Catfishing

Oxford dictionary definition of Catfishing – the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.

I chose WordPress as a gentle and safe forum to write on the Internet.  For the most part, I have been really happy with WordPress and my host service.  Like most of you, the Spam filter catches the most ridiculously fake ‘Bloggers’.  Last week, I had a short comment on my post and I responded, “thank you’.  Then there was a message asking if we could be friends…  I went back to his website which I quickly realized was full of other people’s posts.  Then I looked at his profile and that’s when the alarm bells rang.  He was a 9 (out of 10); graying hair, big brown eyes in his mid-50s, I would guess.  Jeffery hailed from North Carolina, a single Dad of two sons and a marine engineer.

I don’t believe in false modesty – I am reasonably attractive lady for my age.  Especially at twilight with a glass of wine…  Over the years on WordPress, I have had some suitors, for want of a better word.  Usually, it’s just harmless flirting and I am happy to indulge.  My favorite was an older gentleman from a remote Pacific Island whose wife had died and he had 10 children.  I gently let him down but noted that he was handsome and I don’t have any children!  Jeffery provoked my curiosity and I searched for him on LinkedIn with no success.  Then I checked out his URL.  What a surprise – it was from Africa.

On that note, I have to share my dirty little secret – I am addicted to terrible reality shows where you marry someone inappropriate from overseas.  Inevitably, it very rarely works out with some surprising exceptions.  I think my obsession started in Africa when we lived in Cairo.  Every so often we had to go to a terrifying, massive government building called the Mugamma.  The staff reminded me of the Department of Motor Vehicles, in the US.  Teddy’s company paid for someone, fluent in Arabic, to accompany us and navigate the stressful world of visas.  Despite this, I always needed to see my psychologist after the dreaded trip.

There were lines of refugees from every part of Africa, often wearing national dress, and my heart went out to them.  I always felt that Cairo was very generous to refugees and guests, since it is not a rich country.  Then there was the line for anyone getting married.  My friend from Ukraine married her  beau from New Zealand while we were there.  I was 42 when we moved there and I was fascinated by women in their late 50’s desperately pleading with the soulless staff to be allowed to marry a much younger Egyptian man.  Did they really think they were in love with them?

I knew quite a few European women who married Egyptian men and some were genuine love matches.  Very few survived the challenge of a completely different culture.  There was one older Scottish lady who married a younger man who then took all her money out of her control.  She was left with very few options; putting up with the situation or returning to Scotland penniless, living on welfare.  I am not even sure that there was any malice involved – it was normal for a husband to have full control of the family finances.

Back to my Catfisher – was it male or female?  It was a pretty complicated scam and fraudulent.  After their request to be friends, I responded, “Of course!  I would be happy for you to join my group of WordPress friends.”  The lack of response spoke volumes and I blocked him. Life is really hard right now, especially in third world countries, so it didn’t surprise me that someone would want to strip me of my American dollars.  Be careful of the sharks out there.  Do you think Jeffery would still be interested in me if he saw this photo of me catfishing or more correctly rescuing catfish? Yes, I am thigh deep in a murky lake with water moccasins and alligators.

PS.  I was going through a mental health crisis which explains the bald head.  Read the original blog here – Kerry and the Catfish.

Timing is everything

Tiny tourists

I have a problem with punctuality.  Honestly, I think it is a symptom of my OCD and I am always on time or early.  It drives Teddy crazy and his slowness makes me consider spousicide or whatever the word is.  Before I left the Grayliner Bus at the entrance to the Grand Canyon, the driver went to great lengths to emphasize that Arizona was one hour behind Vegas.  He urged us to check and double-check that we would be back in 4 hours precisely no matter what time it said on our watches. Our fellow passengers would have plans for Vegas later, perhaps a show, and we had to be considerate of each other.  I was listening…

Proof that I am not a vampire. Spoiled a great shot of the brown Colorado river way down

After chatting to the Tribal member who looked like my Dad when he was young, I went straight back to base.  There was a little tourist shop, restrooms and a view of the airfield.  The canyon was in the distance and I was so happy to sit in solitude with my ice-cream gazing at the view.  It was fascinating to watch the small planes and helicopters take off.  On a couple of occasions, staff came up to me to ask if I was waiting for someone or generally okay.  I don’t think I look particularly suspicious but the airfield was a secure area, as they all are.  Eventually it was time to head to the bus.  Other passengers were there before me including my foul-mouthed friends.  Some people were a few minutes late but one couple was about 35 minutes past time.  Even worse, they sauntered to the bus oblivious to the silent hissing and dark stares.  Their attitudes changed as soon as they stepped on the bus with boos and cat-calling.  They look mortified, as they should…

Can you see the couple on the ledge?

We set off, got off the Tribal Lands, then the county roads to the main drag between Arizona and Nevada.  The bus was going pretty fast and then it stopped.  There was a major accident ahead and the double-lane road was closed.  As the driver relayed this information to us, you could sense heads swiveling towards the unpunctual couple.  There is really no more to the story – we came back to Vegas about 2 hours late.  My fellow passengers in my row became ruder and more annoying.  We stopped at the first hotel on the outskirts of Vegas and I bolted off the bus like Speedy Gonzalez.  The driver confirmed that there would another staging fiasco so I went to the Uber lane.

My mood was foul but I was curiously surprised that my Uber driver was a middle-eastern lady.  She was even more surprised when I greeted her in Arabic.  We had a lovely time chatting about Iraq and Egypt.  Her journey for Iraq was as traumatic as you can imagine and then she struggled to conceive.  Her boss kindly paid for the IVF treatment and now she was a happy bunny with a baby in Nevada.  Her story jerked me back into reality about what is really challenging in life.  It’s not an overlong trip to the canyon.

Perhaps Vegas is a happy ever after story for some?

A Night at the Museum

kerry dinosaur2
For many years my husband and I have been attending a geological dinner at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Normally the idea would make my eyes glaze over – I married him because he had blonde curly hair and a really nice ass not because he was a geologist. The first one was a very pleasant surprise and the best part is that we eat dinner under and alongside the dinosaurs when the museum is closed. At the end of the meal, awards are given to some amazing young students and we hear a talk from an ‘interesting’ geologist. This may seem like an oxymoron and despite my personal experience these speakers have me enraptured. One handsome guy was the only NASA geologist (and also astronaut) to go into space. His descriptions of the moon rock and the view of earth from space had us hooked. Another speaker had discovered a new prehistoric species dinosaur of in Texas and another had sailed from one the Nile tributaries in Ethiopia to the mouth of the river. These talks are designed to appeal to the spouses and children of the many geologists in Houston. Sometimes geologists marry each other but that feels wrong – kind of like marrying your rock cousin… I hope you realize that my tongue is firmly in my cheek? Click on the link to read about an even more special night at the museum and see some of the dinosaurs.A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2015 – Click here