Friday, 22 January 2010

7 Quick Takes (XXVI)

[Note: for some reason, my spacing won't come out in the post in the same way that I have it in the draft. It's unprofessional-looking, but the most I can do is explain it here.]

1. On Saturday, as I'm sure you can see in my previous post, my folks and I went down to Conn Creek. It was breath-taking. I had to run into the variety store to buy some batteries for my camera, and I'm glad I did. They were disposable batteries, though, and were giving me low-battery signs for the whole walk.

2. On Saturday night, we watched Is Anyone There? This movie was not as funny as I expected it to be. As a matter of fact, minus the very end, it was fairly depressing. That's not to say it wasn't good. It just wasn't as billed.

3. I served again this past Sunday. The officiate told me that it was a morning prayer service, and Dave, the deacon, would not be serving that morning. She said that on such occasions the server usually didn't serve, though I could if I wanted to. I asked her who else was up there, and she said, "No one but me." So I served, as I didn't think she ought to be all alone. I have no objections at all to serving. I like the formality of bowing to the altar, of taking the offering. It's silly, but I feel childishly pleased to put the collection plate on the altar, to be the one who gets to do that. In Christianity, most of our sacrifices are abstract or interpersonal; I am fortunate to be able to make a more physical, ritual sacrifice when I serve. Nonetheless, I will be happy to sit in the congregation again for two Sundays.
Afterwards, I went downstairs for lunch and spent most of the time talking to Rob, the former-priest-now-bishop's son. Rob will be leaving soon. We discussed all sorts of things that you might discuss with a kid. Somehow I am bonding more with children at St. Thomas' than I am with adults. I don't know what this says about me. Even Kim, who is pretty much my age and extremely outgoing, is harder to talk to than Rob or Dakota, who are children. Sometimes I am absurdly shy, which I don't think anyone who knows me--especially from class--will believe or understand. Like many shy people, I hide it by giving firm handshakes, speaking confidently, and taking official-ish positions, such as server or DSC representative.

4. This week I helped run the Open Minds program at work. The programs coordinator was away on Monday, so we had planned for me to run it then. Her flight was turned back, so I had to run Tuesday's, too. By then the children (grade two/three students) knew me, so I stayed and helped for much of Wednesday. On Thursday the coordinator told them I couldn't really stay with them all week, as I had my own work to do. I did, however, attend their certificate ceremony. The programs coordinator had them hug her, if they wanted to, but I said nothing because I'm constantly paranoid about getting sued for doing inappropriate things around children. Not that I do inappropriate things at all; I just recognize that I could get frowned at for being hugged by a kid, you know? It's backwards, but that's the way our world works. But after shaking all of their hands when they got their certificates and saying goodbye, and group of the girls came up to me and hugged me anyway. This was sweet, of course, but also uncomfortable for me. For some reason, if I wouldn't be comfortable with a person being attracted to me, I probably won't be comfortable with them touching me. I don't know why that is. I am so neurotic.
I wish adults could show affection the way children do. I sometimes wonder if adults can still even feel affection the way children do. (Honesty check: replace "adults" with "I.") Probably not; affection is so muddled up with romance and eroticism among adults that we can get confused. You can't even go and call something a Platonic relationship because then 1) people assume you're trying to hide something, and 2) through contrast the possibility that it might at some point be something other than Platonic, while left unspoken, is nonetheless spoken. In drawing a picture of a candle-light, you must also draw darkness; by saying that a relationship is Platonic, you point out the existence of non-Platonic possiblities. So you're better off not saying it at all. And if you talk about friendship with people of the same gender as you, either people assume there's the latent possibility of homosexuality, or you have to use words like "buddy" or, alternately, "bromance." The possibility of real, non-ambiguous friendship or affection is all muddled up by either shying away from or parodying a homosexual relationship. As much as I support coming out of the closet, it seems to me as though homosexuality's publicity has broken homosociality. With children, it's so much more uncomplicated, or at least can be if these kids are anything to go by. It never was for me, but I have always been weird, and no more so than when I was a child.
That probably made no sense. Gah. It's not as though I haven't had normal, unambiguous friendships with guys and girls. I just mean that you can't articulate that without making what it is unstable. Any display of friendly affection is misconstrued.
5. I worked on grad school applications. Almost there!

6. My day-by-day Bible had a really interesting conjunction of Genesis and Gospel readings. Actually, this one's pretty cool. Got your Bible handy? Read Genesis 40:1-16 and Matthew 12:46-13:23. That was for January 19th. I have been waiting for a day's reading that has been so deliberate-seeming. The first day, opening with the first chapter of Genesis and the first chapter of Matthew, was of course connected, because both are about the beginning of the world in two different senses. This week the verses corresponded in a way which was less predictable and therefore more potent. I have a hard time imagining Joseph as looking different from Jesus, and I think this conjunction is one of the reasons. (Another is that I recognize that Joseph is a foreshadowing of Christ. But then, Samson is that too, and I don't picture him as anything like Jesus. I imagine him more like Hercules or Gilgamesh.)
Each night also has Psalm and Proverb readings, but these haven't yet been terribly connected to the other readings, except, again, on the first day. Proverbs begins with a call to listen and a promise of wisdom, so that kind of goes with the creation of the world and the genealogy of Christ.
7. I just finished reading lullabies for little criminals by Heather O'Neill. I am not inclined to profanity, and yet the response which wants to come from my lips is something like, "H**y f***ing sh*t, this book is good. G*d. Read this!" I have no idea where this blasphemy is coming from; even when I do want to swear, it's usually profanity and not blasphemy. I make a distinction.
If you're in the mood for the romanticization of urban homelessness, read this book. It's God in the Alley without Jesus, and fictional. [Edit: The "without Jesus" part isn't supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing. That's just what the book is. God in the Alley is literally about Jesus, and lullabies isn't. That's all.] Actually, I can't recommend it as highly as I would like because it's terribly depressing almost all the way through. In my opinion, the ending makes it worth it (I'll try not to spoil it any more than saying that), but it's a hard book to read. If you're feeling even slightly inclined to depression or melancholy--and, let's be honest, folks, that describes me when I get lonely, which is all the time up here--then this will be a very hard book for you. If I read this too soon before I went to bed, I'd be a bit miserable. Most of the book doesn't have the desperation you might expect, but that's only because it's hopeless. Desperation implies that you think there's a way out.

Anyway, if you're up for a challenging read, pick this up. It will be worth it. It's Canadian, which I approve of. And I met the author at uni and got the book signed, which I also approve of. Once you're done reading the book, read the author bio, too. That's a story in itself.
Jennifer Fulwiler is hosting 7 Quick Takes, as always.

And that's me for tonight. This hasn't been a cheery post, I think, though I certainly feel happy enough right now. I'm still happy about holding that giant millipede. I liked how his little legs moved.

Well, rambling thoughts end here. Good night and God bless,

Christian H


Jon Wong said...

Bonding with children is far easier than bonding with adults. There is this great quotation from High School Musical:

"Do you remember in kindergarten, how you'd meet a kid, and know nothing about them, then 10 seconds later you'd be playing like you were best friends, because you didn't have to be anyone but yourself?"

Also, ditto on the homosociality. That's partly the reason why (as you know) I can't stand the word "buddy". I've said this before. I honestly believe that that lone word is a fail proof indicator of whether or not we would get along. There is an inherent quality in people who use that term to describe their friend that is universally incongruous with my personality.

Em the luddite said...

Good luck on those grad school applications... the best part of the past month of my life has been being done with them. Lord hasten the day when you are done as well, ay?

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