Thursday, March 26, 2009

The SIMple Life

Have you ever played any of the SIMS videogames? In case you haven’t, it goes something like this: You make a bunch of characters, give them various personalities and put them in a house together, where they get on each others’ nerves, get married, get divorced, have babies, get jobs, get fired, get into fights and basically live a life of trailer park ecstasy. And all the while they get thought bubbles over their heads so we can see what they are thinking. If they like someone, they get a plus or two in the bubble and the relationship gets a bit better. If they don’t, then they get negative marks and the relationship slightly deteriorates.

I have spent the last month living in this video game. I don’t mean I have spent the last month living for the video game, I mean I have been living it.

It all started when Manuel asked if a new colleague of his could stay with us for a while, and as I am usually overly friendly and hospitable, I said “sure”. After all, two Spanish cooks in the house can’t be a bad thing, can it?

Well, it isn’t bad, it is just odd and for some reason, I find her questions at the end of the day intrusive. Things like “how was your day?” and “What did you do?”, “have you found a job yet?” I feel like saying its none of your business, actually, but I smile and say things like “I’m fine” and “No news” and she smiles and tells me everything is going to be OK. And then she talks about this and that and I suddenly see the thought bubble above my head. It has negative signs in it. She is a nice woman, but something about her is most definitely grating on my nerves.

And like most Spaniards, she is a good Catholic, so it puzzles me when I see her in front of the little Indian temple full of Ganeshas we have in the living room, sitting cross legged and lighting incense, and then meditating. With the television on. She does this twice a day. She is also a strict vegetarian who eats chorizo, pate and ham.

On her first day she said our house had great energy but needed to be Feng Shui’ed. And guess who just happens to be a master at Feng Shui? Yep! But after a month, she hasn’t so much as aligned the silverware. All that energy is just going here and there, and none of it being directed or optimized the way it is supposed to be.

It has only been for a month, and it is all coming to an end so I really shouldn’t complain. But you know me and I like to complain. I also seem to be a late bloomer. I have recently gotten into American Idol. Normally I would not watch it, but now that I, like most people am doing whatever I can to save money, TV has come to play a larger role in the entertainment part of my life. Isabel likes American Idol too, but she doesn’t get it. Every week she is surprised about one of two things. The first one being that they are the same people as the week before. Second, there is always a contestant she doesn’t recognize and wants to know where they came from. It makes me scream. She watches TV commercials and then asks “What was that about? I don’t get it.” It was funny the first few times, now I just want to scream at her to use her brain for just a few seconds, to dust it off and give it a drive around the block.

And the whole thing about two Spanish cooks? Boy, was I wrong. She can’t cook anything more complex than a fried egg. If Manuel doesn’t make dinner or I don’t arrange dinner, that is exactly what she eats, fried eggs. OK, to be fair, she does also toast bread every now and again. If this was actually a game, I would just hit delete and give her a new personality, one that cooks and doesn't ask stupid questions. Oh yeah, and has better hair.

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