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December 16, 2017, 12:07:58 PM
587924 Posts in 45306 Topics by 6020 Members
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Author Topic: Stream of Consciousness  (Read 3617 times)
ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #45 on: October 02, 2017, 12:03:04 PM »

the misuse of it by power hungry despots and liars that twist it into something evil.

That bothers me too, RC. When I was a child there was this group of vandals that called itself the God Squad, and their deal was they'd go into libraries wearing masks and destroy books they felt would have offended Jesus. What they did disturbed me for years. I think the worst enemy of Christianity is not the non-believer, it is the believing hypocrite who finds it easier to extol Jesus'  message than live up to it.
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2017, 01:09:43 PM »

the misuse of it by power hungry despots and liars that twist it into something evil.

That bothers me too, RC. When I was a child there was this group of vandals that called itself the God Squad, and their deal was they'd go into libraries wearing masks and destroy books they felt would have offended Jesus. What they did disturbed me for years. I think the worst enemy of Christianity is not the non-believer, it is the believing hypocrite who finds it easier to extol Jesus'  message than live up to it.

Aah, the difference between the rightous and the self rightous.
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kakihara
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« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2017, 05:39:23 PM »

RC - Did you really say something nice about me? I am blushing. Ha! Really, I think we actually agree on alot of things we just approach it from different angles. So you know, I dont think of you as a bleeding heart liberal, I think your a passionate person. There are a lot of damn people that go through life like robots, never feeling, never thinking or even having there own opinions . You have opinions, and I like and respect that.
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exterminate all rational thought.....
ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2017, 07:37:53 AM »


My dog thinks she knows best.

Child-rearing? She’s the household expert, sometimes looking at me reproachfully when critiquing my parenting skills, sometimes correcting my choices via a sort of passive resistance that takes the form of lying down in my path when I am, say, attempting to remove a roundly protesting six-year-old intent on scaling a bookshelf like King Kong up the Empire State Building. A disciple of Gandhi could not do non-violent protest any better than my dog.

At other times she does her bit to save my offspring from a hideous fate that might await should the vegetables on a plate be consumed instead of handed down to her under the table in a clandestine manner reminiscent of a couple of spies sneaking top secret plans across Nazi-occupied France circa 1942.

She also firmly believes deer, despite their guise of docility, are a menace to world security, and tirelessly chases them off, lest their nefarious plots come to fruition.

The doorbell? All I can assume is it is some mad scientist’s subliminal weapon rigged to drive us all mad should its dulcimer tones sound out uncanceled by her vocal reply. Again, she knows best.

She also tirelessly takes one for the team by leaping into the pool before we can get in and offering herself up as a sacrifice to any invisible pool sharks that might be swimming within. God knows how she might save our lives that way one day, since pool shark attacks are on the rise.

She also knows that only by assuring that we get adequate exercise can we lead healthy lives. To this end she chooses random moments, night and day, to come set one of her toys in our laps, whatever we’re wearing, whatever we’re doing, insisting with gym teacher-like determination that we cease our lounging and get outside for a round (or twenty) of throw and chase.

But I think her deepest sagacity lies in her conviction, one I share, that schoolwork should be kept at school and that homework is a cruel and unusual affliction, and therefore she ate some last night, bringing to life the schoolroom’s eldest cliché.

You have to respect a four-legged friend who’d chew on a math paper for you, long division being poisonous.

So, yes, my dog knows best.


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ER
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« Reply #49 on: October 04, 2017, 07:21:58 AM »

“What are you worried about?”

That’s a perfectly reasonable and possibly constructive question to ask yourself, or to ask anyone. I think if properly considered it can lead you places, take you down a path of discovery.

Note I said “worry” and did not say “fear”.

Fear and worry are different animals, yin and yang, they have different masters, God versus the devil, let’s metaphorically dub it, one has a purpose, the other grants benefit only by its effect, not its presence, like a shadow under a cloud. A shadow exists yet is not a thing in its own right.

Worry is payment on a debt you might never even owe. Yes, that’s what worry is, it is slow torture which may push us to some useful undertaking, but mostly….it’s a negative. Is all fear negative? I don’t think it is. Sometimes fear makes perfect sense.

Fear limits us, true, but fear also saves us, proving yet again that instinct has its place alongside logic, neither displacing the other, each giving testimony. I am convinced without fear our species, probably all species, would not exist; deprived that inner spark that drives us on to keep going in the face of threats always present in a hostile universe we would never have made it.

But fear also holds us back.

In fact that used to be one answer, perhaps not stated as such but there, when I used to ask this man I knew what motivated him to continue doing this job that was so dangerous he was told when he signed on, “There is a one in three chance you will not live to thirty.” (Gladly he is still alive.)

