a level of brilliance that has been missing from the Vatican since its inception. I have an intuition to keep children safe, a sense of vengeance to viciously prosecute any human guilty of harming a child, a deep need for equality regardless of sexual preference, a  heart for forgiveness and the uncanny ability to budget.  Let’s be honest boys, Benny and his German ways didn’t work out so well and things over there haven’t been working well for a long, long time.   At the risk of sounding crass, it is time for this sausage party to end.  You are all in desperate need of estrogen.  Oh, and on that note, we will be having words on this whole birth control stance the minute I take office.  Men who take a vow of celibacy do not get to monitor the sex lives of others.  Consider yourselves warned.

I realize that time is tight.  We’re on the verge of Holy Week and it is imperative that the new leader be in place by Palm Sunday at the latest.  I am prepared to move immediately, though I will be requesting a relocation package complete with a team of packers and child care services.  I’ve been brushing up on my Latin in preparation for my Holy Week duties.  I have a pair of stunning red shoes, though the average Catholic’s budget does not allow for Prada but at least I have something to get me started and I look forward to the figure-flattering wardrobe that comes with this position.

Further qualifications include: exquisite taste, fluency in a second language, attended a Catholic University, served as an Altar Server during the early 1980’s when the church had a bout of liberalism, read the Thorn Birds 7 times prior to 1985, active member of the online- St. Jude Society.

References Available Upon Request

I will be awaiting my white smoke.