Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Of Pride, Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

I've become very fond of theatrical recreations of Jane Austen's more prominent novels: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion ... in all these books, I can sort of identify with the heroine - the woman who learns to fall in love and live with the consequences.

There is an abundance of happy endings, but these, at least, are not cloying or nauseating. In fact, in most instances, the happy ending seems only natural and right - a fitting resolution to a most distressing conflict.

I watch all of these movies and, to an extent, I can relate: like Mansfield Park's Fanny Price, who doesn't realise that she loves Edmund until confronted with another love, and from then on, fiercely defends that love, that hope... because it has become an undeniable truth and a lifeline; like Ann, in Persuasion, who is influenced excessively by a well-intentioned, older woman, but eventually pulls away from the guiles of external effectors and makes up her own mind - just in time too; but more than all of these, I often feel like Northanger Abbey's little country bumpkin Cassandra, who is 'dangerously' raised to believe that everyone is as pure as she, and therefore gets herself into excessive trouble because she fails to see that the deceptive double lives people lead in the novels she reads are true reflections of reality - tragic as that may be.

Purity is one hallmark of Austen's characters. They all exude exceptional moral fortitude. It is the flower that most often attracts the bee ... So, if a young woman, in this day and age can flourish as an Austen heroine, or something similar enough, if only for a little while longer, let her be. Let her stand apart from the accomplished tempstresses and seductresses that already pollute our landscape.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well, I Hope ...

I am writing this blog post as the events unfold, not certain whether I should laugh or cry or shake my head in incredulity at the truly 'unique' events that characterise my life.

First off, my crew at work had this fabulous idea of a pre-Christmas dinner - a potluck sort of thing. It was awesome. And I bought into it TOTALLY.

Second, I was assigned to do the potato salad - not a challenging task in comparison to certainly more awesome feats of the roast beef and ham and baked chicken and candied yams and gungo rice and peas that my coworkers were attempting...

Third, yesterday, I worked the late shift, which meant that I was here until 11:30. When I got home, it was after 12:00 going to 1:00. Instead of rushing off to sleep (which my mind and body were begging me to do), I decided to push past the boundaries of human fatigue and make my coworkers a fabulous feast of a potato salad.

Now, there are about fifteen of us in this little pot luck. That meant that I was peeling, dicing, boiling and straining a whole lot of potatoes - not to mention the vegetables to be boiled and the eggs and the mayonnaise and whatever else that needed to be procured. But at last, after four this morning, going to five, I completed the task, set up my utensils, and went to bed.

Then this morning ...

After going to bed so very near to sunrise, naturally, I woke up late. Bad start. I ended up rushing to finish my salad. The eggs, while boiled, had not been shelled. I made the rookie mistake of leaving them in the same water they were boiled in overnight - so the damn things chipped and cracked in my hands and only one or two of the twelve came out perfectly round. Eventually, I finished the task and managed to leave home with about fifteen minutes to get to work. I tried calling a taxi service, but they told me that it would take at least fifteen minutes to get to me. I couldn't wait. I'd be late. So I headed on to the road and got a regular 'robot' cab to take me to work. That's $1,000. But I was desperate.

He drove off, and we were on our way. Lo and behold, the pre-Christmas traffic was a headache, backache, heartache, and would have made for quite a hoarse throat if I had followed the basic instinct to yell at every passing motor vehicle (I did not). It took me one hour to get to work - one long hour!! When we got there, I was so late and harried that I quickly paid the driver, dashed out of the cab, into the lobby, into the elevator and up to my floor to start what promised to be a very full day's work.

Then I remembered ... the potato salad. I left it in the car of a complete stranger with no way of contacting him and no time to go back for it. This, I thought, was the start of a perfect day.

It only got better. I called home to see if someone at home could go to the bus stop to check if the taxi driver was there, only to be told that the person was "tied up" in housework and could not leave home to walk the two to three minutes it would take to go to the bus stop and check for me.

It is now 6 p.m. I still have no idea where my potato salad is, or if I will ever get it back. I've been at work all day. We had our little dinner. It was great. There was so much food there that I don't think anyone really missed the salad, except maybe me. I can't readily forget the huge unopened jar of mayonnaise, my three plastic cover dishes, the tin of mixed veggies, my foil, my Ziploc bags, my cling film, my dishtowel, my one sharp knife, or the gym bag that contained them all. But more than those, I can't forget those potatoes ... I spent so much time peeling and dicing and boiling and straining ...

It's Christmas. It ought to be a happy time of year. Ah well. I ate. I drank. I might as well be merry. Even if I wasted all that time, all those resources, all that energy ...

Merry Christmas everybody. I'll whisper a prayer for you all. Tomorrow is another day. And soon, this too shall pass and fade into obscure memory.

I can't wait.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spoilt Rotten

I have to admit that my generation has it pretty good. Most of us don't even know it. When I saw this cartoon, I laughed so hard... then I thought about what my mom's response to any antics like that would be, and it was a sobering enough thought. Woe be unto the kid who wastes phone credit to call my mummy from the back seat of the same car she is in... to find out how close we are to a drive-thru?? Lord ha mercy! I can see the hell breaking loose!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Days Are Winding Down (Or happy birthday to me)

Ah yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year, and we here at ruthibelle have much to be thankful for ... Another year is coming to a close, and, yes, the days are winding down - nicely, I might add.

2010 has been, in a very true sense of the word, a full year. I think I finally shook my giant awake, and she is walking. Not roaring yet, but at least walking. I started the year feeling quite asleep, but now, I feel awake and very alive. I see hope, and that's always a welcome horizon.

Apologies for all the cliche references, but, really, what a difference a year makes!! On the local and international scene, I think the world got shook up quite a bit (in many cases, literally - 9 major earthquakes come to mind). I think the issues that stood out most for me were the ones that involved armed conflict or great natural disasters. I felt this year like I have never felt any other year in my life. I lived going from one emotion to another. I felt the news in a different way, and, as my mind gradually expands to a more full comprehension of the meaning of globalisation, I was aware that those people uttering incomprehensible words on my TV were not strangers or foreigners, as we are wont to call them, but neighbours. In some cases, literal next door neighbours!

When I say I felt this year, that's what I mean. It was a year to feel with people all across the globe and around the world. I immersed myself into international news. I plugged in to the documentaries, editorials and commentaries. My appetite for knowledge of world affairs was (and still is) insatiable, and this became a propellor for how much information I consumed and how I viewed my own personal world (if it can be called that).

I think this was a year for locating myself on the globe, and seeing the interconnectedness that runs through human beings across cultures and continents. It was time to see more than Jamaican. More than Caribbean ... I can honestly say I am acquiring an international perspective. After all, this is my world as much as it is anyone else's, and the occurrences therein affect me as much as they affect my brothers and sisters elsewhere. I ought to be concerned. I ought to be informed. I ought to be aware. And I think, to a great measure this year, I achieved that.

I have no intention of making this one of those long-winded posts that give away more insight than is savoury, or appropriate. I do, however, wish to say to one and all that this has been a truly transformational year, and I thank all the players involved. I've grown.

Tomorrow, I'll be a year older. Wish me a happy birthday, won't ya? Like I said, the days are winding down nicely ... :-) ;-) ;-p