Raise your glass and drink a cup of kindness

December 31, 2011

When you reflect on celebrating the new year, the first thing that comes to mind is the how and why of relationships. Well, that and googling different cures for hangovers on the internet.

And that’s a big elephant to have in the room. Just to confirm the dizziness of this complicated, ever-changing role, you just have to review the words you sing on New Year’s Eve. The lyrics from "Auld Lang Syne" hardly make any sense. I know there was a lot of drinking back then, but please.

Should you forget old acquaintances because of some revenge or injustice? Of course, they might just be relatives you forgot to invite to your wedding and therefore they will never be brought to mind anyway.

Or are you so shallow you can’t remember who they are in the first place and therefore you may as well forget them and never ever bring them to mind. They are forever lost in cyber space.

New Year’s Eve is known for celebrating relationships; it’s a time when folks gather in front of a big ball, most famously in New York City, watch it be lowered to the ground and grab the nearest person, usually a stranger, and start kissing them like your plane is going down. Now that’s amoré.

Books will be on the best-seller list detailing hints and ideas about how to keep a relationship and eventually how to pick up the pieces after that relationship dies of natural causes. The latter is mostly one paragraph on the next to the last page.

And then there will be countless talk shows looking on the bright side of committed relationships and all that they have to give to the couple. These are shows like, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Yes, prison sometimes makes the heart grow fonder.

But I think the experts are overlooking a simple explanation as to why these couples, whether it is a husband and wife or two non-traditional roommates, fall apart.

The talking heads will tell you it is either about money or infidelity.

Nothing could be further than the truth. I actually don’t know what that phrase means, but I like to appear sophisticated and use it once in awhile.

Anyway, I believe the real reason relationships split apart is an event called packing the car. On my way out of town, I saw many couples stacking suitcases and wrapped presents that were sitting in the driveway into their vehicle. I just crossed myself and shook my head.

The problem is, men like to pack a car on their own, without any supervision. After all, they have been in the armed service and know how to organize and pack up a company of men and women, one that could cross the desert and back filled with tanks, trucks and weapons. These men will be fed and watered and want for nothing, even if it takes months and they encounter enemy fire. A short trip up the New Jersey Turnpike should be a walk in the park.

The variable in all of this is while the husband is outside carefully weighing and plotting his inventory and accounting right down to the last inch of space, the wife is in the house adding more stuff. In fact, a lot more stuff. For a woman is never finished packing and hauling dishes and boxes. This is what we do: take one thing and put in another place and then take that thing and put it back to another place.

So the husband will place the suitcase or box ever so carefully, but at the end of the line is another suitcase or box that has been added when his back was turned.

Eventually the sun will rise high in the sky and after a couple of hours they will square off like a fight at the OK Corral. Why do you think the airlines charge for luggage now? It’s part of their domestic program to keep couples together. So let’s all think about relationships this year; OK, that’s enough time wasted. Raise your glass and drink a cup of kindness.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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