Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Friday, 20 January 2012

Dangerous free radical?

I have had a request from my husband. He wants me to remove his name and all pictures of him from my blog. This is going to be a big task and I'm equally sure that once I start, he'll have a rethink and decide it really isn't a problem after all. However, he has asked me to do it and I will respect his wishes. I will therefore refer to him as FR from now on. All will be clear.

These past few months have been very important for my FR as he has been working in Granada at the wonderful theatre space at the foot of the Alhambra that has been made available to him by the Junta (or local goverment) of Andalucia. He's been running a course designed for actors, based on the theory, philosophy and writings of Edward Bond, arguably Britain's greatest living playwright. It was surprisingly well-attended (considering FR is an unknown teacher and his subject was a somewhat controversial British author) and it has been extremely well-received, with some wonderful feedback that must have really warmed FR's cockles and other parts. They warmed mine.

FR can say his wife does not understand him. It's not entirely true, of course, but at times it's a close description of our relationship. We have overcome the language barrier to a greater or lesser extent - though now the boot is on the other foot and it's me that at times appears to be a bit deaf; who forgets an instruction; who can't seem to grasp a vital bit of information; who can't write a telephone number down accurately. All of which was FR when we lived in England. It's a language thing. There are times when no matter how good a command of a language a 'foreigner' might have, there are some things that just don't go in. I have accused FR of not listening to me on many an occasion in the past as he would fail to do something I'd specifically asked, or he'd ask me a question about something I'd just finished providing an answer for - as if he was trying to be funny or something. Which he wasn't. The children laughed from time to time as he did this so often.

Now it's me that has cloth ears and sometimes just can't quite get what is being asked of me or what I am being told. It's me who is slow on the uptake when we're out with a crowd or family group.  And I'll have to accept that it might always be a bit like this. It's frustrating and explains a lot about some of FR's reactions in the past.

Why FR? Well, one thing about my husband is that he is not exactly the predictable type - apart from knowing that you will never quite know what he will do in any given situation. This definitely makes life fun/exhausting/maddening/exciting (depending on the time of the month, I find) and certainly never boring.  He's a revolutionary at heart and almost always has a radical solution to propose for any problem - and I love the definitions available in the The Free Dictionary for the word 'radical':
1. Arising from or going to a root or source; basic: proposed a radical solution to the problem.
2. Departing markedly from the usual or customary; extreme: radical opinions on education.
3. Favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions: radical political views.
4. Linguistics Of or being a root: a radical form.
5. Botany Arising from the root or its crown: radical leaves.
6. Slang Excellent; wonderful.
He's radical. And definitely free as in a free thinker
And free radicals are crucial, combustible atoms or molecules that are vitally important to our chemical makeup but which equally can be dangerous or harmful - and whilst FR is not usually either of these things, I do like to think of him as a 'dangerous free radical' - a term which caught my attention many years ago (in connection with some night cream, I think) as a particularly good one for the somewhat fierce, charged, attractive man  I have married. Of whom I am inordinately proud despite - and in spite of - our occasional verbal misunderstandings. And as we are told, between two people, around 60% of communication is non-verbal anyway. Which is nice to know. 
So goodbye to photos containing my lovely FR husband, I shall be removing them slowly but surely over the coming days. And when I've managed to establish why this is necessary - through verbal or other means - I'll let you know. Though I probably know why already.


  1. I think I understand FR's point of view..... I love Perpetua's codes for DH, etc, but what I am fascinated by is the realisation you have come to about 2nd language speakers' frustration, despite fluency. As it happens, an ex colleague of FR's that I got to know a few years ago, explained exactly the same thing to me. She was German, wonderfully fluent in English, and sometimes she just felt she missed nuances, no matter how hard she tried. What a good thing real communication is more than just words.... Hope the cold is better today .x.

  2. Annie, sorry for all the work this will mean for you, but I do understand why FR feels like this, particularly if he is starting to become known and respected for his work in another area.

