Saturday, June 10, 2006
I almost never willingly watch team sports. Unless I personally know some of the players, I find team sports incredibly boring.
Ten minutes of soccer has captured me. Believe it or not, until this morning, I had never in my life seen a soccer ball in motion.
Wow! This is good! I understand the excitement. Those guys MOVE! Run, run, run. The ball is all over the place. This is FOOTBALL. That American game should more properly be called muscleball, or bullball, or plodball. It's the difference between young goats and old cows. Moooo.
I'm enjoying it and I don't even know the rules. It looks sorta like civilized hockey, I guess. I had assumed that soccer players didn't throw each other around, but they seem to collide a lot, and the one on the receiving end of the collision gets thrown several feet like a rag doll, so it doesn't look like simple tripping, and the announcer uses the word "tackle", so I'll have to find out what the "tackle" rules are. And do the players end up with headaches from getting their necks jammed hitting the ball? That looks dangerous.
One problem I have is that there seem to be white birds flying over the field, or moths close to the camera, and at first I confused them with the ball. Sure made for a lot more activity....
It's very high energy, and not just on the field. I can see how and why the spectators get so het up. It's not simply passion for their teams. Watching the game energizes the watchers. The tension builds. I understand why there are riots after the game, even when "their" team wins. The spring has been wound too tightly and not released.
The organizers should take a cue from concert planners. Responsible concert program planners know that you start out with crowd favorites, move into a mix of new material, slowly build the excitement to a crescendo, and then, and this is the responsible part, you slow things down again. The last few minutes of the concert should be love and nostalgia. If you can get the audience hugging and swaying together and singing along, so much the better. Then you can let them go in peace.
That's why there were riots after the early rap concerts. The concert whipped the audience into a frenzy, didn't bring them back down, and then turned them loose at the height of their explosive potential. I don't know why people were surprised when the crowd exploded when they hit the street. The program planners were directly responsible, and they should have known better. It's not a mystery.
So I see why there may be riots after soccer, no matter who wins. The game builds energy in even the spectators, and whips it to the top in the last few minutes, and then it turns them loose on the streets and on each other. There's a lot of energy that needs to be released.
Maybe they should take a break in the middle of the game and require the spectators to have milk and cookies and take a nap. And then again a few minutes before the end. Or maybe the spectators should be required to link arms and sing and sway to "We Are the World" for a half hour before they can leave. Hand out teddy bears and balloons at the exits.
Purple teddy bears.
Friday, June 09, 2006
I talked with May Wednesday evening. She called me with a problem she had, wanting advice.
In the course of discussing her problem (what to do about a young family member of hers who she thinks is in trouble), I told her about my youngest sister, and how guilty I felt when she died. She was in serious trouble, and I knew it, and I tried to help, but she wouldn't accept any help. I was waiting for her to "hit bottom", but she up and died first. For years after, I felt so very guilty that I didn't just kidnap her and force help on her. That I didn't recognize that she WAS at bottom, and maybe all I had to do was insist. I was her big sister. I felt responsible.
That's all true, and I do still feel guilty, but the purpose of my telling May this was to get her to tell me how it wasn't my fault, and how if my sister wouldn't accept my help, there was nothing I could do, which she of course did. My purpose was to help May realize for herself that she could offer, but if the offer was rejected, she shouldn't feel guilty. People have their own fates to work out. Sometimes it's not so bad if you go into it with that thought. You do all you can. That's all you can do. You can't feel guilty if it's not enough.
And here I am in the situation again.
May's chief activity the past year and a half, since she finally settled her late husband's estate, has been planning the dispersal of her own (very large!) estate. They had no children, and she has been estranged from most of her siblings. When her husband was alive, they rarely socialized, rarely even left the house. Now she's all alone there, and except for legal and medical appointments, I doubt that she ever leaves the house or sees anyone other than the lawn people and the cleaning lady. She's a recluse.
I have invited her out a number of times, but she refuses. I've tried to suggest that she get involved in something - political action or support, something artsy-fartsy, philanthropy, volunteering, something to feel connected, but she tells me she doesn't need connecting. She has some amazing stories of life in the upper levels of The Company, and I have suggested that she write them down, maybe even write a book. But, she's not interested.
