How to Visit Ruth: an Unsolicited Guest Blog Post

This summer when our friend Bryan came out to North America from New Zealand for work, he found himself with a few days to spare in transit and dropped by South Florida for a little visit. 

A few weeks later, I found this in my inbox. He's even recorded the audio to go along with the post, so make sure you don't miss it.

I leave it here for your edification and enlightenment.

And, of course, entertainment.  -R. 

Photo by a random tourist at NASA, courtesy of Bryan

How to Visit Ruth: an Unsolicited Guest Blog Post
by Bryan 

Everyone wants to meet the person behind the living legend that is Ruthette. If the dream does come true, it's entirely possible you could be so overcome with emotion in the lead-up to such a momentous event that your cognitive functions fall apart.

To save you from being overawed, here is a helpful reference so you know what to expect and how to make the most of your visit.

How to Visit Ruth:

Step One: Set Your Goals.

It's important to be realistic. Visiting Ruthette is less about doing and more about being. It's about soaking up the inspiring presence and personality that is Ruthette. Therefore do not attempt to cram things in, but leave room to let things happen in front of you. With Ruth, it most definitely will.

My goals were simple:

-Firstly, to meet Ruth and her family (that live in her immediate vicinity). This was number one and it should be with you also.

-Secondly to see the Saturn V rocket displayed at Kennedy Space Centre. Something that can deliver six million pounds of thrust and send people to the moon trumps that mouse down the road at Disneyworld, and Ruth will thank you for your choice to visit the former rather than the latter.

-Thirdly, the jump shots! 

I recommend you practice your jumping moves before the visit and experiment with different styles of jumps, especially how to extract the highest or weirdest elevations from your legs. 

I was a little rusty but fortunately in my case muscle memory from when I was young, fit, and agile cut in, and my stunt-like dive rolls produced the desired Shock and Awe (mainly shock that I might have hurt myself and awe that I didn't). 

It was probably just as well she didn't bring her mini trampoline as it would have been Shock and Oww! 

-Fourthly, I wanted to eat at her brother's Chick-fil-A, which I recommend to anyone planning a visit, especially when the classic cars are on display. 

Pro Tip: Have your camera ready. Alas I didn't react quickly enough to photograph Ruth when she spontaneously broke out into her patented non-sexy dancing routine.

-Fifthly, the traditional retail excursion. I'm not resident in the USA so my obligatory trip to Walmart may not be relevant for some of you, but if you are a fully grown male insist Ruth takes you to Walmart anyway. You're almost certain to meet people Ruth knows and their reactions are all part of the entertainment, whether it's the speechless reaction of a former teenage student of Ruth’s when he spots her standing with you in the toy aisle, deciding which Nerf Gun to buy, or the chance to clearly lip-read an older lady asking her husband "Who’s that with Ruth?" as you go driving past. If you're a married man, keep your left hand with its ring finger concealed in your pocket to improve the effect in store, and then smile broadly and wave to the older lady with your right hand as you pass by.

Step Two: More Than Meets The Eye.

Obviously you'll get to meet Ruth, and she'll be only too happy to tell you all about herself. It shouldn't take too long to figure out when you can enter the conversation and how to finish your point before Ruth starts on hers. You shouldn't need to force the issue too often, as anything Ruth says is well worth listening to, unless she gets her facts wrong. Take a few moments to observe the way her sister waves Ruth off if Ruth tries to interrupt her. This brings me to the second person. Ruth's sister, Bethany.

Contrary to popular opinion, Bethany does speak more often than we have been given to believe. You have to pick your topics though. If you know how to play a sport that she is unfamiliar with I suggest going on a horse ride with her. It gives you the perfect opportunity to explain the rules of any given sport. I was even able to explain cricket in about an hour. This is a third of the time it took on my first attempt to explain cricket to an American (almost exactly ten years previously). If you have the opportunity to impress Bethany with factoids, she doesn't know then take it. For example over three quarters of people in planes crashes survive. She knows that one now so don't use it, especially as I'm not sure if she believes me.

Finally, the third person is by far the hardest person to get to know: Ruthany

Photo courtesy of Bryan
While I was able to figure out how to relate to Ruth and Bethany individually, when you put them together, they're like one of those Transformers that combine to form one big one with a completely different personality. Don't bother trying to relate to Ruthany. Just sit back and enjoy it. Maybe they really are robots in disguise because there is no way you'll figure out their programming. They are obviously connected through an impenetrable wireless link and it would take years to hack their code. It won't spoil the fun, but it's best to just watch it unfold before you instead of trying to understand.

Pro Tip: Don't mention politics. Ruth will force you to devise a limerick before you can speak again. Bethany will ensure you never will speak again. I'm not sure what Ruthany would do, but it could involve mocking your pitiful existence. It's hard to tell.

Step Three: Enjoy the Conversation

Ruth knows a lot and is very intelligent. You can learn a lot by keeping your mouth shut and listening. The combination of her theological training and life experience is especially enriching. Her life will inspire you. Make sure you give it the chance.

Pro Tip: If you speak English you should know Ruth is fluent. You won't need to slow down every two senetences and translate everything into American.

Yet Another tip: Warn Ruth in advance if you don't want her to talk about the neural anomalies of psychotic murderers.

Step Four: Roll the Dice

Actually don't. Ruth is incredibly lucky at Yahtzee. 

Step Five: Expect the Unexpected

Ruth gave me a hug! Bethany is incredibly fast at jigsaw puzzles. The movie Rocketeer was twenty years ahead of its time. I highly recommend the high capacity of the Hail-Strike Nerf Gun with Suction tipped darts when battling your offspring.

Final Pro Tip: If you have the chance to sneak up on Ruth and surprise her at the airport upon your first encounter, take that chance! 

I didn't out of politeness, and I'll regret it for the rest of my life!


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