I come from a great mixture of nationalities, but two of them, the Irish and the German, specialize in carrying grudges for a long time. I once lived in a small German village, where a woman told me that her family did not speak to this other family, nor that family to them. Their grandmothers had some great falling out – nearly 100 years ago – and while no one can remember what it was about, the families still don’t speak.
Seventy times seven – it goes against the grain, doesn’t it? Jesus said so many earth-changing things, like “Love your neighbor as yourself” and to take care of the poor and the prisoners and the widows and children – people who are considered, even in today’s society, to have less value. To let go of your angry feelings, to forgive – that is hard work.
And yet, he spells out how very damaging our grudges are – to US! If we can get over our selves, and our own selfish instincts, our lives are so much happier and so much more productive . . .
21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church* sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven* times.
23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents* was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii;* and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.”
29Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt.
31When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister* from your heart.’
We are not rich people. You might look at the places we go and the places we stay and think that we are more comfortable than we are. We learned a secret a long time ago, and that secret is to live UNDER your income. We live under what we can afford, we pay our bills in full, and we pay attention to small leaks that can add up to big financial leakages over time.
First, the ugly. Today I checked my KLM Flying Blue mileage, and they only gave me 25% of the miles I earned flying from Pensacola to Johannesburg and back. That should have been a huge number, but 25% of that number is very very low. I did some exploration on KLM and learned it has to do with a lot of factors, including type of ticket you buy.
To me, that’s just sleazy customer service. A person who buys a ticket should get the full mileage. If you want to give bonuses for higher levels, then do so, but give me the miles I earn, don’t swindle me with a fraction of the miles I flew. It leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Honestly, I don’t think Delta is all that much better, but I may switch my frequent flyer program to them because now I am flying Delta more often. I had thought because they were all “Sky Team Partners” that the miles were all the same, but I was wrong. And try booking an award ticket on one of the partners – they have wires and mirrors and a series of hoops to jump through, and you get to the end and the answer is not only “No” but then they have the gall to ask “Can I help you with anything else?”
I promise you, I am very polite, but when they ask that, I tell them “You didn’t even help me with what I asked help for!”
Here is the good. I paid as many bills as I could before I left, including some significant travel costs associated with the Grand Canyon / Mesa Verde Trip , but when I got home, I found a letter from the credit card service company, with the check my bank sent, saying that there wasn’t enough account information on the check to credit it. I could see the last five numbers of my account on the check, which I believe many banks are doing to help protect client privacy and exposure to identity theft, so I sent the check back with the account number and today I called and complained, and especially that they had charged me an interest charge, when I had paid the bill in full, they just hadn’t credited it to my account.
They credited the interest charge immediately, no argument. They were pleasant and helpful, and I felt like they were on my side. In a time when banks are not our friends, I had a positive feeling toward our card provider.
I smile when I hear AdventureMan in his office, talking with medical claims people – when we had a recent vaccination, a very expensive one, I was re-imbursed and he was not. He is taking on the bureaucracy, slowly and patiently, to make sure he gets that money back. He is also seeing what can be done about getting re-imbursed for our yellow fever immunizations. It takes a lot of patience and persistence, and it pays off. We laugh that we are becoming those old farts who have enough time to make those phone calls.
Little drops of water . . . and paying attention. Battling bureaucracy, trying to make the most of opportunities . . . that’s how we manage our lush lifestyle.
I’ll start with the ending, it’s all come to a crashing halt. I feel like a child who has been taken to a day in the park, all the rides, all the sugary foods and now they say I have to come home?
Yes. I will tell you about the trip, with lots of photos, so you won’t think I am just being a bore, you can look at the photos and imagine yourself there with us. At the end of the trip, it all goes downhill, the lovely African adventure has ended.
Leaving our last camp, we fly in a very small airplane back from the lower Zambezi to Lusaka. We drive to the airstrip, the pilot checks our names against his list, we climb aboard and take off. That’s the airstrip. The last time we were there, we don’t think it was paved.
It is the best flight we have all day – two charming pilots, five passengers, it is a great flight. Lusaka isn’t so bad; we have a competent ticket agent who manages to book our bags all the way to Pensacola, so we don’t have to scurry around picking up bags, then coming back in to check them in, because we booked our travel to Johannesburg separately from out travel from JoBurg to Lusaka, it’s complicated but it all has to do with alliances. Not my alliances, airline alliances.
BTW, Lusaka International airport is sweet. Quiet. One tiny little restaurant in the departure area where we found good grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Some shops, not greatly stocked.
