Monday, March 31, 2008
This economic analysis made me smile and it also makes a whole pile of sense.
Perhaps the increasing voice power of True Majority will bring some long needed action as to the re-distribution of such enormous tax payer funds.
Did you hear about the protest of the little people at Bear Stearns?
Hell! They're sick and tired and not going to take it anymore! Yeah!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Ella Fitzgerald sings in Germany, 1975.
I don't know how long it had been since I heard a live version of this song. But I did yesterday, at a small venue on Roncesvalle Avenue in Toronto. A late afternoon performance by a very talented singer by the name of James Christopher who had one of those voices like Mel Torme - best described as 'smoky velvet'.
It is one of my favourites. Written way before I was even born (I know, I know, pre-Cambrian times!). Ella was 68 when she performed this version. Ill with diabetes, nearly blind, but the voice, one of the most remarkable ever, still intact and luscious.
I never tire of her. Often on long journeys in my car I will play all of her greats. Stormy Weather seems appropriate for these times, the uncertain state of the planet -the unastable regions, the climate change, the (perhaps) Peak Oil situation and the overall economic instability.
Friday, March 28, 2008
With a hat-tip to one of my favourite reads BART COP
1. Bush: End of an Error
2. That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
3. Let's Fix Democracy in this Country First
4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6. If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
7. Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant
8. Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10 Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
11. America : One Nation, Under Surveillance
12. They Call Him 'W' So He Can Spell It
13. Whose God Do You Kill For?
14. Jail to the Chief
15. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq ?
16. Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
17. Bad President! No Banana.
18. We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
19. We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
20. Is It Vietnam Yet?
21. Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
22. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Hand basket?
23. You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
24. Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
25. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
26. Pray For Impeachment
27. The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
28. What Part of 'Bush Lied' Don't You Understand?
29. One Nation Under Clod
30. 2004: Embarrassed. 2005: Horrified. 2006: Terrified
31. Bush Never Exhaled
32. At Least Nixon Resigned
33. Bombing for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Republican Plot at St. Finbarr's Cemetery, Cork
It was 1961 in Cork City. Life was very peaceful. There was an enormous pride in one of our own, John F. Kennedy, being President of the U.S.
I had been to a dance at the university with a boyfriend. We were both very young but very much into the bands of the era who would play all the favourites, the rock ‘n roll, the slow dances, the fox trots, the jiving. Dancing was really big then. You could go to a dance every night in Cork. There was an innocence to us all.
I hadn’t even heard of drugs and I wasn’t what you would call sheltered either as I was involved in theatre and folk-singing so if there were some drugs around I would have been offered them.
Alternative life-styles were so far removed from me that it came as an awful shock when a very famous female singer propositioned me. I had read of lesbians but had never known any.
I'm mentioning all of this to show how very uncomplicated and naive I was.
In those days, after eleven at night there were no buses and as we were always broke, no money for cabs either so we would walk home. Often a boyfriend lived at the other side of the city but he would walk a girlfriend home and then walk all the way back to his place. Kisses were the most on offer then. French kisses if you were going steady.
So B and I walked along after the dance, holding hands, talking. As we turned a corner of the road, nearing the cemetery, always a very lonely, eerie place at that hour of the night, the world seemed to explode and the ground trembled. B pulled me against a wall and we were both paralysed for what seemed like hours. Everything went still and we didn’t move until we heard the sounds of sirens in the distance. Then we cautiously moved away from the wall, not exchanging a word, and slowly walked along the Glasheen road towards the graveyard.
The explosion had come from the cemetery, that was immediately clear. Just inside the huge gates. There was smoke and blood and body limbs everywhere, it seemed. And a dreadful, unforgettable smell. The Gardai - the Irish police - arrived and quickly took control of the situation, cordoning off the graveyard and shunting B & I and what was now a sizeable gathering off to the side and briefly taking notes from each of us on what had happened.
We didn’t want to hang around. I was in shock, shaking badly and nauseated. We woke my parents up when we got home though it was by that time two o’clock in the morning.
My mother gave both of us a shot of brandy, the cure-all for shock in those days and then B went home.
The following morning the Cork Examiner had the headline. It was an IRA engineered “shock and awe” effort that had gone horribly wrong. An offensive monument was the target for the IRA operatives but instead they had blown themselves up, leaving the monument virtually intact.
