December 9th, 2002

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so now we're doing rainy and cold

Our weather varies a good bit during the December, January, and February time period. Sometimes it's positively pleasant, with highs in the 60s and 70s. Sometimes it's downright cold, with highs in the 20s or 30s. Often, though, it's like today, with highs in the 40s and white cloud skies filled with rain.
I don't really mind the weather, but I do have that bit of nostalgia for September weather.

I got a lot of rest this weekend, and a few things done, but I can't help but think of all the chores and detours I could have accomplished this weekend, but failed to do. I will mail out today the meager portion of my xmas card list I got done. I'll try during the weeknights this week to get my nervousness exchange done and to finish another hobby project which has languished, literally one easy step from completion, since September.

But I'm grateful for the time off, even if I wish I'd made better use of that time. This week my list of things to do at work is long, but entirely do-able. I cannot believe that the next round of holidays is just two weeks away. This year will be Christmas in Kansas City, among my wife's people. Often there is snow--maybe this year I can take my 6 year old niece sledding. I think it is probably a good thing that I am childless by choice. My notion of being around kids is almost entirely "hey, can we go sledding?" or "hey, can we go fishing?" or "how 'bout flying a kite?". My siblings and friends tell me there is more to it than taking the kids hiking.

I was pleased to see that the too-conservative Democrat beat the way-too-conservative Republican in the Lousiana senate run-off.
This reminds me once again of that old canard about how all politics are local. I think that national political commentators are second only to AM sports talk radio hosts for most pompous and silly things said in the average half an hour. I finally had to stop using the local "ticket" sports station as my "fallback when NPR gets boring" station, because the number of ethnic slurs and sexist comments finally just got too much to take. I'm not much for being hyper-correct about such things, and do go off-color or off-correct from time to time, but pervasive moronic jokes, particularly ethnically insensitive things, get very old. I suppose I'm going to have to go back to listening to music while I drive. I heard an interview with the women who started Caedmon in the 50s, the company that did books on tape featuring readers like Dylan Thomas (whose snippet from 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' sounded rather more theatrical and toney than I expected), William Faulkner and Eudora Welty (who both sounded just as one might expect them to sound). I suspect that there are similar type of businesses waiting out there for creative people to start, which capture what matters rather than the constant drone of AM radio.
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The Island of Mist

Forrest Fang's "Gongland" CD has as its jewel case art the Sandra Given painting "Mist". "Mist" features a tiny island in the middle of a river, upon which six leafless tall trees stand. On the left and on the right of the island, one sees the tall trees on the shore. The shore trees are obscured by mist. The sky overhead is a haze; the water below is churning waves.

Today I went to a holiday luncheon given by local officials.
The function was held in a large garage of sorts, which had been converted into a "party room". I knew a very few of the throng of people there, although everyone seemed entirely friendly. We first went down a serving line, where the hosts, two justices of the peace, a constable, and a county official, stood shaking our hands. We then all stood in long lines to get hot dogs and home-made chili. It was all very informal, and very congenial, but still, we were all awash in a friendly sargasso of humanity.

When we had gotten our meals, we headed to long tables where we scouted out three chairs beside one another. I watched around me as hundreds of people socialized and dined. I suspect that in every such room, most people truly feel as I do, like those trees on an isolated island on the jewel case art. The currents may rise, and the currents may fall, and the mist circulates everywhere, but I stand alone in such spaces. Large spaces of congenial strangers can be very distancing places for me. I feel a little badly that I am not at my best in Whoville, holding hands with others, singing holiday songs. But I take some comfort in knowing that I am not quite the grinch, either. I stand at the view-plate, looking fondly and yet at a distance at the passing asteroids.

I think that there should be some special dispensation for the well-meaning shy--perhaps a saint for the hopeful but not charismatic, maybe a quieter alcove of Hell. But in the meantime, I'll gather my hot dog and my chili and a speckled Xmas cookie, and muddle through this sort of thing as well as I can.
  • Current Music
    Jeff Pearce, "Bleed"