Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saving Grace

Graceless Grace and I have always had a prickly friendship. Of course her rude in-your-face abrasiveness has led me to keep her at a comfortable distance - preferably a few hundred miles - since any closer would inevitably lead to a grisly murder with one of us butchering the other. Despite the apparent shortcomings however there is little doubt that I still consider Grace one of my closest friends. Certainly a close associate I can rely on in desperate straits come hell or high water.

Just not too much familiarity since it undoubtedly breeds contempt.

Which is we get along just swimmingly online. As it turns out the painfully caustic barbs Grace occasionally fires ( at random? ) tend to lose their acute sting over the internet. The lack of verbal abuse - coupled with the added distance between us - is the reason why I've been able to offer counsel on her latest disastrous dating debacle.

Encroaching senility on our part has some of us seeking out greener pastures for ever greener youths. 老牛吃嫩草 as the saying goes. Our Graceless Grace - ever the nonconformist maverick - has decided to head for the opposite extreme instead.

By trolling the nursing homes.

Okay that was a little mean. But you can imagine the consternation on my part when she told me she was dating a much older gentleman.

Grace : I'm dating someone. It's getting serious.
Paul : That's great news! Who is he?
Grace : He's a little older than us.
Paul : Age is no matter I'm sure. Only a number and all that.
Grace : Glad you said that since I'm going to be meeting his children next week.
Paul : Children?
Grace : And a grandchild.
Paul : You're dating a grandfather?
Grace : Umm. Yes.
Paul : Umm. That's great news?

Followed by half a dozen inappropriate geriatric jokes especially since it turns out our grandpa here has a fear of commitment, especially with one failed marriage on his resume. Cold feet apparently after that unfortunate mesalliance several months years decades back.

Paul : So will you be serving poisoned apples for lunch when you meet the kids?
Grace : You're going to be making jokes fr a very long time, right?
Paul : Right you are, stepmom.

Despite the evident pitfalls ahead, I told Grace to go for it. So what if the crusty old coot's hobbling on a cane! With no one else in the horizon at the moment, anything would be a marked improvement over the abusive bum she once dated. Advice she heartily took in good stead.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hiring Moneypenny

In our first ten years as a child, we go through all sorts of firsts. Our first word. Our first walk. Our first bicycle ride.

That indefinable sense of achievement gets a little less common the older we get! Though that doesn't necessarily mean we stop having our firsts even in adulthood - just that those around us don't celebrate our accomplishments as much anymore. Our first job. Our first paycheque. Even our first staggering loan. Since I've struggled through all those important milestones in my mid-twenties, I figured I was rapidly running out of firsts.

Till today.

My first hire. A secretary as it turns out.

My very own Man Friday. Yes, I need a secretary since I'm in the midst of setting up a private limited company. Didn't have the time to sort out the various candidates available so I left the crucial choice to my discerning parents ( at least I hoped ). Rather than depend on the capricious classifieds, my parents decided to rely on the time-honoured tradition of knocking on the door of every acquiantance they knew - no matter how remote - hoping to chance upon a suitable applicant.

Pulling a needle from a relative haystack as it were.

A bewildering stunt that surprisingly worked when they uncovered the unfortunately named Master Moneypenny. Despite the understated glamour associated with such an archetypical name, it would be hard to imagine a more unprepossessing personal secretary. A dishevelled, shirt-untucked hayseed from the countryside complete with a teasing drawl.

Justin Bartha
Moneypenny : You want me to take off my shirt? B-but why? Is it part of the interview?

Alas, they couldn't find one that vaguely resembled a nerdy but oh-so-adorable Justin Bartha.

But Master Moneypenny had a determined earnestness - and a crafty twinkle in his eyes - that drew me instantly. Though sadly not in a licentious manner. So much for my licentious fantasies of debauchery with the hunky male secretary over a messy, disorganized writing desk! There goes my tawdry offers to debrief my secretary.

Wistful wet dreams aside, it was all business before pleasure for Master Moneypenny. A plenthora of files, folders and documents were strewn all over the table from the little leather pouch he carried. What with his surprisingly respectable qualifications coupled with the affordable rates offered, he was immediately hired.

