Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lesson 18. On Family, Moving Out, and Moving on.

I live with my parents.

What began as a small move, to enable Chris and I to go on our tour of Europe without paying exorbitant rent on top of exorbitant hotel bills, has turned into a lifestyle of sorts.

We actually find it suits us.

But we feel guilty about it, and I am not certain why.

I feel in so many ways like it has been only since I got a little older that I appreciate my parents. I understand how cheeky I was as a teenager and no longer want to fight about playing my music loudly at bedtime or cleaning up after myself. And since the near constant struggle to find myself has been replaced with an attempt to be myself (and maybe like myself) I think they find it easier to anticipate my reactions to normal queries. Which makes things easier.

But I know that I am not supposed to be here. And I am not supposed to be okay with this.

It's weird but it makes me think of Mrs. Bennett. Striving her whole life to get her daughters married and then crying when they leave her.

When I first told my parents I was getting married, my mom did not respond well. She was more or less concerned that just as we were starting to get along, I was going to leave her and never come back.

Now, instead, I think when the time finally comes, she will realize that we will survive the separation.

And for now, we will enjoy our movie nights and arguments over the menu.

And when people ask me why we live with them, I will continue to tell that that it's "to take care of them" while secretly knowing that there is something special to being as ancient as I am and still having people take care of me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lesson 17: Not with a bang, but with a whimper

Chris wanted me to try out this new type of presentation (called prezi).

Because of this, I spent a lot more time this week with TS Eliot than I ordinarily would have.

We bonded.

We argued.

An he got me to consider rereading Heart of Darkness. Because maybe, just maybe 17 year old me missed something.

But mostly, Eliot just made me sad.

I can deal with idiots full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Idiots have bang.

What I can't deal with is the whimper.

I want Eliot to hang out with Thomas and his dying father. I am all about raging.

But whimpering?

Not for me.

So when only one of my students got mad at the poem, I got sad again.

The majority sat there saying - this is true. this is inevitable. we can't stop this.

But one student just said - this is stupid.

And it's weird, because I know that academia and the world of intellectualism scoffs at comments like that.

Especially comments like that about Eliot.

And they sneer and say things about opiates of the masses or the unbelievable naivete of youth.

But I thought he was BANG on.

I think I prefer Whitman.

All of his YAWPING and celebrating self, strutting his grey beard down Manhattan.

I prefer him.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lesson 16: Soup's On!

Eventually, I suppose, it all comes down to soup.

Physically - I have always figured that soup is the stuff of leftovers. Last night I had to use some of the refrigerator overflow (the cabin had been shut down for the winter and we brought food home). Potatoes. Celery. Carrots.

AKA... soup.

In fiction - Alice's Adventure In Wonderland comes to mind. I always loved the mock turtle, but never more than when he was played by Gene Wilder. I loved how melancholy and absurd he is.

And I always loved the stories of Stone Soup. I like to think it's what my mom always meant when she said we were having boiled rocks for dinner. I like the idea of the rock "just needing a little..." to make it into soup. I loved liking the "bad guy" - the con man with only a rock and a story.

And the Dodge Poetry fest this year seemed to be all about soup - despite it's sunniness. Aimee Nezhukumatathil's "Fugu Soup" was a favorite. She was a general favorite.

And in the kitchen.

I think it's fairly widely established that I am no great cook. I can bake well, and I am terrific at breakfast, but "real food?"

No way.

I make reservations. I grab takeout.

As I am writing this, Chris is happily in the kitchen making quesadillas. They will come out wonderfully. I am certain that I would still be able to screw these up, easy as they are.

But I am good at soup. And I like to think that soup is important.

Soup makes your esophagus and belly warm.

You can't rush eating soup (at least, not my chunky soup).

Soup keeps the storm outside outside.

And it's hard to screw up soup. If it's too salty, I can add something. Too bland, I have a remedy.

And I beg you to look at people on the next cold and blustery day when they get soup. When their hands cradle the mug or bowl, there is a look of calm expectation.

Just because of soup.