Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Death Us Does Part

Four months ago, I sat curled up on the couch watching snowflakes swirl outside my window, turning the streets of G Town into a winter wonderland. Two days later, it hadn't stopped snowing and the wonderland had fast turned into a monster vale. The freezing rain hit after that, and thanks to the total lack of grit and salting, the entire city turned into one giant ice rink. It was one day soon after, as I gingerly made my way to work one morning, watching people all around me falling over like skittles, that I was keenly aware of just how easy it would be for me to fall over and badly injure myself. Especially since I was a major calamity on even regular roads. From falling over and getting hurt, my thoughts turned to more darker outcomes such as just one false step spelling disaster, and leading to my head being cracked open on the curb.

Lights Out. Curtains. The End. Without the possibility of an encore performance. THE BIG FINISH.

And although I found myself rather unperturbed by the entire concept of my life coming to a sudden (and tragic) halt, it was the idea of my send off that started to bother me even more.

Coming from a large family, I've been used to celebrating all manner of events from a very early age. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, christenings, graduations; they've all been attended with gusto. Funerals on the other hand have always been an alien event. My family tended to keep children away from funerals and death in general. And the one time I did attend one, I was too stressed out by the overwhelming atmosphere. The person in question had been a rather aged member of the family and had died after a good long life. Yet, there were people all around wailing and beating themselves with grief. Literally. Many years later, I found out that those women who had been weeping copious amounts of tears were what my dad referred to as "professional mourners." They regularly attended funerals of all and sundry and made sure that the overall atmosphere was rank with grief and despair. At the time, I did not know this, and I was scared and uncomfortable with the whole situation. And, as I often do in such times, I began talking and joking. Inappropriate sentences tumbled out of my mouth and I was powerless to stop myself. My grandmother and aunt who were the relatives closest to me promptly marched me out of the room and into the custody of a random cousin with instructions to take me home at once. Said cousin has often thanked me for getting him out of a claustrophobic room and uncomfortable suit. It was later decided that for the sake of the family, I was not to attend any more funerals; a decision I was more than happy to abide by.

But now, I was consumed with thoughts of my own sendoff. I knew what funerals are supposed to be and I also knew most certainly that I wanted mine to be nothing like a "regular" funeral at all. I didn't want sadness or grief or tears. Not unless they were going to be tears of laughter. Because, let's face it, when thinking about me, most of the time you're going to remember some sort of crackpot thing that I've said or done and that's just going to make you giggle.

And that's what I want. A room full of people who I love and who hopefully love me in return all sitting around sharing their personal stories about me. No one is to wear black, unless of course it is for the slimming effect and you have a LBD that you've been dying to wear. I would like folks to bring along their favourite picture of me. That way, everyone can see just how great my hair actually was!

I want music playing. Not some somber ponderous rendition of Amazing Grace either. But music that is reflective of me, of my life. Pink's Raise Your Glass comes to mind right now. So too Glee's Loser Like Me. Both terribly apt I'd say! These are the notes I want blasting through that room. And I DO mean blasting, so there's no way this is going to be in some stoggy funeral hall or prim and proper church. The party room of some pub would be a far more suitable venue.

If there is to be a eulogy, then I want it told by the three people who I know will do me justice. My cousin Scribbler, my big brother Beer Baron and the love of my life, Maestro. They know all the good stories spanning my childhood, my teenage years and in to adulthood. Also, by picking 3 writers, I'm increasing the odds of them being around after I've kicked it! I can count on these guys to leave off the flowery tributes and focus on the really and REAL stories instead. Even the ones that made me look like a complete tit. Especially those ones!

Please don't bother with flowers. Wreaths especially. Take that money you'd spend on lilies or carnations or whatever and instead put to towards some concrete way of remembering me. Plant a tree. Put a bench in park so that people can sit down and read on a fine summer's day. Donate it to a charity. Whatever. Just don't waste it on an ugly wreath that costs too much and will just wither away in a few days anyway. 

I guess what I'm saying is, don't treat as the end of my life, rather, a celebration of it. Make it a great big party and by golly, I want people to be hungover as hell the next morning!

And if you are going to play Amazing Grace, at least make it a damned good version!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cold Hard Truths

Me (to friend): So, how’s the new job going? Like it better than the other place?

Friend: Yeah… its good. This place is much… um… swankier than the last though.

Me: Oh? How do you mean?

Friend: Well, for starters, they’re really picky about their staff and how they look. The waitresses are totally stunning!

Me: Ah well.. makeup does wonders. If I knew how to wield a mascara brush, I’d have a job there as well.

Alleged Friend: No, you don’t understand. They want REALLY beautiful women.

Me: (thinking) Time for some new friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Dating

While chatting with a girly pal the other day, we got talking about the murky world of dating. We'd like to think that we are both smart, savvy and moderately good looking lassies. Yet, between the two of us we have amassed a rather alarming number of dating horror stories. Our conversation lasted for about 2 hours and over that time we made some very interesting observations.

