Thursday, April 29, 2010

Waving

On my morning ride I noticed a strange phenomena. Everyone is waving.

A gentle gesture, a simple raise of the arm and twist of the elbow. A friendly sign of recognition without saying a word.

As I pass these wavers, I peer into the darken windshields through my sunglasses without knowing who they are.

A nod or smile reply to someone who may know me or maybe familiar with my appearance in their neighborhood or maybe a pleasant statement to a stranger.

Perhaps a sign of a warm spring day or happiness in the air, but a wave (even to a stranger) will bring out smiles.

Waiting is the hardest part

Recently I heard someone say that he has been waiting for a contractor to finish his laundry room project. I could relate to the comment since I had waited six months for hot water.

Life is all about waiting.

Waiting to be old enough to make your own decisions.
Waiting for the test score, even though you know you failed.
Waiting for the answer to the question never asked.
Waiting for the night to end the day.
Waiting for her to say "Yes".
Waiting for him to say "What?"
Waiting for the light.
Waiting for the check to pay some of the bills.
Waiting for the invitation that never comes.
Waiting for the movie to end.
Waiting for the promotion, then realizing you already have it.
Waiting for the reply mail.
Waiting for the paint to dry.
Waiting for the morning to burn away the darkness.
Waiting for the children to play.
Waiting for the drugs to ease the pain.
Waiting for the clock to stop.

Life is but a holding pattern.

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Groups

It seems we, as human beings, revolve around being with others. We are sociable animals enjoying, even reveling in the company of like-minded creatures.

We form packs of similar beings, who fit a mode we are comfortable with.

The association may be religious, political, educational, professional, or recreational. We gather to discuss families, schools, beliefs, sports, similar attainments or experiences.

These groups may be called organizations, clubs, associations, fraternities, teams or even tribes. There may be symbols or colors or banners associated with these gatherings.

There may be occasions where these groups meet to watch a sporting or political event.

Many are common bonds between people who share an interest or similar experience, but the political gatherings are somewhat different.

These occasions are for groups to select from the masses a person from their group, above all the rest, best suited and meeting the qualifications of the group to be an example of the group's position on issues affecting all.

This one selected individual has worked to present his or her self as the perfect candidate for public office, with the backing of the political gathering's endorsement.

But why are these political gatherings called "party's"?

This is serious stuff.

These candidates will be influenced or influence others to create or change laws that affect how much money we make, where we can travel, how we raise our families, and ultimately how we die.

So join the party. It's a fun group with balloons and big hats and horns and speeches and lots of noise.

And when the party is over..... ?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Time

There is usually not enough time to do what is needed, even though there are only twenty fours hours given to everyday.

And the measure of waking, eating, and working are all in accordance of what time it is.

Though time is fleeting, a rush to catch up is a constant struggle.

So why do we make each minute so important to handling our lives?

Life consist of timeless thoughts, time outs for relaxation, time honored reflections, time worned past, and timely decisions.

If time is running out, there are time shares, but they are hard to cash in.

So looked at your calendar, schedule, day planner and time piece and see if you can do without measuring your life by time.

When your time is up, the clock stops.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mad



-->

When the lights are low and it is quiet, the brain is filled with thoughts, imagination, ideas, and remembrances.

Is it just to be mad?

No not insane, or even frantic, though the thoughts can be disturbing or create a flood of ideas. Words can have new meanings; creations flood the senses translating to the body a nervous feeling.

This is not like “Mad” magazine, which I grew up with. Back then it was mad to think that our madcap leaders had created and were ready to use weapons of self-annihilation.

Some of the greatest artist, writers, poets, and musicians have been certifiably mad, but we view their work with awe and wonder. What did they see and feel that we cannot?

Have we lost our since of madness?

So everyday, set some time aside to be mad. Not angry, just mad.

Release the mind to wander places only a few express without reluctance to the society norm.

Like


-->

The word “Like” as a verb means to like or enjoy, relish, savor, find pleasure or as a preposition to mean similar characteristics, comparable, similar. There is like-minded, likeness, like wise, and likelihood, but I find in conversation the word “Like” fills a void.
To hear someone “Like” speak on a subject and continue “Like” they didn’t know where the sentence was going, and “Like” it never ended, can make the listener wonder. “Like” what are they saying?
People don’t write this way. Only in conversation does the word “Like” appear so regularly. There are other words that can break the thought of a sentence, but “Like” seems very popular now.
In public speaking, “Ah” is used frequently to give pause until the thoughts can be organized in the brain and delivered to the mouth. In the 60’s, “Man” was used as a signal to another that they were part of the tribe and understood all meanings to the word. Some pepper their vocal presentation with “cuss” words, like a junior high school student trying to get a reaction.
I realize I talk with my hands more now, trying to express a point or illustrate a thought, yet my words, in a casual conversation are fewer.
Speaking to one another is an individual trait. Learned by experience and fueled by others.
So “Like” when you are “Like” in a conversation with another, “Like” think about how you “Like” use the word “Like” and “Like” don’t try too hard.
You know what I mean? (Oh, don’t get me started. This statement assumes the listener is too stupid to comprehend what you have just vocalized to them)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Small Talk



