Monday, February 28, 2005

The Parade


In the older part of Reykjavík, is a street named Laugarvedur.

Each weekend (nightly in the summer) a spontaneous parade forms, starting at about eleven P.M.

The street is one-way for cars, heading down a gentle hill into the central entertainment district.

The street and the numerous pubs and clubs on or near it are nearly empty, until the parade starts.

Revelers, scenesters and wanna-bees. People of all ages. Cell phone tag between friends.

Young men hassling tourists.

Many walk (DWI laws are most severe here) although cars full of young adults clog the street, too.

The studs on the tires create a soundtrack of white noise as they pass over the cobbles.

People dress up to go out - Men in fine suits, women in attractive outfits - with only light (or no) jackets (in freezing temperatures), and no hats.

As they cross Ingólfsstræti, the street becomes Bankastræti and the action picks up.

You may glimpse a finely dressed man dancing on a table in a bar or, perhaps a little later, puking on the sidewalk.

This behavior is not peculiar to Iceland, but is so concentrated here, and is such contrast to the reserved actions of the people, that it feels as if you have stepped into an alternate dimension.

A universal slice of life, presented in a most unique parade.




Comments: 4


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Tonsils...

   ...those little flaps at the back of your throat that in childhood tend to get inflamed at the least sniffle. It was almost a rite of passage, when I was young, to have your tonsils removed. As a five year old, that experience made a sufficent impression on my emerging psyche to have been retained for fifty years. I've heard others tell of similar childhood traumas as being their first 'real' memory. We woke up early, got into the old black Studebaker, and began the drive to the Swedish hospital (naturally) as the sun was rising. The steam over the Mississippi River mingled with the glow from the giant "Grain Belt Beer" neon sign as we drove past Nicollet Island. The lobby of the hospital was furnished in polished stone, giving it the look of a temple of healing and the wait there gave me time to think. I realized that I had no idea what was going to happen. When I was called, my dad brought me to the preparation room. I had to put on pyjamas and a gown and was laid upon a gurney. Wheeled down a maze of corridors, my father reassuring me, until I ended up in the operating room. Because of the bright lights, I could only see the team in their masks huddled around me. A nurse had a small sieve with a cloth over it. She poured some fluid on the cloth and as she held it over my nose and mouth I began to struggle and cry out "Mommmm...."

   Everything went black.

   I woke up in a large recovery room with dozens of other youngsters, who had, presumably, suffered the same fate. My throat was on fire, I tried to scream "Mommy" again. A nurse came with some orange sherbet. Then my father took me home.

   At home, I was allowed to have a day-bed on the couch, and my mother brought me some crushed ice for my throat. After a couple of hours of that, she had had enough of being my nurse. I received a little friction-powered motorcycle as a get-well gift, and the next day, while playing with it on the kitchen floor, my mother said: "OK, if you're well enough to play, you can go back to school. And the next day, I did just that.

   Where are YOUR tonsils tonight?




Comments: 2


Saturday, February 26, 2005

House Full Of Women

   I enjoyed the company of my sister-in-law and her two collegiate daughters last week-end, and with our son #1 on the west coast and our son #2 out and about, there was a distinctly different atmosphere at the Flippist world headquarters. After some shopping and dining exploits with the weaver, we all settled into the 'green room' to engage in some small talk. I was never really very close to this part of the weaver's extended family, geography and age made for a bit of a gap. I had spoken a bit with my nieces, but usually perfunctory small talk at family gatherings (One thing I have learned over the years is to keep my mouth smiling and shut when in the company of the in-laws.) This was a bit different. The girls were now women, young women to be sure, but women nonetheless. I was in the kitchen, fetching coffee when I was startled to hear the younger one laugh, a deep throaty laugh that was anything but girlish.