He had other reasons, I know, genuine love of country, being there for his brothers in arms, but one thing he said was, “Past fear it feels wonderful.” Then he asked me if I’d ever been there, and I don’t….think I have.

He said, “It is the best feeling there is. I couldn’t even start to describe it. You feel completely alive.”

I’ve always remembered that and frequently thought about it. So to lose fear is to be….liberated?

I remembered his words when later I encountered a poem that is said to encapsulate the soul of Bushido:

To desire nothing
To fear nothing
Is to be free.


Yet who is there that has no fear? The insane?  The deluded?

In high school, in the midst of the darkest point in my life up to that time, waiting on news of a loved-one, I came upon a book someone had left on a bench in a hospital waiting area, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by Pope John Paul II. FEAR NOT, the one-time Cardinal of Krakow wrote. He said it was the core of the message of not only his Papacy, but his entire life.

Fear not.

Even at sixteen I thought that had to be the most hollow advice I ever encountered. Telling someone not to be afraid was setting him up to fail and feel guilty, or it was pointing him in a direction that would likely be harmful.

Seriously? Fear not? Was fear then some vestigial remnant of our primitive state, the appendix of emotions? It had no utility? His god did not place it within his creation for a purpose? Wasn’t the former Karol Wojtyla ever afraid, if not for himself then for others, when brutal Nazis occupied his home town, and later the smothering stranglehold of Stalinist Communism sought to bleach all color from the human spirit? Seriously?

To this day the idea of meeting someone who has no innate fear scares me more than most other things I can think of. In fact I have met a fair cross-section of humankind, the loathsome, the craven, the courageous, the stupidly brave, yet I don’t think I have ever known anyone who did not in some way give fear at least a modicum of control over his or her life.

I know I certainly have.

It’s true my greatest terrors don’t focus on me anymore, haven’t in nine years, but that isn’t liberating, it’s enslaving. It increased fear, not decreased it. Yeah, it rendered me less self-focused but it made me….more bonded, less free, more vulnerable, and being aware of that I do sometimes wonder what it might be like to truly disdain all worry, all concern, the entirety of the instinctive voice of warning.

The answer is, it would be insanity.

In sensible moderation fear is our friend; fear keeps us alive. Allowed free rein fear overruns us, holds us back, torments and even tortures us. (Like my poor benighted godson.) So once again doesn’t our response to fear speak of finding a middle ground, that path the wise throughout time counseled was best?

Is fear base, and is logic evolved? I honestly do not know, but I can say this, let one or the other have too much hold and you or someone near you will suffer for it.

In the summer of 2000 I just maybe came the closet I ever have to honestly not caring whether I lived or died, and I was downtown one day when this clearly unhinged street man came up to a group of we suburbanites who were waiting on a bus, ranting about finally catching this “bird-beast” he’d been trying to capture all season, a being with the head of a snake, fangs, venom, and the body of a scaly bird, with “big feet like shovels.”

This person was obviously out of his mind yet his total sincerity, his glee at his achievement drew me despite knowing he was probably dangerous in his depravity, but I took him up on his offer to show me his captive, this scaly “bird-beast” and he was overjoyed to have an audience.

I walked behind him as he trotted ahead and back to me over and over, reminding me of a dog racing onward and returning on a hike, or a child tugging you out of the house to see his latest backyard mud sculpture. The man’s eyes were yellowed, grotesque, his skin this dingy dusty yellow above its deeper brown. His homelessness rendered him dirty, his smell like garbage and old clothes, but his buoyant delight in having someone see his prize was also obvious and my curiosity grew since surely something existed to generate the tale. So even as my every nerve ending shrilly screamed out danger, danger, danger, I went with him past the edge of the city into the bottoms, as it was called, this no-man’s land between the expressway and the river, broad daylight not making it much safer to trod onto the stretch of never-developed ground once, in the 1800s, enjoying the infamy of having the highest murder-rate per capita anywhere in America. (It was called Bucktown, look it up if you want to hear lurid stories of drunken steamboatmen and runaway slaves knifing one another.) I trailed him and he gave every indication of believing that what he was saying was true: he had captured some mythical monster.

He led me to this muddy space beneath an overpass a hundred or so feet above, cars heedlessly whizzing by, where a camp had been set up, a shopping cart fixed above a burned out fire pit, trash-strewn as far as the eye could see, and he trotted around pointing to what he said were tracks.

“You see! You see them?” he cried out, jabbing a finger downward.

I saw nothing.

