Friday, January 31, 2014

Does anyone else need a pensive?

Thank heaven for J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books. Not only are they so entertaining and engaging, so many words and situations are now very familiar to me. An example: the 'pensive', which represents a place to put excess thoughts when you are feeling mentally stretched. How I would benefit from such a device/process! I have a plethora of memories that I would love to offload. Or, how about having a house elf? Never do housework again! Wouldn't that be wonderful? Or, how about entering a dark room and murmuring 'lumose'? So many applications that I am forever thinking about them.

The most important analogy for me is the wish for a pensive in which to unload my overloaded brain. As an educator, a full-time student, along with the very heartbreaking need to help aged and dying parents, I need to clear my mind in order to be productive. I chose to begin a degree program in the midst of everything else because I need to have assurance of employment, or at least have a better chance of it. The last few years have proven that during an economic downturn, and slow recovery, that college instructors like me are a dime a dozen, and the work can stop, dry up, and/or cease, over night. I am a person who enjoys college, its courses, and rewards, but have been unable to immerse myself in the enjoyment that should go along with learning something new, as it has in the past. I find myself having difficulty concentrating on my coursework which then leads to panic. I have to get this done, and there is only one way to accomplish it; just do it! Other advice that works here is that offered by Douglas Adams in the "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", that features a book of the same title, and which offers readers the advice to "...DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.". Perhaps I should take that advice, and also the advice that I give others who are currently overwhelmed as I am, which is to "breathe deeply", and that chocolate can only help (in the Harry Potter books, chocolate is a restorative). I could also use the advice given somewhere in the Bible wherein a sage person comforts a reader with: "this too shall pass". While there is no stopping in sight, it may be time to come up for air, smell some roses. and endeavor to 'not panic'.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

In a Coffee Shop

I am in a coffee shop waiting for an appointment time to draw near, and am watching a situation. As usual, when I have the need to hang out where there is wireless connectivity, to make the best use of my time in between engagements, I marvel at all of the life occurring around me. A job interview has just occurred to my left, and there are a few business meetings all around. This particular coffee shop is abuzz with activity. It is loud in here! The situation that draws my interest the most, is that of a window washer, who in this cold weather is dressed in a skirt with tights and a sweater. No coat. It's cold outside. They have just moved in to clean the inside windows, so no coat necessary here. This person, appears to me to be a transgender individual who is emaciated (all the more reason for needing a coat). While they are working their way across the windows, they pass close to where I am sitting. I am one of those people who takes any opportunity to talk with strangers, but this individual does not meet my eye. I don't want to push, and I am reluctant to shout over the noise of the shop.

This situation causes me to reflect on why the window washer will not look around them. Is it because they are intent on their task, or because they are used to being ignored, or because they are too fragile in their transition from one gender to the one in which they are most comfortable to acknowledge and meet the eye of someone else? If it is the latter reason, it strikes me as true loneliness, and there is such sadness there. The song "One is the loneliest number" comes to mind, because we as humans are meant to live in groups and provide society for each other. How is it that we still isolate our fellow man. Is it " us vs. them", or does the window washer just want to finish up and move on to their next job, or perhaps home from here? I wonder.