January 9th, 2006
Meh, all this night and I can't sleep.
We went to bed early (8pm) because relsqui was tired. Today's the last day we have the apartment to ourselves. So much for clothing-optional days.
Danny's coming back. He believes he'll be able to start paying some part of rent again. I hope so. I have big plans ahead of me.
Lots of reading and events have made me a bit introspective. I'm starting to notice little things about getting older. When I was 8, I remember going to see my maternal grandparents. It was as wintry a night as ever comes in LA (read: still quite a pleasant summer evening by European standards) and I was wearing this Dodgers T-shirt. I remember my grandfather pointing out that it was cold outside and that the only thing I had going for my health right then was youth. He remarked that the shirt was a very thin shirt and couldn't be keeping me very warm.
At the time, I didn't really understand what he was getting at. I felt fine. The slightly cold air was bracing and I enjoyed it. It was rare in those days for me to wear a jacket. Recently, I've rarely gone out without a jacket. I always wear one on my morning commute. It makes me realize that my youth is in some respects quickly being spent. I have to consciously remind myself that this is to be expected and to do the things I enjoy (which I do).
There's very few things that I'd rather do right now than woolgather about this on the couch in the front room with the kittens. Meg is cuddled against my leg and the couch and wrapped up into a ball. Tera is behind me on the back of the couch, laying down by the Christmas lights. I'm surrounded by people I'd be only too happy to spend the rest of my life with, and so, in that sense, I've done well.
While I'm only rarely accused of being attractive, I enjoy occasionally flirting with girls. I have a much older acquaintance (+20 years) who does this and it makes me feel as though I'm rapidly developing into an unpleasant person. Every time I read of a friend receiving unwanted attention from a member of the opposite sex, I wonder how many times someone's just been polite with me.
It seems like it's been a long time since Sam's been over and a few comments of relsqui's made me aware of this a few nights ago. I wonder if the friends who I find attractive find me attractive. I wonder and fantasize on occasion.
In the end, I identify the majority of my desires as bollocks. I'm talking about levels which are damn near the top of Maslow's pyramid. I live comfortably and try my best to live well (although there's a few occasions in mind which make me question whether or not I'm a good citizen in the social sense. Mostly the investigation and partly my disquiet the other evening). Bits like Tookie Williams' execution make me think about all the good I do which is poisoned by little things that I do.
Every so often this develops into a severe loathing. Nothing like I used to have (thankfully, I conquered those demons long ago), but it's difficult sometimes to not see myself as a pathetic pile of flesh of no particular redeeming value. It's all the little deceptions that all this scrutiny makes me think I've done at times.
Returning to my long-discarded Jewish roots, I hold that the greatest mitzvah is tikkun olam (roughly transliterated and translated as "fixing the world). I've had so damn many people tell me that I have the ability, and as a result, I feel a tremendous sense of duty and a tremendous fear of not fulfilling it. I do good things every opportunity I have, but none of them are permanent. None of them are truly fixing the world, they're simply facilitating the lives of others. I support 4 people right now and I'd gladly support more were it in my means. I've read a great many characters that have the apparent same motivations and I aspire to be like them in some small way.
Incidentally, Meg -- who was wandering around -- just came back down to sleep curled up with my knee. The expression of trust is heart warming. It makes me realize how much of love is trust and fills me with a warmth that I provide her and her sister with a fairly comfortable place to live, medical attention should it be required, a clean place to defecate, an endless supply of attention, and a constant stream of food and water.
Occasionally, that's all I want out of life and I forget myself into thinking that's good enough.
stonesundial at one point said that I'm a "wise, techie love machine". I've given the appearance of all three at various times in my life, but at the moment, I feel almost anything but. I try and live a child's existence, but there's too many responsibilities in me. Indeed, I never really took off Puck's makeup so many years ago, but I recognize it as a facade a lot. Not in the sense of fooling people, but in the sense of being someone else.
I wish I could write something longer than a few pages. I wish I could write a decent plot. I hope I can find the time to do that and express these thoughts in more meaningful ways than extended diatribes which might make one suspect I'm the typical LJ user.
I counsel people often in various matters (side note:kalisphoenix once said of me that I'd make a great bartender). I enjoy doing it. Partly because I enjoy helping friends. Partly because I enjoy helping people. Partly because it reminds me that I'm able to help people. I'm conscious however that I haven't received advice in quite some time. I can't help but think that I'm developing into a monoculture. An amalgum of all my experiences and am no longer adding to them and truly growing. I deeply need a nice long chat with someone. To pour out my life in front of them and analyze it all for the good, the bad, the ugly, and after we're done rearranging it all, to laugh at it. Laugh long and hard at the person I've become. Levity is such a part of who I try to be that there ought to be more of it directed at me.
I've put forth enough. I'm going to pick up Meg and head off to bed again. With any luck, I'll get some more sleep.
