"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


On Work....

When I was a child, and up until I was 21 or so, I wanted to be a teacher. I clearly remember being in the 5th grade and thinking, "I really like what my teacher is doing here. I'll remember this to use in my class." When I was in elementary school, I planned on teaching elementary. But when I got into Junior High, I decided that I'd like to teach English and thus would teach High School. My Junior English teacher, Ms. Day, became my mentor because she was maybe the smartest person I had ever met, and she seemed to wholly understand the craziness of the minds in my "gifted" English class. When during my senior year of college I decided that I was not going teach anymore (a decision that may have been hastily made), I really had no idea what I wanted to do. And some days I feel like I still don't. First I was a copy editor. I enjoyed sitting there and reading all day. It gave me outlet for my anal attention to detail and my impeccable spelling skills. But it was never enough for me. Though I was stopping pieces of conservative propaganda from entering the minds of 6th graders with the swipe of my pen, I did not feel like I was doing enough. I got permission from my boss there to take a couple of hours Wednesday mornings to volunteer at AIDS Service of Austin. I enjoyed my mornings there so much that when I was blessed with temp work and an unbelievable amount of time to think, I decided to do that for a living. And now that I am doing that, I find myself many days wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else. I know that everyone at every job in the world does this.

It seems to be our motto at my work lately "When I became I social worker, this is not what I thought it would be." When I was working at the hospital, I would see the pain my patients were in, and the often apethetic attitude of their doctors, and it would make me want to be a doctor. Now I am kind of bad at math, and thus chemistry, and am pretty quickly grossed out by smells and sights. But the logic of this is overruled by the amazing potential to help people and ultimately to save lives. And now at my job, I spend my days basically taking away people's right to self-determination. Yes, the things I essentially force them to do (i.e. taking medications, going to doctor's appointments, etc.) are things that in the end will make their lives better. But when they're yelling at me, calling me a liar, and various other pieces of colorful language, I feel a bit more like I'm doing these things to satiate my supervisors and their want for a peaceful building than actually helping these people live the lives they want to live. So now I want to go back to school to get a management degree because I feel like I need to run a program, so that I might be satisfied with how it is run. Some days I want to be a lawyer, because maybe then I'll understand the things that fundamentally affect the people I'm trying to help. Other days I want to be a writer, because I miss being creative in ways that don't involve people's livelihood. I still want to be a teacher, because I love and understand the mind of the rebellious teenager. And I still kinda want to learn how to play guitar and join Courtney Love's band (I love her...I can't explain it). It is in some ways a blessing to have so many interests and the want to do so much. But really at my advanced age of 27, shouldn't I just pick something and stick to it?


Random Comment.

The summer after my freshmen year of college I went out with this guy who was a tennis player for the Citadel. He was in my physics class, so mostly we just went to IHOP to study. We'd be sitting there engrossed in our physics and he would think of something and pop his head up and say "Random comment..." and then go on to say something truly random. I started doing it too. That was how we lived. So now...Random comment...

(1) My friends and I have talked alot about how lonely it can be to live in NYC. Surrounded by thousands of people all that time, yet knowing none of them. But today, I was encouraged by none other than the man who owns my neighborhood grocery store. I was there buying my consumables for the week, when he asked me where I'd been. He noticed that I hadn't been around for the past few days. I hadn't come in to buy anything and he hadn't seen me pass by. It makes me feel good that I have been here long enough to be noticed, and thought of. That I am not an anonymous person here. One day a few months ago we had a conversation about the Selena song on the radio and about how I was from Selena's hometown. He said "Oh, you're from Texas. I'm from Libya. It's alot like Texas."

(2) Some of my friends have been putting up the Top Ten songs on their iTunes Shuffle list. It says something about a person. Here's mine:
  1. Ohio (Come Back to Texas) Bowling for Soup—Because you maybe want someone to ask you to do just that.
  2. You Give Love a Bad Name Bon Jovi—Because you gotta love Bon Jovi.
  3. Sweet Adeline Elliott Smith—Because Elliott Smith was amazing.
  4. Jesus Walks Kanye West—Because I secretly love him, and he's a frequent guest on my talk show.
  5. Give me Novacaine/She's a Rebel Green Day—Because both of these statement are true and right.
  6. More than Words Extreme—Because knowing all the words to this song in 6th grade made you cool.
  7. Move Along All-American Rejects—Because we are...moving along, that is.
  8. Strength, Courage, and Wisdom India Arie—Because we could all use some.
  9. Dancing with Myself Billy Idol—Because Billy Idol is awesome.
  10. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers—Because it makes you want to jump up and down.
(3) I found my new favorite place last night. The IFC Center. Having long been a fan of IFC, because it makes me feel bohemian, I decided to go see a movie there last night. It was called Factotum, and is based on a book by Charles Bukowski, one of my favorite authors during my Beatnik period (though the good people of Wikipedia say it's a mistake to call him a Beatnik). And I really like the fact that the title of the movie (which was first the title of a book) is written phonetically and includes the definition of the word. People who do such things, who make grammar and spelling and definition creative are people worth reading, I think.

And so I end this big ball of random with one of Mr. Bukowski's balls of random...a poem...the house.


"But tell me, when does it stop?"

Since the beginning of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, now raging for almost a month, I have been trying to wrap my mind around it all. I have avoided reading the stories about it because they overwhelm me. But there's no way to escape it when each morning on the little bit of news I allow myself, they announce the mounting death tolls on either side. I am angry at the U.S. government for supporting Israel's outrageous use of force--aiming at a group of people but destroying an entire country. I am distraught by the images of people weeping over their homes as their loved ones lie buried under the rubble. I am fearful that the power of hate, and the amazing potential for destruction in the modern world, will combine into a never-ending war.

I read an essay in the New York Times today, written by a woman living in Tel Aviv. It was entitled At War, at Home, Again, and is about the ways this woman has begun to cope with the violence and conflict near her home, and her fears of its escalation. In the last paragraph, she speaks my thoughts. She speaks of her 5 year-old son who is learning how to count.

"At another time, Tom’s questions might irritate me: 'What’s one more than a hundred?' 'What’s one more than a thousand?' But now when he asks the questions about numbers, I don’t lose my patience; I associate. I think of the increasing numbers of innocent dead on both sides of this conflict. 'What’s one more than that?' he says. 'And one more after that?' I try to explain infinity. 'But tell me,' he says, 'when does it stop?'"


The End of Days.

I do believe the apocalypse may be upon us. But it's not so much the frightening heat waves, wars, famines, disease, etc. It's Pat Robertson. Pat frequently prompts me to believe that it is the end of days, mainly because I don't believe he should be allowed to exist. But not today. This morning on Good Morning America, Pat Robertson was shown admitting that Global Warming might indeed exist. "What?!?" I said. "Gay people and liberals aren't to blame for all catastrophic weather systems and earthly blights." I am shocked. Shock and awe. I am enraptured to sit and ponder the future possibilities. On The 700 Club saying, "Hey, maybe gay marriage wouldn't be so bad. And that Hugo Chavez is a great guy. Viva la revolucion!" The possibilities are endless.


Ring of Fire.

I had great hopes of posting something meaningful about the current goings-on in the Middle East, but my brain has melted and I cannot. I don't think I have ever been so hot in all my life. Today it is supposed to be about 104 in NYC...with a heat index of 1005 (that's not a typo). And the place where I work is a lovely historic building...where I work in the attic, with only a window unit, and the power keeps going out. I might just burst into flames....for real.

And just so this post isn't entirely self-serving, here's an interesting article to read.