The incident still haunts some of my dreams, another minute and we would have been injured, or dead that night.
But more than that, when I think of Iraqis and the constant barrage of explosions and gunfire, every hour, every day as they move about their lives, my heart sympathizes. I was there. If only for a minute in time.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
I print this in its entirety as Michael Moore says it so well~
So? ... A Note from Michael Moore
Monday, March 24th, 2008
It would have to happen on Easter Sunday, wouldn't it, that the 4,000th American soldier would die in Iraq. Play me that crazy preacher again, will you, about how maybe God, in all his infinite wisdom, may not exactly be blessing America these days. Is anyone surprised?
4,000 dead. Unofficial estimates are that there may be up to 100,000 wounded, injured, or mentally ruined by this war. And there could be up to a million Iraqi dead. We will pay the consequences of this for a long, long time. God will keep blessing America.
And where is Darth Vader in all this? A reporter from ABC News this week told Dick Cheney, in regards to Iraq, "two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting." Cheney cut her off with a one word answer: "So?"
"So?" As in, "So what?" As in, "F*** you. I could care less."
I would like every American to see Cheney flip the virtual bird at the them, the American people. Click here and pass it around. Then ask yourself why we haven't risen up and thrown him and his puppet out of the White House.
The Democrats have had the power to literally pull the plug on this war for the past 15 months -- and they have refused to do so. What are we to do about that? Continue to sink into our despair? Or get creative? Real creative. I know there are many of you reading this who have the chutzpah and ingenuity to confront your local congressperson. Will you? For me?
Cheney spent Wednesday, the 5th anniversary of the war, not mourning the dead he killed, but fishing off the Sultan of Oman's royal yacht. So? Ask your favorite Republican what they think of that.
The Founding Fathers would never have uttered the presumptuous words, "God Bless America." That, to them, sounded like a command instead of a request, and one doesn't command God, even if they are America. In fact, they were worried God would punish America. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington feared that God would react unfavorably against his soldiers for the way they were behaving. John Adams wondered if God might punish America and cause it to lose the war, just to prove His point that America was not worthy. They and the others believed it would be arrogant on their part to assume that God would single out America for a blessing. What a long road we have traveled since then.
I see that Frontline on PBS this week has a documentary called "Bush's War." That's what I've been calling it for a long time. It's not the "Iraq War." Iraq did nothing. Iraq didn't plan 9/11. It didn't have weapons of mass destruction. It DID have movie theaters and bars and women wearing what they wanted and a significant Christian population and one of the few Arab capitals with an open synagogue.
But that's all gone now. Show a movie and you'll be shot in the head. Over a hundred women have been randomly executed for not wearing a scarf. I'm happy, as a blessed American, that I had a hand in all this. I just paid my taxes, so that means I helped to pay for this freedom we've brought to Baghdad. So? Will God bless me?
God bless all of you in this Easter Week as we begin the 6th year of Bush's War.
God help America. Please.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
A heated debate was going on over at Grandad’s blog and continued at Nick’s, and others’ too, perhaps!
It inspired me to write both a lengthy response to what Grandad wrote but also to write a post of my own.
The pen is mightier than the sword. I would say the pen, or keyboard, has razor edges to it.
Some people are anti-PC, that little “politically correct" adjective that has insinuated itself into our language. Some have it all mixed up with the right to use any words they choose, words like “golliwog”, “mick”, “paddy”, “redneck”, etc. Derogatory, horrible words that go far behind the few letters I put down here. I don’t need to spell them out for anyone.
Us women have fought long and hard to have generic words like chairperson, fisher and firefighter put into the language to make all these jobs accessible to us. (I’m old, they weren’t you know. You’re welcome.) You call that PC? Terrific!
They say the PC police are out to take Christmas away and St. Patrick’s day away and even Easter. Well no one’s out to take anything away but there is certainly a need to recognise other cultures in our midst who do not have their special feasts recognised. What about thinking of PC as adding something to all of us! An enhancement. Try Ramadan just once! Or Hannukah! Just think about it.
For isn’t this how most of the trouble in the world begins? The lack of tolerance for others’ beliefs, customs, gods, women, gays?
