Sunday, December 26, 2010

In Relation

When a tree falls in the forest and no person is there to hear it, yes, it makes a sound. The sound is just the sound of a tree falling. There is no qualifying the sound. The sound is without the context and history of the listener.

Measuring any social quality is the same. We can say I am 38 based on the wear of my teeth, bones etc. but 38 is just an age signifying not much more than that. The meaning of 38 is derived when I am put in relationship to others. Within very specific social contexts 38 means different things. It is when I am juxtaposed within specific settings and in relation to what/who is around me that my age takes on a richer meaning.

When we study age, or any other social attribute, we have to take into consideration the experience of the individual studied within the context of their social surroundings. We have to come up with ways to relate those meanings in a fluid way that allows for flexibility in those meanings across different dimensions such as time or setting.

The language we choose, as the describer, equally signifies our own history and experience. To me, the sound of the tree falling will reflect all the other trees I have ever heard falling. Your description will necessarily differ from mine, even if very slightly, because we have not inhabited the same space. We have not had the same experiences.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Things I Can't Tell You

There are moments in our lives when we do things that nag at us, that drain our energy. Things we aren't proud of and are afraid to share with anyone else. Generally, if you read enough comedy, you find out that you are not the only person who has done or thought this whatever thing that it is you have done/thought. (Comedians have a marvelous way of exposing their weaknesses so that we can laugh at our own.) I think these things are the blocks we have between each of us. They are why we over-react at times to others. I want to title my first book Things I Can't Tell You.  Or, maybe What I Can't Tell You. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

That's Completely Natural

No product, no brushing - morning hair.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Facility Dreams

I dreamt last night that the staff apartment at work had a fire. Poor co-workers were stressed to the max - one trying to study for a final, the other feeling responsible for the fire. I felt responsible for the fire. Felt like I missed something. Wow, I haven't had a dream like that in a while. When I first took on being house manager I woke up every morning thinking about what I didn't know about the house and what I worried I should learn quick. 24, 000 square foot facility with up to 24 families and at least one staff person over night leaves me uneasy at times. I feel so responsible for them all. It's so much easier when I'm there in person. I can jump in and be the one to take responsibility. But when I'm not there, I'm worried about what I'm not seeing. I intellectually know that I do everything I can to make sure the facility is safe, that staff are trained and supported, that I'm available by phone. I know the staff there can handle their responsibilities. I just can't help but have it creep into my dreams once in a while still!

There's some deep lesson here about what we can't see, my literal blind spot, and the beauty of how some Asian art intentionally obscures things or adds minor imperfections. I need a hot shower and another cup of tea before I go there though.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buzz Kill

Wicked little one.
You think you're ruler of the morning,
Master of our schedule.
You think we jump when you say "jump".
We need to show you who's boss.
You're not in charge of me.
One word for you little creep, "snooze."