August 01, 1996
Well, to be a foreigner in your own home you need a few ingredients. First and above all you must own your home. Seems obvious but a large majority of homes in America are owned by banks... Then you need to have a significant other. A rare occurrence in a country who values family but has the highest rate of divorce and abandoned children in the world -- where is Bobby and Liddy, one wonders. This other significant must work for a company which is not worth mentioning here since its stock is as bad as its products that do not exist. It only brings the greens that pay for the mortgage if you have one, which you do. Then the significant must fall for a co-worker who is a true smoother, full of understanding as long as it helps further her career. The smoother needs to leave the company for a better advancing-smothering job on the other coast of the country. This makes the significant go bezerk and ready to move too. Damned the house -- which one could easily concur with, and the job and all. No problem. Winters will be slightly more uncomfortable but the past can't stop the future, can it. And since the otherwise significant is in tears, you are ready to go to Alaska or the moon as long as the sun shines and the smile is back. And life goes on -- which is per se essentially boring. Ready to move you are, always ready. At this point, time gets into play. Say, like another day. No significant move, mumbles the significant other, but a significant going-away party for the significant smoother who is so significantly leaving in no insignificant way. And since it's your birthday anyway, we'll kill two birds with one stone. This is called a street-smart jack of all trades move... Can't beat this. And a party for sure will help heal the pain and life will keep going as boring as always. Who cares. Aren't we part of the famed middle class, with our little home, two cars, myriad credit cards and the rest. The best in the world you can tell. You know it, don't you. So a party is coming which calls for serious planning and preparations. Since you are the man and the significant is a woman, she cooks and you work in the yard. How enlightening! And she cooks, day after day, for a week and more. And the dead lawn needs be mowed, and the benches repaired, and the volleyball net installed, and the trash cans located, and the acquainted friends invited, and, and, and. Happy to oblige. Just smile and everything will be all right. Seventy-five people at least are due to show up -- which translated in real terms means thirty-five or less. But we'll have food ready... for the next month-- which we do! Smiles are missing... Understandable... A party and its organization are serious business.
So the stage is set.
And they come. What a party! Here is Cathy. She gets in and asks whether this is Bev's party. You wonder who is Bev. She is the significant smoother's departing object of the significant other's emotional concern. Surprise, surprise, looks like someone else's party after all, whether or not you worked your ass off to prepare it... Negative thinking, to say the least. Come on, lighten up, you'll think. Okay. Here is the vice-president, Dennis; the founder of the company. Does not say hello, or goodbye for that matter. Well, the man is floppy at best. Can't hold it against him. Yup, here now are arriving two unknowns -- a couple, it looks like -- walking through your house, owned by the bank, passing you without saying a word, not a word. They keep walking and get to the yard where suddenly they find their tongues back, once they find their crowd. Nothing unusual, people are shy, aren't they. A bunch wants to play their guitars -- one belongs to this host, who was never consulted regarding taking and using the instrument -- eh this is a free country. Once the guests express their desire, you shut off the stereo. They play in their little corner. Then they get tired. So you put back some music. They want to play again. So you shut the stereo off again. Three times in a row. Most of the thirty-five guests (did you believe in the first place there would be seventy-five?) can't even hear the sound of the guitars that are played in one corner of the yard. The significant other considers the guitar playing people more important than the remaining of the attendance, which is the majority. You try to mention this very simple fact to the significant other. She starts debating. You get angry. You shut up and go to the other side of the house. Surprise, surprise, again, there are a few individuals sitting there. They are listening to some music from the other stereo in the house. Not one of them is from the significant other's company...
Comes the cake. They eat it. And they depart. No one but the smoother says thank you and goodbye. And no one helps clean the mess. And mess there is!
It's okay. Next time I'll just leave the house for the duration. Meantime, I apologize to my friends for the trap they fell into.