-->
Recently I attended a birthday dinner party and as I sat a table surrounded by strangers I realized we were making small talk.

When I was growing up, I was taught the proper etiquette procedures and manners, including making “polite conversation” with people unknown. Having these skills meant I could mingle with society with an air of decorum.

I haven’t used these skills for many years, but here was an opportunity to dust them off.
Of course there were the introductions, brief descriptions of the person and their relationship for being at the table.

Side note: A good tip for these types of parties. Separate couples. This takes them out of a safe zone and intermingles with new people.

After deciding on drinks and food, we all settled into on “polite conversation”.

Topics of ease are always weather, dogs, books, movies…. all safe subjects.

I watched as people around the table discussed their lives to some who were familiar and others who did not know. I watched his or her eyes darting back and forth keeping contact with everyone to keep everyone involved.

Listening to the stories and the jokes, with polite smiles and laughter like everyone at the table had become close friends, I could hear my own voice speak short sentences. Usually answers to questions, but with a sharp response. No wasted words.

The small talk around my house is to the television or animals in the yard. I have a thought and say it out loud, only to hear myself say the words and wonder why.

During the dinner I did sway some of the conversations to thought provoking mini-discussions, but mostly behaved properly.

I didn’t even interrupt the descriptions of canning fruits, though I had done those years ago, but offered the recommendation of saving for Christmas presents.

At another occasion I heard a friend say that is was nice to sit with others and talk without being reserved to telling the truth.

To be politically correct in today's society, one must pause before speaking, rethinking the words about to leave the mouth.

Yet, friends can say the first thing that comes to their minds without fear of reprisal. Speaking openly and honestly seems to be a forgotten skill.

The small talk continued in a blissful light hearten manner. Since these people may never be visited again, I could have told lies and tall tales, but my etiquette training did not allow for such providence

The evening ended with cordial good byes. No one had been angered, or offended and the pleasantries of the dinner could be savored for future gossip.

Small talk brings strangers together, but what do they bring to the table?

This is the story of Morris and Park




While riding back and forth through neighborhoods, the houses and yards and trees are similar noting the time they were built with minor variations. The city grew and spread out tracing worn paths for direction.










These streets were paved giving the city a grid to follow and the streets were given names to guide the traveler.





Early in my neighborhood, the names of the streets were etched in the
cement curbs.












This was very unique, only presenting the name on a few blocks before the process covered over by the ever increasing repaving of the streets.
















Street signs were first of iron, sometimes lost in the maze of houses and the ever-increasing traffic.














Lights were added to the top of these green iron columns declaring the location.





















As time progressed, a simple pole was established as a marker for an intersection. Green background with white letters for contrast gave the neighborhood its boundaries. The letters became bigger, but the format stayed the same until a few years ago.







Neighborhoods wanted distinction. It began in the Fan District. A sprawling neighborhood constructed after the Civil War to the early 20th century, it is a mish-mash of apartment buildings, row houses, duplexes, and small restaurants, schools and businesses.

The city obliged to give the taxpayers what they requested, designed a new “FAN” street sign. Brown background with white letters and a fan shape design at the top. In a few weeks, the street signs showed this neighborhood was different than others in the city.







Just west of the Fan, the newly declared “Museum District” began its campaign. It wanted to look different.

Again, new street signs were erected, with a blue background and white letters, declaring another special boundary.












But as I traveled through this maze of concrete and asphalt, I found a lonely sight.


Morris and Park. A few blocks from my old university, deep in the Fan District, but the street sign was Green, not brown. I checked the next block, then back again. All the surrounding intersections proudly displayed their brown street signs, but not Morris and Park.







What had this intersection done wrong to not be accepted into the district? Had funds run out and this one intersection had to be designated as just a city street and not part of the club?





Then I looked across the street.

There was another street sign with the words Morris and Park blazon on a brown Fan District background.

This one intersection, with Morris being a dead end into Park had TWO street signs.

I supposed the planners had not taken then into account when printing these new signs.

