It’s been an odd few days. Here are some new thoughts on old words.
Ironing. My favorite Aunt Mary is all crippled up from her diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and numerous other ailments. She barely leaves the house. When I called yesterday and asked what she was doing, she said, “I’ve been ironing all afternoon!” When I asked why she needed to iron anything anymore she was taken aback. “Because when it comes out of the dryer it’s all wrinkled!” and then continued to explain the importance of proper attire and doing one’s hair, regardless of whether or not you’re leaving the house. (I listened, and agreed, having not showered in 2 days.) Ironing is important. So is taking a shower.
Afghanistan. A friend just returned to the U.S. after a long deployment to Afghanistan. We spent the better part of a day discussing the culture there, and the Pashtuns, and how the men take prepubescent boys as lovers but don’t consider it pedophilia or homosexuality. It is out in the open. It is accepted. It is a sign of prominence and power and wealth. These same men show up at American clinics and ask for instructions on how to impregnate their wives, and when told how to do it they are sickened. Women are so very filthy. (you can read more about this here) Of all the things I’ve worried about during these last few years about the war there, this wasn’t on the list.
Journal. Let’s say your mother keeps a journal. And let’s say she says, “I’m leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me that you will not look at them until after I’m gone.” When she dies one week later, you find that all of her journals (shelves of them!) are blank. Is it just me, or does this seem particularly cruel? Yet from this blankness, Terry Tempest Williams has written an entire book … about voice.
Not Speaking. Most of my family members do not speak and are often said to “not be speaking.” In the past week, however, we’ve had a family crisis and the emailing and text messaging and Facebooking (is that a word??) are all in high gear, and in the highest gear amongst those who continue to “not be speaking.” I’m pondering the rationality of this. And in case you’re wondering, I’m right in there with them.
Guilty Pleasure. Can you continue to call something a guilty pleasure if you feel zero guilt?
Book Club. Is it still a book club if most people don’t read the book or discuss books?
Common Decency. I’m trying Pilates (emphasis on “trying”). The Pilates instructor told me that several women are wearing itty-bitty tennis skirts when they come in for one-on-one instruction. At first I was sure she was kidding, but she said she’d had 4 women that very day with their hoohas hanging out and that this was …. well …. disturbing. I admit I know very little about Pilates, but I do know that if you’re sweating and you’re upside down and someone is pulling on your legs, stretching them to and fro, you need to wear PANTS. Spandex PANTS. Common decency! And seriously, how can you not know when your hooha is hanging out.
That’s all I’ve got for today.