   As our discussion continued, it seemed at times that I was being tested a little, especially by my younger niece. We kept things reasonably 'safe' - with conversations about school, food and clothes, but a few 'modern problems' did come up. A little later my sister-in-law mentioned something she had heard about 'blogs' and "what were they"? The youngest niece mentioned that I had a blog and that she had read it.
Now the whole extended family will know of my secret life. In spite of that, I think they still like me - the younger niece did give me a very nice hug good-bye to help me overcome some of my 'intimacy issues'.




Comments: 2


Friday, February 25, 2005

Since I Fell For You

   Cupid's arrow may be a hokey fairy-tale, but I had been hit by it once. Love at first sight - plus alot of intense talk - did the trick - although only for 29+ years so far (who's counting?). I fell again today, however this time on ice, and it neatly knocked the wind out of me and left me with a set of bruised back ribs (mmmm - back ribs!) I'll be taking it easy for awhile so don't expect much in the way of current action - adventures from your achy-breaky prof. I think that falling in love beats falling on ice - Love conquers all, while gravity conquered only me.

   Ouch! It only hurts when I laugh...or cough...or get up...or limbo...or...




Comments: 3


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Intangible, but Timeless

   Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to present the last treasure of the human race. It's gone in a heartbeat, and no matter what you say, you cannot have it back, for it isn't like that hardcover Dean Koontz novel, or that bottle of Clinique Happy cologne. Yet, it's still yours, and will always be yours. You just have to know when to give it away, and who deserves to be blessed with it. As I’ve said, it is a treasure, so it’s value will go up, although you may sometimes feel that nobody wants it (kind of like your Ty © Beanie Baby collection that your little sister once dubbed as her “college fund”).

   No, while the novel may produce imagery, and the cologne tickles your nose, this precious gift covers it all. It can produce any image you like and tickle not only your nose, but also your body and soul. Popular myth shows us a child with curly blonde locks, a diaper, and a bow and arrow, but I don’t exactly have him handy. Besides, do you really want a child with a bow and arrow? How long will the gift last? Will it deteriorate like a rusty, uncared for antique? What’s the warranty? Does eternity sound reasonable for you?

   So, what do you say? Will you accept my gift? I think it will absolutely make your day, or millennium.




Comments: 1


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Morning Amnesia

   What time is it? Why am I up at 7:35 AM? Do I need to go to work? Why is there so much traffic outside? Do I have class soon? Why are my blankets in the floor? Why am I in a bunk bed? Who is that sleeping in the bottom bunk? Who am I? Morning Amnesia, Nature's way of keeping you from waking up screaming....I'm only kidding! Good morning! :)




Comments: 0


Monday, February 21, 2005

No More Mr. Nice Guy!

   After attending a desensitivity training seminar (part of a customer service class) I've decided to change my personality. No more musings on art and culture - I'll replace those with Nascar updates. Björk? - now its Toby Keith. Vegetarian entrees at Cafe Brenda? Nope, I'll do my dining out at Stuart Anderson's Steak House from now on. Anti-Dubya tirades? A thing of the past, sign me up for the next Bush "pre-emptive strike". Social awareness and compassion? No sir, strictly dog-eat-dog from now on. Dairy Queen? It'll be Dairy KING for me.

I'll trade in my compact car for a Hummer.

I'll replace my canoe with a big speed boat with TWO 200hp motors. Garden rake? - Leaf blower.

The company of women? -Now it's the good ole boys network for me.

Fine wine with a gourmet meal? - Jack Daniels with pork rinds.

Gay marriages? - Nope, only sad ones.

Youthful enthusiasm? - Jaded cynicism.

Humor - Aggression

Love - Hate.




Hey!

Where did everybody go?


I just wanted to fit in with the program.


I didn't want to be alone like this.


I still have Rush Limbaugh.

And Ann Coulter.

And a christmas card from Dubya.

And a life free of messy things like friendship, society, empathy.

I have MY freedom.







...please...somebody...comeback...





...please...