So one side of the street is in the Fan District, while the other side is merely another city street.









After leaving Morris and Park to its identity crisis, I stumbled upon another anomaly.

Here was Harvie Street. It had started out being a Fan District street as all the others around, but then when it got to Grove Avenue, it wanted to be in the Museum District.







































I don’t have a GPS, but I always seem to find my way home.













Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Different At Night

After a stressful day, I decided to take a warm night ride to loosen up.

Pushing my way past the sticks and limbs left by the neighbor on the corner, taking up half the alleyway, I turn on my twin lights to realize one is going out.

But the traffic is light, so I chance it.

Everything appears to be different in the shadows. It is the same journey from this morning, but so much is hidden.

Turning my usual right hand I view the north star and the orange crescent moon cradling in the bottom of the sky. On a winter day they would be high and bright and light up the night, but tonight they are muted and faded in the darkness.

Rows of the metal, rubber, and glass machines sit idle, asleep, awaiting the morning light to chariot their passengers to work.

The next turn bids me a stop. One, two, no three bunnies munching on the clover. I talk to them quietly, but they do not know my voice. I wait as they part to their destined safe spots before moving onward, only to stop again for another of the long eared night creatures. This is their time, so I can be patient.

Moving up to the house where a new roof was put on in one day, but there were lots of helpers, I notice them packing up. They have been at this task all day. I think of Daniel Pink's "Drive" book about working for self pride, not just monetary reward.

Pass the house with major construction and lots of light. A new beginning for an old house to be renewed for another family to create memories. Will they remember the screen porch? Will they remember that big black Shepard?

Around the next corner and up the hill in the quiet. The street that usually contains children doing somersaults and workmen in white trucks, is empty. Void of noise and movement.

Off to the left, I see some blue lights, but I have to venture further until I pass by to investigate.

I do not see the old man sitting on the bench but know he is inside. Everyone is inside. Dim lights in some windows. Blank space in some windows. Blue flickering light in some windows.

Then the blue light wrapped around the doorway to Cheryl's old house. It must mean something to someone, but it is unusual for this neighborhood.

The next block presented flashing white and yellow lights remembrance of the winter season with the front porch trees also wrapped. Light and refreshing, I press up the hill pass the police car and trace my path to avoid the pothole which would be a death trap to me. The siren in the distance I wish to keep away.

A quick glance at the old remodeled blue T-ford under wrap sleeping for another day.
The trees have almost fully blossomed shading the sky and draping the neighborhood in black spots in the evening.

Up pass the little cottage, I now call "Home" and realize it is just that.
The air is fresh and just what I needed to regroup my spirit.

As I drift down the narrow street guarded by metal monsters sitting in wait, I shake off the emotions of finishing a chapter. Now it is just time to await a call to explain or watch for the deposit which may be my last chance to take an extreme step. Sensibility will overcome the emotions and I'll just pay the property tax for several years.

Maybe not?

Silently I pause in the shadows watching two spot lights whiz past from left and right, saving room from the trailer loaded with racing gasoline for the approaching weekend's activities.

With everything put away in it's proper place, a spot of tea and ready for another night of quick sleep and the dark time.

Another project has been checked off the to-do-list.

Tomorrow is just another day in just another life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Holding Their Ear

Since the weather has warmed up and more people are out and about, I’ve noticed a new spring ritual.

Everyone is holding on to one ear. It is usually the right ear, but there are some lefties out there.

People are walking and holding their ear
People are driving and holding their ear
People are pushing their baby strollers and holding their ear
People are eating and holding their ear
People are exercising and holding their ear
People are shopping and holding their ear

It seems that a new spring ritual has occurred. Everyone must hold one ear while doing his or her daily routines.

Painters are holding their ear
Carpenters are holding their ear
Policemen are holding their ear
Doctors are holding their ear
Housewives are holding their ear
Students are holding their ear

Maybe during the snowy months, an alien force beamed down a plague upon the earth to all the warm houses making everyone want to hold their ear. (Luckily my house was cold so I was not affected)

Maybe it is a cult ritual and holding one ear is a sign to others members. (I must have missed that memo)

And not only does everyone hold his or her ear….
They are talking.

There was a time when people who just walked around talking to no one was deemed unusual and put into a funny farm, but today, no one seems to notice. Perhaps that is because everyone is walking around just yacking away when no one else is in sight.

