Relationships. With the plethora of my friends getting recently married, I’ve been thinking about them a lot these days.
The first relationship I knew was that between my mom and dad. She was the daughter of an Austrian/German mom, and a Norwegian/Swedish dad, and he was the son of an Irish mom, and a German/English dad. They were both from Staten Island, New York, and things seemed fine until, well, until it ended. Then came number two, my stepdad, who was from Bayonne, New Jersey, and was fully Italian. They didn’t eat meat on Fridays, and gorged on eels on Christmas Eve. I got used to the eels. It was then that I moved here, and the real strangeness began. I was told that, in heaven, all men were married to Japanese women, lived in America, and had Cantonese for dinner. (Wife: stop reading here.) I went out with a Japanese woman for a while, had been brought-up in the US, and had feasted on Guangdong cai many times, but could never put the three together. Then again, things are easier dreamt about than done.
There was this twenty-something year-old guy who was introduced to the forty-something year-old cousin of his then thirty-something year-old girlfriend in bed. That girlfriend then married the sixty-something boss of the boyfriend. It gets weirder. (Children: stop reading here.) Along came this man-and- wife married couple, from some little European country, who started off as childhood sweethearts. She propositioned a local guy from some small African nation in the bathroom of a bar. Another big English honcho from some other place in Africa shows up to have a laugh at the fact that he’s moving to yet another country without his wife, who is from somewhere down south, with whom he hasn’t lived in years.
Though I tell my daughter that being untruthful is what writing is all about, I really couldn’t make this stuff up. There was the self-proclaimed, barely literate, millionaire who had a son with a doctorate degree holder. The incredibly successful artist who’s with the tool maker. The Chinese-speaking Alaskan who’s with the country bumpkin who can barely speak her native tongue. The German footballer who has three kids with a Russian girl he was once married to in the north somewhere. Could you imagine those kinds of weekend visits? Being conducted in four languages? I know a former “construction” supervisor from Texas who’s married to a former circus performer from West Asia. Sorry, even with auto-spell, I can never get the name of her country correct. Finally, I once met an iconic person from Virginia who speaks Chinese and Japanese, now lives in Thailand, and can hardly have a relationship with himself. Tricky things that relationships are.
What ever happened to the old days when a young Austrian farmer meets a younger Austrian seamstress, has three kids, and lives happily ever after on the hillside? Well, I guess they simply ended, and I love it for sure.
by Tim Hoerle