Which led to the inevitable paperwork.

Moneypenny : Shouldn't take very long to get it up and running.
Paul : And how long does it take to get you up and running?
Moneypenny : Excuse me?
Paul : Ignore that. You mean just a few squiggles of the pen and that's it?
Moneypenny : That's all it takes. So have you decided on the name of the company?
Paul : Whoa.

Seriously. A dozen names flashed before my eyes in blindingly bright tacky neon. With accompanying logos and catchy taglines even. Even had a ludicrous yen to christen the company Golden Prosperity Mountain Towers Above Them All - though the astonishment in Moneypenny's eyes stopped me then.

My company. Turns out that's another first right there.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let Me See His Western Nose

Despite a century of heady French Indochine with Hanoi as the cherished jewel of its farflung empire, the Gallic influence is not as palpable as you'd imagine. Sure you have the charming side-walk cafes, the distinctive pastel-yellow colonial buildings and the ubiquitous baguettes sold on every alley. Even the picturesquely dilapidated chateaus speak in hushed tones of their former occupants.

But the lingering traces are few and far between.

The Tudors
You mean this used to be French?

My recent stay in Hanoi left me astounded at the dearth of French influence and language. With American dollars and Chinese salesmen on the streets, you wonder what exactly happened to the much-touted allure of French Indochine?

Surely communism happened. Seems like after Dien Bien Phu, the liberated Vietnamese were desperate to rid themselves of anything even vaguely colonial. Almost all traces of the hundred years of French colonialism have been slowly, methodically erased from the maze-like streets. They don't read Voltaire and Rosseau in the cafes. Attempting a bit of 'Parlez-vous français?' would only earn you suspicious looks from the ornery locals. Hardly any of the tree-lined avenues carry names that hint at French influence.

A marked difference from Malaysia.

Despite the gleeful joy our overzealous nationalists take in disparaging their former British overlords, it turns out we have much to be thankful for.

Just take a look at French Indochine. Even the Dutch East Indies. Compare the violent uprisings in the neighbouring nations under their iron-fisted rule to our far more amicable separation from the Brits. A gentlemanly divorce with much fewer bloodied battles on our side. Though we have managed to muck the whole thing up, the Brits initially left us an efficient civil service, a respectable legal system and a functioning parliament. While hardly any French is spoken on the tree-lined boulevards in Hanoi, English remains the lingua franca for the aspiring middle-class bourgeoisie here in post-colonial Malaysia.

Although the colonial British Malaya regime was far from perfect - after all, they maintained power through the cynical manipulation of ethnic and religious division ( a bitter legacy which remains till today ), we were still better off than most.

Unfortunately we just never improved on what they left behind.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Heat is On in Hanoi

From the austere hush of a haughty French restaurant to the raucous din of a frenzied bike-infested Asian street. From the dainty crust of a dusky rose macaroon to the piquant, spicy tang of a beef pho. From the bold flash of the distinctive lacquerware to the demure pastels of a perfectly rendered counterfeit Monet.

That's Vietnam for you.

Is it any wonder the besotted Americans found it impossible to leave? Hell, even the French had to be forced at gun-point to vacate. But a short vacation spell for me could only mean somewhere close by. Since French Indochine remained a beautiful mystery for me, I figured it was time to discover more in Hanoi.

Learning that the remarkably accomodating Vietnamese actually allow shabby foreigners to waltz in without a visa ( or even a measly embarkation card! ) certainly brightened my day.

Offering prayers

Sadly however that's as far as their hospitality extends. Though service remained near impeccable at the hotels, that couldn't be said of the commonfolk. Little of the gentle grace of the neighbouring Thais or the simple warmth of our countrymen. Brusque sullenness from the locals, even those involved in the tourism trade.

With their communist doors opened wide not too long ago, obviously the local Hanoians haven't exactly gotten used to the wild unpredictability of the capitalist world as yet. Bewildered they are, and still a bit crabby at the unwelcome intrusion. Not even the demure ao dais of their maidens can hide that.