I’m just staying away from these weird beings, knowing full well they are possessed by some outer world phenomena, their spirit taken over and living dead being walking around, hanging on to their ear.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Numbers

On Friday night, after the PBS News Hour, Washington Week and the comical the McLaughlin Group, I sit back for meaningless adventures with a twist on CBS. It's a cop show (of course) with two brothers, one an FBI tough guy and one a mathematical savant. The show is called "Numbers", but this week it was not on. Another show, "Miami Medical" took it's place.

Now "Numbers" was only fascinating, and only sometimes, for the calculations given to derive an answer, and the t-shirts were cool the first year, but maybe the idea wore itself out and the network threw in another blood drama.

Then I thought about the idea of numbers.

We all have numbers.
Our social security is our global identification as a number.

Our address is a number.

Our birth date is a number.

Our bank account is a number.

Then there are those other numbers that are unique to us.

Dates, like marriages, birthdays, graduations, employments.

Even times to remember a certain experience.

4/2/2009, 8:23, 12/23/1983, 7/4/2009, 11/12/1957.... all special numbers.

And when your number is up?

But where are the tulips?

The other morning I started to look at the changes that had happened in one week.

Day-by-day changes happen right in front of us, but usually we are in too big of a hurry to notice. Just sticks the next day buds appear, and after the ground warms, the flowers magically paint the landscape of the new season. All in a sea of yellow dust washing the pollen like tumbleweeds.

Looking for a symbol of this season shift, I take visual note of the purple azaleas, yellow daffodils, white and pink dogwoods, but it was the tulips that caught my eye.

Standing tall and strong, bright colored stalks guarded green busy beds and lined walkways. Some were all the same color, some were mixes.

I passed one remarkable group and took a second glance. A mass of proud flowers, brilliant in their variety, strong in their presentation. Black, red, yellow, orange, solid and variegated.

Tomorrow I will bring my camera and capture this image. A perfect symbol of Spring.

The next morning, sliding my camera into my pocket shorts, I proceeded to my usual destination, trying to remember where these tulips had been. Yard after familiar yard passed. There were tulips, but I could not find the group from the day before.

With my camera at the ready, I retracted my path, once, then twice. Various flowers presented themselves. Pastels, solids, thin patches of tulips, but they were not the ones that caught my eye before.

Maybe I had gone a different route? Maybe I had seen them on a side street? Maybe they were on my Sunday route? Maybe they had been trimmed and taken inside? Maybe I had not seen them at all? Maybe I'm just crazy?

The next day, the same route, scanning the yards for the image of spring which could not be found.

Sometimes you see something special. Something at the moment that catches your eye, strikes a chord in your existence, captures an emotion; only to look and feel entirely different the next day. Sometimes what appears to be magic is just reality in disguise.

but where are the tulips?

I guess I'll have to wait until next spring to find them again. Or maybe there were never there?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Indecent Liberties


-->

Offensive, coarse, rude, impolite, crude, filthy, lewd, licentious
Freedom, independence, autonomy, emancipation, liberation

think about it.

Improvisation Theatre with the Audience


-->

A young brunette white woman walks unto the stage in a blue hooded and baggy sweat pants she is carrying a beat up guitar case with stickers on it. She is not rushed, yet determined as she walks to some steps and proceeds to climb to a door. She opens the door.

A young white man in an orange t-shirt walks out from the other side of the stage. He sees the woman climbing the steps and slows his pace.

“STOP!!”

A man walks out from the darkness backstage carrying a clipboard wearing a headset with a microphone. He appears to be in charge.

The woman on the steps and the young man stop and turn their attention to the man walking out on the stage.

“OK”, the man with the clipboard addresses the audience. “You have seen these two characters.”
There is silenced confusion in the theatre.

“Who are they?”

Shuffling and stirring continues in the seats.

“Step forward” the man with the headset, orders the young man who obliges without hesitation or emotion.

A spotlight illuminates the young man darkening the rest of the stage. Silently he stands facing the audience hands by his side in an expressionless stare.

“Who is this man?”

The silence is broken by uneasy rustling by the patrons who had not expected this behavior, looking at one another for an answer.

“What is his name?” the bellowing voice asked.

“Jake!” one voice called out.

“Bill”, “William”, “Tom”, “Henry”, “Jack”, ….the names filled the air reinforced by additional participation.

“Wait, I think I got it.” The voice echoed from the stage as the names continued to fill the air.

“JACK!”

The audience applauded in acceptance.

“You are now Jack!”

The figure on the stage smiled acknowledging his name.

The dark voice continued, “He is 23, living in a small one bedroom apartment, working for a publishing house…. And where did he go to school?”

The audience erupts.

“Yale”, “Harvard”, “Texas A&M”, “Florida State”, “Cal Tech”…. the list went on and on until…The dark voice interrupts the list by yelling, “Think about it! He is working for a publishing house! Where would he have gone to school?”