Wednesday evening, her voice was very slow and halting. She didn't sound good at all. Those of us who were her friends suspect that she drinks too much. She didn't seem drunk - didn't get maudlin as she does when she's had a bit too much. But I almost hope she was drunk when she called, because if she wasn't, that's even more worrisome. Like her clock is winding down.
Her old friends have pretty much stopped calling her, because, well, we don't know her drinking schedule. She calls them (us) sometimes, but the last few times her name came up at social events lately, I've been disturbed by the way they talk about her now. "Did she call you about...?" "Oh, God, yes. I couldn't get her off the phone!" "The same stories over and over...." "She called me at 3 am ..." I mention that I'm worried about her, and they say yes, but what can you do. And then they laugh, because her catchphrase is "Well, what can I say", and then she proceeds to say it, in --- a --- very --- slow --- halting --- voice. And she'll say the same thing several times.
I'm troubled because Wednesday evening, when I said I wanted to get her out into the world again, she responded that "The world would be better off if I stepped in front of a bus tomorrow." And during the hour conversation, she said several other things like that. I told her she needed something to make her feel useful, to grab her interest and use her talents, and she said she didn't want to feel useful.
I want to do something, but there doesn't seem to be anything I can do that won't piss her off. She sees a doctor regularly, and if he doesn't recognize a depression, or doesn't think it needs treating, she won't hear it from me.
I guess I have to just keep telling myself, "if the offer is rejected, you shouldn't feel guilty. People have their own fates to work out. You do all you can. That's all you can do. You can't feel guilty if it's not enough", and hope it sinks in this time.
Incidentally, May is only three years older than I am. Her talking as if her life is over scares me, on several levels.
I watched Once Were Warriors today. I found it a very powerful movie.
I don't much comment on movies. When I used to go to "message" movies with friends, they always wanted to discuss it afterward, over dinner or drinks. I'd mostly remain silent. If a movie had any meaning to me at all, I'd want to think about it for a while before expressing an opinion. If it had no meaning at all, why discuss it.
I also seldom recommend movies to friends, because I don't think what you get out of a viewing is necessarily universal. Meaning doesn't come from the movie - it comes from what you bring to it. A good movie will pull something out of you, force you to look at what is inside you in perhaps a different way. So my opinion would probably mean nothing to anyone else. (Beyond "Yeah, it's a good story/exciting/romantic/funny.")
"Once Were Warriors" affected me because of the subject matter. It was more powerful even than it should have been because the woman looked a lot like my mother. But my mother wasn't strong. She sacrificed us. Sometimes I don't know whether to love her, hate her, or feel sorry for her, and this movie didn't help with that confusion. She wasn't strong enough, but can I blame her for that?
The movie also reminded me of how much abuse the human body can take, and still keep ticking. You don't have to do much. It just fixes itself. The skin closes, the bruises fade, the bones knit. You learn to compensate for what doesn't work right any more.
The heart and mind, however, are much more fragile. Breaks sometimes never close, and you can't ignore the scars.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I'm on the volunteer group's SWAT team, which means they can call me in when they need emergency help. I got a call to "help out" at a picnic, held this morning and early afternoon at a riverfront park. One of the Kingston schools matches fourth graders with elderly pen pals, as a writing exercise, and for socialization. This picnic is for the kids and elders to finally meet (end of the school year, end of the exercise).
A few of the elderly pen pals were unable to attend the picnic, so I was asked to act as a substitute pen pal. Actually, when I was first called, I thought I'd be "working" there, like cooking hot dogs or organizing games or something. When I discovered I was going to be paired with a kid for the day, I wasn't all that enthusiastic.
Fifty fourth graders, and about as many senior adults (about a third with walkers). The "program" was mainly ecology. We were going to clean up the beach, and hike to a stream, and take and test water samples from the stream and the river.
My kid was a tall (taller than me) strawberry blond 10-year-old girl (who is going to be a heartbreaker in a few years), who was plainly disappointed that her real pen pal hadn't come, but eventually we got along just fine.