Lusaka airport – you walk to the plane, walk up the stairs, the old fashioned way:
Johannesburg transit is horrible. It always is. We have flown in from Frankfurt several times, from Dubai several times, and from Windhoek and Gaborone and Lusaka – transiting Johannesburg is, for some reason, irrationally annoying. No matter how crowded the transit area is, or how isolated, the computers are always slow, or . . . the operators. No matter what airline we deal with, that transit area, the one downstairs where you have to check in for your next flight, it is horrible. It takes so much longer than it needs to.
Upstairs, we hit the shops, junky Out of Africa with it’s schlock, some of the others. I made a big mistake; I was buying little fun things for our son and his wife, little coffee things and such at Taste of Africa, and I bought them some biltong; what we call jerky. They had ostrich and eland and several exotic kinds, so I bought several.
Loading up for the 17 hour (yes, you read that right, it is Delta’s longest non-stop flight) flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta was an unusual experience. Think Amsterdam on steroids. We are all sitting, and are rousted out of the waiting room and told to line up in two lines, with men in one line and women in the other. They look at our bags and ask us questions. This is the third time today my bags have been checked; I don’t mind, but it is a little unusual. Then we line up again once we are back in the waiting room; it is nearly time to board.
There is one of those wild-eyed women going down the line asking loudly “Is this the line for PRIORITY boarding? Are you all PRIORITY passengers?” and clearly she thinks she has a pretty high priority. But when the airline boards the Diamonds and the Platinums, she is still waiting back with the golds and silvers, so I guess she didn’t have as much priority as she thought she had.
It’s one of those big, huge flights with every seat taken. It’s sort of like being in a high school cafeteria, tempers flare as overhead baggage bins fill up, parents with children beg people to change places so they can fly together, while the privileged politely decline; they paid extra for those aisle seats. It’s all pretty horrible, but we have books and somehow we even catch a couple hours sleep. The flight attendants are like harried waitresses, hauling those drink carts and meal carts up and down the aisles, trying to get people to stay in their seats (who can stay in their seat for SEVENTEEN hours??) I discovered that if you are reading books, iPad batteries keep their charge longer than if you are playing Sudoku. I’m reading a great book, Wolf Hall, and it holds my interest.
Arriving in Atlanta, it’s all my fault, AdventureMan and I are shuttled into the agricultural inspection area, where it is pretty much us and all the Africans bringing back turnips and sugar cane and rice and meats and special foods. I didn’t know that the dried meat was a problem, but evidently ostrich meat is some of the very most threatening, and other countries have serious diseases that we have so far managed to escape. They are actually very kind to me, although they do confiscate all my jerkies. The inspector tells us they get all kinds of stuff (there was a huge barrel of confiscated agricultural products) including rats, and monkey brains.
Sadly, many of the people in there with us don’t really understand, and I know many of them went to a lot of trouble to bring a home specialty for some family member, only to have it confiscated. Many didn’t understand enough English and the inspectors didn’t know their languages.
We got off easy enough; all they cared about was confiscating the illegal meat.
Found a place with decent coffee and croissants, found a place to wash our faces and brush our teeth, so we boarded the Pensacola flight fresher than we got off the flight from JoBurg.
Our son met us at the airport and got us all home; we grabbed a quick lunch at the nearby Marina Oyster Barn (our comfort-food restaurant of choice) and then showered and tumbled into bed. We woke up again as our son and his wife and the darling little happy toddler came by for dinner. After dinner, we said good night and good bye to our guests, knowing we were all going to bed but that we would be awake in the middle of the night and they would probably leave to go to their home. As it turned out, we were all awake around 3:30 in the oh-dark-hundred, so we were able to hear them off.
We’ve been up since, trying to take care of business and to stay awake. I started with trying to get through (get rid of) over a thousand e-mail – two weeks is a LONG time. AdventureMan fell asleep in my office around 7:30 so I woke him up and made him go to aqua-aerobics with me, we hit the grocery store, and poor AdventureMan, his computer has bit the dust so he had to buy a new computer today. He picked up the mail in the afternoon, I paid the outstanding bills. Anything, anything to stay awake, to try to get us back on schedule, Pensacola time.
We caught the last episode of Game of Thrones, Season two, which helped us make it an extra hour last night, and AdventureMan has some things we missed lined up for tonight – HBO’s Girls, VEEP, and the first episode from the new season of True Blood, also he thinks Southland is starting up again, and we really like that.
