I’m lounging in a reclining chair, reading my LJ friends page, laughing, wearing white overalls, and eating gazpacho at the same time. Call me an accident waiting to happen. 🙂
My long-lost-but-recently-reacquired-and-now-we-talk-on-the-phone-for-hours-at-a-time buddy from high school (everyone, wave hi to ) is to be the best man at a cross-cultural (Christian/Hindu) wedding and asked me to help him craft some words to share in honor of the occasion. Being the intellectually inclined, relationally preoccupied person that I am, you can bet I have oodles of books (academic and poetic) on things to do with love. So, I started scouring and found a most enlightening article written on the virtues of, of all things, arranged marriages. It really helped me bring into focus the modern-day struggle between the desire for a marriage to support one’s self-fulfillment and for it to be sacred in the transcendent (as in, “beyond the personal”) sense.
I thought some folks here might also be interested in the ideas gathered from my reading, so I’ve copied my reply to him here. I reprint, without permission, pieces of the aformentioned article from the Spring 2004 edition of Parabola magazine. Copyright CYA: To anyone reading this by way of surfing or random googling, please go get the original text if you want to quote from it. This is a personal blog. So, I quote things to use as springboards for or elements of convergence into my own ideas. This post is open to public comment and criticism because it is likely to be of interest to my friends who don’t have password protected accounts on this blog site.
The meaning of marriage in a traditional Hindu culture
I was combing through my books of poetry and came across this one again. Usually, I revel in it with an eagerness to share the wonder of being alive. But, today, there’s a harder edge to it, because, rather than an affirmation, it is a thorny reminder–a reminder of what I hold dear, a reminder that living with integrity to these principles is not just celebration but also slow, painstaking work, a reminder that rising above does not mean ignorning my needs, a reminder that there is nothing else but this.
I was walking around Whole Foods this morning carrying two huge bouquets of flowers when a woman turns around and says, “Oh, wow, what gorgeous flowers!” And we look at each other and it’s my old friend Jane Ellen. We haven’t seen each other for probably 4 years. And, as always, she is just as enthusiastic and generous in spirit. The encounter reminded me that there are really a lot of genuine, good souls in my world. I’m damn lucky.
Another one that reminds of this is my friend Diana. Diana and her husband took in Doo Dog while Hermes and I went away to Telluride last weekend for the wedding of two other really fine souls (my old housemate and her gem of a guy). Diana is one of those people who has a smile and a kind word for everyone (and often a bunch of flowers to boot) and just naturally gives selflessly for the joy of giving itself. Doo had a great time with her and her hubby. And Diana even wrote up a diary of their time together to give to “Mom”. 🙂 So sweet. She has got me inspired to start giving out flowers to people again for no reason. I can’t tell you what a great feeling it is to make someone’s day like that.
Giving flowers to strangers is also one of the more awkward yet thrilling things to do. It’s a really good way for me to stretch myself. People just can’t believe that you don’t have some ulterior motive. And I get scared that they won’t like it or that I’m bothering them. Silly, I know. And perhaps I do have an ulterior motive. By reaching out to them in such a personal way, it makes me feel more connected overall and makes my world the kind of place where strangers really do do nice things for each other.
Afterthought: Jane Ellen said I looked great. She didn’t even recognize me at first. She loves my wild, long curls. And I do feel a little taller and freer and more beautiful than I ever have. It felt really affirming to have it noticed so evidently by someone who hasn’t seen me change little by little over the last few years.
I saw “An Inconvenient Truth” a few weeks back. Now, it’s not like I didn’t already know about this bad global warming business. But that movie got me mo-ti-vated! It’s scary, what’s happening. And the apathy of the government of the biggest contributor to global warming (that would be us) is even scarier. We are getting to a snowball point where the increased warming will lead to increased dryness which leads to increased forest fires which leads to increased CO2 and so on and so on. And that’s just one aspect of it. I can’t do the movie justice in describing the nature and escalation of the crisis. But–the thing is–there isn’t only bad news! If every household in America simply switched to CFL light bulbs, we could drastically reduce the effects and rapidly get this planet back on track.
Since the movie, I’ve been doing my laundry with warm rather than hot water, and I’ve driven my new hybrid over to the hardware store(s) and gotten new filters for my evaporative coolers at home, and CFL’s for my lights (btw, they are coming out with ones that work on dimmer switches next month), and today I got myself an Energy Star rated refrigerator. Woohoo!
For sometime now, I thought I wanted to start replacing my appliances with ones with a stainless steel finish (because after bamboo floors and a red accent wall, that’s just the right thing to do, aethestically speaking–I’m sure the Queer Eye guys would agree). But magnets won’t stick to stainless steel and fingerprints really stand out on it. So, then I figured I’d get the faux stainless steel finish, but–up close–they are kind of dark and dull and the shades vary between appliance makers and the kicker is that you can’t get any other appliances (stoves and dishwashers) to match (because those don’t come in a faux finish). But then those mottled, textured white/off-white/black ones that everyone has just look so cheap and tacky and if I’m going to fork out $$ for a new fridge, I’d at least like it to improve the look of my home. But the Lowe’s salesman had my solution: a refrigerator with a smooth, shiny finish and if I’m willing to stick with off-white, then I won’t have the dilemma of whether or not to swap out my old, perfectly good appliances as well.
Here are the specs on the new fridge. You can’t see the glossy finish so well in the photo, but–trust me–it looks swanky. No protruding handles whose seams will show the gross build-up from messy hands over time. It has spillproof shelves (so no more leaky containers spilling their goo onto the shelves below and accumulating into a nasty clean up job). And, of course, a wine rack.
I’m so proud of myself. It’s on order and should be in my kitchen within a week and a half. Perhaps the best part: I don’t have to clean my nasty refridgerator. They are just gonna haul that sticky, old box with the missing shelves away for free.
Now, I need to get that water heater blanket and change the air filter on my furnace and get some small power strips to plug my electonics into so that I can turn them off easily when I’m not using them (electronics chargers keep drawing a small amount of energy even if they are charging the gadget).
P.S. Everyone is getting CFL’s for Christmas this year.
Language Log has the science that explains why is one of the most cheerful people I know.
Every morning, I do my physical therapy exercises and I find that I whine less if I have the TV on when I do them. Usually tuned to my favorite: the History Channel. Anyway, the last week or so, they’ve been playing this commercial:
and dammit if it doesn’t make me cry from happiness every time. At first, I thought it was just that I was hormonal. But a couple of weeks have gone by and I still love it just as much.
I know, I probably should be irked that a corporation is playing on my sentimentalities to get my business. But as advertisers are having to become more and more creative and artistic to grab people’s attention, I’m happy to see that at least one is going for the humanitarian values.
(BTW, I have my car insurance with these folks and I grilled them yesterday on what they would do if I had an accident and wanted to see my choice of doctors for non-emergency injuries. I shared with them a friend’s insurance/accident horror story and wanted to know what kind of guaranties they would give me that this kind of run around wouldn’t happen to me. I kept pushing the point and the guy finally said, “I hear what you are worried about and you’d think we are just some big corporation, but I’ve worked other places and these people here are human and reasonable.”)
So, folks, ‘fess up. What kinds of things make you cry that you’d be embarrassed to admit to? I know you are out there. 🙂 Anonymous replies welcome.