Friday, June 05, 2009

it's one of the basic things i grapple with, that my daily schedule is grinding; that almost twenty hours of teaching, counting hours as fifty minutes blocks as is common in academia, takes up so much of my time and creative energy that i'm entirely beat when finished. and, given a minute or two, on a clear, beautiful, cool day, unseasonably tolerable, as i like to say, i realize that you have to go outside when i have the chance, because, this time of year, that next chance might not be 'til october. by "chance" i mean, a time, when a person can just sit there, outside, without any real discomfort at the heat, that would drive you in.

so i'd had a skype experience at work, in which i'd noticed that one can now connect visually with anyone, on earth, at any time, and see them while talking; i'd known this was possible, of course, and had even seen people at various times, in other ways, but, it is now becoming clear that geography is absolutely no barrier to people really communicating to each other any more. where there's broadband, there's a family reunion, so to speak, and this i think makes my little confining town a little less confining. traveling itself is still difficult, still interesting, still challenging on a personal, cultural and language level; places are still different from each other. but maybe it won't stay that way. maybe the people like myself who actually know a little about different cultures, will become the majority. and that would be a big development.

i spoke to a friend in the park, as we were watching our children. he had cut off a small part of his finger, and couldn't work; that was one reason he was there at the park. his finger was healing. he was a cook; he had come from mexico; he was college educated, but couldn't seem to crack in to jobs where he could use his education, and instead had gotten jobs like cooking where he'd lost the edge of his finger. his girls were roughly the same age as my boys and they played well in the playground, in the cool fresh air, for quite a while. la republica dominicana, he said, is feminine, though it's el mexico, there's no telling why some things are feminine and others are masculine. this is what i like about languages. as you learn them, you come to these places where cultures have made choices about how to say things, or how to use them, and in the process of learning, you wonder how this came to be. but i imagine that every republica is feminine; this would include honduras, chile, etc. Actually i have no idea how many countries are republicas.

the sun rises slowly here, the birds have sung their hallelujiah chorus; the puppy has heard it, i tap tap away more because my skype experience has me sleepless. there is a personal element to technology, that it can connect people so; it is here, now, on this earth, because people far and wide badly need to reach out and know more. this is necessary for us because of the times we live in and because if we don't organize, as six billion or so that we are, we are finished. i feel that as a messenger, one who brings these new times to a new place, part of my message is inherently personal; this will change people's lives, for sure. and i hope it will be good. i'm wondering, how much of the personal to put into my talks. about how, for example, i struggle with some of this technology, can't get some of it to work, even ignore some things, in my very own classroom, because i don't have time to figure out which wires have become jammed or aren't plugged in. or, would rather just have a blackboard, that people can actually see, because it's so hard to get overheads and lcd's to do as i want, without putting everyone to sleep.

so, i'm a little miffed, in a way; i knew i couldn't do everything at once, and one thing i never did was totally dazzle people, as is possible with technology; come in and say, look, you can do this this this this this and this, and leave them speechless, and more or less afraid. i can't do that, partly because i can't, and partly because it's not me. but, as i've thought of the things i can do, in hopes of coming up with stuff to share, i know i have plenty to say. i may have to prepare it on the plane, though i'll be sleeping on the plane also, i'm sure. but, i'm looking forward to it. i'm on my way to the d.r. this is going to happen, going to happen, on sunday. the pieces are falling in place; i'm getting my classes covered. i've had to double up; prepare and grade not only the twenty i'm in the middle of, but prepare also the twenty coming; and also, somehow, get ready for the d.r., with handouts and websites well connected to everything i'll need to say. quite a bit more to do, before i leave.

and one more thing, a benefit concert on saturday, benefit for an organic farmer, who has been diagnosed with cancer. all the local folk musicians are playing, and i think it will be quite a collection of local talent. at this point, saturday afternoon, i might already be ready to keel over, but won't, probably, be ready in any way; my bus leaves sunday morning, at about this time, five am. i'm playing it tight. i'm pulling it together at the last minute. i'm sleepless in carbondale. but, what can you do?

the playground forces me, in a way, to just stand there, and breathe fresh air. i don't swim these days; the pool is closed, i think, so i'm heavily dependent on a few moments a day to experience peace and oxygen. one has to breathe, and also, let out some creative juice. notice that, no matter how bad it's gotten, i'm right here by my blogger. and i also did my facebook risk, romping and stomping irkutsk and yakutsk as is my wont. i'm curious about that expression btw, (as is my wont) but it's very appropriate here, i trust; and, before it dies, i'm thinking maybe it needs to be the title of a short story, if not book. but do people know what it means? i'm not even sure i do.

i ramble; lack of sleep is getting to me, and will continue to do this, i assume, life being what it is. it will settle; maybe, i think, around mid-june. it's not mellow. i'm not doing mellow these days. i'm hurtling down a rapids, broken paddle, waterfall ahead, can't hear, even if you know how to do it. it's too late to go back; i'm in the chute, so to speak. a nagging cold and cough are hanging around. one son went back to kansas; i considered a facebook status that would include clicking shoes, or whatever it was that dorothy used when she went back to kansas. the dude in the balloon. in the end he drove his own car; it worked fine; it was a kind of rite of passage, that it drove, and he made it, and he ended up, right at his own house, there in lawrence kansas. fly, like a buttah-fly, says our favorite african song, our shee-shay-yay song, which reminds us that we laba laba laba laba shee-shey-yay, what i'm saying here is that we've developed this family language to talk about how we miss this son, and that he's free now, out there flying, he's a grown up, but that's both good and bad, from our point of view, because we miss him so. the ones on the playground, they're filling my plate; they have the whole range of life's experiences, right there on the slides and the monkey bars; the young girls try to catch them, or get a quarter off of them, or just tag them and make them "it," and that's enough; they come home, tired, and sleep at night. i should be so lucky. i am truly happy, though, that i'm not a cook. my fingers bring me everything, and will be the conduit, the little magnetic power cable, that i will be using on saturday, to let my spirit free, before i go. that, and some sleep. i'll need some sleep, too, or i'll get on the wrong plane.

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