No denying the intricacy of their handiwork though. Remarkable embroidery, beautiful lacquerware, detailed woodcarvings etc... the list goes on. Look no further for oil painting reproductions on the cheap! Plenty of items to buy. Though the decided lack of enthusiasm on the part of the dour, uncooperative shopkeepers certainly lessened the fun of bargaining.

Spent half of what I would have otherwise.

Fortunately I have perfectly good Vietnamese coffee ( and croissants ) to sustain me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Edward Eerie and the Cryptic Message

Stalkers can be a problem.

Even more so when they insist on swearing their undying love on a daily basis. Like a lovestruck bug, Edward Eerie has been flitting about Piratin Patty hoping for something more.

Patty : Edward was introducing me as his partner.
Paul : Of course he was.
Patty : And he had a clingy arm around my waist.
Paul : As his partner of course.
Patty : It was irritating. I mean, keep your hands to yourself buddy!
Paul : Well, you were his partner.
Patty : Dinner partner.
Paul : I think he wanted more.
Patty : Hello, I didn't get the memo.
Paul : He asked you for dinner! That's the memo.
Patty : I need more words than that.


Words can say so much but sometimes actions matter so much more. So listen up girls - and boys who are that way inclined. A cute boy asks you out. He buys you dinner. Then he takes you as plus one to a wedding with his closest friends?

Was that Eerie following me?

Let's put it simply. He's interested.

You don't need to have it dressed up in pretty flowery haikus. You don't have to have it translated on Google or Babelfish. Obvious enough actually. No need for it to be written in flashing neon lights billboard size, is there?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pooh of Tao

Searching for a teacher isn't as simple as it used to be.

Gone are the mythical days you trudge along a dusty trail till you turn that serendipitous corner to find a suitable master sketching words into the sand. Turns out you don't find Confucius that way! What you do is spread the words amongst the snoops, the gossips and the internet for someone suitable.

Said a flat no to the kindergarten tutors. Although my knowledge of the language is sadly rudimentary, that doesn't mean I'd want to sit through a school lesson with babbling toddlers around me. Had enough baby spit at work, thank you very much.

Would be great if they'd be able to find a serious, buttoned-up - but terribly shaggable - Mr Siao for a Mandarin teacher.

Sure enough a name comes up.

Friend : Found someone for you.
Paul : A teacher?
Friend : Yes, he teaches adult students. Even a couple of foreigners.
Paul : Sounds great.
Friend : And his name is Teacher Tao.

At least it's not Lao Tzu.

Was that Tao, Mao or Pao?

From the mysterious name on my cell, I expected a wizened, humpbacked octogenarian harrumphing and dry-coughing throughout the lecture even as he added bits of esoteric oriental wisdom to the crumpled notes along with the green tea he served. Wondered if Tao the Yoda carried a bamboo whisk.

Tao : Learn Mandarin, you will.
Paul : Yes?
Tao : Good student, you will be, grasshopper. A cup of tea, you will get me.
Paul : Will caffe mocha do?

All wrong of course.

Teacher Tao. Relatively young. Probably a few years older than me. Few wrinkles. No humpback. Definitely no dry cough. Had the crumpled notes and tea though.

And so the classes begin.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speakee Chinese

Hands up all those boys who recall the horrid extracurricular lessons we had called POL classes!

Or Pupils' Own Language as they called it. Ostensibly a noble yet misguided attempt by the government - urged on by the strident minority communities - to teach the young their own mother tongues. Mandarin / Tamil lessons two hours a week for only a year. Lofty national aspirations doomed to failure due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the disinterested students.

And the uninspired, lacklustre teachers. A fatal combination.

My ten-year-old classmates weren't exactly budding Einsteins but they didn't walk with their paws dragging on the ground either. I'm sure a Mark Thackeray would have been able to inspire us all to pick up our tedious Chinese textbooks. Rather than follow the conventional teaching methods of making us drone on, reciting dull passages in endless mantras.

Hardly motivating for a bunch of rowdy schoolboys.

No wonder we only received 5 out of 100 fr our weekly exams - a consolation prize for being able to scribble our names in complicated Chinese. Meant as a pitiful sop for the unlettered, especially since the rest of the paper ended up with unforgiving red slashes that essentially signified a big fat zero.

Write like this, grasshopper!