There are no easy answers to any of it. I don’t know what it is like to live in a country where the Christian traditions are not honoured. I would probably feel extremely alienated (and alone) in Israel or India. I would miss Christmas (even though I know longer call myself a Christian).
I was brought up in a household where the most appalling words were thrown at children on a regular basis. Words I had to look up in the dictionary. Words that damaged and wounded to the core. Words that still live on fifty years later. There are no expiry dates on words like those.
I have beloved gay friends that can’t walk down a street without some epithet being flung from a car or a passerby while I walk down a street in freedom.
"Handle with care" should be written on every word before it leaves the keyboard or mouth.
Call me a bitch. It’s the new black.
And to read more insight on words, please go to Jenny at South Belfast Diary for a great post.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I love cruising my fellow bloggers, some I visit daily, some weekly.
This particular blogger never fails to bring me hope. For years he has festooned the highways and biways of California with some powerful banners, a wake-up call to the slumbering drivers beneath. Some are funny, some are artful. Some are sharp and to the point.
He has inspired others to do the same. His messages reach countless people who would not be reached in any other way.
If there is any hope for the U.S. it comes in the shape of people like him. He gives me hope.
I urge you to go visit him!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I heard on CBC the other night that new mobile phones have been designed with an optional built in taser.
I think this new mobile product puts every other cellphone in the shade.
My particular favourites are the built in thermometer and the post-theft self-destruct feature.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It seems to me like I've written on these topics ad nauseum but there is always something to add.
During some lean years I had a weekend job as an operator in an answering service. Doctors, lawyers, locksmiths, taxi services and escort services were the clients.
During those weekends I developed a rapport of trust with these 'escorts' whilst dispensing their outcalls. What euphemisms are used by the press for this, the oldest 'profession'. No one can bear to call prostitution what it is, we dress it up in "high priced call-girls" and "professional escorts". Without exception all these working women I dealt with were hooked on cocaine.
Profession it ain't. The word profession means a modicum of respectability, a level of respect. None of which are present in the sordid transactions of the purchasing of sex for cash.
I was reminded of this in the fall from grace of Eliot Spitzer. How does he reconcile his participation in the degradation of a woman while being the father of two daughters not much younger than the woman he raped for a fee? And rape it is. There is no love, it is merely the purchase of a masturbatory-tube. Offered for sale by a more than likely addict, herself abused and demeaned in the past. No one would sell herself in this way without some sad story.
I know. I talked to enough of these women whether $500 a night or $100 a blowjob. It was all about pain - incest, abandonment, addiction, lack of educational opportunities.
And the epithet 'whore' being slung around by the oh-so-highminded MSM? She is further dehumanized. The rape doesn't stop with Eliot.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I love the game of follow the money. For anything political particularly.
I was intrigued by the humiliating take down of the former Governor of New York. Especially knowing that very few politicos are exempt from extra-marital perks be it hetero or straight, be it paid for in one way or another - cash or kind. And so many of the sleazy doings of those in power never get exposed or lie in wait for a decent post-mortem stretch of time (see KFK, LBJ et al). You have to really spit (ye gads, pardon the pun!) in the face of a big cheese to get punished this hugely (see Clinton).
So what was happening at the same time as Eliot's big fall from grace? The bailout of a private company (Bear Stearns along with a nifty assist to JP Morgan)) by the Federal Reserve.
And sure enough the dots start connecting:
This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.
How? Follow the money.
The press has swallowed Wall Street’s line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That’s blaming the victim.
Read (and weep) all about it here in Eliot's Mess.
They got Eliot real good, huh?
And as a side track, though an admirer and fan of anything Beatle, I had a small and private chuckle at how much Paul paid for each boink of his marriage. A million dollars? A half million? That Mucca sure costed our Macca, big time.
Elliot’s courtesan is beginning to look like a bargain.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Oh Aretha, when you sang:
(oo) What you want
(oo) Baby, I got
(oo) What you need
(oo) Do you know I got it?
(oo) All I'm askin'
(oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)
Did you know you could never demand it? You had to earn it, girl!
And you have to give it too. Just about all the time.