Comments: 3


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Lesser Shakespeare

   I attended a production of Shakespeare's Pericles at the Guthrie Lab today. Evidently, toward the end of his career the Bard of Avon wrote a slew of crowd-pleasers, and this was one. This romance was very popular (set in exotic locales, with shipwrecks, kidnappings and mistaken identities) when he wrote it, and is certainly not without merit. Bill could still write a mean sentence or two, even if his plot was hokey. The thing that struck me, however, was in the second act, when Pericles' lost daughter Marina is trapped in a brothel and expected to "take up the profession" after having been kidnapped. She talks her way out of trouble, charms the Governor of Mytilene and persuades her captor to allow her to go to a "house of honest women" where she can be a teacher.

   The forced prostitution of women, of course, was certainly an issue in those times, and Shakespeare's examination of this issue in the middle of what is otherwise a somewhat silly drama is fine example of his insight into the human condition. Marina gains repute as a wise maiden and when Pericles lands in Mytilene, she is called to heal his depression, and ultimately she realizes that she is indeed his daughter and convinces him of that fact. It would be a mistake, I think to read too much into this play, but the over-all theme of goodness, family and redemption makes it worthy of study.




Comments: 0


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Boys And Girls Together

   "...Now, children, we'll play 'Duck-Duck-Grayduck', everybody gather 'round in a circle, that's right, who wants to be the 'duck'?..."

   Somehow it was so much easier then. Of course there were problems at times, but these were problems of immaturity, of childhood self-centeredness, not of aggression, spite or meanness. Boys and girls together, playing the simple games of childhood, the girls usually were a little more developed, so in the physical games the sexes were pretty evenly matched.

   "...duck-duck blueduck, duck-duck whiteduck, duck-duck greenduck, duck-duck GRAYDUCK!"

   When "grayduck" was said the kid under the "duck's" hand was chosen to run around the circle, chasing the "duck", if that kid could catch the "duck' then the duck had to try again. If the "duck" could get around the circle to the spot where the chosen one came from, then the chosen one was the new "duck". It was actually more fun to be the "duck", so usually kids allowed themselves to be caught.

   "...Ok class, playtime is up, time to go in..."

   Kids grow up, and play different games. There is still choosing and there is still chasing, and there are still boys and girls, but they don't often play together in the way they used to. Boys and girls together, playing for the joy of it. When was the last time I played "Duck-Duck-Grayduck?"




Comments: 4


Friday, February 18, 2005

SNAP

   Normally, when I say the titles Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, confusion runs amidst the crowd unless I accompany the names with the question, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Less than two minutes from my dorm is the Landmark Theatre, where legends of the arts come to visit. I managed to score front row tickets (for the aforementioned improvisational comedy duo) for Nikki and myself, and on February 13th, we found ourselves waiting for the laughter to begin.

   I knew the show would make my cheeks hurt, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was praying that Colin and Brad would pull Nikki on stage for one of their skits, but that was the only letdown of the evening. However, their last bit shocked me. One hundred mousetraps (each one eager to ensnare a victim, whether it be a mouse or a toe), removal of shoes and socks, and goggles that had been covered with duct tape.

   At first, the sketch (about spring cleaning) began without a hitch, then SNAP! Mr. Sherwood had been kneeling on the ground when his middle finger had a horrifying encounter with a mousetrap. It became as raw as a flopping salmon, and he howled in pain. Colin chuckled to himself and tiptoed across the stage, not missing a beat, when SNAP number two came. He winced as his pinkie toe was caught. I shrieked as the charade went on, and noticed that Brad’s voice became very weak and shaky as though he wanted to cry.

   “This isn’t funny!” I kept muttering to Nikki. I pleaded for them to stop, and I couldn’t bring myself to laugh. Thankfully, the skit didn’t last long because I’m sure they couldn’t take much more of it.

   Guys, please don’t use pain to make me laugh. You succeeded enough without hurting yourselves!