After a moment he claimed, disappointment keen, that his bird-beast had escaped, it had gotten away. Then his eyes got angry and he threw out a man’s name, telling me this person had let his creature go…. He was going to kill him for it.

I knew from the start here would be nothing to see, no missing link, no being from mythology, but I went anyway. Why, I wonder? Was I pushing past fear? In my despair was I seeking harm, looking for death to join me with someone else who’d recently departed from life?  In the end I was fine, I walked away and left the man there, so involved in semi-coherently ranting to himself he may have forgotten I was ever present. But that is probably a case in point of how disregarding fear is unwise, disproving FEAR NOT as all-purpose good advice.

All I know is sometimes in my life I have been deeply afraid, and in every case I have to say that fear was warranted. That night on the Appalachian Trail was one time that springs to mind, and an occasion when a man and I were almost certainly in the worst danger we could be in, death absolutely real and seemingly imminent, was another. (When the danger miraculously passed the feeling of euphoria was like little else I have experienced; it was insane. It also, oddly, bonded us.)

So is that the key? Is…well-placed fear and ONLY well-placed fear the answer to it all?

In one of his beloved paradoxes the English writer G.K. Chesterton reminded us a century ago that: “It is only when we are afraid that we can be brave.”

Theodore Roosevelt counseled all men to: “Master fear lest it master you.”

Words of wisdom exceeding the trite encouragement of the former Pope, who seemed to be saying it is never permissible to be afraid. Chesterton telling us to use fear as a springboard to something nobler, and Roosevelt’s  maxim to never let fear control you are much more practical pieces of advice, and I think they got it right where JPII got it wrong.

But as for worry, that topic I addressed up above, well, is worry ever warranted, except as a motivator? What worries you? What are you worried about? What keeps you in a cage? Imagine, just imagine, not having anything to worry about.

Now unlike losing all fear, losing worry…that honestly would be the sweetest liberation.

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ER
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« Reply #50 on: October 05, 2017, 11:10:52 AM »

Ever had the experience of going somewhere and for no apparent reason, no visible threat, no known history of maliciousness there, feeling it was….bad, as in tainted, even threatening?

I suspect everyone has, and know I certainly have, and I think it’s wise in those times to listen to what we’re feeling. Not necessarily run scared, but….listen. Just listen. Then think about it.

I seem to have felt that association of unseen malice in connection with woods more than in man-made places, and if you ever have you know just what I’m talking about. Sometimes you go into a woods and it feels welcoming, happy, vibrant, you’re glad to be there, all is well, the energy is just glorious. Mostly that’s lacking, mostly woods are just woods, some nice trees, some dead ones, the occasional crossing of paths with wildlife, but it’s just…forest. And then there are those rarer but more memorable instances where you go into a seemingly ordinary stretch of wilderness, maybe one near civilization, maybe not, and it feels….wrong. It feels threatening. It can be hard to breathe right. Paranoia sets in because unease is so heightened. You look around…just trees, just nature, sunny sky above, no one in sight, no dangerous predators, yet…you want to get out fast.

Know what I mean?

Let me spell it out: some places are scary.

I think the hubris of our age is thinking we know best, that “new” is king, that the latest theory automatically displaces all older ones. This is frankly a stupid idea bolstered by a prevailing arrogance which holds that knowledge will always be furthered to the point that a contemporary hypothesis displaces all precedent, that tradition and inherited wisdom arose out of ignorance and are therefore unworthy. How sad. If we can reach the point of giving our forebears the respect of admitting that in some cases they, who lived more closely with the natural world, just perhaps knew a thing or two that we don’t, then we have to consider that nearly every culture that has ever been, even the Japanese today, the most technological people on this planet, spoke or speak of spirits, kami, ghosts, demons, fairies, wendago, manitou, beings from what we might in our vocabulary term other dimensions. They spoke of cursed places, of bad luck associated with locations. How did these notions arise, out of silly ignorance, or just perhaps for good reason?

The Bible certainly speaks in terms not far from this, as does the Tao Te Ching, the Koran, the Talmud, and the oral “mythos” of probably every tribe I ever heard of. Yet now we disregard what virtually the entirety of our species embraced as true, and think we know more than they.

Medieval Christians took it all so seriously they’d set up crucifixes at crossroads, and before them the ancient Romans would go a step farther and build shrines at certain sites, locales unconnected with any event in history that would justify them being there, but it was done to placate “badness” for the Romans felt it too, they felt certain spots just exuded detectible menace.

