The Belgian and Puerto Rican Women


“Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope”   ~  Elizabeth Gilbert

“Accroches-toi a ton reve
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Quand tu vois ton bateau partir
Quand tu sents — ton coeur se briser
Accroches-toi a ton rêve.”  ~  Jeff Lynn, ELO

Why French? Well, it is an accurate excerpt from a song by Electric Light Orchestra. What’s it mean? You’ll have to look it up yourself. Hint: it’s the same as the opening lyrics to the song “Hold on Tight to Your Dreams”. BTW, Jeff Lynn is a genius. Just sayin. And he rocks! So, why am I being like this this morning? I’ve just spent a half hour on youtube, watching old Monty Python sketches. Can you blame me. Things in this country are gettin mighty serious. If I don’t laugh I’m gonna cry. I’m sure you know what I mean. Anyway, what the French is really about is a middle-aged Belgian woman I met the other day. She was a customer at work. As we did the transaction I detected a slight, lovely accent, so I asked her if she was French. Nope. Turns out she was actually born in Belgium. She went on to explain that in Belgium students are required to learn four languages: French, English, German, and Dutch. She let the German and Dutch slide, just as I let French slide, even though I was fluent in the language at age 15. My loss, I’m sure. But I told her that if I was exposed to French in context I’d likely pick it up again, however slowly. She smiled, and I was dazzled, and she said, “Maybe I should speak French to you each time I come into this store”. She is quite beautiful, don’tcha know, round face, brunette pixie cut, soothing deep blue eyes. I said “yes I would”, as I glanced down and noted a wedding ring with a healthy-sized diamond. Yes I would anyway – you have no idea how much I’d like that. Sigh. And then she said something to me in French. I had no idea what she said, and I was too enchanted to pull a reply out of the rusty bin of my memory; there are few words still sittin pretty in there. She turned to leave and as she was right at the front door she turned once more to smile at me (sigh) and said bon jour. I said it too in return, and my accent is still pretty darned good. So where does that leave me? Yes, I will be happy to see her again. I had another customer with an accent later in the day. Younger, 30-something, blond hair, deep blue eyes, fairly tall, slim appealing body, and another one of those smiles. Again, I detected a slight accent. I asked her if she was from Boston because that is what I thought I heard. Nope. She said she has been all over but she was born in Puerto Rico, and she pronounced it like the native she is, properly, in Spanish, not the Americanized Porter Eco. Hurricane Marie had not yet made landfall there, but she explained that “we are different there” and that terror is not a reaction you’d likely see there. No, she was not wearing a wedding ring. Hey, just wait one darned minute, k? It’s in the DNA of the human male of our species, and likely in the DNA of all of us higher primates: Chimps, Gorillas, Bonobos, whatever. I was once married to a radical feminist, way back when, so don’t call me a sexist, k?. I’ve yet to recover from the training that the wife and her mother not so gently etched into my heart. It’s still got an ouch to it, it always will. The metaphorical chisel was sharp, and always pointed. I once told my mother-in-law that some rude expression she’d just said to me was “just like my father”, whom she was inclined to scorn openly and directly, and quite often. She burst into tears and ran to her bedroom. Wait, did I say something wrong?! Yeh, maybe, but it was accurate. Soooo, moving forward, I cultivate what I call “observer mode” as a way to keep myself steady in a world that at the best of times scares the bejeezes outta me. That’s the PTSD talkin. I watch myself in action most of the time. Even traumas like my three years with those two otherwise sweet and respectable women gets frozen in stone and put in the arsenal that serves the PTSD, even though it happened before the disorder came to be when my face was torn partly off in a bicycle accident. I am a smooth sincere talker when I talk to women that I am attracted to, but I am also quite timid. So the thing is that I still need to find the purpose in my timidity. And then there is that other woman I know . . .oh never mind, I gotta get ready from work. I’m still “in illness” from that last panic attack. It ain’t so strong, but I’ve got a neck tremor that really makes me self-conscious so . . . whatever. It’s gonna be a lovely day at work today.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


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