As part of my now-monthly ritual of getting this blog to 12 posts a month, I offer up my second helping of random, gathered thoughts that have little bearing on each other. The good news? It's like getting 8 blogposts in one! The bad news? Some of these thoughts are probably outright pointless or stupid.
1. Are my fingerprints on file somewhere? I don't have any crimes or arrests to my name so far, but I've been wondering if there wasn't some kind of Cub Scout project way back when and we went to a police station and got fingerprinted. And it probably would have seemed pretty neat at the time, if it happened. Now, of course, if they are still my prints, I'd just as soon they stay mine.
2. If you drive in southern Georgia, you may encounter a billboard in I-75 that reads "#Secede." I suppose I could have tracked down the website to see what the sponsoring organization, Society Of The South or some such, but is there any need? 154 years after that first secession, states like Georgia and those that surround it, like mine, want to restrict rights in the name of the Federal government, by God, can't tell us what to do. Progress?
3. One of the pleasures of spending a few days in a more tropical climate is encountering the unique flora. One humid morning, we paused in front of a Bird Of Paradise plant, that origami-like creation of bright reds and yellows, and greens that makes you wonder if the Creator Of Plants felt more creative in warmer climes.
4. Human adults have a genetic disposition against carpooling. You can see it in a city like Atlanta if you get in the HOV lane ( which means you have bragging rights for at least two people in your car) and pass car after car after car in the afternoon morass and you start working math problems in your head, like, if there were two people in each car instead of one, how much would speed increase on the crawling highway?
5. HBO's Vice, which I must claim has either been under marketed or mis-marketed, is a brilliant representation of Szymborska's lines: "We're extremely fortunate/ not to know/ precisely/ the kind of world we are living in." In two 15-minute reporting vignettes each episode, the show illuminates how some trouble spot of the world is far worse than you thought it was. While you might be inclined to think, why would I want to watch that, like any impressive wreck, it is hard to look away, and you come away oddly amazed that the whole human endeavor is even holding together as well as it is.
6. The most amazing aspect of the NCAA tournament for me each year is how I, like so many others, can get so caught up for one team that I am living and dying during every possession of a game whose teams I don't really know and have previously cared about even less. I watched no college basketball game, other than silent visual in the background in a bar, the entire year. I know none of the players. I can't explain the phenomenon.
7. Many people like to shop when on vacation. I suppose I am no different, except that I am. All of my purchases are comestibles-- cheeses, tomatoes and other produce, grapefruits, vinegars and wine musts, Trader Joe's staples, jams and pastes, etc. I've discovered that my vacation "souvenirs" tend to be items that might allow me to recreate some of the tastes of the vacation place. It's a strange habit that fills cupboards, refrigerators, and freezers.
8. Here's a study in human nature: a large pink ball of the type you would encounter in a large wire bin in a Wal-Mart, a cheap toy, shows up in the yard of a house where four boys live. Being boys, their home and yard are filled with sports balls of various sorts--soccer, basketball, rubber balls, dodge balls. But this plastic pink ball, this mysterious visitor, suddenly holds sway over all. Each boy wants to hold it, bounce it dribble it. Each boys wants his time with it, while all other balls lie fallow. Arguments spring up endlessly, with grabbing, wrestling, poking, trying to tip the ball away. Because no boy has ownership, all have both full rights and none. The smooth pink ball has disrupted the entire home. One suspects that when the boys get home from school, they will each look for it. Perhaps one of them has hidden it, but as soon as he emerges with it, all will want time with it.