So why do we, even when we feel such places exist, forests that make us uneasy, buildings, waterways, pretend reality is otherwise? Why does our instinctive unease around basements and places of tragedy make us shrug those feelings away, saying there is no such thing as “bad energy”? Science sure may not agree with that dismissal, and we are learning more and more that alternate timelines, alternate realities, an infinite pantheon of universes might not only be theoretically probable, they almost certainly are the basis of reality itself. How do we know passageways between dimensions do not sometimes intersect here on our world? If elsewhere, why not here as well? Why do we resist the testimony of a million years of instinct when instinct screams at us? Why is it so far-fetched to think that in a universe where “all is energy” a negative event can’t stain the energy of a setting in ways that mar it for a long time thereafter?

How do we explain some peculiar cases of people vanishing “without a trace”?

I know that the times I have walked on the isolated burrens in western Ireland, a place where people do quite literally seem to disappear off the face of the planet, I have always felt something there, not cruel, not frightening, but powerful all the same. It’s not a “bad place” but it is someplace to go someday if you have never experienced for yourself the feeling I’m talking about. It is like timelines meet and vibrate there in the thin soil, in the rocks beneath, out toward the ocean, into the sky. Families once lived there and now they are gone, they died off, the emigrated, the tragedy of their involuntary displacement, the uprooting of 5,000 years of continuous occupation, all that took an already mystical landscape and tilted it into melancholy, leaving the burrens a desolate, history-haunted place unlike any I have ever felt in my life. Serpent Mound, Fort Ancient, Stonehenge, Glastonbury? Yes, cool places, glad I visited, but I felt nothing there, not like the burrens, not like some stretches of plain old woods I’ve visited.

I tell you, there truly are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, and sometimes we feel them.

Know what I mean?
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AoTFan
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« Reply #51 on: October 05, 2017, 10:38:46 PM »

WARNING: Bitterness.

I absolutely f**king hated riding the bus in Junior/High school.  It was always same s**t everyday, I'd get on our overly crowded bus and NO ONE wanted to sit with me.  (Granted, this was partly because most of the seats already had two people in them, and, being a big guy I took up some room.)  It quite fun to be sitting with only one butt cheek on the seat, holding on every time the bus made a turn.  Seat concerns were only half the problem.  I had to deal with an endless parade of a***oles and bullies, each day trying to pull something to make my life miserable.  

I mean, I endured the usual insults, people not wanting to sit with me (I quickly learned to stop being polite and asking people to scoot over and just telling them), but also people snatching my stuff (like whatever book I was reading), or painfully flicking my ear.  At one point one of my chief tormentors had apparently pushed the bus driver too far and she sprung into action... making him sit in the front for two weeks.  

So, in other words, you misbehave, you get a permanent seat.  F**k me, why couldn't I have gotten that "punishment"?

Traditionally, usually the further in the back bus I went, the worse the trouble got. I remember one time I was walking slowly to the back, looking for a seat, and there was a large bag right there on walkway of the bus.  I tried to step over it, but it was rather long and I ended up putting a foot or two on it.  The owner, a guy I'd known since sixth grade said, "Hey, don't step on my f**king bookbag!"

And I replied, "Well, get your f**king out of the walkway!"  

Everyone was all, "Ooohhh... he's being a smartass!"

Seriously?  I mean, I had a place where I kept my books too, it was a backpack.  Before sitting down, I do something stupid like, oh, dunno, but it on my lap.  But John was one of those people who were "too cool" for that kind of thing I suppose.  He was one of those kids that was always bigger than everyone else (mainly because he'd flunked a couple years in elementary school) and was chewing tobacco by six grade. (Course, since that's probably the equivalent of around tenth grade for normal people, maybe it's not so shocking.)

Luckily late in tenth grade we moved, and I got on a newer, less crowded bus route.  
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 11:57:01 PM by AoTFan » Logged
ER
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« Reply #52 on: October 06, 2017, 07:24:20 AM »

And to think as a kid going to a school with no bus service I romanticized what riding a bus would be like.
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #53 on: October 06, 2017, 03:14:33 PM »

Its funny, all my life I seem to have been rebelling against conformity. Even before I knew or understood what it was.

Sometimes this has cost me heavily, when I just couldn't fit into other peoples social groups or someone found me just too strange. Its resulted in various types of bullying. Pretty much every time I've encountered this my response has been to make myself even stranger and try to fit in less. I've ended up in a job that no one expected me to be in where conformity is almost mandatory and yet I still manage to make my own way through it not quite fitting in. I know a lot of family members didn't think I'd last in the RAF because they thought I didn't have enough self discipline for that.

Yeah, try going out running for four hours five days a week regardless of what the weather is like and an additional two hours in the evening. Come back after doing that for six years without a single day off ill (including when I had a full on bout of flu and was in a lot of pain) and talk to me then about self discipline.