For starters, we figured out that guy time is a lot like dog time, just in reverse. Every minute to a girl is about 7 hours to a guy. Which would possibly explain why when they say, I'll call you soon, and then don't call for about a week. And also why when they do finally call, they they wonder why you're so mad that they've seemingly ignored you for a good many days. Even when you're on a date, the canine like behaviour tends to persist. Chances are, about mid way through the meal they're just going to want to doggy bag the rest, go back home and get you to play with them.

Then again, I've been so far removed from the dating game that I'm not even sure where to begin. Unfortunately life is not like a game of Monopoly with a convenient start point at GO. Incidentally, if you could collect £200 at the start of each new relationship it would certainly help with all the drinks you sometimes need to consume just to be able to get through the some of the dates!

Boy speak, like boy time is another mystery. Men are always going on about how women are cryptic; honestly, they can be just as bad. For example, I was recently at a bar with this guy I fancied, and who by all accounts fancied me as well. The conversation throughout the night consisted of him trying to break down a computer program for me followed by a long analytical discussion on why the TV in the corner had a blinking light. If ANY of you out there can interpret if I am to take that as a " I like you", please, let me know.

I did try to consult my handy dandy pocket dating book, but again because its been so damned long the copy I have is hopelessly outdated and missing a few chapters. An order has been placed for a replacement - with an entire chapter devoted to computer geeks as well! However, knowing my luck by the time it arrives, I'll have met an artist or musician or space cowboy and will need a whole new edition.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Been There, Done That!

Almost 3 weeks later, and I'm still receiving birthday prezzies which, I have to add is totally awesome! My friend Penguin Pal is all about the "birthday month" and I'm rather liking the concept. A package just came in with all sorts of goodies from my besties in the T Dot. The accompanying card has a list of things that was titled "30 Things to do for 30". Here's a reproduction of the same. I am happy to report that I have been able to cross a fair few items off already!

Shop till you drop - HATE shopping with a passion, so this one might never get done.
Eat cookie dough
Quit your job
Buy some bling
Speed date - Was signed up for it once, then genuinely fell ill on the day so had to drop out.
Sing karaoke
Do the birthday dance - Not quite sure what this is, but am up for all/any kinds of dancing!
Streak - Am rather surprised that given my group of friends this hasn't already happened.
Wish for something outrageous
Party! Party! Party!
Eat Cake
Play spin the bottle
Take a hot air balloon ride - Actually want to do that here before I leave. Virgin sometimes does really good discount offers.
Bungee jump from a bridge - Was all set to do this in New Zealand, then my busted knee put a kibosh on those plans.
Date online -Probably another thing that will never get done. Can't seem to get into the zone for this kind of stuff.
Moon somebody
Pimp your ride - Have never owned my own car, but does glitter and stickers on your bicycle count?
Get shot out of a cannon - Um, NO. I am accident prone as it is! But, would like to try trapeeze swings at some point.
Kiss a stranger
Splurge on something frivilous
Go skinny dipping
Runaway and join the circus - So wanted to when I was little and reading about Mr. Galliano's circus!
Go crazy
Drop it like its hot - Again, not quite sure what is required of me here. Anyone reading this who speaks Snoop Dog?
Play strip poker
Write your memoir - This blog kinda counts, doesn't it?
Go skydiving - Dunno about solo, but a tandem dive seem like a piece of cake! (I say, with my feet planted on terra firma)
Call a party line - Again. No. Waste of money that I can spend on pints and chatting/flirting with someone in person.
Cry over lost youth
Live it up!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tribute Act

Five weeks of hyper intensive planning activity all came to a head on Thursday night at the charity gig. The last week of planning was especially difficult. Ticket sales were nowhere near where they should have been and my supposed "helpers" were doing anything but. Three days before the event, the compere called to say that he wasn't going to be able make it and a day later the headliner sent me a message on Facebook (on Facebook!!!) to say that he'd gotten a paid gig and so couldn't do the event.

Suffice to say, by the time the day came around, I was stressed out of my mind and trying to desperately to juggle everything that had to be done all the while attempting to give off an aura that I actually everything under control. Thankfully, I have the world's BEST friends and they all rallied round to help out in every way that they could, even making sure I got a bite of a sandwich every time I ran past them!

The turn out wasn't as large as I'd hoped, and we had to wait a half hour to start the event so that the room looked filled out. Still, once it actually got going the crowd all seemed to be loving it and the acts were all in top form. We raised a tidy amount on the night from ticket and raffle sales and donations are still coming in.

It is two days later and I feel like I'm still recovering. But, it was worth every minute of anxiety and stress and I'm going to be a very happy bunny on Monday when I hand over the money to the charity. The evening was dedicated to the memory of the two grandparents I lost to that bastard disease. One was taken when she was barely 50; a life only part lived. The other I watched as the disease ripped through his frail body making the last months of his life a living hell.

This is the only way I know to honour them. Make them proud. 
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