Skip to main content

Copulative Complications

One of the great things about the internet is that borderline alcoholic lone parents, who are forced to stay home at night, can now go online once they have reached the edge of maudlin with their lonely lone parent bottle of wine. I am one of those people. Online, to define it properly, means searching up old flames. That’s because old flames are safe. They remember you from way back when you didn’t buy your clothes in the fatty shop, you don’t need to do a police check on them because you know they were always mad but not in a weirdo way and they are also likely to be the kind of married and living on another continent safe.
Recently I found an old flame on Facebook. There was a touch of all of the above. He sent me an email to say he still thinks I’m beautiful (he last saw me in 1987). Luckily, he’s been living in New York for the past 25 years, so I won’t have to do my roots, put on my favourite tent and disappoint him over a coffee. The dangerous part is that he is currently single and other than some grey stubble looks pretty much the same as he did the last time I kicked him out of my apartment in Bray leaving him to walk the 20 mile journey back to his place in Fairview. Possibly that walk or one of the other journeys I put upon the poor guy has been key to the fact that he has spent the past twenty years actively climbing mountains, bouldering and hiking.
He promised that he’d always held a place for me in his heart despite his two marriages and numerous love affairs. He told me he still paints, plays guitar and writes poetry despite the time constraints brought on by a successful career.
Then there was the phone call: “gee, it’s been so long.”  When I asked him how he was doing he said “I’m good.”I had not asked him about his behaviour, I had asked him how he was. Then he reminisced on old times and how we “laughed so hard.” It wasn’t just the Noo Yawk twang that got to me, but the fact that he was changing his words. This I’m good carry on gets to me big time. I already knew he was good: bloody brilliant. Why else would I go looking for him after 25 years and a bottle of cheap wine, but let’s face it, well is an adverb and good is an adjective.
Adverbs describe verbs and adjectives describe nouns, which means that saying ‘I am good’ is wrong, as good cannot mean how you are, rather what kind of person you are. Complicated, I know, and as for laughing so hard, we never laughed hard, we laughed ourselves sick, or silly, or laughed our heads off: all much more unrealistic descriptions of laughing, but at least they conjure up an image whereas laughing hard doesn’t.
So I decided that even if this handsome, fit, wealthy ex of mine really does send me the promised ticket to America, I really couldn’t take him up on it. It just wouldn’t be right to meet up with somebody who’d developed bad grammar habits over the years. I did some research into the usage of I’m good and I’m well  in order to have some incriminating evidence,only to discover that it’s actually not wrong to say I’m good. Apparently it’s got something to do with what’s called linking verbs and action verbs, and seemingly the verb to be is the quintessential action verb, making it perfectly legal to respond I’m good to the question how are you? It went on to explain that linking verbs are also called copulative verbs. Well there you go, I thought. Isn’t that where all the trouble began in the first place.
So I’ve just sent him an email to say I won’t be coming to visit. It’s just because of some copulative complications…


Popular posts from this blog

A Packet of Solpadeine and a Lecture Please

Years ago I was a respectable lady married to a nice German doctor, and it was he who brought to my attention that in Germany you can only buy pain killers in a chemist and not in a petrol station, pub or supermarket and that there was not a chance in hell that you could ever buy a pain killer with codeine in it directly from a pharmacy, which in Ireland, you can - Solpadeine.
Then a friend of mine who is a pharmacist told me that Solpadeine was her best seller. So lucrative were the sales that she did not have enough room to store the stuff in her pharmacy. But that was also back in the time when I was respectable, and in the meantime the Solpadeine police seem to be out on patrol.
Now if you ask me, I think it's pure madness to sell substances with codeine in them over the counter at a pharmacy, and I'm also a bit iffy about buying paracetemol in the supermarket, given that any 13 year old can go in and stock up on a drug that is lethal in relatively small doses. But there a…

The MoMa, a Beggar and my Limp

There’s a woman who walks up and down the streets around West 82nd and Amsterdam Avenue asking people if they’ll give her a dollar. I’d put her around 80. Small, wiry, bent, wispy hair. Brittle bird legs in black tights, but still a follower of fashion in a knit skirt with a tartan pattern, more the kind of skirt you might see on a 20-year-old Asian student. Pale pink lipstick, and a crimson red blouse topped with a cream overcoat despite the muggy August New York heat. I wonder what she does with the money she collects. She doesn’t look like she eats anything, can’t tell if she drinks. She’s sober when she pushes her trolley bag up and down 82nd, asking ‘do you have a dollar for me?’ I don’t give her one. I keep my dollars for the MoMa. My feet are killing me after walking into the city, but I’m scared of the subway. I did make a weak attempt, but have no idea what they mean by uptown and downtown. Both of these expressions mean the same thing where I come from: Uptown – as in, I’m…

Letter to a Boy, who Died aged 18, by Suicide

Dear Tiernan,
I shouldn’t be writing you this letter. I should be hearing about you from my son, your childhood best friend. It should be about some course you are doing, or a plan that you all have to meet up. But that’s all gone. Now there’s just that awful day that you went missing. The day a boy was seen jumping off the bridge. Next time I saw you, you were in a coffin, your body, bashed up by the waves; bruised, broken, dead. The boy who told me ‘be nice to nerds, you’ll be working for them some day.’ The boy who I watched grow up, who I held great faith in. Dead at 18. And what’s left? The rest of us. Your inconsolable friend, his sister and his mother, travelling back to the West of Ireland for your funeral. Sitting in your home. Going into your bedroom and picking up your things. Yesterday this was your camera, these were your pyjama bottoms, that was your sketchbook. Now they feel strange to the touch. Relicts. And we, who never shut up, are silent. There are no words for ou…