So that forgotten chapter in Mandarin remained closed till I started work. Invariably there would be that one stubborn patient who remained stoically uncommunicative until a doctor of Chinese origin happened to stumble by. Then unbidden an impulsive string of Mandarin would come pouring out from the previously taciturn fellow describing terrifying symptoms vaguely forming a multitude of incurable diseases.

Short of claiming Tibetan / Korean ancestry - or making a quick, ignoble escape abandoning the dying man, I really had no choice but to attempt a deplorable display of my incompetence in the language.

After several inarticulate misadventures with purely Chinese-speaking patients, inevitably I picked up a couple of useful phrases, 'Are you dying?' amongst them. The painful fact that half of them haven't managed to learn a word of any other language in ten years of formal schooling galls me but I usually keep my mouth shut on that point.

Though it did goad me into finally learning Mandarin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sharks Fin Yum

Yes, I still partake of shark's fin soup.

No doubt horrifying the conservationist advocates - amongst them my friend Lanky Lex. There is no need to remind me that the highly endangered sharks are being slowly hunted to extinction - and then massacred in a horribly inhumane manner. Valuable fins methodically sliced off while the rest of the dismembered bodies are tossed back into the sea for a slow painful death.

Certainly makes that bowl of soup much less appetizing, doesn't it? Well, it depends on how you look at it. While I wouldn't go around passing out passionate flyers urging patrons to eschew shark's fin, I certainly wouldn't say no to a bowl placed in front of me. I do think however that the fishermen should assist the chefs in coming up with palatable dishes based on the other parts of the fish. Rather than throwing the fish back, wouldn't it make more economic sense to consume the rest? Surely some ingenious chef out there should be able to come up with something. Shark sushi? Shark burger anyone?

Maybe if he asked me to stop, I would consider it.

Of course the more zealous advocates of conservationism would still raise a hue and cry. Hell, some are already stalking out of establishments serving shark's fin soup. Leaving a formal wedding dinner as a protest? Even this quote from a vehement environmentalist campaigner.

“I also made it very clear that he would get a much smaller hongbao if he served shark’s fin.”

And that loaded red packet comes with a blatant message urging diners to boycott the delicacy. Surely a horrified Miss Manners would have something to say about it.

I would have quietly disinvited such a guest of course.

This is carrying political correctness just a tad too far. Not only do we have to cater to the religious and medical requests of our guests, now we also have to keep an eye out for ethical / environmental issues?

Good God. What happened to restraint? Plain good manners for goodness sakes. Rather than march around with a raging placard, show some respect for the host! Just politely say no when the dish is offered. Refuse the beef / pork / chicken if your religion so dictates. Your preferences should remain your preferences without having an impact on anyone else.

Seriously. Don't impose your rules and beliefs on others. Does that mean if I'm an avid meatatarian, I can rudely stalk out when broccoli is served? Throw a huff whenever peas make an appearance? Set fire to the table whenever bok choy appears at the end?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thousand Dollar Favour

Seems things have been going well lately for my friend Beercan Boy. Certainly no more hazy, drunken nights bemoaning the loss of his once true love, especially not when he's finally made it clear that Damsel Dimwit is the girl for him.

And I'll admit the two simpletons deserve one another.

Although the disreputable in-laws might present quite a problem. Seems her shoddy old folks have a peculiar penchant of using poor Beercan Boy as an automated teller machine. Easy enough system I think. All it takes is teary eyes, a weepy spiel and two pokes to get a thousand dollars.

I'm almost tempted to do the same.

Paul : They borrowed money again?
Beercan Boy : Just a little bit.
Paul : Again? Did you recently open a moneylending institution?
Beercan Boy : No? They did return the cash they borrowed previously so I figured there's no harm.
Paul : That was after a year! So what is the money for?
Beercan Boy : Umm. Don't know.
Paul : And you didn't bother to ask? Are they paying off the moneylenders? Paying for drugs and hookers? Paying off a hitman? Buying a new chandelier for the manse?
Beercan Boy : I asked. They just didn't tell me.
Paul : They don't have friends of their own to ask from?
Beercan Boy : Umm... no?
Paul : Money given, no questions asked. Umm... can I borrow a thousand as well?