We were talking about this the other day, my eldest brother and I. Respect. He has had a difficult and painful divorce from his ex-wife and is now involved with a new partner. He had to break uncomfortable news (for her) to his ex-wife and his adult children who are scattered all over Europe while he lives in the Middle East. He chose to plane hop to each and every one to tell them this news face-to-face rather than on the phone or e-mail. His ex-wife tolerated him for eight minutes (he clocked it) in her house before showing him both her fury and the door. He knew it would be difficult and awkward but said any other way would be cowardly, he owed her respect. She is the mother of his children. My respect for my brother is even more immeasurable.
A dear friend was in court some years back. He was going through an extremely antagonistic divorce and his wife's lawyer kept pushing her claim on their wealth higher and higher. He was getting angrier and angrier until it suddenly hit him that the scene that was unfolding was not about the money as much as about the death of the dream they had together. He needed to respect that dream even though she detested it (and him). He said to his shocked lawyer, "Whatever she is demanding now, add $50,000 to it". After protesting, his lawyer did so and the silence in the courtroom seemed to last for five minutes before everyone signed off and left. And a few years down the road when she developed cancer, he was the first person she called.
I was reminded tonight over dinner that my irritation with a very dear friend of forty years was just that - irritation at her carelessness, at her inattention, at her lack of get up and go. It had nothing to do with her, but everything to do with my intolerance and impatience. She deserved love from me. And I gave it to her and meant it. I stopped riding her on her deficiencies and paid attention to the pain in her life which was then freely shared with me once my judgemental barriers were removed.
And as I write this I reflect on how the world would be if more respect were shown, like Obama respecting Hillary and vice-versa, and Bush respecting everybody - how good would that be?
Much of our trouble would surely be over.
Friday, March 14, 2008
A long time ago I saw a woman interviewed on TV, I can't recall her name, but she had a fair degree of fame, and was a leading feminist in her time.
But I sure remember the following exchange of dialogue, recalled as best I can:
"Looking back on your life what do you regret most?"
"I regret not being born a man."
Interviewer (male) completely shocked.
"Why on earth with all your accomplishments as a woman would you say that?"
"Well, us women you see always carry around in our heads far too many open boxes. At any one time we can have 8,9,10 boxes open. The what's for dinner box, the oh I need to do laundry box, the why was he in such a bad mood when he left for work this morning box, the why isn't Kimmy doing well at school box, the what is the deadline for this project I'm working on box, the Mum is getting older and forgetful box. You get the picture? Now a man only has one box open at a time. A much better way of living. When he's at work, that's it. He has the work box open. At my age, I'm completely exhausted from having so many boxes open all the time".
I could so relate to her at the time I saw this, being a working single mom then and envying the men I worked with who seemed to deal with life a lot better than I did. Who were far more focussed.
It was one of those moments that explained the wiring of women's and men's brains so well.
I imagine it must be based on our primitive past. The men focussed on the hunt, the women on the cooking, children, clothing, firemaking, wall decor for the cave, etc.
This post was inspired by the above cartoon, why I don't know. Maybe because my boxes are overflowing at times and I'm losing my nouns :>)
I did a web search on this phenomenon of too many boxes and nothing came to light.
I'll be very interested in the comments.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
It is an interesting aspect of us human species. The biggest rant in someone's life is usually their biggest secret.
I don't even have to get into Elliott Spitzer, ex-Governor of New York - he who condemned prostitution rings and money laundering crimes, ad nauseum.
And now we have Sally Kernwho condemned gays in the most appalling spiel of lies and hate. She is a government official and is a state representative of Oklahoma. It turns out she has a gay son. Wonder what he thinks of Mama's virulent spew.
I think of Mark Foley, a member of the committee to protect underaged pages from predators. Himself a predator.
I think of "Wide Stance" Larry Craig, proudly anti-gay legislation. Himself, well--
I think of Conrad Black, a bragging self-made man, anti-welfare state, now living in taxpayer supported jail.
And the New Jersey Governor James McGreevey who angrily opposed the proposed gay rights marriage legislation. Himself now an outed gay man. And ex-governor.
And let's not forget Hitler with all that jewish blood inside him.
Too many to think about.
Listen closely the next time you hear somebody yell in hatred from any kind of podium.....
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This was a serious WTF? when I saw and heard this.
This pathetic cretin shows his true colours joking about Brownie and Scooter and Harriet and Cheney and the destruction of the incriminating documents.
