If you're unaware Aruba is a former Dutch colony and as such has many Dutch people living and working here. We've even convinced a few of them to be our friends. As an American it is not fair for me to insult the Dutch and their ability to speak English seeing as how most of them speak four or five languages and I can barely speak one. But since I am an American it is my nature to be unfair and insulting as much so as it is their's to be cheap. One of our new Dutch friend's doesn't know how to use possessives in English. For instance, instead of saying, "That is Bill's car" she says, "That is the car of Bill." or "The wife of Bill" or "The home of Bill." Initially I was confused, I thought it strange sounding but now I've recategorized it as delightful, it makes everything seem very grand, even regal. In my head I hear trumpets that go BMM BMM BMM as I get dressed telling objects "you are the shirt of Jeff, you are the bathing suit of Jeff and you are the sunglassses of Jeff." Anna and I have taken to talking this way between each other, "I must stop at the office of Debbie."
A side effect of this way of speaking makes things that are mass produced suddenly become more unique. "You are the coffee of Jeff." I whispered to my Starbucks. Even insignificant objects that I'd never declare possession of are now proclaimed as part of my kingdom. "You are the cutip of Jeff and "You are the dirty paper towel of Jeff."
When I start to catalog all the things that are "of me" it begins to feel become a little overwhelming and I'm not quite sure of who retains ownership. I'm constructing a mental Of Jeff Tree, like a Family Tree but just all about me. Is the coffee of Jeff still the coffee of Jeff now that it's inside me? What about when I pee it out? Fuck, what about pee? Is it the pee of Jeff once it goes into the ocean? Do I still retain ownership of coffee cup even though it is in the trash can? Will the coffee cup of Jeff become the coffee cup of the trash man? Suddenly I'm considering becoming a hoarder but I don't have space for that. All this makes me think of documentaries I've watched on Egyptians and how they buried royalty in the pyramids with all of their possessions even pets until we dug them out for the purpose of making documentaries. Sure they were buried with gold and I'm talking about being buried with a paper coffee cup but no one is robbing my grave for a coffee cup.
Even more complicated are people. Is my dentist from a year ago still the dentist of Jeff? Forget lovers, I am concerned about the number of cashier's I've had. How can I even document all them? What if I wasn't actually the one buying anything? Should I only count the ones I've had playful banter with? Is my first grade teacher Ms. Gillespie still the teacher of Jeff? I'm sure I use something she taught me, so in a way she's still my teacher and yet she's also not.
Who is of me and who is not? When do we stop being of one person and become of someone else? For you this may seem trivial or just an issue of semantics but to me it's of historical importance. If I don't figure this out now what will they write in the textbooks? Who will know whether to come to my funeral or even send an "I'm sorry I couldn't make it but I'm so sorry note." It's not that I'm planning on dying, ever, but it's really the only time everyone "of you" gets together. So I'd at least like to get it right or I could just go back to using apostrophes.
(By the way what happens to a persons Facebook page when they die? If I do end up dying can I write status updates to be posted posthumously).