Sunday, February 14, 2016


Is Caila Weeping Material?

Ben needs to get to the bottom of this. 
Is Caila going to be his crying buddy?  Because every “getting to know each other” date should include the non-negotiable potential deal breaker question…..“Will you spend time crying with me”?  And it is even more imperative that this fundamental question of compatibility be posed by the male suitor. 

Ok Ben. 
I hear you. 
Caila’s smiling tendencies seem to be on overdrive.  Is there a real human under there who at times feels something other than happiness? 
Yes Ben.
There is.
There is a person who told you that she thinks that she will break your heart.  
Most likely while sporting a large, immovable, heartfelt smile.

And once she told you that she will likely chew you up and spit you out and confirm your biggest “I am unlovable” fear she quickly realized that perhaps she had committed a dangerous faux pas.  One that might cost her her Bachelor Champion dreams.  So she backpedaled and pretended that she never said that she would shatter your fragile heart.  And shockingly, in some twisted way, managed to convince you that what she really meant was that she was in love with you because she felt understood by you. 
Exsqueeze me?
Ben…..allow me to translate Caila’s not so veiled message;
‘Ben, you are way more into me than I am you; I will likely break your very vulnerable heart.  But in the meantime I really want to win this Bachelor Game – so I take that back – and I am going to talk inanely (which will be conveniently characterized as “endearingly confusing”) while I search for a way to strike those words (which shall send me packing) from the record.
I know.
I’ve got it.   
I’ll say that the real underlying issue is that I feel understood’.

Of course Caila. 
That makes perfect sense. 
Because feeling understood always leads to an inability to share and to a gnawing feeling that you will hurt the one person who finally understands you. 

Ben, Caila will not be your crying partner. 
She will be your crying maker.
With speed.

You were a surprise.
An unpleasant one.
You appeared sweet.
I even had sympathy for you when you did not get the one on one date with Ben.
For a while.
A little while.
And then sympathy turned to “please disconnect this woman’s mic”. 
And quickly your true colours began to emerge.
They were not warm, soft, pretty pastel colours.
They were dark, lying, vindictive colours.
While you were going on and on (and on and on and on and on) about the injustice of not being picked for the one on one date – your central point seemed to be that - you were absolutely irresistibly wonderful.  As you saw it….”He’s an idiot not to give me a chance”.  And if Ben gave you a chance and got to know you - he would fall madly in love.  Because to know you (in your mind) is to adore you.
Well Leah – we certainly did get to know you.
And the certain outcome you felt would be a natural by-product of getting to know you - was not. 
Quite the opposite.

You were a creeper villain – came out of nowhere and pounced – and your ability to lie, like Caila smiles, was deeply disturbing.  
May girls in your future treat you as you did them.   

Beach 5Olivia 
Justice was served.
Your arrogant and condescending ways were unbearable.
The degree of your self-absorption bordered on personality disorderish.
Perhaps someone should gently inform you that conversing with fellow humans is a two way street. 
It appears that your “in tuneness with your body” overlooked your ears. 
You seem oblivious to their purpose. 


And last but not least.
A brief recommendation to the event planners at Bachelor Headquarters – and to their supervisors.
Please immediately enroll those employees who believed that a nightmare pig feeding frenzy would actually be a rip roaring good time into an intensive weekend workshop entitled “The Fundamentals of Fun; An in depth exploration of the essential differences between a good time and hell”. 

The Bachelor may be on the hook for single-handedly leading the Bahamas to complete bankruptcy.
Hope the island has sources of income other than tourism.   

May the force be with you.
You seem to need it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Funeral Etiquette – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
To Attend or Not to Attend

My father-in-law recently passed away.  He had been sick for a while and we knew that the end was near.  Nonetheless his death felt sudden and premature. 

The first few days after his death were surreal.  We felt as though we could not function normally.  But despite our feelings that operating in any useful fashion was impossible…we had to.  We needed to plan a funeral…and attend it. 

