This photo was taken with my laptop internal camera. I was eavesdropping on this incredibly surreal conversation going on behind me, and even though I've always wished I had those spy glasses where you can see stuff behind you that were always advertised in the back of Mad Magazine, I usually just turn around & check it out, not having any kind of pride about those sorts of things (and because of where I am, chances are I know these conversants). So I got the clever idea of launching the camera application & pointing it in their direction (my back still to them); but I soon lost interest in the conversation as the photo became more compelling to frame (ooh - industrial, B&W, and Eraserhead-ish!), made more interesting as I'm doing it backwards, while hovering the laptop in the air. I'm sure it was obvious to the other 40 people in here with the exact same laptop what I was doing. (This could have been "schadenfreude"-ish if I would have been delighting at some talk around someone's pain or misery, but a homeless guy was asking a gal for her knit cap (it is, after all, under 85 degress here now), and it was sweet because she gave it to him, and it was safety orange, and he didn't just want any hat, he had to have hers. He said he had been looking everywhere for one. I guess when you're homeless, "looking everywhere" doesn't mean the same thing to you or me - as you can't swing a dead cat around here without finding orange beanies for sale....)
In 4 days I will celebrate sixteen years of abstinence from alcoholic beverages, and two weeks after that I will turn 48 years old, an age that I never would have considered would rock this goodly - and aside from how old my neck looks, everything about late forties kicks butt. I am fit and healthy and it is Autumn: my season of uber happiness. The knowledge that my life is half over is making me dig deep into my psyche to discover those one or two dreams (knocking around in there with the 50 or so others) that I want to start working on before I relax into my extended dirt nap. I just saw the film "Outsourced," and once again India is on my radar as someplace I'd like to spend several months. I also want to live in the Gaeltacht in Ireland to learn Irish. There's also a rumbling (yet disturbing to me) desire to resurrect an anciently wanted "Cinderella Dream," though before those of you who know me start laughing I have spun it into a version I can handle: think the 60's movie version with Leslie Ann Warren, but with some "Sid & Nancy" touches, the costuming and the music, not the drugs. And a with a Gripfast 8 hole steel toe instead of a "slipper." Get the picture? Though, really, if I were deeply honest, I've already gotten to live that one out...(no schadenfreude here, unless the reader is laughing at my Cinderella Dream, which I've never confessed to having as it seems super uncool, in which case, I'm laughing with you, so I'm not miserable (unless I'm laughing just to keep from crying), so it doesn't count).
Still with me...?
At some point during this time of trying to come of with something worth blogging about I read a story about some American tourists who got on a bus in Africa, and at one the stops a man got on with a rooster, didn't have bus fare, & tried to pay his fare with the rooster. The Americans bought the rooster from the man so he could pay for his trip and when they all got off at the same stop the local man invited the tourists to his home for a meal. He was a widower who lived in a small hut with his two children, was very poor, but scratched together a meal for all of them. The Americans had a wonderful time, and when they left, gave the man back his rooster (I was wondering how the hell they were holding this thing the whole time! I wouldn't have any idea how to hold a rooster - I mean, was in a sack, or were they holding it upside down by it's (what I'm assuming are) scary feet?). I heard Johnny Lydon (one of my personal heroes) tell Conan O'Brien that the Garden of Eden wasn't in the bible or in the sky but in Africa instead. I have experienced first hand the incredible graciousness of people who have very little (usually in "emerging" countries)...I don't think they sit around and wonder what to do with their months of free time like I do. The reason I tell that story is because it struck me how I used to live my life thinking there was so little for me (which wasn't true) and I had to hold on tightly to whatever stuff, money, love (insert...anything) I thought I had - and this story shows a generosity without clinging - a way of living I aspire to, and have moved slightly closer to in my 16 years of not trying to change the way I feel with chemicals, which was based in a feeling of never having "enough" (which was false). But I don't have to travel around the world to see this sort of non-clinging to stuff - I just talked to the gal who gave her beanie to the homeless guy - she is homeless too. She is singing loudly while listening to music on her laptop. Homeless people with cell phones and laptops...what a crazy place.
I have run out of finger power & have not justified the title of the post so I'll just pull something from the random stack of topics in my brain, in a "use this word in a sentence" style: "the last time I experienced schadenfreude was was seeing the governor of Alaska being interviewed by Charles Gibson. I enjoyed her discomfort & awkwardness." I'm sure my karma is coming soon.