Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

I had plans to dress up as a cheerleader or perhaps a bagpiper and march down the main street, around the roundabout at the pier and back up to the main square where I'd get atrociously drunk on green Guinness and throw up. Alas it's not to be, the trials of celebrating Patrick's Day as an expat.

There are several flaws in this almost-perfect plan; no bagpipes or short skirt, no Guinness (makes me wish I'd bought those out-of-date cans I found in the local supermarket at Christmas), no green food colouring, no other paraders and a three-year old likely to be none to happy with the whole process. But I could perhaps have worked around these minor problems.

It's the thunder clouds, rising wind and steady rain that transformed a wonderful spring morning into a dull afternoon and killed the perfect plan dead. It must be all these years of living in a warm climate that's made me a Paddy's Day wimp...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Son, be a de-entist..."

Many, many years ago I spent a summer visiting my dentist, having made an initial appointment about a month in advance. Every Wednesday, my day off, I would bus or walk into Fairview and usually walk home afterwards. His waiting room would have maybe one other person there, usually waiting for the patient he was with rather than the dentist. I'd be brought into the room quickly and then the ordeal began.

He was a severe, older man, probably nearing retirement and he did everything slowly, deliberately. The anasthetic would take an age to work and then he'd prod, push and drill into my poor teeth. At times I thought he was drilling directly into my brain. One root canal took about four weeks and three temporary fills. I don't know how long each session was but it felt like about three years.

On Tuesday I rang the dentist to make an appointment for myself and the Handyman. It took three repeats for the girl to catch either name. Somehow when people hear 'Catherine' it throws them, and they lose it completely when it's followed by a Turkish surname. Anyway eventually she says 'We're very busy. Come whenever you like.' This time I had to ask her to repeat what she said. It may sound like an oxymoron but it neatly sums up the Turkish Way of Doing Things.

So we arrived that afternoon to a cramped waiting room, filled completely. You could tell by the blank stares directed at the Chinese historical soap opera on the television that they'd been waiting for a long time. Again the girl took several repeats to figure out that I had called and what our names were.

After waiting about an hour we were called in. When we first went to this dentist many years ago he'd newly set up the practice and was young, enthusiastic and chatty. Now his eyes were sunken in great grey hollows, his hair had receded to his collar and his feeble attempt at welcoming us was grim. You would swear he had spent years only exposed to misery, pain and strife, forced to witness the most horrific sights, the most gruesome rot and terrible decay.

Within two minutes of sitting in the chair he'd X-ray'ed and numbed my jaw. What followed was a quick succession of drilling and cleaning with a variety of implements. He began filling the cavity at once, filling, moulding and hardening with a neat UV light several times before declaring that I could now chew with abandon. It was all over in about ten minutes and the most painful part was that the suction stuck to the inside of my cheek for the length of it.

Sometimes the Turkish Way is the way to go!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative...

Coming across a discussion about positive thinking, I thought it was exactly what I needed (you don’t say!). I really believe positive thinking can be very powerful and that changing our attitude can create real effects in our lives so when ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne was recommended, I managed to get my hands on a copy and thought I’d increase my positivity by reading it.

How wrong I was!

The Secret is the Law of Attraction that like attracts like. The idea is that if you think good thoughts, good things come to you. So far so good. And to be fair the book does mention things like becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings, gratitude for what you have, loving yourself, visualization of goals, all standard ways to change your attitude; the problem is that they are hidden deep in a web of pseudo-science and tenuous logic.

You see the reason good things come to you is that your thoughts are send out into the ‘Universe’ which very kindly reflects you positive things back. If you think negative thoughts, you will get negative things back. You may think your feelings are your own but they’re not, that’s the ‘Universe’ affirming whether your thoughts are positive or negative. If you feel good, the ‘Universe’ is confirming that you’re sending out good thoughts and vice versa.

The Secret is the reason for success. If you are successful you must know the Secret. Therefore Plato, Galileo, Beethoven, Edison, Carnegie, Einstein and Henry Ford all knew the Secret. QED.

Here are a few choice quotes:

The explanation:
“You are a human transmission tower, and you are more powerful than any television tower created on earth. You are the most powerful transmission tower in the Universe. Your transmission creates your life and it creates the world. The frequency you transmit reaches beyond cities, beyond countries, beyond the world. It reverberates throughout the entire Universe. And you are transmitting that frequency with your thoughts!”

The ‘scientific’:
“The law of attraction is the law of creation. Quantum physicists tell us that the entire Universe emerged from thought!”

“I never studied science or physics at school, and yet when I read complex books on quantum physics I understood them perfectly because I wanted to understand them.”

The obvious:
“If you're not sure how you're feeling, just ask yourself, "How am I feeling?"”

The bizarre:
“So when you think a sustained thought it is immediately sent out into the Universe. That thought magnetically attaches itself to the like frequency and then within seconds sends the reading of that frequency back to you through your feelings. Put another way, your feelings are communication back to you from the Universe, telling you what frequency you are currently on.”

The downright wishful:
“Illness cannot exist in a body that has harmonious thoughts.”

“The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts.”

I would have hurled ‘The Secret’ across the room several times if I wasn’t reading it on my phone. Positive thinking surely shouldn’t mean that I should lie to myself! Another thing that’s repeated is that you can’t think positive things and feel bad at the same time. So what about me? I’m writing a negative review and feeling very good about it! I guess the ‘Universe’ will come and get me for it at some stage.

They never revealed the real secret. I should probably write it as an e-book and sell it for a packet but I’ll let you in on it.

The real secret is……

Are you ready?…..


You can think all the positive thoughts you want, but if you’re not prepared to get off your behind and work to make them reality, those thoughts are in vain. But I guess it’s easier to just imagine large cheques arriving in the mail…