Sunday, November 27, 2011

All Disneyed Out

Since we got married, DB has been trying to impress upon me the importance of taking J to Disney before she is too old to have never been there before. She turned ten recently and DB decided to go ahead and book us a trip being that I was not warming up to his idea briskly enough and "times are a wasting" as he likes to say. J has never been a Disney animation fan and she is not super adventurous either so I was not sure how well a six day theme park vacation would work out for her. She had the best time of her life and I am so glad DB pushed us to do this for her. But this post is not strictly about the Disney experience.
South of North Carolina, I started to notice something strange about public restrooms. They all had dispensers for an assortment of condoms and "surprise" sex toys and novelties. I don't recall seeing anything like this anywhere else I have traveled in this country. J usually likes to ask DB for a pack of gum at convenience stores and I squirmed with discomfort to see gum placed right next colorful packets of condoms. The adult themed restrooms set the stage for what I would encounter in Orlando but I did not know that then. DB and I had picked out a hotel that seemed reasonably priced and very close to the parks. We congratulated ourselves on finding a good deal on what was very short notice. As responsible parents we even verified that it was a safe and kid-friendly neighborhood.
That evening, when we reached Orlando, some kind of classic car parade was in progress and in the lane next to us were these cars painted in garish colors and set up on oversize wheels. From within them urban music with the most profane lyrics blared out for all to hear. The windows were rolled down and you could also see the music videos playing inside - even if we pretended J could not understand the words, the visuals left very little to the imagination. Police on horseback were trying to get the crowd under control and I was asking myself if this was not the dumbest decision DB and I had made since we became a team.
After what seemed like a lifetime of inching through the traffic we finally made it to the hotel. While DB stepped in to pick up our room keys, J and I watched two troopers arrest and handcuff a young man. J observed that it happened just like they show in the movies - she seemed very impressed by that. By this time, I was willing to lose our reservation and go any place else. DB assured me that the police presence assured us of safety - if I felt the same way the next morning, we would find another place. We decided to go out and grab some pizza - so desperate was our need to stretch and get some fresh air that we decided to brave the crowds outside. The sidewalks were a mess with horse poop everywhere - the cars had thankfully passed and there was one less thing to worry about. On the way back from dinner, we stopped at a store to pick up a gallon of drinking water. While paying for it I could not help notice the irony in pregnancy test kits right next to Disney key chains and yes, more condoms. If this was kid-friendly I was not sure what was not. I have never been so relieved to be back in a hotel room which was just about okay - we were too tired to care and glad to get some shut-eye.

We started with Magic Kingdom the next day and the week was a blur of sensory overload - the rides, the shows and and the food. J tasted Sushi, Ethiopian and Brazilian food for the first time. The weather was beautiful except for a sudden shower one evening while we were at Epcot. DB got sick from riding the Space Mission (Orange Team) and had to be taken to first aid to recuperate for a couple of hours. J said that she felt like she had lost her brain - I shocked us all by having a great time and feeling just fine. Each day, J surprised us by enjoying rides I never guessed she would. By day four she was showing signs of saturation but still soldiered along. I had to admit that Disney helped me decompress - completely. You cannot not be in the moment, enjoying the here and now while you are in its thrall.
I am glad we went - DB and I relaxed like we have not in a long time, J had fun like only a child of ten can have fun so it was perfect for her. I know I will never return to Disney again but it would be a miss to live in America and never have been to Disney.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ego and Cry for Help

In marriage, each partner must balance their ego with their unheard cries for help. I learned this in my first marriage and am re-learning long forgotten lessons another time now. In the early days of my marriage with DB would ask for me to do a few specific things to ease him into the marriage - small changes, small gestures of understanding and kindness for me but deeply significant in their impact to him. I let my ego get in the way of doing what I was being asked to. I heard him making demands instead of hearing his cries for help. I would be more than willing to help but I refused to meet any demands. Such is the nature of perception. 
Each of us has a different way of reaching out for help from the one we love. For over a year DB appealed and I refused to comply because he was not talking the language I wanted him to talk in. Now he has given up and it is my turn to cry for help. His ego may be a little smaller than mine but it still makes its presence felt. I am not speaking the language that will appeal to his heart. As a result, he is holding back the help I am seeking just as I have for the longest time. 
Ironically, now that he never mentions it again, I find myself doing all those little things he had so badly wanted me to do for such a long time. He notices, but it means a lot less now than it would have once. I am only now beginning to realize how much work it takes to hear and be heard effectively in a marriage. I wonder if things are not that much harder for both of us because we've been single and on our own for so long that any request to change from our partner feels like an imposition and our immediate reaction is to bristle. Being relationship-free for as long as we have both been make our communication skills with each other more than a little rusty. When you throw a little bit of ego in the mix - it makes for a potent combination.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Stranded at Search

For the last couple of days, I've been wondering about the disappeared Advanced Search link on the Google homepage. At first I thought it was some kind of browser issue, so I refreshed it a few times, cleaned cache, cookies, history and all for good measure - nothing. So I've been looking and looking with my frustration mounting by the click and scroll. 
Now two days later I find out that the link has been moved to the bottom of the page and it takes an extra click to get there. For a while now, I've had this feeling that Google is slowly losing its marbles - the ubiquitous + icon on websites absolutely creeps me out. There is nothing to "Like" about it as far as I am concerned. I hasten to check if Google is enforcing my endorsement of the website without my consent. Given the thing they pulled off with their launch of Buzz, I would certainly not put it past them. 
Then there is this whole Hangout business that is as muddled in concept as it is in delivery. There is Google Offers trying to do be Groupon and I am sure there are many such bizarre experiments cooking in their labs that will sneak up on us when we least expect it. I could gripe a very long time about Google becoming disoriented and chaotic like Yahoo ; how this could be the beginning of the end but the advanced search link being moved to the bottom of page two is unconscionable unless it is some kind of perverse social experiment. 
At any rate, I had switched over to Bing by this afternoon and was relieved to find the advanced search option clearly available where one might expect it. I think I will stay with Bing for a bit - the search results are much better than they were when I first checked it out. I don't much care for Google showing me my current location on the left when I am doing a search - I don't see why that is relevant, none of the other options make much sense either. There is sense of sophomoric and dysfunctional about all of the choices. Someone decided to throw in a bit of social and local into the mix - just because everyone else that's cool doing that stuff. Does not look like anyone is really driving this bus anymore - it has a life of its own. If that link does not return where it belongs, I don't think I am coming back to Google for search any time soon.