Well, it was high tide, so there wasn't much to do on the beach. Any crud was under water. I heard that at low tide they can collect everything from bits of plastic to truck tires.
We hiked up along the river a ways (fifty kids, the three ecology folks, the two teachers, a very few seniors, and me) 'til we got to the stream. Just upstream from where the path crossed on a little footbridge there was a 2-level waterfall, and sitting on the middle ledge was the biggest danged snapping turtle I've ever seen alive.
I was interested in the turtle, of course, but I was surprised at how much joy I took in watching the kids react to the turtle. It was great. They all crowded on the little bridge, leaning over the railing. Their comments were priceless. Not so much what they said, but the way they said it.
Later, on the beach, one of the boys found a huge dead eel. The kids all crowded around, and it was funny how a kid would push to the inner ring of the crowd, someone would poke the eel with a stick, and the kid would scream and push their way out. The crowd was roiling with kids pushing in, screaming, and pushing back out. Then a girl managed to get a sturdy stick under it and lift it up to toss it in the river, and the whole ring screamed and widened out.
The beach looked nice, all groomed sand and all, but none of the beaches along this section of the Hudson can be trod barefoot, because they are all full of water chestnut seed pods, which are pretty, but very nasty. The photo at the link (scroll down to it) shows the four sharp "horns", but what it doesn't show is that each of those four horns starts out tipped with a barbed spine. If one of those barbs sticks into you, it doesn't come out without cutting. I was amused that the kids called the nuts "cow's heads" (from the side, they do look bovine), "devil's heads", and the one I liked best, "devil's eggs".
There was an open grassy area where the kids played whiffle ball and kick ball, with a pole fence bordering a steep overgrown drop-off down to the river. They were playing kickball, and the ball sailed over the fence and down the bank. (If the ball went into the river, it would be gone forever.) Naturally, there was an immediate surge of kids to the fence, all of them, and a few of the boys went right over the fence and started down the bank. I happened to be the only adult there, and I yelled "Everybody this side of the fence! Now!" and I was absolutely amazed when the boys immediately reversed and came back. Good kids! The ecology guy (a college student) went down for the ball, which had been stopped at the edge of the water by a drift-log.
So, I had a good time. I'd forgotten how much fun a herd of good kids can be.
Going to play Trivia tonight with Tom.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
[Later edit - I had to redo this because many of the links were wrong - Lance Link got into everything!]
I called Roman this afternoon and told him that he has ruined my life, destroyed my schedule, caused my bills to remain unpaid, and delayed the cleaning of my house. It's all his fault!
After he installed my DVD player and left last night, I handled some email and futzed around on the internet a bit, and then I started playing with the DVD player. I watched Stomp Out Loud, and then watched Koyaanisqatsi, which had been highly recommended by Roman and by RossoRaven (here).
I must confess I didn't get as much out of Koyaanisqatsi as either of them did, because I was sitting too close to a large screen, and parts of it made me seasick. Plus there are all these people running around in late 70's clothing and hair, and I REMEMBER! that - oh good lord, how ugly we were then. What were we thinking! Anyway, I was fascinated by that (younger folk won't have the same "oh my God, I actually WORE that!) But, even with all my distractions, I did get the point. Even more than some might, because I hate crowds, I hate hurrying and rushing, I want peace. I'll watch it again from a bit of a distance, once I'm over the fashion shock.
Anyway, all of a sudden it was 4 am. I got to sleep a little after 5 am. Piper woke me with a phone call at 11 am. Having told Piper my player was working, I then had to watch the movie Piper had been urging me to see, Under the Tuscan Sun, followed by The Bridge, which I remembered from 20 years ago and have been anxious to see again ever since I bought the DVD last year (do follow the Bridge link and read the online reviews at the bottom).
And that's when I called Roman and cursed him out. He laughed at me.
I've got several seasons of Lancelot Link and Red Dwarf, Whale Rider and Once Were Warriors, some bellydance performances, and the follow-on to Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and ... I may be in serious trouble here.
