Happy New Year



This thing about making it out of the Old Year and into the New Year could be as delicate as moving from one border to the next over a frozen lake. Getting to the other side is not guaranteed. Youth is not a prerequisite. The ice may crack suddenly and the cold hand of death could reach up at will and pull us under and the next thing we know is that folks are gathered singing slow songs and sharing their fund memories of us. So I should begin by saying: Hello? Echo: Hello…lo…lo. Is anyone there? Echo: Is anyone there…there…there. Hmmm. Let me try the radio. This is Rinalda. I have landed safely in 2012. If you are getting this message please respond. Feedback: sheer static. Okay. I’ll write anyhow. The next civilization might eventually read this.

Family gatherings are among the many things that the Season is known for, and my family was not left out of that. Oh, how they gathered! Two weeks of gathering; which meant a crowded house, too much talk, and way too much food. But, twas the season to be merry… One of the highlights was my niece using the opportunity to introduce her boyfriend to the family. He is short (er than her) and, with no insult intended, he is definitely a ‘Black’ man. His grandfather was East Indian so he has one of those Hindu names. Generally, he is intelligent, confident, and mannerly. We like him, but he’ll have to find that out for himself.

Afterwards, Dad expressed some concern. The young man has an interest in things that fly, so he will be joining the ranks of those who study Aircraft Maintenance. Having gone that route before, Dad knows only too well how the glitter of a small-town girlfriend can easily dim in the light of the exposure such a career affords. In Dad’s case he was already married when he stepped out, so his obligations provided some rein. But my niece is in no haste to tie knots and Dad has strong feelings about untied cords wrapping themselves up without making a knot. Probably a valid concern, but the parties who should be concerned never are. If only to keep the saying alive, fools will continue to rush in… And parents, being parents, will continue to dispense the soundest of wisdom to unheeding ears.

Twas also the season of absentee Health Care workers. So the Care Giver did not show up one day when I went to massage my old friend. I met her soaked with urine from her shoulders down. It took a little while to decide what my role should be. Given she is over 200lbs, I had no fantasy about getting the sheets out from under her and replacing them with dry ones. And, given that I have never totally invaded her privacy, the thought of changing her pamper circled in my head with no place to land. I relieved her of the wet duster and covered her with a large towel, then enquired of her husband whether he would do the honours of tidying his wife. The fact that I was asking was in itself a statement that I preferred not to undertake the role. I spent the next hour out on the veranda while he laboured in the bedroom. For better, for worse was not my promise to her, so in principle, it was only right to allow the person who made such a commitment to fulfill it.

There is a reason for everything, but I don’t always have to know it. I go work for 10:30am. The reason for my client being in that condition at that time of the day evades me. Especially when one of her daughters (who is a Nurse) lives in the lower flat. My Great Grandmother was in our care when I was an adolescent, and she was taken care of early in the morning. She was usually up when bird wife wake so we had to be up too. Maybe things were done differently because we assisted our mother (who was not a housewife). On the other hand, this is an elderly couple, and the husband promised his wife not to put her in a Nursing Home, and it is costing him more than a tooth and a nail to keep that promise. Given his physical challenges, the Care Giver has to function as his arms and legs. So when she decides that her family is priority and that a day’s income is not worth it on a particular day, he is in a quandary. For him to still be expecting her to show up for duty at 10:30am must make him a man of great faith.

As I waited out on the veranda I fiddled with my thoughts on this thing called marriage. Marriage is like the making of ice cream the old fashion way. There is need for constant churning, and for whatever reason, both parties do not churn equally, hence one often suffers from Repetitive Strain Injuries. Such is life. The imperfections make it perfect, so some marriages get to be made in heaven where the parties connect easily, while others are made on earth and much hammering and chiselling has to be done to shape the parties into marriage material. This particular couple has been married for sixty-two years. Talk about hammering! No wonder the woman is now laid up.

And I thought about different types of marriages too. The Nun is a married woman…she is married to her God. The woman next door is married to her husband, but not legally. The woman with the two cute children who diligently wears a wedding band (though her husband has long left the home) is legally married. And the woman whose husband has two other wives with whom it is sometimes impossible to cooperate, is also married.

And I concluded that marriage is about bringing together polarised zones, which is certainly not possible without upheaval. Marriage is that circle symbolised by the ring (arena where predestined bouts will take place) containing the Yin and Yang. Compatibility and love are not critical. Courage and stamina are. It’s almost a test to see how long opposing forces could cohabit. Thanks to societal and religious pressures, every time a crack appears, it is cemented with counselling or prayer. But we can each identify one case that defied any form of mortar. So marriage really is a serious step, as we are told. It is a decision to manifest the coexistence of the dualities of life in your most intimate relationship. If you haven’t seen me in a while it’s because I’m still down here…in the valley of decision…contemplating a Yang for my Yin…then to put a ring on it. Knowing what I know now, I might opt for using titanium instead of gold, just to be sure we’re locked in.