The silence was broken when the dark voice announced, “Pratt!”

The audience grumbled and stirred some more.

Now the woman with the guitar case replaced the male figure in the spotlight.

“Who is this? What is her name?”

“Sally”, “Susan”, “Linda”, “Arnetha”, “Betsy”, “Betty”…. The names filled the air.

“OK, OK,” the dark voice stopped the offerings.

“Her name will be Susan. She is 28 years old. Recently broken up from a ten-year relation with the love of her life. And she lives an upper flat, one floor up from Jack.”

The spotlight fades, as do all the figures on the stage. There is sound of props moving across the dusty stage.

The stage lights come up.

A young woman walked across the stage from left to steps on the right. She is carrying a guitar case with stickers. Pausing briefly at the foot of the steps, she climbs them with determination and reaches for the door at the top.

A man walks from stage right and watches her as she reaches for the door.

“Susan?”

The woman stops and turns to the voice. Her face shows no recognition of the speaker.

“Who are you?” she questions.

“Hi! Don’t you remember me?” come a response with an assuring smile from the young man.

The woman stands and stares.

“Jack.”

She does not acknowledge the name.

“Jack, from school. It has been years, but you look the same.”

She does not move.

“Jack, remember? The figure drawing class? Pratt?”

The woman shakes and starts to smile.

“We have coffee and talked about the sketches, do you remember?”

Susan put down her guitar case, straightening back up and tussled her hair.

“Jack?”

The young man moved closer to the steps.

“Jack, it has been forever.”

Jack placed his hands on the railing and looked up at the brunette.

“Yes it has. It’s been too long.”

A pregnant pause followed.

Susan breaks the silence, “What are you doing now?”

“You know, making a living. Nothing exciting. How about you?”

Susan pauses and looks at the guitar case.

“The same I guess.” She stammers.

Jack looks at the guitar case and ask, “You still playing?”

Susan looks Jack in the eye and smiles.

“You want to hear something?” she gleefully asks.

“Sure,” Jack replies with a fidget.

“You want to come upstairs and continue where we left off?” Susan slyly questions while reaching for her guitar case.

“You bet!!” Jack jumps to the first step.

Susan turns her head looking at Jack with a catlike smile, while opening her guitar case.

BAM! BAM! BAM!

She stands at the top of the steps with a smoking 45 in her hand. At the foot of the steps lays the riddled body of Jack in a slump.

“Take that you bastard. You were bad to me then, but you won’t be bad to me now.”

Stage lights out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shopping

What is it you need? What is it you want?

Do the inserts in the newspaper or the pop-up ads on the internet convince you there is a need?

Does the television or radio ads convince you there is a product or service you want, that you didn't want before you heard them tell you that you really did want it.?

And window shopping? You are not shopping for windows, you are looking into stores trying to find a product, when purchased, will reward an inner desire.

We define ourselves by our "stuff". We purchase to meet our basic needs, then to fulfill societies conformance.

So the next time you are about to run out to Target, stop and think. Do you REALLY need it? Will you come back with much more than you attended?

Look in your closet. How many sweaters do you need? How many shirts can you wear? How many shoes sit in the darkness?

Remember, others who can not go shopping, will truly appreciate your past shopping adventures.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I should have known

Going to the grocery on "senior" day.

I looked at the shelf and the small refrigerator, the feed was drying up.

After a ride with my old friend, it was a break to clean the pond filter, then back to the grocery with big blue.

Locking up on the rack and avoiding the traffic.

Gathering two black bags to get 5 cents credit, I wandered into the fray.

After selecting a steel chart, I turned to the opening to the produce only stopping for the traffic to abide.

As I waited, a white hair woman slowly pushed her cart into the sliding doors and with a snails pace, she move forward. I stood facing the cart into a solid glass partition, as she turned to me and said "Are you coming here?"

I looked at her as if she didn't know I was facing a solid piece of glass and smiled.

"Cliff's House....Tavern Bar....what does that mean?" she asked as she passed with one eye closing.

"It was given as a friend." I said as I found a escape route.

Tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, multi-gran bread, slice cheese, crappy chicken, cold pizza, kidney beans, yogurt, fruit, veggie chicken, fish, and BEER.

Stopping and waiting for others is not a problem because I see it happening early (a bike experience) .

I accomplish my mission and load up the bike.

It is surprising how much time I bid to others only to allow space and movement.

And in the end, I get all the food stuff for the next month home, safe and sound.

Now it's time to clean the pond filter.