My least favourite month has started and I apologise to all who happen to have been born in August. I’m sure you’re all lovely people but I have a thing for August and it is not a good thing. And I have good reasons for it, including three incidents that required urgent medical attention and two deaths. Suffice it to say I don’t expect anything good from August. But you never know.
The importance of low expectations…
We set off for Romania on Sunday because Big C. needs to get a new passport so he can then get a new Bulgarian ID and since there was no change in the rate of new Covid-19 case additions either in Bulgaria or Romania, we thought we might as well get it done with now.
One thing I always expect of these trips is hellish heat, with a side order of abundant humidity because Constanta is on the Black Sea. The only thing worse than heat in a city is heat in a humid city. So I braced myself for a week in hell.
Another thing we’ve all come to expect from these trips is at least an hour’s wait at the border because tourists. Last year we had to wait for about an hour and a half and yes, you guessed it, it was an hour and a half in the heat because AC or no AC, heat is heat.
A third thing I expected and braced myself for was overpopulation. We are a household of three and we like it. When we come here — here being Constanta — we enter a household of four. Seven people sharing 100 square meters is too many people. We discussed sleeping at a hotel next time.
All in all, we had braced ourselves for a lot of misery. What we got was: nicely overcast skies on the way and even a bit of rain as a bonus; no queue whatsoever at the border; and the best of all: Big C.’s brother and his girlfriend had arranged to sleep elsewhere so we could have the space. And a new bed so we wouldn’t have to use our inflatable mattress. This is why it is good to have the lowest possible expectations. That way, you can only be pleasantly surprised.
One thing we had not expected was a barking dog. I mean, we did expect the dog and Little C. couldn’t wait to get her hands on the poor thing but she didn’t expect it to produce noise. A loud noise that for reasons of limited space reverberated across the flat, scaring her to tears. This time, August did not disappoint.
We arrived Sunday afternoon and C.’s eager anticipation turned into shock the moment the five-month-old beagle announced her excitement about the new additions to the family. My precious gene continuation ran away and hid in her grandparents’ bedroom because she didn’t want anyone to see her cry, except me and her Dad. She wasn’t scared of the dog, no. She was scared of the barking.
If I was truly evil, I would’ve grabbed the opportunity to get even after the years of screams, yells, and loud crying for no particular reason except things hadn’t gone her way. But I’m not truly evil and I was pleased to get a confirmation. I talked. I hugged. I explained young dogs are like young children — easily excitable and loud about it. C. would just have to try and ignore it. C. said she’ll try to keep the dog busy playing so it wouldn’t bark. I hadn’t felt prouder of her in at least three days. This girl was finding a solution to her problem.
Today, there were a few tears the first time Luna came (she will be sleeping with her “parents” for the duration of our stay but will spend the days with us while the parents work). Then they played for a bit. Then Luna slept. Then Little C. watched her eat and even gave her a few treats herself. As of writing this, there have been no more tears although truth be told Luna’s been quiet. And just like this, Little C. has learned an important lesson: quiet is good. Maybe next time I complain about her and her playmates being way too loud she’ll relate.
… and space
I have had the luck to always have my own room. The only time I shared one was for a few months when I lived in England and I only used that room to sleep in because the house had a kitchen I could call my place. Long story short, I’m not used to sharing my space with a lot of people constantly so our annual visits with the family have always featured some internal tension that has nothing whatsoever to do with them because they’re the most wonderful family one could wish to marry into.
Now, this tension is gone thanks to one brilliant woman who happens to share my respect and need for private space. I’m writing this in the comfort of the bedroom, all alone, dogs, children, parrots and mother-in-laws in the other room, watching something. I’m planning on telling Big C.’s brother that if he doesn’t marry this brilliant woman, I will, after I conveniently divorce his brother. No pressure, of course.
It’s amazing what a difference a smart person could make in the lives of other people. I know for a fact the new sleeping arrangements were her idea. How? Well, she’s not the man’s first girlfriend I’ve known over the past two decades, that’s how. But I strongly hope she is the last and I have a pretty good chance of having my hopes materialise. You see, they’ve bought a house together and are moving out in a month. Here’s to brilliant women. Oh, and if you’re wondering what a man of dating age is doing still living with his parents I have this little fact of life for you: habit and complacency are a dangerous thing. Here’s to saviours.