a vestige of thought...
Monday, October 31, 2005
To prove my point...
Kid: Mom, can I go up to this house?
Mom: Ok. [pause] Don't forget to say 'please' and 'thank you' and all that crap. And you're not going to get any candy if you don't hurry up.
Halloween is made up of two basic parts: the dressing-up-as-something-you-are-not part and the going-door-to-door-getting-candy part. The dressing up part is not all bad. Costumes are fun to both create and wear. I am told that there was a time (though I don't remember it) when nearly all costumes were homemade. Sadly, costumes, like most everything else in our society, are becoming more and more commercialized. School costume parties (that I do remember) are increasingly comparative and competitive. 'Who has the best costume?' may once have referred to creativity, but now seems to refer mostly to price. Suzie and Jenny may both dress up as black cats, but Suzie, with a storebought black hooded suit, complete with connected tail and ears, will be infinitely cooler than Jenny, who is wearing a black sweater and sweatpants of not-quite-matching shades of black with a tail pinned on and felt ears on a headband. I remember finding girls crying in the bathroom after my fourth grade class's Halloween party because someone had made fun of their (very nice, I thought) homemade costumes. Perhaps Halloween is not at fault for such situations, but it certainly doesn't help.
I have to admit that I always enjoyed the candy-collecting part of Halloween, but I find it saddening to hear many children, upon leaving houses, lamenting "that's all I get?" after being handed a few Tootsie Rolls or a Dum-Dum. On Halloween, children enter the mindset that they are entitled be given. For some reason, they become deserving of all the finest chocolates and chewy Sprees in the land. The traditional "Trick-or-Treat" reflects this attitude: give me a treat, or I'll do something unpleasant to you. Again, I do not believe that Halloween is at fault for these problems. However, it may be more of a hinderance than a help in the process of raising youngsters into people of integrity. In a world where humans are born inherently selfish, we do not need to spend time encouraging a self-serving bias.
That said, have a good time tonight, whatever you may be doing. :)
Look, even Mr. Potato Head is dressing up.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Christy's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
This morning I got up at 6:45 to go to work. Generally, I like working on Saturdays. I like the people I work with, and most times working with them makes the time go quickly and I have fun. Today started out pretty well. We finished opening in plenty of time and Jeanne announced that we were going to have a contest from noon to two o'clock, which is always fun. Plus, I generally win. Hehe. This time the winner had to sell the most desserts. In the contest's two hours, I sold 11 desserts, and the runner up only sold four. Honestly, I think I"m just lucky. I don't try that hard to win. People who want desserts just come to my register or something. Anyway, certain other employees started giving me a really hard time about it. I know they were just kidding, but It really started to bug me. Plus, it was really crowded and because there were so many people and I was becoming increasingly stressed, I kept mixing up customer's orders. It didn't help that we were constantly waiting on food and our overseeing manager had to leave early, so things got a little crazy.
Finally at 3:30 I got to leave. I went home and checked my email and such and then changed my clothes and got ready for my violin recital. I had planned to wear my nice black pants and a shirt, but I looked everywhere and could not find them. Mom is out of town and Dad has no idea where they may be. So I had to wear my much-too-long khaki pants instead. This was not a terribly big deal, except that I was already frustrated with stuff in general. So, I put on my khaki pants and "warmed up" (although it's so cold in my house that warming up is relative) before going with Dad to pick up Grandma and go to the church for the recital.
We got to the church pretty early and no one was there yet, so we sat in the car and waited. And waited. And waited. And soon realized that we were at the wrong place. It was the church where we had always had recitals before. I had not thought to check if it was at another place, and my teacher never mentioned the location to me, so I assumed it was the same as it had always been before. I called my teacher's house, but (obviously) no one was home, so I called a lady from my church whose daughters were in an earlier recital to find out where it was. It turned out that it was at a church in Finneytown. Go figure. So we drove back and arrived 15 minutes late to the recital. I was already hugely stressed and very humiliated to be walking into a room of elementary school kids (I was by far the oldest performer at this particular recital) and their parents after things had already started. I was last on the program. My hands were once again freezing, so I spent the time listening to "Twinkle" and the like trying to get blood circulation without bringing attention to myself. When it was finally my turn, I went up to the front and spoke briefly to Heidi (my teacher) before playing. I must have looked stressed because she said something like "just take a deep breath." I tried. However, I think the only time I played that piece worse was when I sight-read it for the first time. My fingers felt as if they had been injected with novicane and I could not get them to function properly. It was so incredibly frustrating! I believe I screwed up just about everything possible.