I think I’m going out of my mind. Jet lag makes me a little crazy. Normally, I am all unpacked by now, but I couldn’t even stand to look at my suitcase today. I bought salmon for tonight’s dinner, but I don’t think I can cook it. I haven’t felt energetic since . . . 3:30 this morning, LOL. When I get tired, I can get weepy, or irrational, or a little unbalanced. What I yearn for is to take a nap, a nice, long, snoozy nap . . .
Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . . ………..
“Your posts have long legs.”
Every now and then, WordPress sends a critique, a kind of how you’re doing on your blog sort of thing, and I kind of like it that my blog has ‘long legs.’
My stats are inching back up. At one time, blogging out of Kuwait and Qatar, I averaged around 1200 – 1500 visitors a day, now I am happy to see 800 – 1000 a day. This year I had my highest all time day on this blog 3931 visitors in one day. I don’t really have the kind of blog that attracts that kind of visitor count often; mine is quirky and focused mostly on small things – and great ideas.
But I love the ‘long legs.’ Today the post attracting attention is one I wrote back in March of 2008 about bathroom plumbing in Kuwait. It just always gives me a grin to see an old post attract a little attention.
(Forgive me if I ramble a little bit; New Year’s Eve day is always something of a day of reflection for me. It’s not something I plan, it’s something I just find myself compelled to do; I do it whether I want to or not.)
I joke with my friends that the Lord kept sending me back to the Middle East until I learned that it was less my mission to share, than to learn. Once I shut up and watched and listened, I began learning, and what I learned contradicted many of my ignorant prejudices. In learning about my friends in the countries of the Middle East, I learned a lot about our Christian culture, and about myself.
When Westerners first get to the Middle East, the phrase ‘Insh’allah’ (God willing, or ‘if God wills it’) makes them want to tear their hair out. When your heat breaks down in the midst of a cold winter (and yes, there are very cold patches in many Middle Eastern countries) and the heat people tell you ‘Insh’allah’ they will be there ‘in the afternoon’ but won’t give you an exact time, it makes us want to slam the phone down. When you make plans to meet up with a friend for coffee, set a time, and then she says she will see us ‘insh’allah’, we don’t know whether she is going to show up or not.
It was only after many many years in the Middle East that we relaxed and accepted ‘insh’allah.’ Now, living back in the USA, we laugh, because life here is insh’allah, too, it’s just that people don’t know it. We’ve had several things done with our house, and whether or not the workers show up – it’s all insh’allah. When making plans with our family, a lot depends on when the baby is awake or sleeping, insh’allah. How much money our investments are worth? It’s all insh’allah. The same factor is there, it’s just cultural as to whether you acknowledge it or not.
Today’s New Testament reading from The Lectionary is all about insh’allah:
James 4:13-17, 5:7-11
13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ 14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’ 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
7 Be patient, therefore, beloved,* until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.* 9Beloved,* do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10As an example of suffering and patience, beloved,* take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
And I think my New Year’s resolution is clear: Not to grumble against one another.
No. No, there are not any flights to any cities outside the United States. I thought there was a rule! I remember other small airports that called themselves “international” but they always had at least one flight like to Mexico, or some Caribbean island . . . I didn’t know you could name an airport Pensacola INTERNATIONAL Airport just because you thought it sounded cool. Guess the joke is on me.
(Have you noticed how much more dominant blue bulbs are now? They used to just fade into obscurity, but now they are brilliant. These trees decorate Pensacola International Airport.)
So as I check in – at the curbside, YES! I am appreciating how much easier flying is when you are not flying to Kuwait or Qatar, or even Germany. You can drop your luggage right at the curb, you already have your boarding passes; you checked in and printed them at home (none of this is possible if you are flying to the Middle East) so you can go straight to your gate . . . oh yeh, forgot, you still have to go through security.
There is a LONG line and I overhear one of the security guards say to a Pensacola friend “Yeh, you can’t just get here an hour before your flight any more and expect to catch your flight . . . ” and I am thinking “Holy Smokes! I thought getting there an hour before your flight was overkill in Pensacola!”
As soon as I get through security (no more ‘special’ treatment, now that I am not flying to Kuwait or Qatar, no more pat downs, no more extra questions) I get to my flight, which is already boarding, and both my flights, early early on a Sunday morning are PACKED, every seat is booked. I cannot imagine.
The good news is that every flight leaves on time, lands on time, and the flights are uneventful. I love ‘uneventful.’
I find that I don’t get as much reading done as I used to when I was flying two, three, four times a year from the Middle East to Seattle. I used to be able to read three or four books in each direction, now I am down to one book and maybe a little Sudoku.
When we get near Seattle, you can see five mountains in a row, from Mount Rainier looking south, including the remains of Mount Saint Helens. The weather in Seattle is cool and brisk, my car is waiting and the roads out Edmonds are clear and dry, Wooo HOOOOO!
