Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the same but different


1.     custom


No, we do not max out at 100 degrees today, not that. It is, instead, 105 when we set out to bike to Paul’s cafĂ©.

A commenter was surprised that we would want to bike in this heat. I suppose there is a bit of lethargy that comes with high temps outside. And yet, this is exactly what pushes us outdoors, too, so that we may challenge ourselves to go beyond the "comfortable."

But I should also say that, except for when we hit the hills, the heat isn’t nearly as unpleasant as it would be were we to, say, take a little walk. And if we go fast, the breeze picks up, so that we sweat, sure, that, but in a cool sort of way.

And did I mention how delightful it is to bike in skirts?


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Ed asks – why do women have to wear shirts on top?
Because of custom, because they want to, or because they don’t want to but also don’t want to get arrested.
How can that be? Inequality!
Inequality is not legally objectionable if it responds to different biological imperatives, so say our courts, after all.

We continue biking.


2.     custom, revisited

Early, very early, Ed asks – are you asleep?
(Yes, we do that to each other when we’re anxious to share something.)
Not anymore.
I want you to see this clip I’ve been watching on Hulu. You’ll like it.

It’s an hour long thing, but I get hooked. There are five separate stories of people who find love (or, in most cases they find it) on line. So you think  -- ho hum, predictable. Happens all the time.

Still, I find two of the stories especially touching -- the first (the Czech one) and the last (the Avitar one). To me, they are a vivid demonstration of this simple truth – that there are many conventional paths to happiness but there are just as many unconventional paths to happiness and sometimes those less conventional (and therefore more adventurous) ones may raise eyebrows, but so what – they are oftentimes the most rewarding.

I wont spoil it for you – watch it if you have the time.

Of course, I had to think back to the days when I first started posting here, on Ocean – when so many people thought this whole concept of my daily Internet blogging was odd. As if I'm giving great significance to my very average life (I'm not), as if I believed that anything I had to say was important (it isn’t -- that's not the point). 

Just a few years later I met Ed and the Internet was absolutely central to that encounter as well. Ed is not custom bound and when we met, I, too, scorned much of what was dictated by custom. And so we proceeded in our own way and to this day, if I want to inspire horror in him, I’ll tell Ed he’s behaving like an old married man.

Ed will say – custom, culture – they’re a way to say no to people.
I don’t really agree. Ignore imperatives and you have yourself some beautiful customs to pick and choose from. I have had a Christmas tree most every year, even as I never go to church (or at least not for reasons of religion). It is customary to kiss a loved one when you greet her or say good bye (unless you’re with Ed and then it’s customary to do neither). Custom doesn’t (necessarily) punish or keep people out.

We come back to this topic again and again. It is our custom to do so.


3.     no rain in sight

I cannot take pictures of the farmlands around us. Mostly, the truck farmers don’t come to work the fields on these hot days. Nothing’s thriving. Not even the weeds.

At the famette, I continue to start and end each day with a hose in hand. In some cases, it helps, in many, it barely makes a difference.


4.     mysterious entrance

In the late afternoon, we find a little bird with a still open beak flapping inside the porch. How did he get there? We look for cracks, pores, openings – but find none. 


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Maybe you let him in when you entered today?
I did not enter the porch today at all.
Neither did I.
Did he use the cat door?

Eventually we chase him out.


5.     dinner

Frozen lasagna. And believe me, it’s all I can do to put it in the microwave. Frozen seemed just fine. Did I tell you that we hit 105 today?


6.     rain in sight

At 8 p.m. it rained. I mean, not deep, meaningful rain I suppose, but I had my dance of utter joy. For the possibilities. And the hope.


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