I think I would have been okay if I could have just quietly slipped out after that. However, we had to stand in front of all the parents while saying stupid things like "fuzzy pickles" and many varieties of "cheese" while having our picture taken. I have nearly complete inability to hide my emotions. If I find something funny, I either have to laugh until I get it out or I will start to turn red and sometimes squeak trying to supress it. If I am pleased, I can rarely not smile. If I find something upsetting, I cannot remain passive. After all that had happened earlier, I was horribly stressed and overwhelmed and humiliated, and yet I was being forced to stand surrounded by a bunch of little kids with sticks and smile. It didn't work. I know my smile looked more like a grimace, and I couldn't see a thing, and the kids wouldn't move and I coudln't get around them and ugh! It was not good. When the kids finally moved out of the way, I pretty much ran out of the room (while covering my mouth, probably looking like I was going to puke, and wimpering in an odd, supressed sort of way because I knew I was about to lose it and I refused to lose control in front of people as often as I can help it). So, I ran down whatever hallway in the church was convenient, shut myself in a room, and prepared to start sobbing only to discover that I could not cry! I have often been told that crying is healthy; it releases pent up emotion and stress and let's one get on with life. This, I have found, is true. Being refused a moment or two of unsupressed tears is nearly as tortourous as being forced to supress them in the first place. I did, however, manage to give myself the hiccups for nearly an hour.
We then went out to dinner (while waiting for Scott to get off work), which was pretty much the last thing in the world that I wanted to do. I would much rather have gone home to sulk. But I went and I ate my shrimp salad, (even though they forgot the shrimp and I had to eat it separately) and I had a Coke (my first pop in many weeks) and afterwards I felt much better. I even decided to go to Brandae's for a bit when I got home, even though I had earlier decided against it. It was good to see people for a bit. Especially cheerful people who didn't know that I'd just had a really crappy day.
So, in the end, today was bad, but it's over. Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlet O'Hara would say. To end with a very cool poem:
Every day is a fresh beginning.
Listen my soul to the glad refrain
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Just figuring stuff out...
Oatmeal for Breakfast, Part I
Long ago in a land where many people died but not many people lived, a young man kept a house with his young wife. They lived in a small shack of rotting, moss covered logs in the midst of a tangle of steamy, green forest. Indeed, the house would have blended seamlessly with its surroundings were it not for the small garden that encircled it. The house faced the lonely road that passed through the dark forest, leading to the town on the other side. The few courageous wayfarers who dared brave the forest’s mysteries often stopped to ponder this garden and the youthful couple that tended it day in and day out. Their one crop, which grew year round, was oats.
Each morning the young woman would pass through the garden, gently removing impurities from the plants and pulling up weeds. In the afternoon, the young man would walk up and down the rows, sprinkling around them a unique fertilizer, which, no doubt, accounted for the yearlong growth. The couple, who had no offspring and kept no animals, treated each stalk as they would their own child. In the evenings the two could be heard singing softly to their beloved oats, as if their song would cause the sun rise again the next morning and coax the mist that hung heavily throughout the forest to provide nourishing water without rain.
It was not uncommon for the couple to shelter travelers for the night, as it was a two day journey from one side of the forest to the other. There was an extra bed in one corner of the cabin for the purpose, and no voyager had ever arrived to find the bed not warmed and ready for heir coming. There was always a kettle of hot water on the stove and a pot of oatmeal bubbling over the fire. The woman once said that the water was for tea to warm a person’s hands and face, and the oatmeal to warm their heart and soul.
"For if the darkness and corruption leave
What's it from? You can even Google it! I am attempting to increase the world's knowledge of the works of one of my favorite poets.