Comments: 0


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Midnight Shift

   "...well if ya see old Annie better give her a lift, ya know Annie's been workin' on the midnight shift..." -Buddy Holly

   ...down at the lab the trusty Epson 9600 is running 24/7 with a big rush job - 60 40"x60" prints at 1 hour per print. That would be OK but, like a baby, it needs to be fed and changed from time to time. Guess who's stuck with the graveyard shift? Working at 4:00 a.m. is becoming very old very fast. I ain't no twenty-something who can live on naps and coffee and I ain't likin' it - babysitting a stupid ink-jet. One more night, and I can return to the land of the living...where's my pillow?




Comments: 3


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Vulcans

   The City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, has a winter "carnival" every February. There are ice sculptures, parades, occasionally an ice palace, and Vulcans. Vulcans are middle-aged business men who dress up as Satan's minions, complete with a red and black costume ( with cape and hooded mask), black greasepaint on their cheeks, and a devilsh mein. They march in parades, do good deeds, and molest women. When they (and its always they, at least a gang of five or more) spy a vulnerable female, they swoop in, and rub their sooty faces against the face of their victim. When they are on a prowl of the city's bars, they take further liberties. Recently, they harrassed three of the staff at a St. Paul nightspot. They made a ring with their capes, surrounded each in turn, and allegedly groped the legs, thighs and genital areas of their targets. This kind of behavior has been going on for years, every once in a while it makes headlines, then is forgotten.

   Today, the three workers (all young women - all under 21), pressed charges against the ringleader. They did so publicly, at a great personal cost, not to punish the man, but to prevent this from happening in the future. This time it will not be forgotten.

   Of course to the thousands of women who have been assaulted in the past, it is never forgotten.




Comments: 1


Monday, February 14, 2005

In Honor of the Dreaded V-Day and Being Single...

The Ideal Mate will:

1) He doesn't have to watch all of my Peter Pan DVD, but if he could
watch Chapter 14, and know it's my favorite chapter, then that's fine.
2) Sing, whether he has talent or not.
3) Treat every kiss as though it was his first and last.
4) Know who J.R.R. Tolkien was.
5) Not sneer at the idea of Europe as a vacation spot.
6) Enjoy reading.
7) Have attempted to learn a language other than English.
8) Not smoke cigarettes, and give me a high five for quitting the hookah.
9) Not laugh too much if I cry at the end of "Phantom of the Opera."
10) Accept the fact that I have a slight Southwest Virginian accent.
11) Be allowed to mock my slight Southwest Virginia accent, because I do it all the time.
12) Think bad jokes are just as amusing as good ones.
13) Remember Autumn sunsets and keep them holy.
14) Be open minded.
15) Trust me, and I will trust him wholeheartedly.
16) Understand my silliness, and will gladly accept it as a contagious disease.
17) Know that I will try to tickle him.
18) Slow dance with me.
19) Not hold it against me that I want to slow dance.
20) Enjoy life.
21) Appreciate the joy of fruit.
22) Roll his eyes if I say anything relating to the name "Took."
23) Know that 22 means he's listening to what I have to say.
24) Hold open doors. (Just once at least!)
25) Not laugh at me for being poor.
26) Love me for being me.
27) Be glad to walk under the stars.
28) Love talking until the dawn breaks.
29) Be Patient.
30) Understand that I despise Valentines' Day!

I don't ask for much, do I?




Comments: 2


My Funny Valentine

   Everybody loved Suzy. Suzy was cute, talented and vivacious, the darling of Jenny Lind Elementary School. No one loved her more than me, the Romeo of second grade. When St. Valentine's day came around, we all bought the cheap grocery-store valentines for our classmates. The rules were clear, one card to each student, no 'special" cards to anyone. But my love could not be bound by their petty rules! I would give Suzy a truly special valentine, made by hand, and it would show her that she, amongst all the girls in the primary grades, was the most wanted.