And as though the extreme sadness surrounding the death of a loved one is not difficult enough to cope with, for many people the funeral itself, although a well-intentioned ritual, can also be a source of great stress.  For various reasons.   

I had many anxieties surrounding the funeral.  Some were significant concerns, others less so.  During my various “what I dread about the funeral” thoughts - consisting of a wide assortment of potentially disturbing occurrences – I contemplated all sorts of things – including who might show up on that day to pay their respects.

In particular I was concerned about an ex-friend of mine.  Let’s call her Trudy.  Trudy and I had a falling out last year. It was long overdue.  She was one of my oldest friends – but we should have broken up years and years ago. 

I did not want her coming to the funeral.  She had the leading role in one of my many cringe-inducing “what I don’t want to happen at the funeral” ruminations.  It was certainly not one of my more serious concerns surrounding the funeral – but nonetheless fell into the category of “hassles that I do not want to have to deal with on that day”.

But, predictably, characteristically and unfortunately, Trudy showed up.  I would have expected nothing less from Intrusive Trudy. 

I know that there are many people – including my ex-friend Trudy – who believe that at these terrible times – the death times – the moral high ground consists of letting go of whatever insignificant and seemingly immature conflicts that may have occurred in the past - and coming to pay your respects to the deceased and provide support to the loved ones.  I think that most people believe that that is what mature and non-petty humans do. 

But I could not disagree more. 

From my perspective, Trudy showing up to the funeral was inconsiderate and a self-serving action that made her feel better…. and me feel worse.  

I did not want Trudy there.  During these emotionally difficult times – I am a firm believer in being surrounded by only two categories of people; those people who I like and whose company is a positive for me and those individuals who I feel neutral towards and whose presence is innocuous (perfect strangers included).  But….the category of people I certainly do not want present in these times are those who I have animosity towards, who make me feel uncomfortable or who stir up negative emotions in me. 

I had no desire to make nice with Trudy.  I had no desire to thank her for coming.  I actually wanted to do just the opposite.  The minute I saw her I felt like yelling my head off at her and telling her all that I have felt like telling her throughout the years.  That she is intrusive, imposing, domineering and manipulative.

But alas….I could not do what my heart desired.  I couldn’t do so because I knew that indulging in my wishes would be seen by most as profoundly socially inappropriate.  I kind of didn’t want to be the brawl-starting, scene-creating mental degenerate at my father in law’s funeral.  So I had to do the opposite of what I wanted to do – and hug her and thank her for coming. 

While at the funeral – I did not want to worry about having to conceal my negative feelings toward Trudy because she had come to pay her respects.  She did not know my father-in-law, had probably only met him once or twice in our lives. She was coming to support me and my husband.  But really me.  Because I used to be her friend.  But that was no longer the case.  Our friendship had evaporated.  It no longer existed in the here and now.  And as an “ex-friend” she no longer belonged in either the supportive or the neutral category of people whose company I am comfortable with.  She had entered the domain of the undesirable – the negative triggering category.  That category of people who give life to your dark side – who frustrate you, and who you are better off not fraternizing with. 
Trudy showing up to the funeral brought me the opposite of “support”.  It made me have to deal with the discomfort of her being there, it made me get trapped into talking to her - when I really had no desire or intentions of talking to her again.  It took time away from being with the people I did want to be with.  But she, in her characteristically manipulative way, found a way to force my hand and create a situation where I had to engage with her in a pleasant manner.  The opposite of what I felt like doing.  And in her - what I consider to be flawed logic – she was doing the “right” thing. 

Many years ago, my boss died of cancer. He was 48 years old.  He was diagnosed in February and died in October of that year.  Five months before his diagnosis he was fired.  His firing was the quintessential example of injustice.  The powers that be were mindless and conscienceless sheep who sided with appearances over reality and justice. 

