England Swings Like A Pendulum Do, Just Like Her Moods

, , , , , | Related | November 30, 2019

My oldest brother’s first wife was smart about some things and fairly daft about others. She also always managed to find a way to blame anyone but herself when things went wrong. And no matter what you knew about a topic, even if you were the master of the subject, she always knew more and waved away any suggestions you might have.

So, after a class in college about British history, she says that she wants to go to England to see some of the sites she’s been reading about. And she wants to go at a particular time, which is also a window of time that my brother’s job requires him to be at work.  

So, knowing I went to England when I was in college — eons ago — she asks me to go. Happily for me, I have used up most of my vacation time and “regretfully” tell her I cannot go. (I would sooner have gotten into a ring with an angry bull than go anywhere with this woman.)

She asks her dear friend to go with her, instead. A lot of face-palming goes on among the family because we have all met her friend and not only is she a major lush, she is also another “I know everything about this subject which I have only just heard of” person.  

My sister-in-law calls to ask how I got around England when I was there. I remind her I was on a two-week guided tour. No, they don’t want a guided tour. They want to be their own guided tour. How much were cars to rent? I tell her it’s not a good idea to rent or drive a car since the traffic is reversed. I tell her about the railway passes and the underground/tube and how public transportation is so wonderful that you never need to drive at all. I beg her not to drive. The travel agent begs her not to drive.

Nope, they want to drive all over the country on their own. It won’t be fun, otherwise. (These are two women in their mid-forties.) So, the tickets are bought, the plane and hotels are booked, and off they go.  

We figure we won’t hear from them for two weeks.

They call the first night to let everyone know they arrived safely.

She calls the next day to tell my brother that her friend dented the rental car by turning the wrong way out of the hotel parking lot and now they don’t have a car. She calls that night because she can’t find her friend. My brother asks her exactly what he is supposed to do from East Coast, USA. She calls an hour later to report she found her friend in the bar drinking with a bunch of men.

She calls the next morning to say she and her friend cannot stand each other and she wants to come home and get a refund on the trip. My brother calls the travel agent and has to pay all kinds of cash to end the trip, change flights, and make sure she and her friend are on different flights.  

She complains for weeks about the trip and how she can never go back because the country was completely ruined for her. My brother reminds her that she took a person she knew to be a loquacious alcoholic on a trip and let her drive a car in traffic that she wasn’t used to.  

Somehow it is all his fault, my fault, her parents’ fault, and the travel agent’s fault that she hadn’t listened to any of us.  

I’m happy to say that when they divorced, we had a nice little celebration.

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