It’s been about 11 years that I have done the daily readings in The Lectionary. What started out as a discipline, an offering, has become a blessing, and provides me with food for thought. Many times, I have to talk over the things I read with someone who knows a lot more than I do, or find a commentary (God bless the Internet for all its religious resources!) which gives insight.
As I was reading today’s old testament reading from the book of Second Kings, I came to the end, where it says never before and never after was there a human king who worshipped and followed the Lord with all his heart. If you are interested, read the whole story of Josiah, which spans a couple days. He was ignorant of the law, but a book was found while they were building, and it was a book of the law. Once he knew the law, he tore his clothing, repented profoundly, and he scoured the land of all idols, everything that related to any god but the one true God.
What if there were a Josiah now? In the United States, he would be bound by all the national laws which prohibit religious discrimination, and he wouldn’t get very far. In a country like Afghanistan, he would do what the Taliban did – eliminate all images, all modern music, make sure that women kept covered, regulate all the interactions between people, mostly eliminate anything that distracts us from our focus on God.
For me, it is a troubling thought, and it all goes back to God having given us free will, and the freedom to make bad choices, to know what is right and to choose to do other.
But how can we be moral, and make moral choices, if the morality is imposed from without?
2 Kings 23:4-25
4 The king commanded the high priest Hilkiah, the priests of the second order, and the guardians of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5He deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who made offerings to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and all the host of the heavens.
6He brought out the image of* Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the Wadi Kidron, burned it at the Wadi Kidron, beat it to dust and threw the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. 7He broke down the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of the Lord, where the women did weaving for Asherah. 8He brought all the priests out of the towns of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beer-sheba; he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on the left at the gate of the city.
9The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but ate unleavened bread among their kindred. 10He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of Ben-hinnom, so that no one would make a son or a daughter pass through fire as an offering to Molech. 11He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of the eunuch Nathan-melech, which was in the precincts;* then he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12The altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, he pulled down from there and broke in pieces, and threw the rubble into the Wadi Kidron.
13The king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Astarte the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 14He broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the sacred poles,* and covered the sites with human bones.
15 Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin—he pulled down that altar along with the high place. He burned the high place, crushing it to dust; he also burned the sacred pole.* 16As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount; and he sent and took the bones out of the tombs, and burned them on the altar, and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed,* when Jeroboam stood by the altar at the festival; he turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things.
17Then he said, ‘What is that monument that I see?’ The people of the city told him, ‘It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done against the altar at Bethel.’ 18He said, ‘Let him rest; let no one move his bones.’ So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria. 19Moreover, Josiah removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the towns of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger; he did to them just as he had done at Bethel. 20He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
21 The king commanded all the people, ‘Keep the passover to the Lord your God as prescribed in this book of the covenant.’ 22No such passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, even during all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah; 23but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover, Josiah did away with the mediums, wizards, teraphim,* idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah had found in the house of the Lord. 25Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.
Over Thai food, I confessed my guilty secret – I can’t help it, I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the Real Housewives of New York. I expected a horrified response from my sweet smart niece, Professor Little Diamond, but she just laughed.
“Oh we all watch them,” she reassured me, “It’s like watching a train wreck, you are appalled, but you can’t look away.”
What makes me really, really nervous about these ‘real’ housewives is that I think that the Bravo station is carried in Qatar and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. While the more educated have travelled, and know that these ‘real’ housewives are not the norm, there may be many who think that this is the life of the American female.
I remember when I shocked my Qatari friends as I told them I was going home to take care of my Dad while my Mom had a knee replacement and spent a few weeks in rehab. They didn’t know we take care of our parents; they thought we just put them in grim warehouse like nursing homes. How did they know? From television, of course.
So you can understand I have a major concern that these women are representing us normal people in the homes of our friends in the Middle East. These women spend a lot of money on scanty clothing, these women have people who come in and do their make-up before a dinner party, these people have nannies taking care of their children (many of whom are really bratty) and they all seem to be designing handbags or creating make-up lines or (oh-no!) cutting records to try to get a singing career started.
Ask yourself this – who do you know in your own circles who would agree to have camera crews follow them around in their lives, filming their most intimate conversations? Who do you know in your circle who creates drama and conflict? Who do you know who needs the affirmation of an audience to believe her life is worth living? Who in your circle is addicted to plastic surgery or throws charity events to get attention? Those are the women they are filming.
