These kids today….

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Many of the kids in today’s world scare me a little.  It’s not that I find them threatening, by any means.  I just worry for their future since so many of them just don’t seem to get it.  They have been too sheltered.  They have been too coddled.  And they have had so many things done for them that some just cannot do anything for themselves.

But there are a few who shine a small ray of hope that all is not lost for their future.  They are self-starters.  They learn by example.  And they are able, at a young age, to think outside of the box.  This blog post is about a kid who completely altered the box.

During an all-inclusive vacation with his family, “Tony” (the name has been changed to protect the guilty) took it upon himself to bend the rules of the resort.  Upon check in, adults are given orange wrist bands and children are given green wrist bands.  This is to distinguish whether or not guests of the resort are allowed to partake in the adult beverage portion of the all-inclusive vacation.  Tony was absent-mindedly playing with his band and realized that one side was green and one side was white.  A light bulb clicked on in Tony’s brain and he ran to find his golf bag.  He reached into his collection of colored Sharpies and proceeded to color the white band orange.

A few hours later, Tony’s parents got a call from the Front Desk telling them that Tony was with security and they were asked to meet them at the reception desk.  When they arrived, Tony showed the signs of having had a few cocktails before being busted.  Ironically, Tony still had a cocktail in his possession and continued to drink it while his parents talked to the security guard.  Laughter ensued and pictures were taken of Tony with the security guard.  Apparently, what happens in Mexico doesn’t necessarily stay in Mexico!

Today, “Tony” turns eighteen.  There is one full calendar year before he is of legal age to drink.  I know there will be more moments until his nineteenth birthday that he will bend a few rules when it comes to imbibing in some alcoholic beverages but, I have to say, I have no doubt that his quick, analytical brain will take him a long way in this life.   Happy birthday, buddy!!

 

When the sun shines on June

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I have written many posts about my mom since she passed a little over two years ago.  Some of those stories have been light-hearted and as joyful as she was and some have been wrapped tightly in the veil of loss.

During the past two years, my mother has made it extremely clear that she has been doing her best to keep in touch.  While others may dismiss my belief in her presence, I know in my heart it is not fantasy.  It is not simply an extension of my overactive imagination.  It is not some arc angel named Jingobar trying to earn his wings.  It is my mother – I knew her well enough to know how she operates.

If I ever had any doubt, even one moment’s hesitation that she was working her magic from another realm, she made it perfectly clear last Wednesday night.  Without going into intricate detail, a great deal of my past culminated into a very emotional evening and, where I felt I had failed in the past, I encountered an overwhelming rush of emotion by feeling like I had finally made a difference.

After sharing a very touching conversation with a dear friend and wiping the remaining tears from my face, I walked back in to my living room.  The early evening sun was still streaming through my window as I sat down on my couch.  To my left, my grandfather’s writing desk was cast in half-shadow and half-sun.  When I took a moment to absorb the tableau in front of me, the tears returned.

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The candle on my desk, the one with my mother’s picture, was one of the few things bathed in the sunlight and that light, perhaps my mother’s light, projected a halo onto the wall behind it.  In the two years that her candle has sat innocently atop my desk, this anomaly has never occurred.  A brief twenty seconds later the image, and the sunlight, were gone.

My mom, June as we came to call after this story (click on the link), sent her message in her way and I got that message loud and clear.  There will never be a doubt that she is always with me when the sun shines on June.

 

Ashes to ashes – fiction

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heart-ants

She knew his heart would crash, landing right at her feet the moment she told him it was over.  What had been a fairy tale beginning had quickly turned into the twisted relationship only Dean Koontz could do justice in one of his macabre stories.  It had been tumultuous, to say the least, and she just needed to be free of him.

Over the course of their relationship, he had retreated into a cocoon inside his mind, fueled by the haze of booze and cigarettes.  She had not realized his heart had shrunk to such a miniscule version of what it once was until she saw it laying before her, cold and lifeless on the stony ground.

His face seemed to become more emaciated the longer she looked at him.  He had not reacted verbally to her accusations.  He could only nod in sullen agreement because he seemed to have lost the ability to speak.  She berated him, lashed out for each minute she spent wishing her life with him had been different.  With each bitter word she uttered, her Machiavellian intention became clearer to him.