As part of this I always seem to automatically support the underdog in an arguement, even if the position isn't one that I agree with (actually, I find that part of it occasionally annoying)

I think that part of my trouble though is that if I am told I can't do something I will move heaven and earth to prove them wrong. If it is something I know I can I rarely feel the need or want to do it.

So I go my own way rebelling with no idea what I am rebelling for or against (rebel without a clue?) even when I don't particularly want to be and when I have nothing to gain from it and when it would make my life easier not to. Apparantly this comes down to my OCD. Should that make it easier to deal with having something else to blame for it? Doesn't seem to make any difference either way to me. The OCD also means that when I make my mind up on something it is very difficult to get me to change it (although it is possible, you just have to know the right way to talk to me).

At work no one understands that I don't want to get promoted. I have more than enough money to live on (sure more would be better but I am sure everyone feels that way), I'd have to take on a lot more responsibility for not a lot extra cash so I don't really see the point. From the next rank up a lot of people have to put in extra hours at work, which they don't get paid for (or even thanked for, its just expected) and that bites into their family time. Thats not something I am willing to lose out on just for money.

Oh well Kristi wants to watch Hocus Pocus so I guess I'll go sit with her. In ten minutes she'll have falled asleep on me and I'll be stuck watching it alone lol.
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ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #54 on: October 08, 2017, 01:58:02 PM »



Unusual day, home by myself. Children with my parents, husband and cousin at a football game (the type where the ball is shaped like Stewie's head) so it's just me and the dog, listening to the light rain, mellowing out, barefoot even.

Strange weather last night. Fall-like day, pretty, oddly calm evening, then about eleven o' clock I heard thunder and thought is that....? And minutes later this wall of wind (gusting to sixty in some places) and rain hit like Mjolnir, strong, but five minutes later it was done. Did damage while it was on us, broke a window, knocked over a decrepit tree, branches thrown every direction, like a bomb, the quiet shattered, the Midwest saying "think you're safe just because it's autumn, huh?" yet as soon as it passed the night was calm again.

I didn't go anywhere usual today, not to church with my daughter, not over with everyone to hang out with their paternal grandparents, not to the park with the kids, not the football game, it's like a gift of isolation, which can be nice in moderation.

But then I found out my godson (yes, the one with issues) is now further infused with fear because he had a serious choking incident this morning when a chicken nugget "went down the wrong way." If there was one kid on the planet who did not need more trauma, I'll tell you what, but glad to hear he is fine.

As for my family, I should have a few more hours, maybe two, two and a half, and I can't figure out how to spend it. Should I try to create a Bob Ross painting? Read? Get crazy and dance in my underwear and drink root beer straight from the bottle?

Truly the house is mine, ah-hahaha!

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kakihara
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« Reply #55 on: October 08, 2017, 05:17:55 PM »

Day 3 with no coffee. Let me tell ya, life cuts like a dull meat-cleaver without caffiene. I predict long painful days ahead as I go through withdrawlas. After 2 or 3 years, I finally went to the dentist and had my teeth cleaned. After working the night shift for a few years, I had developed a coffee habit, which made my teeth less than pearly. Coffee tastes like dirt water but it works. Now its time for a cleaning. I hate going to the dentist. Its torture. All of the Scraping and poking around with various sharp metal tools. Oh, and the power tools. Damn those power tools. Whizzing and whining.

Theres also the intimate part of it. Its very much like intercourse, maybe in some sense, it is. As uncomfortable and awkward as the situation is, there is also a feeling of euphoria. Pain causes the body to release endorphines, much like sex.

Its time. After arriving and giving my consent, Im led to a small room and told to lie down. As I lay waiting, I become more anxious. The waiting gives my mind time to think about all of the horrible things that I dont like about going to the dentist, and about the movie Final Destination. That could really happen, ya know? The sound of busy busy people walking by as I lay there. waiting. Forever. Waiting for my turn. Then she walks in to my life. A very attractive woman, with sharp metal instruments ready to stab me in my gums.

She coldly snaps on some latex gloves and asks me how Im doing, without even looking at me. I assure her that Im doing just fine with a false confidence. Now that shes laid out all of her torture devices in a neat and orderly fashion, she spins around and looks directly at my mouth. Shes a pro and knows what she wants. Like a Pez dispenser, I automatically open my mouth, giving her the authority to violate my personal space, and she does.

While I lay there being eviscerated with some kind of metal hook thingy, something stirs inside of me. Is it the endorphines? She has beautiful brown eyes. We are breathing each others air.