    I started my blog while DH was away and I knew that the only way he would be happy with it would be if I respected his privacy and that of our two children, who are both doing well in their careers. Hence my codes, as Janice puts it, and the fact that I never post recognisable photos of him or the children. OK, anyone who knows me well will recognise my profile photo, but that's not a problem, as I doubt anyone would find it unless I gave them the link.

    As for the mutual linguistic misunderstandings, I think that must be the case for all two-language marriages, unless one at least of the partners is truly bilingual. However frustrating it is at times, it must be also very funny at others.

    Finally, before this comment becomes longer than your post, FR is a WONDERFUL pseudonym for all the reason you give:-)

  3. Janice - thank you for your comments and glad to say, despite the code, I know to whom you are referring too. It is a whole blogsworth of material, really it is. Watch this space. (The cold is passing but unfortunately it's gone to Ruy now, or should I say gs#2 (gorgeous son number 2)?

  4. Thank you for your lovely comment, Perpetua. I started my blog with the intention of making it available only to people I knew - in fact, I never imagined more than a handful of folk would be that interested! But they were and I was bitten by the bug. FR had initially expressed some concerns but he too thought there would be limited viewing (and of course, there is, comparatively!) - I think he also thought I might get fed up of blogging... I am known for starting projects not necessarily sticking at them. In retrospect, I would have done many things differently - now I'll have to go back and make the necessary amendments. Or start another blog...hmmm, new project....? Axxx

  5. Love the idea of husband being a free radical. Think FR is a name that could stick!eu

  6. Hello Annie:
    It is something of a balancing act knowing what to include and what to omit from one's blog. On the one hand, one does want to share some intimacies with one's readers but, on the other hand, opening oneself to the public at large can make one feel too exposed.

    Perhaps starting a new blog might be a good solution, particularly if you want to change the nature of what you post about. But, whatever, Free Radical is a wonderful pseudonym and maybe your husband will get to be fond of the title?!!

  7. Thank you Karen - glad you like the idea of a free radical husband. Never thought I'd see chemical jokes on my blog... but I know a mathematician whose favourite dessert is chocolate pi..boom, boom.

  8. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I doubly appreciate your comments following your own last blog entry - so glad to hear from you. I have drafted several entries but pulled them at the last minute, even though this is meant to be a personal blog - there are things that are just too precious to share or not appropriate or fair!
    My husband has long been aware of my name for him. I'm surprised I hadn't thought of using it before now! Would have saved me a bit of editing work. I'm still thinking about a new blog...

  9. When my mother first saw a picture of my intended, many years ago, she said "He looks like a garden gnome!". He was 24, is not tall, always wears a close cropped beard, and on the day the photo was taken had donned a red check shirt. I have to struggle to remember how much hair he had then, but it was a lot, worn quite long as was the fashion in the 80s, and very black. My mother is not that short sighted! She did come round to him in the end but he hasn't been happy since about having his photos in the public domain.

    It is a difficult line to tread. In some ways I am quite protective of our privacy, but my family mostly don't object to real names being used, although I think I've settled on Mr Knitso now for my beloved, and my kids are of the young adult generation that facebooks, i-phones and tweets there every move so they don't object to the odd mention. Not sure the youngest likes me referring to him as longest-gap-year-ever son, but he's stuck with that now ;D

    I hope the replacing C with FR - love it by the way - isn't too arduous.

  10. The second language thing is so frustrating...I'm having to learn Spanish and while reading it is coming along well I feel so frustrated that I can't give nuance to what I'm trying to say.
    Mark you, trying to communicate with Americans in English can be frustrating too...they don't share the linguistic shortcuts I take for granted in speaking English!

    I enjoyed your blog suggestions, by the way. More to read!

  11. Dear Annie, you made me giggle at the description of your husband! Poor man - you know I will now be scouring your blog for a good glimpse. It is difficult sometimes not to cross the line, though as you say, our children have a slightly different attitude. Being far away from family and friends in England, I see my blog as a means of keeping in touch. That I have found new friends is an unexpected and very welcome extra! Axxx

  12. Hi there, flyintheweb, yes, the second language issue is a challenge and throws up so many interesting issues...and obviously there are a few of us who have stories to share! Coming soon, I think.. Axxx


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