Obviously Beercan Boy found alternative employment as a benevolent Ah Long when I wasn't looking.

Song Seung Hun
Maybe if I throw in some roses they will love me!

Borrowing from your daughter's idiot boyfriend is suspect enough - but I guess I can overlook that particular social faux pas. What I can't understand is the inexplicable reluctance to explain the murky reasons behind the loan. Unless the money's being used for shockingly nefarious purposes, I don't think divulging the reasons should be a problem!

Especially when the one asking is the moneylender.

Okay, I'll readily admit that Beercan Boy's a simple fellow. But the fact that he happily accepted their flimsy excuses without pressing further leaves me speechless. Beercan's not hurting for money but he's certainly no philanthropic Bill Gates. Starting to wonder whether the boy gleefully tosses cash bonuses about the back alleys.

And why haven't I gotten any yet!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rents and Sensibility

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

Sometimes I think men should try every bit as hard as well.

Seldom, very seldom does a long-distance relationship work. Had my own foolish experiment back in the past which fizzled quite spectacularly - so this time around, I decided to forestall a repeat of my past mistakes.

Especially since it turns out my temporary transfer gig here might change into something a little more permanent. With me choosing to stay here - and Charming Calvin working way on the other side of the Big Pond, the resultant circumstances seemed unsatisfactory.

Calvin : Umm... so you want me to lie?
Paul : No, I want you to avoid answering the truth.

Which is why I've been talking Charming Calvin into coming back. And maybe sharing Netherfield with me.

Till now he's been a bit resistant to the novel idea. With the deed to Pemberley his dream apartment almost in hand after numerous unforeseen obstacles, I can almost understand his reluctance. Surprisingly though, that's not the reason he dreads returning. Having the prodigal gay son return doesn't seem to be the issue here - in fact his mother would be over the moon ecstatic!

But it turns out sharing a rented house - with another man! - would be potentially problematic. Seriously how did Bingley and Darcy do the same without arousing suspicion amongst the gossipy villagers?

Calvin : It is impossible. How would I justify moving in with you when I have a perfectly good family home barely five miles away?
Paul : Just tell her you hate driving home in the dark after work? Or tell her your workplace would be much closer to Netherfield.
Calvin : The office is actually closer to my home.
Paul : She wouldn't know that now would she?
Calvin : I wouldn't feel good lying.
Paul : It's not lying. You just don't mention it. Just tell Madame Borgia it's easier for work and leave it at that.
Calvin : I can't tell her that!
Paul : And why would she ask that many questions? She's your mother, not the Gestapo Chief of Interrogations!

I knew that wily matron Madame Borgia would somehow creep into our everyday lives.

Seriously, what happened to the art of concealment? Never been a paragon of moral virtues myself so I've always found that little itty-bitty white lie amongst family wholly acceptable. And in this situation, it's certainly not lying per se - let's call it a partial omission of the truth. Madame Borgia won't ask, he won't tell. Surely his loving momma wouldn't scrutinize his motivations to return that closely so such probing questions shouldn't even arise.

Madame Borgia's a wicked schemer herself, surely she would understand.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Pick Up Pick Up

Ever seen those action-thriller movies where the protagonist calls up their loved ones to give them a belated warning?

Protagonist : Pick up dammit! Someone's coming to kill you!
Phone : You have just reached the mailbox of Miss Y. Please leave a message at the sound of the beep.
Protagonist : You're gonna die a horrible death dammit!
Phone : Thank you for the message. Have a good day.

Even as the jittery audience climbs to the edge of their seats, we all know that the message would come too late to save the victim. By some unfortunate stroke of bad luck, that particular message would be bleeping on the cellphone even as the hapless victim is busy attending to various inconsequential errands, sadly oblivious to the fact that a vicious serial killer - armed with a dozen formidable weapons - stands gleefully behind them.

I'm rarely without my cellphone. Even informed my medical officers seriously that the day I miss a call, they would do well to alert the relevant authorities. Chances are I could be incapacitated - or even worse dead. Don't take calls as often though since my deplorable phone manners leaves much to be desired. However send a message and I'll usually reply almost immediately.