Oh -- in other news, we saw The Chronicles of Narnia this evening. I haven't read the books (yes, I know, I'm a pathetic fan of C.S. Lewis and lived but a shadow of a child's existence), but I greatly enjoyed the film. Although it resolves, I do hope they'll continue and make more.
We saw Secretary last night. I didn't think it was very good. I think part of the reason it bothered me was that it seemed like the male character takes advantage of her, so it's hard to see the ending as sweet.
(EDIT: when I saw how voluminous my writing was on the friends page, I moved the cut farther along)
Ignoring all the deep stuff (predictably): I love Secretary. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Stop being such a silly pants with your "taking advantage" stuff - sometimes thats fun :-)
Oh, and "wise"? Pfft.
See, I can do deep too.
/me wanders off to buy shoes.
No, no. It's not the sadomasochism stuff that makes me think that. It's the fact that he uses it to substitute for her cutting herself and treating it as a solution for that problem she has.
No, no, no. Thats not a substitution. He uses the power he has over her to stop her from cutting herself.
All the people in her life, all the therapy she's been through and all he does is tells her to stop, and she stops. All the other stuff is her enjoying his power over her. Methinks, anyway. I did last see it months and months ago. As we know things can get muddled in my brain.
IIRC, he tells her to stop cutting herself before he starts in on her. That suggests to me that she doesn't stop, so much as substitute the sadism her employer inflicts upon her.
Some interpret fulfilling "tikkun olam" by being true to yourself and doing what you really want to do in life, not necessarily by leaving a permanent mark. When we are happy with ourselves, we are more inclined to help others. It's a natural flow, man!
On another note, the books in The Chronicles Of Narnia are all semi-unrelated stories, so they could easily make more even though it resolved. I wouldn't recommend reading the books now; I have a hunch they only appeal to children (as the last time I picked them up was 8 or 9 years ago).
Ahh, theology, is it? Let me put on my guaranteed-to-be-stoned-in-Jerusalem armchair rabbi kippah...OK!
You seem to be taking the kabbalic interpretation, so let's start with that. In the Zohar, tikkun olam is posited as making do for the unstable nature of the universe. It's effectively patching the holes which appeared because the universe could not contain the holy light of G-d. Every mitzvah helps to this end. This ought to be distinguised from things which may lead to mitzvot. Cork does not hammer itself into the dam, after all.
While you aren't going to have black marks against you in the book of life for such actions (Judaism is very good about forgiveness), one can't really define that as helping to make the universe more permanent and finishing the work which G-d started.
Of course, this seems like the perfect excuse to call G-d a lazy bastard. After all, he took the 7th day off!
As for Narnia, I expect they're still fairly accesible to me. relsqui
tells me that the movie was quite heavy-handed compared to the books. It wouldn't surprise me -- C.S. Lewis was a wonderful writer and children's stories are still fairly accessible for me, judging by Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins. ; )
I remember that book!
I was raised Reformed, and they basically told us "do whatever you think is good for yourself or others and it's tikkun olam". Was just passing that loose definition along. :P
Fortunately for me, so did relsqui
. She's been trying to fill in the gaps in my childhood while I've been trying to fill in the gaps in her adulthood.
Incidentally, I too was raised reform. About the time I hit Jr. High I decided that it was for the birds and started really digging into religious philosophy. The phrase "tikkun olam" didn't really mean anything to me until I relearned Hebrew and studied some of the varied translations (e.g. thou shalt not suffer a poisoner
to live, not a witch!)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I came out of it as an agnostic. It wasn't until the night before a paper was due that I became an atheist. ; )
Heh... I remember that book (Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins)! I remember liking it but being sort of confused about Hanukkah.
What's to be confused about?
I love Herschel and the Hannukah Goblins. I reread it at Borders the other day for the first time in probably ten years. The part that I remembered best before doing so was the egg/rock ruse. Weird how relatively unimportant incidents in a story stick with a person even if the general plot is forgotten.
O, and, if you ever want to take the time to pour your life out in front of me, feel free ; )
Hey, you're the one who took the time to read it ; )
Just be glad it wasn't about my sex life!
Well, I have offered you advice, and it hasn't been that long. ];-)
You know the loop:
1 -- Strive to do the right thing.
2 -- Continuously learn to inform your understanding of what the right thing is.
And on relationships: Most people "get" love -- but all too often, fail to realize the vital importance of respect. This, ultimately, costs them love.
===|==============/ Level Head
This is the second most I've ever heard you say about yourself that I can recall. The most is from the first time we hung out (I think) while sitting in your van in the Stevenson circle. Thanks for posting this.
I like the phrase "woolgather."
|Date:||January 23rd, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)|| |
I can't say I recall that particular occasion, but I'm generally an open book. Getting me talk about myself is as simple as asking.
I have to admit -- the etymology of 'woolgather' has escaped me. One would assume it has something to do with the monotony of shearing sheep, but that doesn't quite convince me.