   I labored at home, in secret in the basement, with scraps of discarded construction paper and paper doilies, with white glue and glitter. I had a little trouble with the heart, it resembled a baseball mitt, and I didn't have any extra red paper - close enough. I wrote "I Love You" in red crayon, although the letter 'v' was closer to a 'u' - "I Loue You". The glue for the glitter kind of ran a little, but it did look festive. After it was all done, I stole out of the house and ran the four blocks to Suzy's house (I had to be back in time for supper.) It started snowing, first lightly, then big flakes. I walked up her front walk, my heart started pounding - what if she saw me? What could I do? I could put it in her mail slot - but she might hear that - did I see the front curtain move? I ran back to the curb, there was a wrought-iron railing at the end of the walk, I curled the valentine into the rail and headed home in the blinding snow. As I neared home I realized that I forgot to sign the card! I ran back to Suzy's - the card was gone!

   The next day in school I played it cool. Suzy never said anything.




Comments: 2


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Perfect Strangers

   An intriguing idiom. It is commonly accepted that no one is perfect, yet somehow unknown people are awarded perfection! Or perhaps it means that they have not yet been contaminated with the sin of knowledge - their knowledge of you or your knowledge of them. Now that several hundred million people have had their nervous systems extended via the internet, the term may take on a different dimension. Of course, the big problem with any e-communication is the lack of context. Someone in your community provides lots of context while someone chatting or blogging offers little or no context. After a few months of interaction a sense of the other person develops, certainly colored by what is hidden from view (or openly displayed), but really not much different than getting to know someone in physical reality. There have been instances of fictional people being portrayed as real, with cruel results following the breaking of the illusion. (just a note to anyone who my be confused as to who I am: read my bio in the sidebar)

   Overall, most of the people I have run across in my internet wanderings have been PERFECT strangers. Intelligent, interested in an exchange of ideas, open and outgoing, yet not intrusive or annoying. If that isn't perfect behavior, it is as close as you can get.
Of course there are plenty of flamers out there - especially in politics and religion - and the accepted meaning of "perfect stranger" is a completely unknown person; yet sometimes it seems as if the world isn't quite so bad, after all. Maybe I've been lucky, maybe I've just been too timid, maybe the imperfect strangers don't read blogs like this...




Comments: 1


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Sirens (and 2 Zombies)

   Sirens never keep me awake anymore. The piercing forewarning that they’re coming now seems to be a morbid lullaby of sorts every night around 1 AM. My roommate and I disparage the silence of the night as though it were a criminal act to be avoided. Indeed, the music of the city, the screams of our inebriated peers, the ZOOM of the occasional decked out luxury car, and the wind embracing the apartment buildings, is the very thing we love to listen to as we make the transition from this very real city to the fantasy of the subconscious.
Lately, the dreams have been scarce because of sleep deprivation. For the past week, room 1414 has been a haven for two insomniacs. The sirens still come, but they are no longer the Greek seducers they once were. 

   One night, I will sleep again.




Comments: 2


Friday, February 11, 2005

Waking After Midnight

   ...the third train has gone by, let's see, there's one about every twenty minutes... it's no use, counting trains won't help me get back to sleep. I might as well get up for a while. I wonder if the feral cats are kept awake by the sounds of the freight train's horn, each driver with his own signature "call" blasting only a few blocks away from those critters in their little hideaways. My mind starts to wander with the sound of the rail cars rumbling over the tracks, back to thoughts of the previous day; and then to thoughts of people far away, some are already well into their day, others just beginning their night's repose.

   Through it all a vague sense of being out of my body, my freed soul roaming the earth searching...