About two weeks after his funeral – I happened to bump into his wife at a mall.  She seemed lost and devastated – walking around aimlessly.  We spoke and my heart ached at how broken she was.  As we talked she told me about how angry (on top of unbearably sad) she had felt at his funeral.

All his old bosses and colleagues who he had felt completely betrayed by had shown up to the funeral.  They had come bearing a deceitful badge of “I am a morally upstanding individual who can properly distinguish the important from the unimportant and who has an understanding of moral priorities…and that is why I am here paying my respects”. 

Nothing could have been further from the truth.  These individuals were (and remain) morally bankrupt beasts. They were incapable of distinguishing (or utterly unconcerned with) the fundamental principles of right and wrong. Their firing of my boss was outrageously and shockingly unjust. 

But from their twisted and self-serving viewpoint - they were doing the “right thing” by “putting differences aside” and paying their respects.  The profound moral hypocrisy of these individuals.  They had showed him the opposite of respect in his life.  Their actions were the polar opposite of moral, fair and considerate. They robbed him of his career, of his livelihood, of his security and of his self-esteem.  They had dealt him the harshest (most undeserved) blow they could have and had done so in the most egregious and unjust way possible – and now they were coming to pay their respects???

His wife wanted nothing more than to confront them and launch into a long fantasized about diatribe – unleashing all that she and her husband had long dreamed of telling them.   She wanted to finally get the chance to deliver her and her husband’s “victims impact statement” and let them know just how much harm they had inflicted on their lives. 
Then she wanted to have them escorted out by security.
Preferably in handcuffs.

But she couldn’t…..inappropriate for the circumstances. 

So she had to endure their intolerable presence.  
One did not need to be Sigmund Freud to know that my boss had been devastated by their actions, that he saw them as having ruined his life, and that his wife shared his views and despised them.   It boggles the mind that these individuals could be so harmfully self-serving that they could show up to the funeral and convince themselves that to do so was appropriate and morally upstanding.  As opposed to what it actually was…. enraging to the grieving family and disturbingly two-faced.  

Their judgement both in life and death was unconscionably flawed. 

Let it be known that in no way am I comparing what those individuals did to my boss – to the issues that Trudy and I have had over the years.  There is no comparison.  Zero are they in the same league.

But….although many would agree with my view that those who fired my boss should have NEVER attended his funeral – the discussion becomes much greyer when dealing with the milder and more common interpersonal conflicts such as the one between Trudy and me.

There are many reasons why relationships sometimes come to an end.   And sometimes, in light of death, those reasons can seem insignificant. It is apparent that many people believe that funerals are a time to put differences aside.  And maybe, if both parties believe that the differences are truly insignificant than that is an appropriate approach.  But my guess is that most interpersonal conflicts that lead to the end of relationships are not petty.  True - they are generally not caused by egregious transgressions that are widely viewed as insurmountable or unforgivable. 

But despite the fact that the conflicts and the ensuing end often do not consist of one unforgivable deplorable offense – it does not necessarily follow that the conflicts that did take place were insignificant and therefore easily surmountable.  The final breaking point usually comes after a long line of problems – during which it became clearer and clearer that the two personalities were ill-suited for one another.  The flaws that the respective parties saw in one another (or at least one in the other) were just too frustrating or annoying for the relationship to be sustained.  The relationship had just become more negative than it was positive.  

In my view, funerals are a time when people should act consistently with the way they acted towards the bereaved or the deceased while they were alive as well as in keeping with the existing state of the relationship at the time.  They are not a time to self-servingly redeem oneself or to present as a morally upstanding specimen who has his/her priorities straight.  Attending the funeral when bad blood still exists (between the grievers or the deceased) is an opportunistic and passive-aggressive behaviour that brings discomfort to the griever(s) – at a time when all that they should be receiving is comfort.  

So…here are my final two cents regarding appropriate funeral attendance;

If you have done something terrible to another human being – do NOT show up to their funeral.  Your time to show them (and others) that you were a morally upstanding, decent and considerate human being was while they were alive.  
That ship has sailed. 

