Before I go on further, let me admit that the world at large was probably more focused on the break-up of J-Lo and Marc than any of the above.
The incident, reported by "agencies", involved an Asian housemaid who was detained by the police following a complaint by her Kuwaiti lord and master that "there was a high degree of confusion" in his house and the maid was likely doing black magic. Apparently, his children were walking around dazed and confused which was attributed to strange chanting and other magic being practiced in the kitchen (the deliciousness of the Gobi Manchurian was also attributed to the same).
In case any of you worldly nay-sayers have started snickering at this, let me assure you that the case is closed. It was reported that "during interrogation, the maid is said to have admitted to this act". She now awaits deportation (or will use black magic to beam herself back home, though the police have reportedly seized all her magic charms). Inshallah, the man's children will now no longer look dazed. Stay tuned.
He then made a second call. This time, he did not need to leave a voicemail. He discussed mundane everyday things, offered some advice on how to get the computer up and running (“and if that does not work, call Dave”). He ended with “Don’t forget your medications, and remember to refill them when you run low. Awright, gotta go now, I’ll see you soon, dad”.
He hung-up and went back to horsing around with his buddies who were all being deployed to Bagram Air Force Base.
It’s a scene that Hollywood has used often with great success, but I found it to be even more effective without the dramatic pauses and the violins. Maybe it was the 3-D effect, since it happened in the seat next to mine on an airplane to Kuwait.
My other neighbor had trouble with his headphones. He had an old-fashioned one that did not work with the socket on his hand rest. My set was missing from my seat pocket and you cannot get an United airlines attendant to help you even if you offer a bribe. My first neighbor offered to share his airline headphones, since he had a personal one. When he took it out however, we found that the cord was frayed and on the verge of snapping. He grinned, displayed a gold cap. “War is hell, ain’t it?” he said.
A friend of mine thinks that everything reminds me of a song by Bob Dylan. I would like to keep that delusion alive, so here goes:
".....the reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side"
It was a gut reaction. In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explains that snap decisions are a result of a series of “thin-slicing” performed by our adaptive unconsciousness and that it’s usually disastrous if we try to explain or decipher them. Thus, all there is to say is that I suddenly decided to not leave my then 20-week pregnant wife alone for the weekend and told my friends that I would bail out of our re-union plans set in New Jersey.
My friends (bless their hearts) shuffled the logistics and moved the party up to Boston. I did leave my wife alone at home for the weekend, but remained within a half an hours drive. On Sunday afternoon, peering through heavy eyes, I bid my friends adieu and headed home. I was going to pick up my wife and then head out to watch a Jethro Tull concert at the Bank of America Pavilion in
Things did not go as expected. Two seats that were in the first or second row stayed empty at the Pavilion that night. After an initial check-up, they decided to keep my wife at the hospital overnight for observations since they feared imminent danger of a very early pre-term birth. Although they downplayed it saying that they could keep issues at bay and resolve everything with a quick procedure the next day, things got progressively worse. Ultimately, our hospital said that they were not equipped to handle a 20 week baby and had us transferred to Tufts Medical Center. This houses one of the premier NICUs in the world and was not much further from our house than our regular hospital. Thus began a three month ordeal.
For a while, my wife was kept at bed rest continuously in the trendelenburg position. If you are wondering what that is (and I would be surprised if you were not), I suggest you google it. All I can say is that I wish it on no one. After a week or so, they finally discontinued that and moved her to a normal supine position. It was still a long, long time before they allowed her to leave the bed and be wheeled out of her room for anything other than a medical procedure. Six weeks later, they allowed her to go home (and be on bed-rest there) and it was not until the 30th week of her pregnancy did they clear her to walk again.
“Let me bring you love from the fields
Poppies red and roses filled with summer rain
To heal the wound, to still the pain
That threatens again and again….”
At Tuft’s, I recall Wednesdays as being the worst. It might have been the day that signalled the start of a new week in the pregnancy cycle. A medical specialist, in particular I remember an Indian neo-natal surgeon, would walk us through the various nightmare scenarios that could happen if our child was born that week. It was cold and clinical, and occasionally very graphic. We were then given a few hours to decide and then inform the hospital in advance of our pre-decision. These usually involved whether (and at what point in the post-birth crisis management process) we would allow them to pull the plug since emotions would render decision-making impossible in the heat of the moment. I think this "Sophie's choice" scenario carried on till my wife was a point in her pregnancy where our child was out of the worst risk category, about 4 weeks after we came in.
They say such things are life changing. You hear about people passing through crisis and how they react to it by opening their minds and hearts, diving into charity work, immersing in philanthropy – they hear the tree falling in the forest without being there. Alternately, some become reality TV stars. All I felt was irritabiltity, impatience and bitterness. Four years have passed and I have held on to those feelings strongly. I badly want to slip that skin off like a snake, but have instead ended up like a snake that hisses and spits at the slightest non-provocation.
Anyway, back to everything Absolutely Jethro. On June 15, 2010, we were at what I consider a full circle of some sort. My wife and I took our healthy 3 -year old to see Ian Anderson and his cohorts at the same Bank of America Pavilion. Although lacking the usual antics of a Tull soiree, it was one of the finest Tull concerts I have seen, musically speaking. The set list was mostly the old folk-themed songs which they wove into long musical extravaganas. My son ran around the big open Pavilion, had dinner and fidgeted through
the opening act of Procol Harum. When the sun went down and Mr. Anderson came out and started with “Nothing is Easy”, my son lay on my lap and watched the music through tired but transfixed eyes. Somewhere between “Pastime” and “Jack in the Green”, he slipped quietly into sleep, maybe when Ian sang “the mislethrush is coming Jack, put out the light !!”. After we finished listening to “My God”, the first time I heard Tull play it live, we slowly left the concert pavilion to the strains of “Budapest” on stage behind us.
I'll toast you all in penny cheer.”