Unfortunately these days the cellphone is practically an extra appendage. A ubiquitous necessity hard-pressed to lose. Even had a girlfriend claim that she'd rather lose a miserable toe than her precious cell.

Pick up, dammit pick up!

Doesn't mean she's any more inclined to picking up though.

I believe that's a problem with our ladies and their phones. Perhaps not all of them but a large majority are regular offenders. Even my own mother's guilty of such a heinous crime.

Ever tried calling one of these girls? Unless she has just taken a call, it usually takes several rings for them to answer - if they even do so - since the phone's usually buried deep inside that unfathomable, multi-layered labyrinth called their handbag. Granted it's hard to hear the teeny-tiny ringtone they usually choose through that many layers of lipstick, Post-its and tampons.

What's the point of stuffing the phone right at the bottom of the purse? Helpful lil operator munchkins camped out in those ginormous purses willing to pick up the call?

Girl : No call's that important la.
Paul : Your boyfriend calling to tell you that a killer is camped at your door?
Girl : Unlikely lo.
Paul : Your boss calling to tell you to finish the assignment or you're fired?
Girl : Better don't answer lo.
Paul : Your father calling to tell you his dying wish on his deathbed?
Girl : Choi! He very healthy wan lo.
Paul : While you're talking, your phone's been ringing.
Girl : It has? Hee hee. You mean that was my ringtone? I should pick up right?
Paul : The call ended a minute ago.

Imagine if it was someone telling her to run for dear life.

Irritates me to no end. What if someone needed to pass on a Very Important Message? Inadvertently ignoring their call certainly wouldn't help.

Surely putting it on vibrate isn't gonna work anymore for these girls. Perhaps a brief electrical shock as a warning?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

That Damned Nuisance of a Conscience

I've always shared an empathy for the criminal classes. For the successful grifters, I only have admiration with a sly tinge of envy while for the more boneheaded ones, I can only pity the fools. But even the most idiotic thiefs manage a simple scam every once in a while - and I'll admit I've been the patsy once or twice. Furious I was, but even more furious that I've been conned.

And angry that the fools didn't consider robbing a bank instead.

Seriously. If I were to contemplate going bad, I might as well go all the way! No crappy halfsies for me. Since you're already breaking the law anyhow, why just snatch a lady's meagre purse - which in all probability could contain only a dollar or two - when with a little bit of foresight and planning, you could just grab the entire bank's hoard instead?

But then I figure such elaborate, technologically-advanced white collar crimes are far too subtle for our local thugs who prefer just a tad more explosives. Why bother constructing the perfect crime when you can just blow up an ATM machine with a bag of explosives and an hour's planning?

Don't worry. I don't have wicked heist schemes in my head just yet.

I did something bad, very very bad.

Unfortunately I still have that nasty bit called a conscience in my head.

Like today, I did something bad. Certainly nothing warranting a prison sentence but still, it's quite reprehensible. Enough to have stern moralists rally outside with pickets and pitchforks. Maybe an overzealous police officer or two.

And I had my troubling conscience immediately start nagging in the back of my head. Damn. Try as I might that little voice just never goes away, like the telltale heart. Worrying about the fellow I just wronged. Worrying about the long arm of the law.

Fucking damn. Without it I could have been a great criminal mastermind. Perhaps emulated the great Neal Caffrey in the White Collar. Hopefully without the painful embarassment of getting caught of course. All with my theme song by Eartha Kitt playing in the background.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Edward Eerie and the Mysterious Engagement

Unbeknownst to her, he watched her sleep from his usual perch by her bedroom window, his dark intense gaze coldly unblinking. Though he dare not speak of it, in his adoring eyes no one else in the world existed - not before not after - no one except for her. In the muted glow of twilight beneath the dappled shadows of the ancient raintree, his pale snow-white skin seemed almost eeriely luminescent.

Scenes from the infamous vampire stalker series perhaps?

People from all over the world travel to the city of Paris for love and romance. Rather than be wooed by a slick, silver-tongued Frenchman with baguettes, perfumes and couture, it seems Pirate Patty has returned from two weeks in la ville d'amour with a mustachioed stalker instead. Wonder if she could ask for a refund.

