A couple of years living on this island and my grasp on reality becomes ever diminished. As each day dawns, my understanding of the world and the people around me becomes less and less. I don’t know whether this increased apathy and cynicism comes with age or comes with living on a rock, but lately, I find myself constantly left speechless mid conversation.
Here are just a few of the random events which have recently puzzled me:
Island Perplexity #1
A few weeks back, I ran into a chap whose wife I knew was pregnant. I enquired as to whether she had given birth yet.
“No, no, not yet, but soon. They’ve taken the plug out.”
WTF? What plug? Do I have a plug? No one told me about this… perhaps I missed that anatomy lesson? I held my mouth in a fake smile, nodded politely, and wandered off, spending the rest of my day contemplating my “plug”. I concluded that this must be local patois for her waters having broken, because I sure as hell didn’t have a plug. A few days later, I ran into the same chap again. Feeling more confident, I asked if it was a boy or a girl.
“She isn’t due for 2 more weeks.” He looked at me blankly.
I remain none the wiser about the “plug”. Answers on a post card, please.
Island Perplexity #2
I saw a friend of mine in the supermarket with a teenage girl I assumed was her daughter, the one who had just left for school in the summer. But as the girl turned, I noticed that she was heavily pregnant. When I next saw my friend, I asked who the girl was and she confirmed that it was indeed her teenage daughter. She explained very matter of factly that it couldn’t be helped because she was young and “hot for sex”. I was silenced. Couldn’t be helped????
It was as if we were living in the 19th century and contraception had not yet been invented. Mind you, this was the same child who a year earlier had asked me whether dolphins and humans could have babies together, so perhaps we should just be grateful that she wasn’t giving birth to a litter of puppies. I wondered whether she was “hot” for being a teenage single parent. I bet she wasn’t feeling hot for sex now. My silence was clearly uncomfortable for both of us, so I filled in the space with some remark about being a granny and saved my head shaking for later.
Island Perplexity #3
There are various annual government taxes that fall due at seemingly random times during the course of the year. To make matters worse, the government doesn’t actually send you an invoice (a money-saving scheme, apparently), so you need to second guess which taxes are due when and how much you need to pay. Otherwise, the first you will hear about it is the reminder they send out advising that you are in arrears and that you now need to pay a late payment charge. Clever isn’t it? A money-saving scheme which is, in fact, a money-making scheme.
– – –
I’ll be over here, scratching my head if you need me.