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Sunday, August 14, 2011


My previous post had barely been published, when I noticed I had one reader.  My suspicions regarding whom was confirmed when my niece, Emma, entered my mother's house with the warm greeting, 'I thought I was going to be in your blog!'   I, too, thought Emma would be mentioned, as she forsook all others and came to join mum and me for dinner on my first evening 'back home'.  However, as so often happens, my original ideas are superceded by those that 'flow'.  I did promise to make amends. 

'You wrote about the bus journey last time you were here', Emma reminded me; 'And he plane!'  My question still remained unanswered.  Did she actually enjoy the post?  'Yes....but...!'  One of my mother's most often spoken sentences to my sister, Elise, and myself, was, 'There is one thing I wish upon you two, and that is daughters'.  We thought that she meant two girls.  However, having one daughter each had been enough to repeat the blessing upon them, and have understood the meaning of her words daily.

There are often times when I see so much of Elise in Samantha, and other times when I see so much of me, in Emma.  There are other times when we are all very much the same, and then all completely different.
On my way back to the USA, I contemplated Emma's introduction of me to her boyfriend.  'This is my wacky aunt', she had said. I wondered why she had used this particular description, as I was checking the mirror in the toilet on the plane.  There had been an email circulating, which had explained how you can tell whether a mirror was simply a reflector, or a two way glass.  Apparently, if you put your finger to the mirror, and there is a gap between the finger and the reflection, it is simply a looking glass.  However, if there is no gap, the chances are that you are being spied upon.  Of course, being that the mirror was on the door, it should have been pretty obvious that this was actually a mirror, as I had been standing outside the smallest room on the plane, waiting for a vacancy, and had certainly not been able to see inside!  Of course, if it was a two way mirror, how stupid would I have looked, pointing 'back at ya!'.  Realising that some indeed may consider me slightly 'whacky', I was reminded about an experience I did have with a two way mirror.

Years ago, I had been asked to take part in a market research project.  We were going to sample some new bath and beauty products, and supply feedback on both the aroma and packaging.  Unfortunately, the lady who was recruiting was unable to find enough eligible 'guinea pigs', and had called some of her previous contacts to make up the numbers.  We were going to be taken in a small bus to a location in West London, but had to meet earlier at her house.  As we waited for the transport, it became evident that we had all met before, and in my case, one of the other participants was a very good friend of mine, Michele. This was not good, as we were supposed to be strangers, as apparently this makes for a more unbiased view, and we were begged not to divulge our relationship, as it could jeopardise the credibility of the recruiter. 

When we arrived at the venue, the meeting co-ordinator advised us that we would be in a room with a two way mirror, so that the producers of the products could get our feedback first hand.  However, she was not supposed to tell us about the mirror, but explained that she found it to be slightly dishonest, as if they had wanted our feedback, they should be sitting in the same room, and not hide.  My mind, at this point, went into overdrive, and I was going to enjoy myself.  Not only did I have to pretend I did not know I was being watched, but I also had to avoid familiarity with Michele.
Pretending not to know Michele was easy for me.  However, it would appear that as she took her seat, next to me, she had forgotten the rules.  My memory for names became very poor.  'I disagree, Melissa', I said, responding to one of her comments.  'It's Michele', she said, rather confused.  As I continued to contradict, and call her every name that began with 'M', other than her own, she leaned across, and asked why I was being so mean.  I was meant to be her friend.  Knowing that we were being watched, I looked horrified and moved my chair away from her.  Everyone in the room stopped talking and looked over towards us.  The co-ordinator quickly, and professionally, took control, and started to introduce a new product which fortunately gained the attention of the rest of the room.  Trying very hard not to laugh, I was able to attract Michele's attention, and remind her that we did not know each other, and that we were being spied upon.  Michele then started to contradict me, and conveniently forgot my name.  Pretty soon everyone in the room forgot polite formalities, and there followed a very heated, but healthy discussion on the products, with everyone giving a very frank and honest opinion.  I am not sure what the people behind the glass made of the feedback they received, but I think they probably had the most sincere and straightforward judgement of their goods. 

I hope that this was as amusing to the reader as it was to those who took part, and I hope that Emma is not too upset that the post was inspired by her, rather than about her. 

My trip 'home' to England was wonderful, and I do have things to write about other than planes and buses, but they are.....another story.

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