Tuesday, September 26, 2017


I was sitting on the porch with a writer friend who was describing her recent trip and sharing her interesting insights and observations.

At one point, she started a sentence with, "I wonder…" paused, and then added, "perhaps I wonder a little too much."

I am a wonderer. I expect I wonder a little too much.

Some people are not wonderers, but most of us usually have elements in our lives that we wonder about.

When you find someone that wonders about the same kinds of things you wonder about, you can talk for hours! Speculating, parsing information, hypothesizing about alternative outcomes, tossing in a monkey wrench that causes your collective speculative house of cards to completely collapse and need to be rebuilt.

You can be friends with someone with a personality that isn't very compatible with yours, but if you have this in common, you can enjoy their company & treasure your conversations.

Wondering is not an exercise enjoyed only by ivory tower academic intellectuals, nor is it a female trait. For example everyone enthusiastic about a sport spends a lot of time wondering. The now popular fantasy teams are built around the delight people feel about playing with a complex mathematical set of probabilities, demonstrating a deep knowledge of all the moving parts and wondering and hypothesizing about outcomes.

Conversely if somebody wonders about something you don't wonder about, you find them a crashing bore. Or even if you're slightly interested in the subject and they go in for a deeper dive, you lose traction and start rolling your eyes.

One of the gifts creative peoplewhether they be dancers, writers, performers, artists, storytellers in any mediumgive us, is to share their sense of wonder about something with us. And illustrate that wonder and delight through their work.

We often choose to experience things we are already interested in, but one of the gifts of diversity (spouses, friends, etc.) is seeing things you aren't particularly interested in or don't wonder about and discovering a new perspective, an unexpected insight and sense of wonder. A new world may open, like suddenly having a flower open and display its beauty when you didn't even notice the bud.

Wondering is slow.

It is squatting by tide pool and spending time looking at what initially looks like a bunch of rocks and water and discovering the teeming life within. Of looking at a pile of garbage and realizing every element was grown, manufactured, packaged, marketed, purchased, enjoyed before ultimately being discarded. Every element in that pile had a life from birth to its present state of awaiting burial.

Everything, everybody has a story.

We choose which stories interest us, are valuable to usor are thrust upon us.

And our priorities can be different.

One viewer can be totally focused on the nuance of a story, the process, the character's motivations. Another on outcome, product, whodunnit, impatiently waiting for the answer while their colleague is delighting in exploring the question.

What do you wonder about?

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Do you think you can control yourself?

That is one of my favorite lines from early dating days.  If you are of the female persuasion, you may have had similar early experiences.

The scenario:  Boy from work holding a similar lowly position as your own asks you out.  You know him, have a friendly relationship, he seems OK, cute, but not someone you're really interested in.  Still, why not?  So off you go to...movies? inexpensive dinner? (nobody's making much money at this point).  Casual, perfectly nice.  But then.  Moves are made.

And I'm sure I'm not alone in demonstrating that girl-like kindness of allowing a kiss, because refusing it would be just too meanthis is someone you'll see at work the next day, and really, what harm is there in being gracious (and perhaps a bit of...who knows? Maybe it will surprise me?).

And I'm equally sure I'm not alone in experiencing that startled Ugh moment of suddenly finding your mouth filled with someone else's tongue.

Even boys will know the feeling if they have ever slurped a raw oyster and realized that their choice was really far too large to take in one go, and that now your mouth is filled with something substantial, moist and unappealing. It's like that, although sometimes it wiggles about a bit.

After managing to extract the tongue & back off, I moved into the classic: 'This is not a good idea, we work together, it would be awkward, I like you & don't want to risk our friendship, etc. etc." The truth...but not the complete truth.  He took that in thoughtfully, consideringly, and earnestly asked:

"Do you think you can control yourself?"

Dear Reader, yes.  I said I thought I could.

But it opened a door for me regarding the difference between boys and girls (and please note that in my lexicon, males & females remain either a boy or a girl for the rest of their life).  And it's a difference that is both acknowledged culturally, commercially, personally, and legally in a thousand ways, but is also unacknowledged and invisible in many ways.

For the most part, girls just don't have a problem "controlling themselves."  Really, it's usually not hard for (most of) us.

But it's clearly harder for most boysyou only have to look at various religious requirements, cultural norms, and startling actions to acknowledge that really, examples of reversing the situation would  be hard to find.

This is just anecdotal, but I've simply never read a story of a woman coming across a drunk and unconscious man and having her way with him.  Sure, there are logistic issues that make it tough, but I would posit that the compelling desire just isn't there.

If the Navy were run by women, I just don't think they'd be as tempted by meals, alcohol and a bunch of prostitutes. Maybe something else? Instant weight loss? A full night's sleep? Those would indeed be temptingwe're only human!

Women don't seem to require that men wrap themselves from top to toe to ensure that our massive libidos don't get out of control. Indeed many religions seem to have determined that the sight of a woman's...hair, eyes, face, collarbones, arms, legs, or just spending timea meal perhapswith them in the presence of alcohol appear to be simply more than any man can handle.

These religions (surely unnecessary to note that these religions are all invented by men and have men as their gods) clearly believe that men really can't control themselves.  Or perhaps more accurately, shouldn't have to control themselves.  Everyone else (aka women) need to accommodate their weakness.  You get the picture (but DON'T look!). Christians, Muslims, Jews, whatever.  Sad.

So I would just like to take a moment to give a big shout-out to those millions (and I do mean millions) of guys that clearly have iron control, and  are able to live their livesseemingly fairly effortlesslywandering about with countless heads full of women's hair all about them, seeing women's faces, looking at scantily clad female bodies, even going so far as to eat a meal with them, and continuing to behave as normal human beings among other normal human beings, even though those other human beings are in fact female human beings.

You guys are amazing.  Really.  My hat's off to you (and I know I am safe in taking my hat off and exposing my hair because...well, you CAN control yourself). Thank you.  Really.

But all of this gave me a new insight into male homophobia! If all those religious sects endorse the fact that men have no self-controlor at least no obligation to exert itto the point that they cannot be alone with a woman who is not their wife, cannot look at a woman's hair, cannot sit beside a woman, etc. etc. then what if the MAN they are sitting beside is...filled with uncontrollable thoughts about THEM! 

Think about it.