Hope you weren’t expecting any brilliant, in-depth posts from me this week. If you were looking for that type of thing, I highly recommend Sean’s Not much to gawk about, a smackdown of the weirdness, silliness and arrogance surrounding the non-publication of the GQ article “Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power,” and Matt Taibbi’s Sick and wrong, in which he lays out the 5 point plan followed by the gov’t. to kill healthcare reform. Indeed, I recommend these articles even if you are not actively looking for such things. Indeed, by not reading these articles you are doing yourself and everyone who knows you a serious disfavor because ultimately you have a responsibility as a citizen of the world to know this stuff. Ignorant people are the problem. Be the solution.
Another problem is depressed people. Who are worse than ignorant people, really. There’s the possibility that, given the knowledge they lack, the ignorant might actually do something about it. I think people prone to ignorance are also the kind of people who always want to be doing something. It’s just a matter of pointing them in the right direction and providing them with tangible rewards. Depressed people, however, possess the knowledge that should motivate them to action, but they succumb to inertia instead. In fact, they are usually quite knowledgeable precisely because they are content to sit and read, or think. And they are depressed precisely because they are quite knowledgeable. Do you think it is any coincidence most of these people live in blue states? raises one eyebrow…
I’m counting myself among the blue this week. Blue is my default category, yes. But there are shades, and this week is a decidedly more midnight blue than an Yves Klein or hyacinth. It’s the color of the sky Vincent painted after he did away with the ear. Happens every year at this time. You might call it “seasonal depression” but that would imply it has something to do with meteorology or astrology and not the fact that my mother died on September 7th. That was 9 years ago, abut now no matter what elaborate plan I invent to celebrate, distract or cope my way through this anniversary, it never ever works. Ever. I’ve taken vacations, gone into the woods, had parties, pretended it is just a normal day in a different month, ignored it, and once even entertained the idea of a nightcap of vodka and sleeping pills. (Don’t flip out. I didn’t do it. Obviously. Do you think I’m blogging from beyond the grave?)
It would be easier if it were just one day. The 7th. Limit the drama to 24 hours and move on. But I am unable to do so because the very week that begins with death ends with my birthday. I was never a fan of birthdays to start with. I didn’t even get to savor the stupid fun of the milestone 21st birthday since I was living at the time in a country with no enforced legal drinking age. Now, when I think of my birthday, I can’t get past the feelings of selfishness and humiliation which drove me to remind my family, they in the grips of a spectacular tragedy, impaled by grief, overwhelmed with all of the high stakes event planning that accompanies a death, that … well … it was my birthday.
So, as you see, a terrible week.
Here are some ways I’ve occupied myself instead of blogging or confronting mortality. Well, you are here. It is something to read anyway.
~ I went to a Labor Day weekend bbq. It was nice. There was brisket. I’ve never had brisket; I don’t eat much meat. It was heavenly. The company was nice: dramatists, poets, actors, political types and some dogs and a cat too. Later that night I meant to take a bus home, but ended up walking and wishing I’d had a camera with me to document all of the diverse and interesting architecture and signs and people along North Clark Street. It was summer’s last hurrah and despite it being late and the far edge of the city, everyone was outside. The air was comfortable and I was delirious.
~ I went to the lake, to the point around the harbor facing the skyline. I got a nice bit of sun and walked home through the magical hedge bird sanctuary, across the dunes and along the beach. I didn’t mean to go to the beach, but thought it would probably be the last opportunity to feel the sand beneath my feet and judge the merits of competing sandcastles this year. Everyone was at the beach too. Including a roaming mariachi band.
~ I began reading The Good Angel of Death. Vintage Kurkov brilliance! A true joy to read! Well, I’ve just started it, but already there is a matryoshka-book mystery, a grave-robbing, hallucinogenic baby formula, a mysterious cinnamon smell and a shady couple stalking our hero! Update: It has taken a somewhat disconcerting Tom Robbins turn with psychedelic lizards and acid trips in the dessert. It’s still very enjoyable though. I especially appreciate his take on the issue of nationality.
~ I’ve been contemplating the fact that there is a place spelled “Тыва”, transliterated as “Tyva” and called “Tuva” and feel this is unnecessarily confusing. For years I thought it was a typo when people wrote “Tyva” when referring to Tuva – but it isn’t. No, I don’t just sit around thinking about Tyva or Tuva or whatever it is called. I first noticed the problem on the Prime Minister’s site (no clue what I was doing there reading about Tyva or Tuva, if you can call it “reading…”). No offense to the Russian government, but I suspected they needed a proofreader for their English site. Then RT replaced actual news this morning (I watch RT news in the morning. Beslan memorials are more cheerful to wake up to than the news in the US. Or, it is someone else’s misery, anyway.) with its Wayfarer series, and Ames (who now claims to be “banned” in Russia) was in Tuva. Well, he was calling it “Toovah” but the Cyrillic signs on the yurts said “Тыва.” Now, I spend a significant amount of time at work typing in transliterated Russian and appreciate how easily one might accidentally use a “y” when they mean to use a “u” (or an h for an n or p for an r, etc…) Also, I’ve heard ы pronounced from so far down a person’s throat it is positively pornographic, but I’ve never heard it pronounced as “oooh…” And yet, and yet, it seems perfectly professional to translate “Тыва” into “Tuva.” Nothing in this entire paragraph makes any sense.
~ I’ve randomly seen this video 3 times now (and intentionally perhaps an equal number of times.) I know Bjork is weird, but this is really pushing the weird envelope, and I didn’t even know that was still possible in this century. I thought all the weird had been done and cynicism was the new envelope. But no….
Probably for the best, since it involves human-cat courtship. That cat is real. Given her penchant for wearing things like swans, I’m sure PETA is aware of Bjork. So I don’t know how they missed this one.
Ok. I think I’ve shared more than enough for the time being. I’m taking an extended weekend and hope not to be very near a computer for the majority of it. I will return in a far better mood on the other side of September’s sepia hump, looking forward to the day when new leaves are easier to turn over, because they’ve fallen to the ground.
Poka. And as always, thanks for reading.