Im wide open, vulnerable, someone is on top of me, latex gloved fingers in my mouth, looking deep down inside. Can she see my soul? I have no choice but to be docile and take it. Theres something pressing on my shoulder. Its warm. Its soft. Is it an elbow or is it a breast? perhaps, Ill never know.

Then, its over. The small talk of free toothbrushes and flossing doesnt ease the unspoken feeling or the intimate moment that we shared. Its time to part ways and pretend nothing ever happened. The rawness of my gums and the chemical taste in my mouth. All so vivid.

 

 
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exterminate all rational thought.....
ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #56 on: October 09, 2017, 03:08:11 PM »

Today in adventures in nature versus nurture, my formative years, or the miracle of how I turned out so relatively normal.

Subtitled: “Cath, honey, quit crying, you want Ellie to hear?”

It’s probably not insignificant that even a film-maker as bold as Ingmar Bergman waited until the end of his long career to write The Best Intentions, a screenplay about the complex relationship between his parents. Bergman commented that it is almost as if a taboo exists regarding the telling of the story of one’s parents in a way that depicts them as people, which they were long before they took on the role with which you cannot help but identify them.

If you’ve ever seen The Best Intentions, you appreciate both Bergman’s intrusive candor and the fact his troubled parents gave him ample material upon which to draw for the creation of his courage-driven work. Happy families may be, as Tolstoy said, all alike, but except for The Brady Bunch they’re also a bit boring. It’s in conflict that the meat of drama lies.

Was there conflict when I was growing up? Surprisingly little, which made how things turned out all the more crazy when I tried to piece it together, back before I knew a happy ending lay ahead.

I sometimes think my own parents would give Bergman’s mother and father a run for their money when it comes to having an interesting relationship. Some highlights… My dad got almost fatally poisoned, he barely talked to his father, my mother had an episode of identity theft that left her broke, blahblahblah, dinner with Andrew Lloyd Webber at a Democrat fundraiser, church on Sundays, going with my mom to evening art classes, coaching basketball, various March Madnesses, hey, our kid’s on the national honor roll, aren’t we great? Hey, I love you, I’m leaving, goodbye.

They married young, split up, went other directions, got back together to the point I thought they’d tie the knot again yet they didn’t, they drifted apart, got back together, drifted and got back together, and despite seeming happy, nothing came of it. One re-married, one did not, and eventually they married each other a second time, which is ongoing at the present (and I sincerely hope the future). They seem happier than ever, and I long-ago quit analyzing them and now just roll with it: age quod agis, as the Romans said.

Maybe it’s weirder still when I say I am not sure my mother, despite being the one to divorce my father, has had anyone else in her life. Ever. Although she’s not a churchy type on the surface (she is brilliantly artistic and works at a gallery among nothing but gay men who adore her) she is in her own way ardently religious, prays rosaries nightly to keep me out of Hell, a place she fears I am going, and has said many times that though she gave my father a civil divorce as a favor so he could be free to re-marry if he so desired, she inextricably regarded herself as canonically wed to him, so if she ever found another person, it would be an adulterous relationship.

Yup, that’s what she said. Is your head spinning yet?

In my heart of hearts I think maybe she’s part alien, or possibly some ancient Irish spirit being. I know the concept of time certainly mystifies her. Rarely growing up did I get to see the first part of any movie, because she always got us there late. She took me to a five-year re-showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1986, and I was in my teens before I realized the entire Amazon sequence happened, because when we got there it was already up to where Marian is drinking the man under the table in Asia. I also had no idea how Geppeddo got Pinocchio since we were late for that too. Even today if I hadn’t shown her how to set her DVR, she’d seldom get to watch any TV show she likes, simply because she can’t seem to recall when it’s showing.

“Oh, is that on tonight?”

“Yes, Mom, same time every week.”

“Was that 8:00? I thought it was on later…”

“Nope, prime-time since 2013.”

That’s my mom, easy on the eyes, draining on the patience, and only fifty-seven, so it’s not senility in case you wondered.

To begin at the beginning of this complex ball of twine, my parents met under crazy circumstances, completely by chance, a crossing of paths so improbable it’d actually be the part in the movie that’d most strain credulity. As I’ve written before, my father spoke many times of the tunnel vision he experienced when he first saw my mother, how his heart seemed to slow or stop, then sped up rapidly. He said love at first sight absolutely is a real thing, he felt it. Nothing deterred his feelings for this girl he eventually married, not college, not his parents, not his future plans, not the entirely acceptable girl back home with whom his mother and sister were desperately trying to get him engaged.

My mother was then and to this day remains, for my father, The One.

So I exist today because of all that, having been born ten months and one week after they got married half a year after first encountering one another in the summer of 1977, not long before Elvis’ fatal bathroom visit.

