samedi, janvier 10, 2009

"Meat in a sandwich"

Until today I hadn't realized that there's something, excuse the language, very erotic about the warfare going on in Gaza. Saturday the New York Times website carried an article about the new tactics and tricks employed by Hamas and by the Israelis. Hamas lays booby-traps. It uses civilians as human shields expecting that Israel won't fire at a building with civilians. Well, we know that's not true.

Hamas fighters have cast off their uniforms. Allegedly the operation center for the rebels is underneath the biggest hospital. Figures out of Gaza says that 40 percent of those killed are civilians -- real civilians. Mothers. Young boys and girls. Babies.

How is this nightmare erotic? Because plotting and planning and seeing your enemy dead at your feet has a certain primitive appeal, particularly when they have taunted you and shot rockets at your houses and display an ideology that sometimes seems repulsive to so called civilized nations.

Strategy, the strategy of war, is such a male preoccupation. I overheard a guy at the place where I've been getting physical therapy talking about the war as one might talk about a fascinating architectural plan. Bloodlessly.

But I don't think, that in the end, that even if they kill half the population of Gaza the Israelis will have "won." Because, as we should have learned from Yugoslavia, and Iraq, you can't fight violence with more killing.

For all of this gruesome, orgasmic butchery, what is the Israeli endgame? When all of the Hamas fighters are dead, and the women and children buried, the stones will still cry out.

jeudi, janvier 08, 2009

Fewer clouds

OK, enough whining about blackguards and wastrels and all sorts of guys right out of nineteenth century novels. James, Trollope, maybe a bit of Edith Wharton for good measure?

I think there's a moral to my experience this past week -- if someone keeps changing his story, don't believe him. Duh, Elizabeth.

I still find it hard to understand why someone would do that, however -- are they pathological liars? Unlikely. Are they just not interested, and trying to be wriggle out of interaction with sweet lies? More likely--why would we have so many songs about lying men and women if there wasn't a human tendency towards deceit. I just wonder why someone would think I was worth that kind of time investment -- tale after tale, like the Ancient Mariner.

Or--is he confused? Does he need an ear? Is he so traumatized by a failed marriage or trouble with his kids that he doesn't know what he's doing? Could he be struggling with some kind of addiction?

Frankly, this is where I get tripped up. My tendency to assume that someone is doing rude or uncaring things because he is suffering (as opposed to merely being an ass), and that sympathy is the appropropriate response.

It would be interesting to know, from a clinical point of view, if a lot of women fall for the "charm offensive" -- and then what happens. I wonder if there's a potential article here. Or maybe a post for the new "big blog" I'm going to pitch, which has a special segment targeting women. I always wanted to do a slightly catty lady gossip column thing, and let my dark side show.

On to atheist, I think I'll wait until I've posted on that at the blog I write for (Get Religion) . org...Check it out later tonight, folks!

I think I'm feeling a little better. Some might say that getting excited about writing up one's experiences (and those of others) for a blog or ezine is a wee bit mad, but I might as well join the crowd. Apparently a large one!

You can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave.

On the other hand...

If I stay online, I can keep getting "winks" like the one I got today.

The "fellow" winking at me was allegedly from Jacksonville, Florida.

Handsome, a little older than me, obviously religious --GodsentOne, or something like that.

Surfing his profile (out of curiosity), I came across the sentence...I love getting flowers for no reason.

Well, isn't that the mark of a new guy, I thought. How charming.

Until I went back to the first sentence, where I read..."I am a one-man woman"...

Obviously, he's a very new guy.

Or not a guy at all, but a group of guys, somewhere in Nigeria, usually named "Alfred", always widowed, and often seeking 70 year old women. Only this time, they got a little sloppy.

mercredi, janvier 07, 2009

Just one of those things

Tonight I'm thinking that there's not a whole lot of sense in pursuing a romantic relationship. Admittedly, it's been a bad week.

In one case, I should have seen it coming. My intutition was shooting off signals like crazy. But it never feels good to be treated as disposable, no matter how superficial a relationship you have.

But in another, I had the sense that perhaps we might truly have something deep in common. Waiting by the phone for someone to call? It's so last century!

I have met so many cads and bounders, as my friend Art would call them. Men who don't hesistate to use women to met their emotional and physical needs. It makes me wonder if there are any really good ones still available.

I'm not critizing all guys, and I'm not excepting women. Nor am I proclaiming my self-righteousness. It's just that I do start off by trying to see the best in people -- which could be a mistake.

Perhaps it's saner to mothball this hope than to see it dashed again and again -- and stop believing it it is possible.

Becoming "real"

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

From The Velveteen Rabbit

I still love this story-don't you?

