Friday, December 5, 2008

Candace

"I smile because you are my sister;
I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it!"

Candace is one of those people that I could write a lot about! As it is, I have quite a bit for you to read about her. The following is an excerpt from a character sketch that I wrote for an English assignment. Please note, it was written with an attempt at humor and does include some hyperbole. ;-) Overall, though, it is fairly accurate. (Also, please bear with my love of big words!).

Candace

No one else would ever know it. Unless someone from our family told them, of course; and, when one of us does reveal it, casual acquaintances find it difficult to trust our veracity. Candace, so altered when in society, may blush crimson at our tales, but it does not change the fact: the real Candace is a fanatic!

To be sure she is only a fanatic in a few areas. These few, however, influence her entire existence. Though we shall be kind and not mention her name in relation to that of tight-fisted Scrooge, her fanatical thriftiness is no secret. One of her eyes is, at all times, focused on the financial affairs of the family, and she is not below using intimidation tactics to oppose “unnecessary” spending. As a result, lunchtime often resembles a session of Congress in which a budget bill is being debated. To her extreme vexation the vote is often nine to one in favor of extravagance.

Credit is due to Candace for practicing what she preaches down to the minutest extremity. For the worthy cause of “saving money,” she glories in enduring discomfort. Her monastic self-denial inspires her to take icy showers in a dark, unheated room; though, unlike the monks of old, her concern is the electric bill, not self-abasement to stimulate holiness. As long as these zealous and heroic sacrifices are imposed only upon herself, our family looks on benevolently, finds entertainment in her foibles, or, at most, rolls our eyes. But when we become the victims of her high values, our reactions are not always of a saintly sort. Discovering that the reason we have been shivering for the past half hour is that “a certain individual” has turned the thermostat back to fifty-five degrees causes us either to raise the temperature to a luxurious eighty degrees or to confront the aggressor with indignant protest. The latter method we often avoid, knowing that we will only receive the unsympathetic admonition to “Put on a sweater,” as well as a lengthy lecture on our sinful squander of fuel. Another annoyance we endure is having to screw the bathroom’s light bulbs back in before we can see to brush our teeth. She would argue that one bulb provides adequate light. The use, or rather overuse, of lights is to her a problem of monumental proportions. Since Thomas Edison is safely in his grave, she wreaks her revenge by rampaging through the house, switching off lights and muttering under her breath the whole time. Not all her energies are spent on energy conservation, however. Many other aspects of life require her strict management. Food, for example, cannot possibly be good unless it is cheap or, even better, free. A free box of stale rye crackers is perfectly delicious; a bag of chips at retail price is nauseating. The strange thing is that she eats them anyway. No one can be totally consistent it would seem.

A less laughable fanaticism of Candace’s is her insatiable appetite for work. Though the little girls would fall over dead if they were forced to meet Candace’s expectations for their industriousness, we all have to admit that we benefit from her intoxication with preserving a Utopian atmosphere. When the younger children bombard the living room with toys or invade the house with muddy boots and fail to clean up after themselves, she makes a bigger outcry than all Americans put together did about the Iraqi War! Because she herself is so motivated, she can hardly stand indolence in others. Seeing as apathetic sister’s garden suffering under the tyranny of weeds is more than she can take. Even though she doubts that it will help her sister to overcome laziness, she liberates the strawberries.

This is the Candace we know – and love! To other people, who know her only as the pleasant, slightly self-conscious young girl, this portrait of an eccentric zealot is incredible. If anyone would mention unscrewing light bulbs or any of her other peculiarities, however, the red tinge that would flood her face could leave no doubt: Candace is, undeniably, a FANATIC. -Published with the consent of the victim ;-)

In case any one got the wrong impression :-), let me tell you: Candace is an incredible sister and - more importantly- friend!

4 comments:

Isaac said...

That was a good character sketch of Candace! And no I didn't git a wrong a impression of her.

American Maiden said...

Carmen,
well written! It sounds like there's more to Candace than meets the eye ;-)
Greatly enjoying your blog, keep up the good work!

Jen said...

Is this the same Candace I know???

Your insight is highly interesting! I'm so glad you introduced me to the "Candace" I don't know :) Now Candace.... tell me about the Carmen I don't know!!! Lol

Abigail said...

Very well done, Carmen! I laughed when I read it. :-) You have indeed enlightened us as to another side of Candace that I did not know existed. (Though I think we all have a side that others outside the family know little or nothing of. :-)) While I myself do not go to her extremes to save money (there are some simple pleasure in life that the cause of saving money does not invade--like a warm shower), it is admirable that she endeavors to do this and I do some of the same things myself.
Candace is fine young lady and I have enjoyed talking with both of you! :-)