Not new information there, BMDO-ers, but hang on, I’m going someplace.

Maybe I should note that my mother was and is beautiful and fey and somehow innocent, and my father is to say the least a smart man. In fact you might say intelligence is what my father’s life has been about.

Although it’s not something you easily notice about your parent, my father is also not at all a bad-looking fellow, and women have tended to like him, he had some noteworthy girlfriends before running into my mother, and my cousin used to torture me with stories she gleaned from my aunt. (So many virgins….in the ‘70s, no less.) He also eventually had other relationships after my mother divorced him in the mid-1990s and before his second marriage (and the resultant cruelty with which he ended that), but my mother is not only his great love, it’s as if she is a drug he can’t seem to cut out of his life, he’ll forgive her for anything, and she has sometimes given him much to forgive.

Oh, not the usual things, I don’t believe either she or he ever cheated on the other, something some people doubt when I tell them, and granted I am not, of course, able to know that with certainty, but I would say I’d be willing to bet my life on it. My father was often gone from home for long stretches of time when I was a child (which needless to say did not make life any easier on my barely post-adolescent mother) but years in the future he told me he wanted me to know he was never unfaithful, then or anytime, and I take him at his word there. He’s too awe-struck by her. His all-encompassing feeling for her is indefinable.

No, the things my father forgave my mother for were actually larger than dalliances, it was more like abandonments (plural), and while he was hurt when she departed that first and most egregious time, he didn’t hate her for it, doing better in that regard than I did, since I got angry with her when she left and stayed angry for years, barely speaking to her, not speaking well of her, resentful even as I joked the life I lived would never have been possible had she stayed in America. It could be pointed out she stuck it out as long as she probably could, 1978 to 1995, missing her family and homeland, that she got married when she was seventeen and in getting married she left all that, her culture, no less, and that she doubtlessly did her best for seventeen more years to fit in and thrive. She had me at eighteen, lost two other children by her mid-twenties, and under the circumstances she didn’t have a chance to live her own life in ways that gave her much room for expression. She had to be a mother before she was ever a fully-formed person in a psychological sense, and that had to be rough.

But I didn’t know that. Maybe I was a self-focused kid, but I’d sure thought we were all happy, and mostly I think we were. Happy enough…? I guess not. So when the person you loved the most, as I did her, who’d always been there and you assumed likely always would, goes away one night with little to no preamble, just…goes, it is like a complete inversion of your world, and it registered as betrayal.

Maybe at the time my father dealt with guilt issues in marrying my mother when she was so young but he didn’t hate her and lived for years clearly just wanting her back. He let me be mad at her but he also didn’t let me go too far into trashing her memory. When I refused to see her or talk to her no matter how often she tried he said that was my business, but he also said I should do those things and that one day I would be sorry if I didn’t.

My father lost his mother and his wife in the same season, yet he held himself together and kept life going for me, and above all others he honestly has been the one person I’ve always been able to count on, even if for the entire month of May 1995 he did make me stay home except for going to school…taking away my car, my phone, my music, my TV, my friends and my eating disorder. (I mean he shoulda left me my eating disorder, jeesh, c’mon.)

My father loved my mother so much, in fact, that in some sort of carefully considered and minutely orchestrated late-life crisis two years ago he divorced his blameless and very nice (much younger, less than a decade older than me) second wife of seven years, just for the chance, the mere chance, he could get back with my mother before he got any older, knowing she’d never consider anything if he was married to someone else. The fact he was generous to his second wife in parting and the fact his gambit worked, he did re-marry my mother, somehow does not quite clear the taste from my mouth of what he did. He blindsided a woman who’d done no wrong, who had a science-nerd teenage son I actually related to, and told her she’d done nothing, just informed her he was tired of what they had and he wanted to reconnect with his first wife whom, unlike her, he loved, so…take what you want, dear, take everything we shared, dear, drain the bank account if you want, dear, it’s all yours, dear, I think the best of you, dear, good luck, I’m done, bye.

Dear.

That’s….hard. Imagine being his second wife and hearing that, hearing you’re being thrown overboard out of boredom so your spouse can pursue a dream of regaining the woman who was in his life before you. My heart goes out to her. My God. Who does that, you know? Well, my dad, this man I admire and love, that’s who. He even asked for my help in pulling off his blindside, giving me some account information and asking me to go down a list and do things and…

….I cooperated.

Today is his birthday, he is sixty-one, and it broke my spirit a little that his heartlessly-discarded second wife actually sent him a card. Jesus, I miss her, and I still feel rotten.

