Spouser seldom makes New Year’s Resolutions. According to him, he reached perfection back in 1980s.
“I’d like to give him a new look,” I say to my friend Karen. “Perhaps highlight and spike his hair,”
“You’d be breaking one of your resolutions,” she reminds me, shaking her finger, “the one you made years ago when you said you’d stop trying to change him.”
Karen and I see ourselves as diamonds in the rough. We figure, with some buffing here and polishing there, we have the potential to be real gems. It’s just a matter of a few behavior modifications, maybe a few sessions with a therapist and several Botox injections.
So, at the end of each year, we sit down at her kitchen table with pen and paper and reflect on those teeny tiny little flaws we feel are preventing us from being the people we know we really are: a mix of Mother Teresa, Hillary Clinton, Faith Hill and Sandra Bullock.
“Do you realize that nuns take vows to own nothing but a change of habit?” Karen asks. “I don’t think I could live like that.”
“Mother Teresa,” I say thoughtfully before taking another sip of coffee. “She also took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, pledging service to the poor. Now there’s a lady who touched tens of thousands of lives.”
“Wish I were half the woman,” Karen says and dips a cookie into the whipped cream on her hot chocolate.
“I remember in the Catholic school I went to in San Diego, there was a nun who owned a wristwatch,” I say. “Students were always being sent to the office for being tardy.”
Karen, who has a materialistic bent, asks, “What kind of watch?”
Ignoring her, I answer, “Do you have any idea how few women have won the Nobel Peace Prize?”
“Personally, I think Movado makes a beautiful, scratch-resistant watch,” Karen chatters. “Although it’s difficult to tell time with it because it’s missing the numbers.”
“What’s the point?” I ponder, licking chocolate cake off my fork. “Mother Teresa lived in India since she was 18. Surrounded by disease and despair, serving the destitute, she remained there until her death in 1997.”
“Tragic,” Karen spouts, reaching for another cookie. “Ever since you came back from your trip to India, all you do is spout ‘Indian facts.’ Frankly, I’m tired of it and starting to wonder how on earth I’ve made it this far in life without a dependable watch!”
Laying my fork down, I pick up a pen and write, Resolution No. 1 — We will donate more time to charity work.
Karen leans over and reads as I write. “Good,” she says, “but not on Tuesday or Thursday because those days are committed to chores and shopping.”
“Wednesday evenings are out for me because of training at the gym,” I add. “What about Friday?”
“Nope!” I say. “Friday night is family night. How about Monday?”
I suppose I could tape CSI: Miami,” Karen says, biting her lip.
“And let’s make a resolution to give more money to worthy causes,” I add.
Karen freezes expressionless, like a kid playing Simon Says. Giving time is one thing, but giving money, that’s another matter altogether.
I snap my fingers in front of Karen’s face several times. “Get a grip, girl. If you can’t handle that, save it until next year.”
So maybe we’re not diamonds in the rough after all. We’re just a couple of zirconiums doing the best we can.
Gina Tiano is the author of Life in the Bike Lane. Post your comment on this column at www.valleytowncrier.com Columns can be found by typing Gina Tiano in the search bar or by clicking the opinion tab.