I strongly agree.
It's a bit paranoid to think this, but I can't help wondering if there's a purpose to these movies coming out now beyond the simple "it's long enough ago that we can tell the story without hurting people" that we are offered. Frankly, that explanation doesn't hold water. I can't help wondering if there isn't another reason, like to keep the feelings alive, to remind us, to counteract growing anti-war sentiment, so the Bush administration can keep beating the drums of fear.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Roman was teaching a class in Kingston last evening, so we had a diner dinner together before his class. He was going to come here on Wednesday to finish setting up my DVD player and "whatever else I needed him for", but he called early this afternoon - he wouldn't be able to make it Wednesday, so could he come today? In about an hour and a half?
Aaaagh! The house was a worse mess than the last time he was here because I've been pulling things out of closets, and I was filthy from lugging stuff down to the basement all morning, but I said ok. Quick shower, quick trip to the grocery store so I could feed him, clean clothes but no time for makeup, and he arrived about 4 pm during a phone call from Daughter.
I enlisted his help to pound stakes into the ground along the newly marked property line, and then he read to me from a book he had brought, while I was putting dinner together (and of course nothing came out right, sigh, I'll never master cooking...) and we talked about bunches of stuff, then he finished hooking up the DVD player and taught me how to use it, and left about 9:30ish.
It was nice.
I'm sorry, world, but I really do like him.
But it wasn't The Cat. In a comment on my post, RossoRaven said "The Cat is alive and well and still acting, but, he wasn't in Ocean's 11. His name is Danny John-Jules."
So I undertook a major search and located my Red Dwarf DVDs to verify that we were both talking about the same original Cat, and sure 'nuff The Cat was played by Danny John-Jules. Then I searched out 2001's Ocean's Eleven cast list, and Basher Tarr, the explosives expert, was played by Don Cheadle. (He was also the lead in Hotel Rwanda.)
Well, I'm disappointed, but I'm still happy that The Cat is alive and well and still acting.
Monday, June 05, 2006
I got a comment on 722 Intimi - Dating? that led me to see things more from the male point of view. The comment and my response:
I didn't realize until I wrote it, but my comment applies to Roman, in spades. I'll bet all he wants now is quiet and comfort, softness, no challenge. Someone who will say "Yes, Dear" all the time.
He's even said that, that he is "more comfortable" with the other woman than with me. I thought at the time that he was referring to the way I rake him over the coals every so often for his duplicity. I've told him that she's all sweetness and light because she doesn't know what's going on, and I'm thunder and lightning because I do, and it's unfair for him to compare us when she doesn't know.
But that isn't it at all.
He recently told me that she's "not a candidate for Mensa" (his words), that she's not too bright. This in response to my saying I didn't understand how she could accept his lies, how she hadn't already figured out something was going on, I mean there are clues everywhere.
So there it is. He prefers her because she's not too bright. That makes her "comfortable". No challenge.
The fool. He doesn't realize that all his complaints about his previous wife have to do with her stupidity and lack of common sense. He chooses stupid women because they are comfortable, and then when he lives with them, their stupidity eventually drives him crazy. Someday he'll see it for himself, but...
I can't wait that long.
Which is very sad, because we really are extremely well matched. I find him more intelligent than I, because he has attributes I lack, and the key is that I am smart enough to fully appreciate his intelligence, and will continue to do so. His usual choices in women eventually find him merely exacting, demanding, and annoying. Which I'm sure he's not yet with her, because he's still in the "comfortable" stage.
But just wait until she allows him to move in with her. And he gets bored and frustrated.
I can't wait that long.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
The vault door blew open, and the black guy walked up to it --- and did The Cat's pirouette! And then he spoke, and that sealed it. I recognized the voice. I think it's The Cat from "Red Dwarf"!
Of course he's a lot older now, and I'm not certain, but if it is him I'm glad to see he's well and doing well. I'll have to watch the credits and see if I can catch the name. (They run movie credits so tiny and so fast on TV - I find that annoying.)