And….if you have had a falling out with a friend and the friendship has ended and you are aware that negative feelings still exist – stay home.  If you are unaware that they have negative feelings towards you and they do….you are an inattentive and insensitive half-wit.  No wonder they are no longer friends with you. 

Attempts to mend the relationship should have occurred before the grim reaper arrived. 

Shame – not pride – is what unwelcome funeral crashers should feel. 

I think that I am going to try and have an addendum added to people’s Last Will and Testament.  It shall be entitled; “List of individuals Banned From My Funeral”.  
The list should be published in the obituary. 

I will start composing mine now. 

It may take a while. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Carpool Mooch

I have three kids – all far too active and social for the likes of my lazy being.  And one of the many, unfortunate, and self-inflicted responsibilities of modern day parenting - that makes me hate modern day parenting – is that of being a full-time chauffeur.  Without the pay of course, or the tip, or the general peace and quiet one imagines a chauffeur’s car rides include.

My chauffeuring duties consist of what seems to be the interminable task of driving my offspring and their 47 million friends to and from various locations…both near and far.  I take my sons and their friends to hockey and take my daughter and her friends to and from parties, malls and other various nonsensical seeming activities that 14 year old girls seem to need to do – nonstop. 

A little background information; I am lazy.  I am a homebody.  I am a terrible driver and a general menace to the roadways.  We would all be better off if I were allowed to exercise my “I am not moving from this couch except if it is to eat or go to bed” fantasy.  But alas, life is cruel…and I must actually leave the house - and often at completely unreasonable hours – in order to be a borderline responsible parent and functioning member of society.

Fortunately, in the “it takes a village” spirit of child rearing – carpooling has emerged as a helpful tool for us parents guilty of over programming our kids and creating a hectic, relax-free zone that is our current unenjoyable life.  Carpooling allows us to pool our resources together and share, amongst the various participants, the dreaded task of driving.  It allows us to divide the pain.  

In other words - I (or hopefully my husband) drive the kids sometimes and other parents drive them other times.  Give and take.  Fair trade.  Except…without fail in each circle of friends of my three kids there is always one offender.  One grave transgressor.  The carpool mooch.  The parent who does nothing. The parent who’s kid you always seem to be picking up and dropping off – but who is never doing that in kind. 

My overly socially active daughter has a group of about 5 friends who seem to do everything together and who are constantly asking to be taken here, there and everywhere.  All of us parents (begrudgingly) share the task of dropping off and picking up.  And when I say all – I mean all - but one.  There is one outlier.  One set of parents who seem to have cars in functioning order, who are home a significant portion of the time when I am picking up or dropping off their daughter – but yet who seem to have utterly relinquished themselves of the obviously too gruellingly inconvenient responsibility of doing their fair share of driving. 

It is as though these parents view every social outing their daughter attends as a school field trip. The big yellow bus come and picks their daughter up and then drops her back off at home at the end of the excursion.  We (non-mooch parents) take the role of school bus driver and our minivans act as the yellow bus.  Yellow buses/ minivans; parents/ bus drivers - they’re all the same to these parents.  We are all responsible for transporting their daughter while they do NOTHING. 

And so I find myself asking; what kind of brain do these carpool mooches have???  Perhaps they suffer from some profound (but not yet diagnosed) impairment/lesion in the “I want to be fair to others” region of the brain. Most of us decent folk – feel like we have to do some of the driving some of the time – even though we would prefer not to.  

But for some reason, these specimens seem to have no voice in their head that says – I have to drive too, “it’s not fair to let all the other parents drive while we do nothing”.  You know that voice in your head that allows you to act closer to human than to beast….some call it a conscience.  They appear not to have one. They seem to function with no guilt, no remorse, no need to make sure that they don’t take too much without giving back. 

And once again – in the most innocuous of activities - I find myself perplexed by how people could be so comfortable passing the buck and not carrying their weight – or more appropriately – their freight.