She couldn’t tell if his eyes actually became bigger when he realized what was happening or if it just seemed like it because his body was withering at such a rapid rate.  His hair-line seemed to recede as she watched and his gaunt complexion resembled more of a skeleton than a human body.  She pulled the small doll from her pocket and lingered before she pushed the last pin into the woven material that covered its chest.  A small sigh escaped her lips and she plunged the final pin into the doll.  What remained of his skin and bones hastily turned to dust and fell to the cobblestone street.

She stood idle for a few moments and watched as the ants began to march single file through the crack in the stone.  Like a well trained army, they worked as a team to circle the tiny carrion and haul the remains of the lifeless heart down the hole to take home as a trophy.  Little did they know, the spell she had created would only allow that heart to exist for mere minutes after the rest of his body had disappeared.  The ants would get it into the hole but it would never remain solid long enough to present it to the colony.

As she walked away, she carefully removed each pin remembering the outcome that each jab had on his physical being.  She tossed the pins in the gutter and placed the doll safely back in her pocket, hoping, once again, this would be the last time she would need it.

~~

mutant750-wk

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge – to use the picture above – Just a lonely heart by Marina Carvalho
is licensed under CC by 2.0
,  and the word crash with the following definition – Move or cause to move with force, speed, and sudden loud noise

 

 

 

Chirpsicles and other things that don’t fly

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It was a pet store like no other – the only problem was, it was merely an apartment shared by three college women and a menagerie.

I was a regular visitor to the apartment since one of the occupants was my best friend.  During an innocent trip to the freezer to commandeer some ice, I noticed a collection of oddly wrapped items neatly piled in the right hand corner of the large chest freezer.  The remainder of items were recognizable and created no cause for alarm or inquiry.

On my way back to the couch I passed the large aquarium decorated with tropical fish and narrowly missed tripping over the bunny and a few cats.  My curiosity had gotten the best of me and the wine had taken away any shyness about asking the question.

“What is in the corner of your freezer?”

The question hovered in the air for a moment, dangling in front of six shifting eyes.  The three roommates spoke to each other without words, wondering if they should divulge the secret they all shared.

Shirley (her name has been changed to protect the guilty) was the first to speak up.   She began to tell the tale of how many birds they once had compared to the number of feathered friends they currently had.  The few that had not survived had been ‘put on ice’ until they could properly dispose of them.   The corner of her freezer contained four dead birds that they referred to as “Chirpsicles”.  As the story was being told, the cats slowly backed out of the room to avoid detection.

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(image credit: 8ball.co.uk)

My best friend was gauging my reaction to this revelation and chimed in with “you should see what she does with the dead fish”.  After a few more drinks, I was introduced to ‘fish flying’.  The deceased fish were ceremoniously placed on a spoon and, from a relatively steady stance on their eighth floor balcony,  flung into the open air in hopes of reaching the outdoor pool many stories below.

After the last fish had been flung, we settled into the chairs on the balcony.   Only moments later the doorbell rang.  I panicked slightly, thinking the superintendent had caught onto our outrageous activity.  What stood on the other side of the door should not have shocked me at all.   A petite woman lovingly held a small rabbit and asked if it belonged to any of the apartment occupants.  Wondering how the bunny escaped, ‘Shirley’ recognized the rabbit immediately and asked how far down the hallway the little critter had reached.  With moderate hesitation, the neighbor handed Shirley the bunny and explained that she lived on the seventh floor.  The bunny had fallen off the eighth floor and landed on the balcony below!

The sliding door to the balcony was quickly closed and the rest of the night was spent indoors with the surviving menagerie.  When I awoke in the morning, I left the apartment quietly so as to not wake the girls.  Leaning on the elevator wall, I recalled some of the events from the previous night, thinking perhaps I had dreamt the whole thing…….until I pushed open the door to the circular driveway and noticed the remains of the fish on the pavement.

 

 

 

Enough is enough….have some water

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I have officially reached the next echelon of my ‘personal limit’ pyramid. Having worked in the resort and restaurant business for most of my employed life, I have seen the full spectrum of mortal behavior and potentially every single human emotion at its highest velocity and its lowest hum.  I have met people from all walks of life, people from each position on the financial scale and every personality type described in psychology textbooks.