You never see these women go to church. You rarely see them cooking up a normal dinner for their family. You don’t see any of them heading off to an 8 – 5 job. You don’t see them doing all the normal things we normal American housewives do (a lot like our sisters do in every country of the world) like laundry, running the kids to school, doctors appointments, soccer matches, paying the bills, scrubbing the floor, making appointments at the veterinarian, getting the car serviced, buying groceries, going to PTA, or doing their volunteer work. You don’t see them running over to their children’s house to babysit, or going to their exercise classes.
But then again, if they were doing all these things that us REAL housewives do, who would watch, LLLLOOOOOLLLLLLL! I understand there may be some sister Real wives series coming up from foreign countries. It will be interesting to see how their lives look.
We had guests this week, visitors from overseas, and it was so much fun. One woman was full of questions. This was her first time out of her own country, and you know how it is when you are in a foreign culture, people think differently. Some of her questions bordered on impolite, according to our culture, but we could tell she was asking because she really was interested, and we didn’t let her questions bother us.
“No!” I laughed, “We cleaned because we had guests coming! My husband vacuumed and I washed all the floors!”
My daughter-in-law jumped in.
“Yes!” she laughed. “Yes, their house is always this clean!”
We all laughed.
“It’s just my husband and me,” I added, “it’s not that hard to keep it picked up and neat. We make extra effort when guests are coming.”
“Why do you do this?” she asked. “Why do you invite strangers into your home and give us dinner?”
“People have been so kind to us, in so many countries, in so many ways,” I began, “No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to repay all the kindness we have received. But we do our best.”
We were in my kitchen, which is not large, and I am trying to get dinner on the table. It is a simple, family dinner, a little chaotic, but with lots of dishes so the guests can find something they might like to eat.
“Do you clean yourself? You have no cook?” she asked.
“We clean. Both of us. We could hire help, but it is very expensive here,” I said, pulling the chicken out of the oven. “And we do our own cooking. My husband makes bread! He is very good at it.”
During the evening she continued asking questions, and now, several days later, we find ourselves thinking about the questions, and thinking . . . THIS is why we do it! We love these guests who come in with a different way of looking at things and their questions, which stimulate us to think in new ways, too, as we try to explain why we do things the way we do them.
I remember in Doha, the Philipina maids would ask me “how old are you?” because they couldn’t guess by looking at me. We never ask a woman how old they are once they are past maybe eighteen or twenty years old. We never ask how much money a husband – or wife – makes. It is culturally taboo, it just isn’t done. We never ask what kind of birth control someone is using. I am aware of these things because I have been asked, and it made me think about it.
But now I wonder what questions I have asked in foreign lands which shocked people, or made them uncomfortable?
“Are you awake?” asked AdventureMan.
“Yep.” I answered.
“I can’t sleep.” he complained.
“Must be the fool moon,” I responded. (Update: I meant ‘full’ but that synapse failed to connect)
Maybe not so far from right – strange things happen when the moon is full. Emergency rooms are full, more babies are born and people can act a little loony. This is from AOL / Huffington Post:
Strange things seem to happen when there’s a full moon, especially in the hospital.
That’s where an incredible 45 babies entered the world last weekend in Sacramento, Calif., according to FOX 40. But some say the mini “baby boom” was no accident.
Throughout a period of 48 hours, doctors at Sacramento’s Sutter Memorial delivered 45 newborns– a possible record for deliveries in a two-day period for the city, stated hospital spokesperson Gary Zavoral. While some doctors joke that the high number of births could be attributed to the full moon, hospital officials hint that the speculation might not be that far out. After all, menstruation and ovulation more or less follow a lunar cycle, so why can’t childbirth be affected, too?
The theory of the lunar effect on births is based off the fact that the moon’s gravitational pull causes high tides. Since the human body is made up of 80 percent water, the pull is believed to speed along the childbirth process, according to Discovery Health.
However, several studies suggest that the idea of the lunar effect influencing the number or frequency of deliveries is just, well, looney.
In 2005, researchers from Mountain Area Health Education Center in North Carolina analyzed almost 600,000 births across 62 lunar cycles. The data were retrieved from birth certificates from 1997 to 2001. The result? No significant differences in the frequency of births across the eight stages of the moon.
Scientific data doesn’t put old myths to bed, though. The anecdote of the lunar effect is a longstanding one, and some medical professionals won’t deny that things get pretty hectic when the full moon is out.
“I think if you talk to anybody on the front lines of the hospital, emergency room doctors, labor and delivery, etc. it’s always like that on the full moon, everyone for some reason is really busy,” Matthew Guile, a doctor at Sutter Memorial, told Fox 40.