Almost five years ago to the date, our heroine Patty had a fateful meeting with Edward Eerie across an abandoned parking lot. Sparks flew, chemistry sizzled and it seemed things got a little hot and heavy in the beginning before... nothing. Turns out a couple of meetings was all it took to have Edward making a mysterious disappearing act.

Ever the pragmatic one, Patty chalked it up to commitment issues.

Edward : My unnatural heart beats for you.
Patty : Go beat somewhere else.

However this was no mere fleeting infatuation in his case. During the period of his hibernation ( six feet under? ) it seems our enigmatic Edward has been keeping the fires burning for his one and only true love. An ardent passion that seemed only too obvious when he finally resurfaced - quite as suddenly - in Patty's life.

Edward : My love, I have returned at last.
Patty : Umm. Do I know you?
Edward : You jest, I know. In your heart of hearts, you would always recognize me, your one and only soulmate.
Patty : Should I call the police?
Edward : It's me, your darling Edward!
Patty : Wait, didn't you fall off a cliff?
Edward : If I were to fall, it would be to fall helplessly into love, I swear. Our time together has been life-altering for me!
Patty : Time together? You mean the five minutes we just spent talking right now?
Edward : Oh yes, I shall treasure this cherished moment forever!

Only five minutes of uninspired greeting from his beloved was enough to stoke the smouldering embers of his all-consuming adoration. Wouldn't surprise me if there was an engraved engagement ring hidden in the folds of his tartan waistcoat.

And then Edward asks her to a wedding.

Paul : OMG. It's your surprise wedding.
Patty : No!
Paul : Your parents so married you off when you weren't looking. Did he ask you to wear white?
Patty : OMG!

Guess we're going to have a wedding soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cheaters Club

I believe there is a clandestine club somewhere with a secret membership roster - perhaps even more heavily guarded than the Illuminati chambers. No worries though, you won't have to call up Robert Langdon for this.

All you need to do is ask Cheating Candy, that adulterous friend of mine, for an exclusive referral. Since unlike the sweet confection she's named after, Candy's just a bit of a tart. And more than a little prone to infidelity.

O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours
And not their appetites!

I'm sure that would be her husband's first words if she'd told him. Till now however, a potent combination of christian guilt and shame has kept her from confessing anything to her cuckolded husband. If ever.

Exactly what I would have told her if I had. Rather than a pointless public humiliation for the both of them, I believe the punishment for such betrayal is painful silence on her part. Though I swear I never told her that! Somehow I managed to keep my own hasty counsel to myself.

Paul : All dressed in penitent black?
Candy : Is it working?
Paul : It would work better with a scarlet letter.

Which is more than I can say when Candy attempted to find some vindication for her sorry self. Obviously she believes that excusing herself would make her Madison County disappear.

Candy : I never planned the affair, you know.
Paul : Right...
Candy : You don't believe me? It just happened!
Paul : No, you're not gonna use that excuse with me. A drunken one-night-stand just happened. If you're having an affair, it couldn't have just happened.
Candy : He worked with me in the office. We just saw each other everyday. We couldn't help it.
Paul : That's a lousy cop-out, Candy. You can see an affair coming from miles away. You don't just suddenly fall into one another. You could have easily nipped those feelings in the bud if you wanted to. Surely no one's forcing you to spend time with him outside of work.

Really. That old cliched excuse of it just happened?

Come on, you gotta admit that's totally lame. Crazed maddening lusts don't just happen, not unless you put yourself in temptation's path. Even our love-struck swain Romeo took a little time-out before climbing up fair Juliet's balcony. If he'd been otherwise engaged to someone else, he could have just walked the other way rather than search for her. To put it simply, even if a shockingly forward Juliet had jumped bodily into his waiting arms, he still could have refused the catch.

No, I'm married.

Simple enough phrase, I think.

Rather than search for justifiable excuses, why not just admit to making a horrible mistake? In this case, 'I couldn't help myself' is not a valid excuse. Folks these days don't seem to know how to take responsibility for their actions, no matter how misguided! Just admit to wanting an affair dammit!