Comments: 1


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Let's Put The ð Back In English

   "...In those days, the language in England was the same as that spoken in Norway and Denmark..." ~ The saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue, circa 1000 A.D.*

   A curious and charming (?) aspect of any trip to Iceland is their alphabet, which contains several accent or umlaut marks, dipthongs (Æ) and two unique letters, the ð - the "eth" and the þ - the "thorn". After William the Conqueror defeated the English in 1066, the official language of England became French, and that, with other mixing, gave us the glorious mess that is the English language today. Lost in the shuffle, and retained only in Iceland, are the two aforementioned letters. Most tourists on a stopover in Reykjavík are completely befuddled when attempting to pronounce anything written with these characters. The residents are generally very patient and usually will graciously answer in English to overcome that cultural divide.
Think about it - wouldn't it be nice to have a letter for the 'soft' th sound (as in 'weather' - Icelandic 'veður') and the harder th (as in 'thank' - Icelandic 'þakk') in English, if only for the sake of children learning to write and spell? Of course, this is only a very tiny part of the great Icelandic language (it has some interesting consonant combination pronunciations) and unfortunately there is very little available in the way of interlinear translations for the English reader (A History Of Icelandic Literature by Stefán Einarsson has some examples of Skaldic poetry presented in this fashion.) Recently, Icelandic pop music has expanded the reach of this beautiful tongue, you can (and you should!) pick up a copy of "Gling-glo" (usually filed under Björk) at almost any well-stocked CD outlet. With a lyric sheet and the CD you can at least get a 'taste' for the sound of spoken Íslensk.

*translated by Katrina C. Atwood, Leifur Eriksson Publishing, LTD, Iceland, 1997





Comments: 0


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Swedish Pancakes

   If we were good, when we stayed overnight at Grandma's house we would have Swedish Pancakes for breakfast. The farmhouse she lived in only had heat in the kitchen and living room, the "cold parlor" next to the kitchen had a nearly vertical staircase that lead up to an attic which was connected to two small bedrooms. In the morning would wake up, hop out of our toasty beds onto the cold linoleum floor and quickly dress and then scurry down to the warmth of the kitchen. The griddle would already be lightly smoking when we entered. The wood stove she cooked on would occasionally make a crackling or hissing sound, as if it were laboring under great duress. She ladled out the thin batter just so, paper-thin. When done, the crepe-like pancakes would be buttered, rolled and doused with maple syrup.

   The pancakes were heavenly. My grandmother would sometimes smile at us children as we ate for reasons we didn't understand. Now that I am approaching the age that my grandmother was then, I also occasionally smile at children for my own mysterious reasons.




Comments: 5


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Half The Picture

   A lot of talk of boycotts lately, the most prominent recent one is over Clint Eastwood's movie "Million Dollar Baby". Certain religious groups have taken offense at a plot turn in this movie. The movie is fiction. Most of these groups are very strong supporters of Dubya's war in Iraq. His war is not fiction. Mr. Eastwood addresses a very personal moral dilemma in an intelligent, honest manner. Dubya addresses a modern global dilemma in a manner filled with hubris and dishonesty. Who is seeing only half the picture?




Comments: 0


Monday, February 07, 2005

The Note

   "I've thought alot about what you had to say, and I just wanted you to know that there are things about me that you don't know and that I think I am not right for you. If you still want to see me it's ok, but I just wanted to let you know how I feel. "
- handwritten note, November 20th, 1971

   Nevertheless, we did move in together. She was right. She wasn't right for me. It took me four years to figure it out. In matters of the heart, I finally learned to take people at their word. They usually tell the truth. If they can't, you can usually see it pretty soon if you keep your wits about you. If they won't tell you how they feel, up front and honestly, they have other problems - lack of self-respect, lack of respect for others (empathy), maybe reality distortions (substance abuse and/or mental illness.) If you can have the same conversation over breakfast - cold sober, without make-up or frills - as you had the night before, with all the romantic trappings, then you'll have a starting point.

   Sooner or later you'll have to face each other that way anyway.

   "...tonight the light of love is in your eyes,
but will you love me tomorrow?"
- Goffin and King




Sunday, February 06, 2005

Buster

   OK, a can of sardines for the feral cats once in a while won't spoil them. I head down to the wood pile where they hang out and of course Buster comes to greet me. He's the least wild, and will always check out anyone who happens by. I put my hand down and he butts it with his head. He knows what I have, and wants to make sure he gets first crack. I give him a few strokes on his head, he accepts them.

