Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Talk Thursday: Convention

As I crash the Muslim restaurant of my sweet dreams, I'm pondering the whole concept of convention.  Why?  Because it was my idea, that's why, and also because everybody I follow on Twitter is absolutely refusing to shut up about the hurricane that's going on down in Tampa.  No, the one in Tampa, not the one in New Orleans.  You know, the one where whoever's keynote speaking can't go more than two minutes without saying something stupid that offends half of America.  Or the other half.  Sometimes both halves.  I'm trying not to pay it too much attention.  I may just have to sign off Twitter for the duration.  And I'm not sure what I'm gonna do when that other convention fires up.  Different keynote speakers, same two-minute habit, except they generally don't offend me personally.  The last few days I've felt like scaling Fountain Plaza and yelling, "Can't we all just get along?" as the helicopter buzzes by to film the opening sequence to Dallas.  

Apparently we can't.  Apparently it's been the fate of personkind to be divided into two factions that fight over everything since we were cave men (and women).  The only thing that's ever united the two feuding factions is the presence of a bigger, badder enemy.  So, unless there's an alien invasion (we can always hope), we're stuck with our two sets of clowns until November.  Which, despite all appearances to the contrary, slowly approacheth.  

(A guy I know on Twitter is trekking all over Europe.  When he was in Scotland last week, a Scotsman came up to him and asked if he was American.  When he acknowledged that he was, the Scotsman asked, "Are the lot of you fucked in the head?"  The sad thing is, I don't know if he was talking about Todd Akin or our latest mass shooting.  Latest.  Mass.  Shooting.  Think about that for a second.  I mean, that's like saying World War Two to a space alien.  "Wait a minute.  You had a world war and you did it more than once?!"  How embarrassing.  Please, if any of you ever have a close encounter of the third kind, try to keep off the subject of recent American history.  It's best if you just explain about Steven Spielberg and go from there.)

Meanwhile, I've been having a tantrum.  Tantrum, midlife crisis, whatever you want to call it.  I saw one of my docs today, and he summed it up pretty well by saying, "I imagine it's pretty hard to be you."  Well, uh, it is.  Thank you for noticing.  I have, as they say, A Lot On My Plate.  The latest thing that I feel absolutely outraged at not having under my firm control is the fact that I have nothing under my firm control.  That is, I'm forty-three years old, I have a house, car, cats, wife, responsible job and all the other trappings of adulthood (even my very own credit card debt!), and yet I can't take care of myself like an independent human being.  

I can hear all of the Buddhists laughing out there.  There is, of course, no such thing as an independent human being.  All of us rely on each other.  Don't think so?  Well, take a look at this laptop, here.  The one I'm typing on.  I didn't build it.  Yeah, regardless of what Obama said or didn't say.  It's true.  I did not build this laptop, yet it is essential to my well-being in ways that only become screamingly obvious when you take it away from me.  And I do mean screamingly obvious.  I didn't make my clothes, my mala bracelet, my car or even this unbelievably delicious fried kibbe and akawi pie that I'm snarfing down between sentences.  Other people did all that.  I need them, and they need me.  You can't navigate a lawsuit without a paralegal.  (Well, I suppose you can, but you wouldn't want to.)  You can't run a law firm without the guys that make the copy paper and the pens and the cute little laminated tabley things that pass as desks anymore.  You can't make copy paper without trees, and you can't make trees without dirt and sunlight and a lot of time.  So, technically, I am a product of sunlight and dirt and time.  And I can't take care of myself.  That's obvious.  So what, then, is the Big Deal?  

Well, the Big Deal is that besides the dirt and the sunlight, I seem to need a team of advance-degreed professionals.  Sometimes I end up in their offices, like I did today, and they say stuff like, "I imagine it's pretty hard to be you," and send me into a tailspin.  I called up Joan and ranted and complained and wanted to know why, after all this time, I still couldn't take care of myself.  And she said, "Jen, you are taking care of yourself.  You're going to see your doctors when you're supposed to.  You're taking your meds when you're supposed to and you're doing everything you're supposed to do."  She's right.  I've even been off sugar for (gulp) seven days now.  The New Guy has inspired me to new heights of--of high things.  "But I don't want to have some committee following me around for the rest of my life," I said.  "I want to be able to stand on my own two feet."  "You do stand on your own two feet," she said, "and those two feet take you where you need to go, when you need to go there."  (Well, she said something like that.  I have a good ear for dialogue, but it's not perfect.)  

Big sigh.  Minor grumbling.  Settling down, wiping the foam off my face.  Okay, okay.  I may not be able to exist as an independent human being, since no one really can, anyway.  But that doesn't mean I have to like it.  And I don't, just for the record.  It'd be interesting, though, if we could get everybody in the same place at the same time and just hear what all of them have to say.  The New Guy and Dr. Patel and Dr. Simon and Dr. King and Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and what's-his-name from China.  Throw in Avalokishvara for some variety and maybe a little Vishnu.  Good heavens, it's starting to sound like--a convention.  Nobody call Fox News.    

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