It truly beggars disbelief that he could sink so low with not only the blood of the million and climbing Iraqis on his hands but the dead of Katrina as well. Along with outing Valerie Plame, etc. etc.
It was all just a little old joke to him, see. Worth creating a song for.
It gives off a truly gruesome stink, maybe reminiscent of Nazi Germany? Fascist Italy?
And his slavering sycophants, jumping to their feet in applause? Haven't we seen all this before in other fascist regimes? Then why are the majority of us so silent?
And impeachment is "off the table"?
We are all wearing the blue dress now.
Excuse me while I......
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
It used to be that my whole life was about this attachment thing. I used to joke that anything or anyone I ever let go of had scratch marks all over it. I would think it was a sign of love, a sign of well-to-do-ness. I loved my Mustang, my one and only, champagne coloured, I went out and bought a whole outfit, including shoes, to match the Mustang. I thought I was made in my Mustang. That feeling lasted about a week.
Is it a youthful thing, then, this attachment? I would yearn for the country of my birth so badly, I was rarely happy where I actually placed my feet. I dreamed of living somewhere else, being anywhere else but here and now.
I was scared to let go of a sad marriage or a sorry relationship, what would be at the other side of it? Fear of the unknown was huge to me. It was better to be in something I knew than to face the stark horror of the yawning chasm.
But now I have found the unknown is the best place to be. The very edge of my comfort zone is the happiest place.
I got to mulling all of this over today, someone asked me how it was to live in the place where I am at the moment when absolutely none of the stuff in this house is mine. It is pretty stuff, expensive stuff, but all that I own here are my laptop and my books and my clothes.
"Immensely freeing," I responded, "I'm not attached to anything here".
I thought I was attached to my house in Toronto, the one I sold last May. I had invested time and money and love in that house. But really what it all boiled down to was that I couldn't love a house. I could love the various events that took place there, the dinner parties and the brunches and the lovers. I am surprised by how much I don't miss the house itself. No attachment.
I'm attached to my daughters, I would venture, and to my granddaughter. But I find it hard to get attached to any potential partner, no matter how attractive or interesting. And friends have come and gone over the years, some have died, others have moved on or I have moved from them. I cherish the long term friends but attachment? I don't think so. Not really.
I'm even less attached to outcomes, I don't chase possibility or being somewhere and being seen. I live inside my own head more. It's becoming a better place. I took away the alcohol and the nicotine to clear out more space. I filled it with books and pictures and short stories and poems and some crafty things and some of the old songs and stories of my grandparents. And some pictures too, mainly of the ocean. We're all comfy in there. I could divest myself of the cream buns and the sausages perhaps. I can dream of running again sometimes, another half-marathon. Or about the play I've been asked to write. Or the next novel.
That's one of the hidden pleasures of getting older. This freedom. This non-attachment. Just letting life drift around one's ankles. Less fighting, less importance placed on what can't be changed.
It is truly a feeling of getting to know oneself all over again and not giving a damn what anyone else thinks. I like it. I really do.
Picture is of St. Vincent's, Newfoundland where the whales come in to play.
Friday, March 07, 2008
pro·cras·ti·nate /proʊˈkræstəˌneɪt, prə-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[proh-kras-tuh-neyt, pruh-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing.
–verb (used without object) 1. to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.
–verb (used with object) 2. to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.
Does anyone have a cure for this deadly disease?
· I’ve tried all the self-help I can stomach.
· I’ve tried timers, lists, rewards and punishments
· Both positive and negative reinforcement.
· Mediation, meditation, journaling, praying, committing to another as to tasking.
· I’ve tried cleaning up the workspace.
· Reviewing the task list every day and picking three to tick off before doing anything else.
My task list gets longer and longer so that the bottom keeps vanishing beneath the computer screen like someone drowning.
Everyone treats it as a kind of joke, ha-ha.
But the consequences are a form of chaos that does not sit well with me. Piles of well- paying work littering the office. Three briefcases full of work sitting outside the office door.
Piles to the left of me, piles to the right of me and I’m stuck in the middle – with my procrastinating self.