I am real. Sometimes, in fact, I am a real pain in the butt. You can usually count on me to tell you how I feel, whether it makes either of us comfortable. I get petulant sometimes. I hear someone has even seen my stomp my feet.

But I also know how to apologize--after all, I have so much to apologize for. And generally, while I have parts where I am a bit loose in the joints, like the Skin Horse, I don't have lots of sharp edges.

I have been fortunate, thus far, to have found love -- and to be capable of loving back. So when I look at potential romantic partners, my first question is, like that of Margery William's bunny: what is real about you?

Are you on the run? Have you faced up to your brokenness, your loneliness, your desire healing? Or have you buried all of that "stuff" we call living under layers of rationalizations, excuses, diversions?

Thus far, most of the men my own age, or close to it, on the dating site I frequent seem to have buried their authentic selves under layers of past hurts or present turmoil. They are like quicksilver...or like castles with battlements high enough not to fall to the sweet seige of compassion.

As for me, I'm seeking that "real"guy--my funny Valentine, my frog, my Shrek. If you happen to come across him, give him my email address--two toads can make beautiful music together!

mardi, janvier 06, 2009

The illusion of no illusions

If you search for tenderness it isn't hard to find.
You can have the love you need to live.
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind.
It always seems to be so hard to give.
Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.

Yes, there's something a little whiney about the lyrics of this old Billy Joel song.

But it came to mind today, as I was pondering something I'd known intuitively but never really absorbed: tenderness, not to mention charm, is easier than honesty.

For a while, I was dangerously close to a man who seemed to live in a perpetual fog of half truth about his marriage and his relationship with his children--a fog he medicated with booze and busy-ness.

Why was I able to forgive his double life? Because, perhaps, I came close to living one myself?

That was my mind on drugs. In "normal" times, I'm not very good at self-deception. In fact, I may go a little too far in the other direction, magnifying my own flaws until I am almost paralyzed. My slightly flaggelant (behold, I make up a word) tendencies cause me to be pretty tough on others when I think I see it in them.

Although generally compassionate, I may be less accepting of a little deceit, of self and others, than I should be. We're weak, we're broken, we are all so fallible...including me.

But oh, when someone acknowledges their shortcomings, it is so liberating. When they 'fess up that they are just another wanderer who has screwed up, bigtime, and knows that they can screw up again, I am drawn to them like a magnet to steel.

Now, THAT is charming.

Which brings me back to the Jackson Browne/Joan Baez song I quoted here a while back...

Now that the things that I remember seem so distant and so small,
Though it hasn't really been that long a time.
What I was seeing wasn't what was happening at all
Although for a while, our path did seem to climb.
When you see through love's illusions, there lies the danger,
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool.So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
All the loneliness seems to spring from your life,
Like a fountain from a pool.
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light,
You know that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You had to hide sometimes, but now you're alright.
And it's good to see your smiling face tonight.

Maybe I'm deluded by my apparent lack of illusions...or perhaps I've just been...lucky. Meanwhile, I crave the meeting of two wounded, anxious, battered and courageous souls like a bulb waits for the warmth of the spring burst into blossom.

dimanche, janvier 04, 2009

Ask not for whom the banks troll

If you want to get even more pissed about the financial mess we are in, read this story by Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker) and David Einhorn (a hedge fund operator). Everytime I think of these ridiculous attempts to prop up Wall Street while giving Main Street the finger (thank you, Henry Paulson) I get furious all over again. Why, as they ask, would you give the same people who got us into this mess by making risky loans billions more dollars to play with?

The two men who pulled this tale together for our disgusted reading know the world of high (low) finance very well. I'm eager to read the next installment.

Corrupted by history?

I'm beginning to wonder if its good for Mr. C to watch so much of the History Channel...

Let's not even talk about the scary music and the graphics they put up when some perfectly respectable Cambridge University professor or less respectable clergyman or a so-called "expert" is talking. Let's not ask about their obsession with the 16th-century prophet Nostradamus as his 500th birthday approaches.

This past week we've watched a show on lust, part of the seven deadly sins series. Tonight zoomed in on pride. Last week was a scary show on the truth behind the attempt to kill Hitler (now made into a Tom Cruise movie) code-named Valkyrie.

When I told Mr. C that perhaps he should not watch such terrible things, he said "it's history, Mom."

Although I'm sure he's taking it all in, the fruit of all this watching has been merely some question mom can't answer and some deft wordplay.

The "Dork Ages" began, not 1200 years ago, but with the birth of his sister. And apparently her birth is also (a fact not yet known to the scholars and "experts" who show up on the History Channel) one of the first of Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.

We're re-writing history here. But this revision may make as much sense as the first one did.