   I open the sardines (these are the cheap ones - yech!) and put one in one of the dishes that are spread around. The other cats check me out but stay away. I spread the rest of the sardines over the remaining dishes and the cats quietly begin to eat. I spend a little time watching them, they polish off their treat pretty quickly. Buster comes over again, looking for seconds. I give him a quick pat and say: "That's it pal..." As I walk away, Buster hops up on the big stump and begins to groom himself. Ok, I have one true friend in the world - at least as long as I have sardines.




Comments: 0


Friday, February 04, 2005

The Poncho

   A large square of wool, with tasseled edges and a lined slit in the middle. A basic garment, made by a ex-girlfriend.

   A standing joke in our marriage -"When are you going to throw that old thing away?" Still, it persevered.

   When that second pregnancy went a little long, and the days got colder, it was the only thing big enough to cover. The kids got some use out of it later on - a tent, a cape, a saddle, it was expendable and good for play. Still, it was wool, and it did last, but after twenty-five years it was finally time to go. The lining was ripped, the tassels gone, and I reluctantly gave it to the clothing drive. Perhaps it still exists, a pet's blanket, or reprocessed into felt.

   It was a good gift, Robin. Thank you.




Comments: 0


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Freedom/Slavery

   The "F" word is getting a lot of press lately. Certain politicos like to drop the occasional "F-bomb" in their speeches, word bites and state of the union addresses. The flip side of the "F-bomb" is the "S-word". Don't hear that one so much. This country was founded on these two ideas. A great civil war was fought over them. Like most wars, that one ended when people had enough killing. The two ideas, which each side embraced, have continued their hold on the American imagination. Basically, it means that the "F-word" is the ability to force other people to embrace the "S-word" as their lot in life.

   Freedom. Slavery. Which side are you on?




Comments: 0


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Paradise Lost

   In a simpler time, teen-aged girls would volunteer to help out at hospitals and nursing homes. They wore red and white striped uniforms, hence the name "candystriper". Maybe they got paid, maybe it was sort of a pre-nursing thing to do. (If anyone can clue me in on what the exact arrangement was, I'd be thankful.) At any rate, I was heading home from an errand downtown one day, and boarded the #8 bus. On it was my older sister, a college student, who was coming home for the week-end. I nodded to her and went to sit in the back (when you were 15, you ALWAYS sat in the back - I don't know why) and then I saw her. A vivacious girl, about my age, brunette with tight (natural?) curls, inviting blue eyes and freckles. She made eye contact and indicated with a toss of her head that I should sit down NEXT to her. We evidently talked - I probably just said "ah - ah -ah" but she kept looking at me as she continued talking and began to bounce in her seat. This behavior was beyond my understanding. I noticed that her posture was very tense, and her back had a definite arch to it. She asked where I was getting off. She said she only lived a few blocks further...would I like to come along with her?

   At this point, about thirty million synapses in my pubescent brain were firing, smoldering and fusing in a huge, hormone-fueled meltdown. She was still bouncing. My stop came, my sister was exiting the rear door just in front of us, should I go? Should I stay? Go? Stay? Go? Stay? My sister opened the rear door...


   I went.

   Later, at supper, my sister said: "Who was that girl on the bus?"
"oh it was only a candystriper..."




Comments: 0


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Promise

   "hey, how ya doin'..."
 
   With her light touch on my forearm and that beautiful smile, with the glint in her eyes, a promise. A promise of glory, of intimacy, of closing the door on the world behind us, and then sweet oblivion.

   "ok, better, it has been a hard January..."
 
   Sometimes it all seems so easy, just let the world disappear as you dissolve the distance between each other and become the one true essence.

   "um, I gotta run...I'm on the clock." 
 
   Another smile, even more beautiful, and then the spell is broken. The promise remains unfulfilled. We both know better anyway.

   " see ya..."




Comments: 0