The Joker vs. Ryan Gosling And A Spontaneous Elopement

“I want to elope!” I breathlessly unfurled this naïveté upon my friend; I hadn’t a prospective partner, nor any valid reason for wanting such hasty nuptials to take place and yet nothing seemed more imminent than the realisation of this newfound objective. As is his nature, he regarded me with a bemused expression as he pondered the way in which my mind worked (or rather, didn’t) before questioning why I wanted to do something so erratic. “Think about it –nowadays most marriages end in divorce. I figure I may as well get a head start!” and in my own bizarre way, this bears some truth. The percentage of marriages in the UK that end in divorce is a staggering 42%, with the average length lasting a mere 15 years. Of this, it would appear that children who saw their parents’ dissolution are more likely to get a divorce than children who did not come from broken homes –this is known as The Divorce Cycle. As I fall into the former category, it is statistically safe to presume I will inevitably divorce the man to whom I am joined in matrimony. With this knowledge in the background of my mind, despite the best expectations and intentions I will always wonder if and when we are to separate –potentially becoming the cause of the very demise I fear. And if this is so, would it not be wiser to enter into my marriage knowing I have already endured my first divorce and had become the statistic I was destined to be? Of course, sometimes I can be analytical in ways that make no sense to the intellectual, logical counterpart I have chosen as my companion. And so it is better to mindlessly babble stupidities, and leave the intensities unmentioned below the surface.

To the majority of the stable female population, the romanticised fantasy of the ideal partner involves fervently kissing Ryan Gosling in the rain à la The Notebook. Then there are those like myself, who seek the thrill of a relationship that would make The Joker and Harley Quinn’s pairing seem a dull union. This, of course, may be why I am perpetually single. Where other females have high standards, I seem to have the maxim “if you aren’t high you don’t meet the standard”. What drives the likes of myself to have an inherent distrust of a man in a suit, as if the sophisticated style automatically screams Future Infidelity!!? What makes an unkempt individual whose idea of 9 – 5 is the graveyard shift seem safer than the well-groomed man whose affection is like a mortcloth; soft and delicate yet I cannot shake the feeling something horrendous lays hidden beneath? Where most women would counter the suit with a white dress and JUST MARRIED neatly inscribed on the back of their new family-friendly Prius, I’m looking for a getaway driver to toss me a helmet as we hurtle out of a court hall.

Yes, I am asking my friend to run off and become my future ex-husband. And, to be fair to him, he has participated in much of the irrationality that is my life; from guarding my comatose frame on a park bench due to inebriation forbidding me from travelling any further, to camping out in the backseat of my car when home wasn’t where I felt I was headed, to patiently listening to every fickle life plan I devised when in a state of elation (and witnessing me never following through with them anyway), right down to watching me buy that lamb burger at 3 am when we all knew it wasn’t a good idea… Yet this time, this isn’t a crime he is willing to be my partner in. He grew up with parents who were more likely to lift glasses in celebration of one another than they were to throw them at each other, so his view on the sanctity of marriage is slightly saner than mine. All the same, I am crushingly disappointed. Surely there is somebody capable of being the Clyde to my Bonnie…?

It is only a few weeks later when I am attempting to apply for my British passport by maternal descent that I realise my friend’s point regarding the stupidity of such impulsiveness was undeniably valid. In the quest for possession of a citizenship I am entitled to, not only do I have to access my parents’ marriage certificate, I need their divorce certificate too! If these documents bear significance in all my future endeavours, how am I meant to keep them in one place?! Heck, I can barely keep myself in one place! This simply will not do. That, and the fact I can hear a wise voice repeating “divorce is a symbol of failure, of poor decision making”. This isn’t always the case, and yet in this particular instance it would be entirely factual. And such a pity, too. I was quite looking forward to the adventure of an elopement, the splendour of a secret ceremony. How wonderful it would have been to whizz of to Thailand and legally bind myself to a man as recklessly impetuous as myself, for however brief –or long– our foolishness was satiated!

Oh, yes! Did I mention I want to go to Thailand?…

I Am Going To Learn Dutch!

It is approaching midnight on a Tuesday and it is with unnecessary enthusiasm that I embrace this idea, as if windmills themselves have sent fairies on a one way flight of fancy straight to my susceptible self.
Well, of course I should learn Dutch. As a direct descendant of Dutch lineage, it only makes sense that I should begin my lessons on a Tuesday evening in the middle of July. And, after all, I am capable of speaking Afrikaans -it isn’t that much of a stepping stone required to bridge the gap. It’s not like Afrikaans is a derivative of Dutch, sufficient to aid me in communicating with the locals when I visit Amsterdam at the end of this year, no. Dutch is the way to go. 

It is this realisation that has my friend’s words from earlier this week dawning on me like the Planet of the Apes. “Do you know what you should do, Amy? Just start a blog. Every time you have an idea, make a decision or change your plans, blog it. That way you can stop telling me and I can just read it online. And after three months, you can look back over the posts and see how often you change your mind!”. As we were beside the ruins of a castle in the English countryside at the time, his words were as empty as the abandoned building behind us. If you place a ditzy dreamer in a landscape where her imagination can turn old ruins into new possibilities, naturally her mental chalice is going to overflow with imagery and illusions that will find her drunk with sentiment. And we have all heard of Dutch Courage… I succumb to the rush as I firmly believe I am capable of building my castles in the air, that I will follow the path I have forged in that moment with unwavering dedication. Besides, I do not know what state of indecision he refers to -perhaps the Massage Therapy course I longed to take earlier that year, but have abandoned in search of more sustainable dreams? Or could he be speaking of the way I changed the date of my plane ticket not once, but twice before finally returning to the UK? Is it my constant alteration of my intended field of employment, or the instability regarding a constant postcode? Or could it be how I cannot decide whether to visit Amsterdam whilst the summer still sheds a glimmer of the sun? Amsterdam! Oh, I really ought to learn Dutch…

And as my head drifts in the clouds, the reality of his words ground me with an undesired sobriety. I would be inclined to suggest he is right, but it is common knowledge (which he will sternly reinforce) that he is seldom wrong. And so it’s almost midnight on a Tuesday, and PERHAPS I will learn Dutch. But not tonight, as I sense a dreamer’s hangover approaching.  En er zijn geen koffie winkels in de buurt!