24 April 2007

24 April -- Awake and Aging

The terms 'aging' and 'growing old' carry more negative connotations than positive ones. Used as adjectives in throw-away phrases such as "the aging infrastructure" and "that joke is getting old" reinforces the claim that the Western English lexicon treats these as unfavourable conditions. In fact, if one were to try to say anything uplifting while using these exemplars of existential exits, then one would have to tack on a modifier such as "gracefully", or construct a flattering simile ("like a fine wine," etc.)--especially when describing people. People don't like being thought of as useless or of limited use. It upsets them. Indeed, it no doubt expedites the very process they're trying to overcome (or to at least ignore). If nobody needs you, what's the point of sticking around (unless, of course, you're sticking around out of sheer stubbornness and the dark desire to piss off everybody else [which is fair enough, actually. Some of the oldest individuals in the worlds are fueled only by hatred and revenge. It demands some admiration.])?

How frustrating it must be for those who are aging and growing old to witness the very actions that put them in rest homes being reinforced by the obscenely young. Junior does a poopie doodie and the room explodes with applause like he's just back-flipped onto daddy's shoulders. But God forbid grandpa lets slide a little squirt; he'd be checked in to Larkspur before he could say 'Depends.' Junior draws a picture with brown crayons and drool, and mommy has it framed. Grandpa's handwriting gets squiggly, and he's medicated. There is something about coming full circle that seems to cause anxiety for those in the middle of the loop. Those at the beginning and end, however, are just happy to be here.

Surely there is something we can learn from the aging and old. There must be some wisdom we can glean from those for whom stories trump bills in order of importance. When you hands are un-still and your blue eyes fade; when dinner's at four and the skin on your head sleeps gently down your face; when your life and your memories meet each other before you and shake hands, it is time to sit down and give someone a little advice. For if you wait too long, you will find yourself in the arms of your mother--awake and learning; aging and growing old.

12 April 2007

12 April

Morning screamed into existence with a shrill southerly, but hours later was calm; its howling subsided and stillness all that remained. In the French bakery on The Terrace, a blonde barrista wipes a strand of hair from her face and opens a window facing the footpath. Two businessmen carrying umbrellas walk briskly past, but her eyes don't catch them. Instead, she looks upward and over the buildings across the street. The hills rise in the distance, atop which trees catch the last cold breezes as the wind changes direction. She puts her hands on her hips and closes her eyes. A shot of sunlight breaks through a hole in the clouds, sweeping a few windows before it is quashed. Summer has all but fully lost its grip now, and the decent into Autumn is met with little resistance. We are tired, and there is something alluring about spending the dark evenings together--how mugs clank in a quiet pub or the sound of rain when you're next to a slow-paced fire--that makes losing the light no bad, not so bad at all.

10 April 2007

10 April--Don't mean to be political, but . . .

Today, Jamie stumbled upon a very disturbing blog. It relays the story of Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University. Upon arriving at the airport on his way to attend an academic conference, he was detained and told he could not board. After a brief conversation with the check-in clerk, he learned he was denied because he had given a speech critical of George W. Bush and was subsequently added to a "terrorist watch list."

Professor Murphy is a hero of the Korean War.

George W. Bush dodged the draft.

Read more here.

06 April 2007

6 April

Jamie taste-tested two fair trade organic coffees, and wrote about them on his other blog, Duck and Cover. In his opinion, the test is scientifically sound, but you may want to check for yourself. Read it here.

02 April 2007

2 April--Hidden Treasure

While deleting old photos and videos from his phone, Jamie discovered this little easter egg taken by his brother, John, during his visit over Christmas.