So I think there is the raw material for a screenplay in my parents’ lives. I wouldn’t write it but someone could. I think any outsider would get it wrong, however, by seeing amoral selfishness where it was not always there, would miss desperation, love, pathetic clinging to the bonds of duty until sanity itself frayed, and above all they’d miss love conquering even good sense. And that’s what I had to grow up with, all that. Kind of funny, no wonder I turned out so….interesting.

It’d be a crazy film.

It’s been a crazy life.

Top that, Bergman.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 06:59:24 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
indianasmith
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« Reply #57 on: October 09, 2017, 06:41:47 PM »

And THAT, folks, is why I call my friend ER "the most interesting woman in the world!"
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ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2017, 07:02:01 PM »

I was thinking of the topics about which I have written.

I've covered the annoyance of having a birthday on Christmas Eve, my childhood, my teen years, my school years, my parents, my children, my godson, my godson's family, my thoughts on guns, my parents, the time my cousin and I summoned James Joyce's ghost on a Ouija board, where I was when I heard River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, and Princess Diana died, my motivations for following that crazy homeless dude to see a "bird beast", the origins of my sex life (in intricate detail), Magic the Gathering, movies, my parents, the time I almost got abducted by a fake Ozzy Osbourne, why horses are terrifying, my possessed Teddy Ruxpin, an exploding Pope, how much childbirth hurts, the Holy Roman Empire, the funeral we had for a bottle of New Coke, my friendship with a nonagenarian nun, and why the prizes in Cracker Jacks are so disappointing.

I've touched on why I can't stomach meat, about what a great freaking shot I am, about my gay cousin who lives with us, about being trapped on a houseboat all night in my teens with my gay cousin's mother and her partying friends, the time I moved into a facsimile of Animal House, complete with Skins parties, a bee in some rosary rattler's hair at Mass, my parents, my dog Charlotte Sometimes, what it was like to grow up "the poor cousin" around my rich family members, why starvation seems empowering, tennis, the paranormal, Paranorman, my unsuccessful efforts to persuade my best friend not to have an abortion, cemeteries, interns, Indian food, my husband's pre-marital promiscuity, why being sent to Ireland every summer could have been my excuse for developing a drinking problem, and my hand-stabbing cousin.

I've told y'all about the Appalachian Trail, going pregnant to a holy roller funeral, carnally cohabiting while in high school---and for the record having no regrets at all----, the time I ate Frank Sinatra's food, the time I was nearly in Rainman, the time was nearly in Airborne, the time I rode an elevator with George Clooney's dad (back when he was the most famous of the three famous Clooneys), the tutor who groped me, the psycho-nerd who kissed me, the prep who lied about having intimate knowledge of me, or the jerk who bashed my head into a wall to "get your attention" he said, when I could not stop laughing at my Confirmation and held up an Archbishop, why the presence of wheat does not improve the flavor of peanut butter cookies, the disturbing afternoon in which Grandpa and I witnessed an umpire's death, growing up near a major amusement park, my specious arguments for God's non-existence giving way to my case for an uncreated creator, my parents, my apparent unintentional tendency to later be friends with the younger sisters of men I've slept with, the single time I got puking drunk, my love affair with italics, and why there are worse things in life than being cheated on.

I've been forthright about how much I love rainy weather, how I like to stack stones and leave them in the woods, how I used to leave time capsule messages behind at my high school for future students to discover, why I laughed til my head hurt the first time I heard Borat sing "Throw the Jew Down the Well", how much I envy the simple, how ice cream headaches can make you wish for death, my parents, the shame of holding a bag with condoms in it while talking to your professor, the murderous agony of having your agent steal your stories, the awkwardness of dropping a plastic grape down the front of your dress, why I detest bachelor parties, how I've composed a diary that runs to around 6,000 pages so far, why I will one day walk the length of the Hadrian's Wall Trail, why I inherited my house, and the time I was surrounded by coyotes while walking home one night.

So in short, gang, I think....the well of my life experiences may have run dry.

Oh, wait, you don't know about the time I tied my hair in knots when I was four. Gosh, and here I thought I'd run out of anecdotes!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 07:23:49 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
indianasmith
Archeologist, Theologian, Elder Scrolls Addict, and a
B-Movie Kraken
*****

Karma: 1785
Posts: 10945


A good bad movie is like popcorn for the soul!


« Reply #59 on: October 10, 2017, 09:37:49 PM »

You, my friend, never run out of stories!!!
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"Carpe diem!" - Seize the day!  "Carpe per diem!" - Seize the daily living allowance! "Carpe carp!" - Seize the fish!
"Carpe Ngo Diem!" - Seize the South Vietnamese Dictator!
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