And all I want to do is read some back issues of The New Yorker, or one of the three books I’ve started:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
Surfacing, Margaret Atwood (a re-read for me)
Easier than you think, Sylvia Boorstein
Or, head off to see “In Bruges” which I hear is a damn fine movie
Or, work on chapter outlines for the great Newfoundland novel.
Or whine away in my journal about how backlogged and hopeless I feel.
Or get on the phone and whine to friends.
Or write a blog entry and whine……….
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
But hell!! Not one piece of positive reportage did I read on Hillary in the last three months, apart from the odd little Erica Jong type piece. (That means you MSM, Huffington, Maureen Dowd, KOS, Consortium News and the biggest letdown of all Keith Olbermann).
All the main stream media were like Rotweilers on a kitten. They literally shredded her face, her voice, her marriage, her child, her legs, her hair, her message.
And a free pass was offered to her opponent, the charismatic but empty Barack Obama.
So in spite of all this fugly, vicious snark, SHE WINS, SHE WINS????
In truly real numbers because the sheeple watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC, how truly humongous are her victories?
Is anybody asking this question, eh media??
PS FOR THOSE INTERESTED, I AM POSTING HRC'S SPEECH WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS HERE, JUST IN CASE THERE IS ANY DOUBT AS TO WHERE HER BELIEF SYSTEM IS.
Monday, March 03, 2008
This is the most heartbreaking video I have seen in a long, long time. I cried and cried.
I come from a country which honours its citizens' health and welfare. A country whose greatest Canadian, as voted for by its citizens, is the late Tommy Douglas, the founder of Canadian universal health care.
Remote Area Medical, a wonderful volunteer organization, were medically helping people in the remote corners of the Third World but decided that the citizens of the U.S.A. desperately needed its medical care not only for the millions and millions of people without health care but also for those WITH healthcare who cannot afford the deductible or have been denied coverage on the flimsiest of excuses.
I weep because in most countries in the world we take our free medical care for granted and don't realize that in the huge U.S.A. thousands of people are bankrupting and dying and in pain every single day for the lack of it.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
I think sanity is a matter of perception and degree. Same for insanity - like obsessive-compulsive disorders or OCDs - excessive hand washing or germ- and other phobias. I remember the old definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And milder forms, almost slipping under the fence post so to speak, of chatting to oneself or counting compulsively. I have ruminated on this topic for a while having been on both sides of this shaky line, I believe. What is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour after all is a very thin line - apart from the screaming obvious of running naked down the street at midnight and howling at the moon as you do so.
I am reminded of human mental fragility in the days I spend working in my office, which is on the second floor of the house in which I’m temporarily residing. There is a fine view of a similar large house across the way in this refined, quiet neighbourhood a little north of Toronto. I am privy to the comings and goings of the man of this house who is always attired in unfashionable baggy light jeans topped by a worn jacket that would have looked hip in the cheering section of high school basket ball games forty years ago. This man fills his days with trips to shops. Often up to eight times a day. I say shops because he comes back from his short journeys and climbs out of the car (he always drives, this being the true ‘burbs) holding a little bag of whatever and marches importantly into his house hoisting it aloft. The car is left on the driveway during the day to facilitate another trip, because that always follows, as night follows day. He scoots out again within an hour and heads off for another ten or fifteen minutes and comes back, once again triumphant, holding another little bag.
Now the fact that I watch this performance with such avidity brings my own sanity into question. The fact that I write about it would be a strong case for determining my own mental health as well.
But he reminds me of something which is tickling at the edge of my memory and it finally comes to the surface today and I ponder on the – as I call them – Eleanor Rigby kind of lives that people do live everywhere, whether in mansions, lofts, apartments or rooming houses.
I had a dear friend, now passed, who loved nothing better than to cook for me, usually down-home food (he was from the heartland of New Brunswick) and he lived on the twenty-first floor of a high-rise. One night he passed me his binoculars and told me to have a look over at the building next door, at a floor just beneath ours. I was astonished to see a woman, dressed completely in black, lit by the naked lights above her, pacing the whole length of her apartment from kitchen to bedroom and back again in full view of her uncovered windows. He told me she would do that from when she got home from her day, around six, until eleven when all her lights would go out, one by one, leaving her in complete darkness.
Killing time. Afraid to be still. Being busy, oh so busy. Keeping the black dog at bay. We all have our methods.