15 March 2010

life, liberty, and the prosciut of happiness

Five Actions That I Detest
(But to which I have been known to submit)
  1. Wasting time
  2. Bowling
  3. Being tickled (that is, if you call submission a kick in the nuts. Ask Eric J. Massa. He would have got the business end of my elbow so fast.)
  4. Aggressive driving (I will let you pass. My life is too precious to get caught up in your road rage game. Same goes for idiot pedestrians though I will give them a little honky honk.)
  5. Flying
Five Somewhat Uncomfortable and Perhaps Surprising Actions That I Enjoy
  1. Doing dishes
  2. Threading my fingers through my toes all the way up to the webs (try it)
  3. Fasting
  4. Home surgery (though it's been a while)
  5. Spreading mulch/landscaping in general
I lay in bed last Wednesday in the late morning waiting for my mother to call with the results of her latest scans (good news - the doctor says he only sees scar tissue in the lung and a shade where the tumors in her brain used to be. I continue to follow the advice of my good friend, remaining optimistic yet not naive), and I heard this hymn seeping through my ceiling. I guess it was the upstairs neighbor but I didn't recognize the voice nor could I make out any words besides a long, drawn out "Jeeesuuuuusss, Jeeeesuuuusss, Jeeeessuuuusss." The melody was sweet and in a minor key. It was quite comforting. I sang it to myself as the plane took off and landed on the way to and from North Carolina this past weekend.

I'm trying to be better about flying. Before arriving to the airport and at the gate and on the tarmac and during takeoff and in the air and during the descent and when we come in for a landing I list off to myself every single person I know who has flown, ever. The inner monologue goes something like this: "Dad flew to Korea every year for more than a decade and I'm sure the Dalai Lama has to fly regularly and my cousin flew to Russia when she was only in high school and her parents flew to Kenya and Jeff also flew to Africa and what about my students I know Mai just few to Bahrain - Bahrain, even - and Sandra flew to Vegas and they all took 30 students to Dublin last year and what about sports teams whole teams of people fly places all the time and only once did that soccer team crash in the Andes and ate each other, but wait don't think about that, how about Jessica, she flew back and forth to North Carolina like five times last year and who would become a flight attendant or a pilot if they thought they were going to die every day when they went to work?"

Does this make me a crazy person?

If you have any advice for overcoming fear of flying please pass it along (besides heavy sedation). It's getting better... I think.

I am feeling like Lloyd Dobler these days in the I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career kind of way. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

Is there a way just to step out of this swift current of consumerism? I see it all around me, I'm in it though maybe not as deep as some people, and it's making me so itchy. I don't feel like I'm doing enough or am conscientious enough but I guess I was sort of ascetic for a little while there so where I'm at now may in fact be middle ground. Nawww... that was the complacency talking. Where's my hairshirt!??! It is Lent, after all.

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