Big Ben Variations: Big Ben and Westminster by Problemkind (FCC)
“I dedicate these words to the things in life I do not understand, to each thing passing away before my eyes. I dedicate these words to the impossibility of finding a word equal to the silence inside me . . .” ~ Paul Auster from Disappearances – Selected Poems
Monday afternoon. Showers and warm temperatures that are slowly dropping.
Today would have been my dad’s 83rd birthday.
Last night was a bad one. Didn’t get to sleep until around 5:30 a.m., and then awake again at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 . . . up for a bit, back to sleep at 12 and then Tillie woke me up, so I just said to hell with it and stayed up.
Tillie has an upset stomach and has thrown up several times in the last 24 hours. I just tried to hide a tums in peanut butter (which is her doggie crack), but she wasn’t having it.
Anyway, I whiled away the wee hours by watching a couple of movies and then visiting blogs on my blogroll. A couple of blog friends participated in this year’s nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), which is in November. Participants are supposed to write every day from November 1st to the 30th, with a goal of 50,000 words of a new novel. The event has grown so much that last year 200,000 people participated.
I’ve heard mixed reviews from participants. One person said that while he was happy about his accomplishment, the writing that he produced was so rough that he felt that he spent more time revising than he normally did. I’ve thought about it, and actually wanted to try it this year, but not having my own computer makes it pretty much impossible. So maybe next year.
“I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy” ~ Charles Baudelaire
So while I was lying there, eyes open and brain racing, I began to think about myself as a person, I mean, as in what kind of person I would say that I am. Here is what I deduced:
- I am the kind of person who always puts something into a Salvation Army kettle during the holidays, even if it’s just a quarter
- The kind of person who would exist on just dessert if my blood sugar allowed it
- The kind of person who will not change my position in bed if it means waking up the dogs
- The kind of person who wakes up when one of my dogs is having a nightmare and then rubs his or her back gently until it passes
- The kind of person who thinks often of doing daring things, like riding in a glider, but never seems to get around to doing them.
There’s more of course. I’m the kind of person who
- Really dislikes sitcoms, with the exception of Cheers, Friends, and M*A*S*H
- The kind of person who sings in the shower
- The kind of person who sleeps with one leg on top of the covers
- The kind of person who has both kept and returned too much change, depending on how broke I was
- The kind of person who likes big, oversized towels that smell of fabric softener
“Remember your name. Do not lose hope—what you seek will be found. Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Why all this introspection? Insomnia does weird things to my mind. But to be honest, it’s more that I sometimes stop and try to figure out exactly what I am, as much as who I am. Does that make sense?
So to continue . . .
- I’m the kind of person who prefers a thunderstorm to just rain
- The kind of person who spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about death
- The kind of person who has never had any desire to do any kind of hard illegal substance, but I did inhale way back in the day
- The kind of person who will stop to try to rescue an animal from traffic
- The kind of person who truly loves to walk in the rain
Other things? Well . . .
- I’m the kind of person who can be simultaneously easily distracted and firmly focused
- The kind of person who hates to open mail (other than personal letters), and allows it to amass into a pile
- The kind of person who doesn’t dare to play a role-playing game because I know that I would become hooked
- The kind of person who never buys anything at full price
- The kind of person who used to balance her checkbook to the penny
“. . . you must somehow begin from the other end, from the other shore, and not always be concerned with this shore or how to cross the river. You must take a plunge into the water, not knowing how to swim. And the beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are, where you are going, what the end is..” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Then there are the offbeat things, making me the kind of person who:
- Does the head bob in the car when a head-banging song comes on the radio
- The kind of person who fills bird feeders in the rain
- The kind of person who would spend a week in a monastery, given the chance
- The kind of person who used to paint a checkerboard pattern on the right thumb only
- The kind of person who possesses an ERA Now button
And then there are these:
- I’m the kind of person whose favorite electronic game is still “Goldeneye” for Nintendo 64
- The kind of person who drinks three things at once if I’m out (which is not often any more): something hot (tea), something cold (ice water), and something alcoholic
- The kind of person who hates to wait at a railroad crossing
- The kind of person who can do math in my head (some math, that is)
- The kind of person who can curse without moving my lips
Things that make you go hmm . . .
“Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun’s melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him.” ~ Hermann Hesse from Siddhartha
I suppose that in thinking about these things, I’m trying to ascertain what separates me from the madding crowd, but perhaps that is only wishful thinking. Am I far from the madding crowd, from the masses? I’ve always thought so.
Words used to describe me at various points in my life (in no particular order): quirky, freak, strange, curmudgeonly, bitch, sweet (?), drama queen, cherubic (that one really threw me off kilter), exotic, sexy, fat, scary, imposing, forbidding, critical, funny, sarcastic, cool, uptight, paranoid, prudish . . . even the n-word once.
I remember for a while in junior high I was referred to as Chiquita (very original since it rhymed with my name . . . righty-o). Then there was the Leap Frog nickname. Whatever.
I’ve always believed that I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t like the rest, the others, whoever they were, and admittedly, I’ve played up that aspect of myself, sometimes as a protective mechanism, as in, “I’m not like the popular girls, but that’s okay because I’m different.” And then sometimes being different has been a bane.
Different? The word brings to mind a line from “At the Ballet,” a song in A Chorus Line in which Bebe sings about being different:
“Diff’rent,” she said, “With a special something
And a very, very personal flair . . .
I never met anyone who was “diff’rent”
Who couldn’t figure that out.
I remember the first time I heard that song, and that section came on, and I thought to myself, “Yes. That’s me.”
But being different is a cloak, at least for me. It allows me to sit in judgment of other people, admittedly, something of which I am not terribly proud. I mean, when I’m out in public, I look at people and think to myself, “I’m not as big as she is,” or “Is that what I look like?” Judging so as not to be judged? Who knows?
- I judge others harshly
- I always wonder what people think of me
- I talk back to people on the television
- I get irritated when marquee signs have grammatical errors and misspellings
- I frequently bore myself—now, for example.
Feeling a bit nostalgic; hence, the variations on Big Ben.
More later. Peace.
Music by O+S, “We Do What We Want to”
Stay, imperfect speaker, tell me more.
I don’t want the house, I want its ruins,
cracked panes, grandfather clock, paper-like door.
I want the vines that engulfed exterior walls,
petrified forests of books and manuscripts,
dust-filled afternoons that opened like doors
Onto Hesse’s wind-silvered fields, onto myths
surging up out of the earth. I want the man to say,
“Stay, imperfect speaker, tell me more,”
as he did at the end of every long conversation,
saying “imperfect” and meaning “unfinished,”
saying it always as I moved toward the door,
as I say it now, again and over and again,
I want the words to rebuild the house in shambles:
stay, imperfect speaker, tell me more.
I know: if I went back, there would be nothing
or worse: a new house, pristine, immaculate,
even the vine-filled library gone. I left and shut the door.
Imperfect memory, please, stay, tell me more.