Twas also the season of meeting potential clients. I visited a lady who is in a Home and desires to engage my services. As usual, our little talk went on and on. She had severe Arthritis and the family agreed that surgery was the way to go. So, on separate occasions, she had surgery on both knees. After the first surgery, she benefited from the services of a Physiotherapist and all went well. After the second surgery she had some therapy done, but either herself or the Therapist (these things are never clear after the brain gets to a certain age) had to go some place else and she did not bother to follow up the treatment with another Therapist as she was doing fine moving around with a walker.

She is the ideal case on which to prove Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Her thighs are (probably) stretched to their fullest and are heavy with fluid. Her skin is cold to the touch and indentation can be made if you add some pressure to the skin with your finger. I was advised that at times water seeps through her skin. Wow. Need I say that the joints are stiff? The mind is a beautiful thing that some of us never properly learn to use until we find ourselves in (not exactly sweet) repose. When your body no longer obeys you, and your former glory is so long gone that you don’t recognise yourself, the mind helps you go places and relive fund memories which are potent enough to keep a smile on your face, which is much preferred to going crazy out of sheer helplessness. The dear lady is hopeful that together we can straighten something out. I don’t swear I know what that something is, but she is willing, and so am I.

The glimpses of misery that continually present themselves before my lenses are enough to make me tell my Dad to give my niece a break. Let the girl just live. A few of the memories she creates now will come in quite handy when repose comes to call. And I say the same to us all. Caution and precaution have their place. We are thankful for road signs and good advice. But let us not be so preoccupied with preventing disaster that we pass up opportunities to create great memories. Let us remember that rules have elasticity. They are like twigs along a path. They can be raised, lowered, twisted, pulled, pushed, as we move along our journey. So let’s us live while we are alive. And despite what everyone else has to say, let us remember to trust our intuition. It is God’s greatest gift to man. It never lies. And each time we go against it, we feel the sharp sting of an invisible whip. It is to be valued above messages from prophets, angels, and scriptures.

Dec 24. A lady called Mom to order an iced cake for Boxing Day. Despite it being her family time, she wanted someone else to have a merry time too, so consented to do the job.
Dec 26. The lady’s daughter called to find out what time they could collect the cake. The cake was baked, but not iced. Mom explained the Boxing Day was the 27th and not the 26th since Christmas fell on the Sunday. Apparently Mom was the only one who knew that. It was agreed that they would collect the cake at midday on Dec 27.
Dec 27. No one showed up for the cake. Mom called and no one answered. My mother patiently makes cakes from scratch, and she does traditional icing with egg white and lime juice, and she has to know the whole colour wheel to create some of the shades requested. She could have been romping with her grandchildren instead of labouring over a cake that was too urgently needed to be picked up. I told her if they had paid in advance they would have certainly come to collect it. She said she cannot complain as her mind had told her to have them pay upfront and she did not follow it. Understood. She never desires to inconvenience anyone, so she takes her whipping quietly.
Dec 28. Mom called a Geriatric Home and asked if she could donate a cake. Certainly! She had some drinks bought, and Dad took the beautifully iced cake and drinks over to the Home.

Thankfully, there is much mercy in the Universe, so all is not lost whenever we go against our intuition. Once the sting of the whip wears off we can be objective enough to make something positive of the situation.

And the intuition continues to guide. Some of us are being guided to bring massage onto the front burner this year, others are guided to shift it to the back burner, and I heard that some of us are being guided to take it off the stove…for now. Each decision has its merit and will undoubtedly lead us into avenues that are fulfilling. After completing one year of Cosmetology studies, I did not branch out into that profession. Some of my teachers were disappointed as they felt that I had great potential. A career in Hairdressing and its accompaniments is a sure income-earner when compared to Massage. Making more money was my focus for doing the course. By the end of the course my focus had changed, and I refused to be burdened by a misguided sense of obligation to those who were hoping to see me open a Salon. Looking back, I am thankful that I followed my intuition. I met all of you through massage-related circumstances and my life has been enriched by the experiences we shared. So I say let’s blame it on the New Year as we break free to follow our life’s path wherever it leads us.

Hold on a minute. In November 2009 a young intelligent woman in her 20s named Aliya Bulkan, who was with a group touring the Kaieteur Waterfalls, jumped into the gorge. It is 822ft, with sheer drop of 741ft. Some said she had psychological problems. Some said she heard voices. Some said the sheer awesomeness of the falls called to her and she desired to be one with it. Please. Clear your head. Don’t go doing crazy stuff then call my name. Rinalda said break free. I beg of you to know your intuition. I’m not into slow singing.

Happy New Year everyone.