During each new experience dealing with behavior I find intolerable, my patience wears a little thinner and I don’t handle myself as gracefully and tactfully as I once was able to do.  Call it experience, call it aging or call it exasperation – in the depths of my mind there is no excuse for some of the behavior I have witnessed during my career in hostility hospitality.  Today was no exception.

Being a server in restaurants and a bartender at an upscale eatery, you learn quickly how to carefully deal with the clientele who don’t know when they’ve imbibed enough in their alcoholic beverage of choice.  I have learned how, over the years, to go from politically correct to obviously blunt and the message still never reaches the target.  I have handled my fair share of disgruntled guests throughout my journey but I have yet to master the fully intoxicated.  Sure, the few whose cocktail of choice is a mixed drink are the easiest to help.  A quarter of a shot instead of the full ounce goes unnoticed in a glass drowned with sugary syrup after the blood has already been saturated.  But those who drink beer or wine are tougher to fool.

Today, more than ever, drunkenness wreaked havoc on my composure.  What should have been a pleasant afternoon turned into a side-show at a forgotten carnival.  The generosity of one became the  over-indulgence of another and I didn’t know whether my emotion should be anger or sadness.  It was neither my battle to fight or my place to speak.  I could only sit back and hope the situation wouldn’t end badly.

water

Water, water everywhere – and nary a drop he would drink.

(image credit)

 

 

 

 

Instant idiot, just add alcohol

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This post was inspired by a weekend that happened at my former place of employment.  I’m not sure why this memory surfaced, perhaps because hiring season has begun, but I heed to the advice of my muse.

Our resort hosted a few bus loads of college students, or perhaps a more appropriate definition would be potential future employees.  These eager young scholars were taken on overnight excursions from resort to resort to see what working life would be in their chosen field of hospitality.  The direct result of this adventure was more of an extended recess than a field trip.

There is a reason that the LCBO and multiple organizations urge us to drink responsibly.  After a few too many, we become abhorrent mutations of our former selves and lose all sense of discipline and self-control.  The “White Elephant in the Room” campaign is meant to draw attention to drinking and driving.  Perhaps we should also have a campaign for drinking and being an idiot.   For now, let’s call it the “Saturated Moron” campaign.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I have never over-imbibed but only once have I ever lost control of the person I have strived to become.  And even in that moment (that I am not so proud of) I have never left an impression of myself that created any ill will, any harm or caused any negative feelings.  With the advancement of technology today we have more than a fair shot of seeing our misgivings pop up on websites like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but that doesn’t seem to be enough of a deterrent for those afflicted with the “soak me in booze until I’m flammable” syndrome.

There are certain things to keep in mind when you are beginning a night out with friends and alcohol will be involved.  If you think you become more attractive when you’re hammered, you do not.  If you feel you can dance like a professional, this is untrue.  And if you think your friends won’t take every opportunity to humiliate you and make sure there is photographic evidence of your drunken shenanigans, think again.

Obvious health reasons aside, when we drink too much we simply make bad choices.  Perhaps the first bad choice was to drink to excess in the first place.  The thing to remember is what has been done cannot be undone.  People have very long memories when it comes to things you have done in a drunken stupor and they will do their best to never let you live it down.  Undoubtedly, they will take every opportunity to replay the videos or repost the images of your misfortunes during your intoxication.

Drinking to excess can cause you to black out and have no recollection of the events of the previous evening.  Be assured, it will either come back to you in small scenes like a movie trailer that you can’t seem to stop or in one horrific flashback that you wish you could eradicate from your memory.

These hospitality pupils failed to maintain any sense decorum during their visit because alcohol, which began the night as the co-pilot, swiftly took over the driver’s seat and all Hell broke loose.  The resort showed the battle scars the following morning as toilet paper dripped from the trees.  Broken glass could be seen littering the ground at every turn and a window was broken as the hooligans attempted to gain access to any snacks that may be hiding in the front office.

I can only imagine the fetid stench emanating from the bus windows on that long, torturous ride back to school.  My sympathy to the driver who may still be in therapy a year and a half later.  I’m sure the simple message about drinking to excess was lost on these poor, hung over souls but there was one directive that rang loud and clear that morning – I would not be hiring, or even recommending, any of those students for future employment.