I'm meeting men on the dating sites (more than I've mentioned here), and none of them are working out. There are some who were very interested in me, but I didn't want them. And there were a few that I found very interesting, but who found me ... intimidating.
That's not just a nice word for it - several of them came right out and used the word, or talked around it, but that's pretty much what they meant.
One exact quote, "You're smarter than I am, and that bothers me. I'll always wonder." That from a law school graduate. He said it in different ways several times that evening. I kept denying it, he was much better educated and experienced than I, but he seemed to get more and more depressed. At the end of the evening came the "intimidating".
Another said "You know, we've been together for four hours this evening, and you haven't once mentioned clothes shopping or celebrities."
Me: "Is that good or bad?"
He: "Bad. Everything you say seems to have meaning. I'm not used to that."
That evening he was eager for another date, but then he later cancelled. (By email, the day after a late night one-hour very enjoyable telephone call during which he told me he wanted my body, then apologized for being so forward. I laughed and said Iwas flattered. He said he felt stupid blurting like that.)
I've had two longterm male friends in the past six weeks come right out and admit I scare them. One said it's because I can see through him, he can't manage or manipulate me. The other wouldn't explain, but I suspect it's similar reasons.
(They should talk to Roman. He can manage and manipulate me. Maybe that's why I want him.)
I don't see how I come across as smart. Or "intimidating". I do score high on tests, but I'm not a brainiac. I have a memory like a sieve. I don't initiate conversations about literature, or philosophy, or current events. I don't spout facts. In fact, I don't know a whole lot about anything. If you've been reading this blog, you know that already. I don't tell men they're wrong, no matter what they say. If I don't agree I just ask them to explain it to me. I don't know how to talk about inane things. I don't understand social chitchat at all. I've watched and listened, but I just can't do it. I'm not very assertive, let alone aggressive, and certainly not on a first or second date. And of course I don't mention Mensa.
If I've got smarts, about the only way it might show is that I understand things quickly. I pick up on clues (if I'm relaxed enough to notice, that is). I understand relationships between ideas and between statements, and between ideas and statements. I'm not satisfied with the surface only, I want to see underneath, to understand not just what, but how and why.
The men I don't find interesting are perhaps unable to notice that about me, it blows right past them. And the men I do find interesting are aware enough to pick up on it, and it bothers them.
Do they find me too intense? Too much work? Boring???? (Can't be boring. We talk up storms, and they get really interested in the conversations.)
Is it that they're afraid of me? Afraid they can't control me? Afraid I'd be too difficult to satisfy?
At any rate, everytime I've dropped a man so far, it's been mainly because I don't find his mind, the way his mind works, fascinating.
And every man whom I have found interesting seems to have been put off by the way my mind works. (Back in the 60s and 70s, men often told me my mind was "too masculine". Right after they called me a sex kitten. Sigh.)
Just something else I don't understand.
Amours de Marie
Comme on voit sur la branche, au mois de mai, la rose,
En sa belle jeunesse, en sa première fleur,
Rendre le ciel jaloux de sa vive couleur,
Quand l'aube, de ses pleurs, au point du jour l'arrose;
La Grâce dans sa feuille, et l'amour se repose,
Embaumant les jardins et les arbres d'odeur;
Mais, battue ou de pluie ou d'excessive ardeur,
Languissante, elle meurt, feuille à feuille déclose;
Ainsi, en ta première et jeune nouveauté,
Quand la terre et le ciel honoraient ta beauté,
La Parque t'a tuée, et cendre tu reposes.
Ce vase plein de lait, ce panier plein de fleurs,
Afin que, vif et mort, ton corps ne soit que roses.
— Pierre Ronsard (1524-1585)
(Via http://abardel.free.fr/ )
A translation (although not strictly literal) by Michael E. Lloyd may be found at http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue176/Ronsard.html.
How did this happen? Shortly after I posted my request, I read Roba's request for "a poem generally about the ephemeral nature of time and how much things may change". I left a comment on her blog that if anyone could find my poem, it might also fill her needs. Herlock Sholmes read her journal, saw my request, recognized the poem, and found it for me online. How cool is that?
Thank you Herlock, whoever you are!