Yes, dear. Those two little words come so easily off my tongue. Normally they prove beneficial. Sk walks into the house and says, “I went to see _____ (name of hairdresser) this afternoon. Look. Do you like how she cut it? Does it make me look younger? I like it, do you?” I reply, “Yes, dear.” Off she goes, happy as a lark. Can I tell just by looking at her hair that she went to the hairdresser? No. Can I see a difference in the way that it’s cut. No. Can I see an age difference? No. But do I admit any of this to her? Hell, no.
The old saying is true. There are six words that you need to memorize to keep your wife happy: “Yes, dear,” “I’m sorry” and “You’re right.” So when she finished firing off all those questions at me, my brain went into survival mode. Somewhere in my brain, I quickly scanned through those words to come up with the appropriate response. How do I know which one is the appropriate response? It would be the one that makes her the happiest. “You’re right” could work but not as well as “Yes, dear.” “You’re right” opens up the door for her to ask me just exactly what she is right about and then I would have to remember what she had said about her hair. All this takes place in a couple of seconds. Amazing!
Imagine my surprise when those words came back to bite me in the ass. I believe this happened because too many questions were being fired at my direction too quickly. A few weeks ago, during a football game, sk ventured into my lair one Sunday afternoon. She stood there to talk to me for a few minutes. I swear I remember her say Saturday and the name of a friend. That’s it. My brain did the quick scan thing again. “Yes, dear” came out of my mouth and once again, sk went away happy. I quickly forgot any of this had taken place. . . until last Friday.
Last Friday evening, sk reminded me of our plans for Saturday. I will admit that sk is very organized when it comes to events, functions, remembering birthdays and things like that. Many times people will say they “have to check their schedule.” When I say that, I mean I have to check with sk, she is my calendar. She reminded me I agreed to go to a concert of sorts with a couple of friends from our church. No angle existed for me to dispute. And to make sure I was still on board to go, she made sure to let me know that one of those friends going was looking forward to seeing me. . . it’s been a few weeks since my tuckus has been in a pew. Oh come on, it’s football season. And I talked it over with the big guy (Or gal if that’s what you prefer to call that higher being. I don’t think it matters what pronoun you use; what’s important is that you call.) and He’s okay with it.
That is how I found myself in a church last night attending A Taste of Indian Christmas, a concert and dinner combo. I’m sitting in my chair waiting patiently for something to happen. I quickly learned that an Indian celebratory event in Canada takes on the same pace of a traditional Indian celebratory event, which is to say slowly. I quickly lost track of the time, even though I had spied a clock off in the distance upon entering the room.
From where I sat, the clock was still in view. That is how I know that the first half of the music portion, which consisted of two songs, lasted 50 minutes. You read that correctly, two songs in 50 minutes. I have never heard two longer versions of We Three Kings and Joy to the World in my entire life. I should know too for I have an around the world Christmas cd. Many well-known Yuletide carols being sung in several languages found all over the world. None of them are as long as one of those played by the band on Saturday night.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the music. I did even though I never found the beat. I did find the music to be very relaxing. The gentleman on the sitar, Neeraj Prem, reminded me more of a yoga instructor, or what I would assume to find in a yoga instructor. This butch doesn’t pay money to go into a room that feels more like a sauna, lay on a mat, twist my body like a pretzel and call it a form of exercise.
But if I had to form a mental picture on how a yoga instructor would move and hold themself, I would assume it would be like Neeraj Prem. I’m not talking about what he looked like, I’m talking about how he held himself on that stage. His sitting position, the straightness of his spine and the gentle movements of his arms. His fingers seemed to simply float over the sitar. All this adding to the relaxed atmosphere.
The dinner itself was pretty good. They offered a vegetarian alternative in which the wait line was much shorter, bonus! And then it was time for the second half of the concert. Once again, this set lasted 50 minutes but they played three songs. Their last song, my favorite of the evening, was a traditional Indian song that contained words that could not be translated into English. It was beautiful, light-hearted and exciting all in one. No translation was needed to convey the meaning.
The end of the concert signalled the beginning of dessert and fellowship. You could schmooze as long or as little as you liked. It was up to you when you called it a night. No one tried to herd us towards the doors. It was a very calm and unhurried ending. I walked out of there, four and a half hours later, with a very full belly and a charge for my spiritual battery. Back in the car, everyone was complementary of the evening. Each one glad they attended and then enjoyed describing their favorite part of the concert and what it meant to them. I remember thinking to myself that their experiences seemed more meaningful than mine. Sometimes I wondered if we had been in the same room. One friend talked about meditating to the music. If that means he dozed off a couple of times, okay, totally understandable. If not, that aspect was lost on me. Thankfully, I drove so I could concentrate on the roads and did not have to take part in the conversation.
After dropping off our two friends and feeling as if I missed out on some spiritual connection of the evening, sk and I continued to make small talk. She asked me if I had liked the music, did I get enough to eat for dinner, did I get a chance to see the lady dancer down front, was I glad I came and too many other questions for me to remember. Her last question came while sitting at a traffic light, I reached over and took sk’s left hand, smiled and said, “Yes, dear.”