Friday, November 30, 2007

Both of the people I know who killed themselves did it in November. Tonight is the sixth anniversary of my cousin's suicide.

I feel like it's hitting me harder than I remember it doing in years past...

My friend Kate who is adopting an older kid tells me that they warn you that your kid may "act out" on anniversaries of significant/bad things, without even knowing it.

Yup, it feels sorta like that, except I'm not really acting out, more folding up.

God, it sucks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Love as Testimony

I just got a new comment on a post from last February, good thing I turned on notification for those things, or I'd never have seen it.

Allison (whose blog looks really interesting) asks what I've been thinking since about love as a testimony.

I wrote something the next day, about love being the soil that the testimonies grow out of, which I think is more to the point.

But I'm still frustrated that it's not what we talk about. Jeanne wrote, in a recent post about class, "I think it's fair to say that all Friends seek to live out the kind of love Jesus spoke about." in the context of what we're motivated by, and striving for, when we choose to tussle with the issue of class.

Maybe I'm only frustrated with myself. When people who don't know anything about Quakers ask me about it, I go on about waiting in silence, being moved by the spirit, that of god in everyone, what canst thou say, simplicity, equality, integrity, peace (community doesn't seem to be a testimony in my community! - or at least didn't make the list) what if I just said, "Friends seek to live out the kind of love Jesus spoke about"?


I mean, aside from sounding more Christocentric than I'd prefer (while not actually being so. Doing something Jesus talked about is totally different from what most people think of as "christian" and what I resist about it - accpeting that he was in some way supernatural)

but aside from that, it sounds freaky, mushy, hippy-dippy, new age, flaky or something.

Why does LOVE sound like that? It's so basic, so essential, like dirt, necessary to life, to growth, unassuming at its best....

Do They Know It's Christmas?

So, now two of my 5 radio presets in my car are playing xmas music 24/7. One has been since early november, and I'm already pretty sick of it.

But I still scan through them on my way to work, and usually stop if one is playing
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid.

The song was released at the end of 1984, right before I turned 16, and is perfectly dramatic and bleeding-heart-ish for where I was then in my life. I still love it, in a weird nostalgic way.

The lyrics, however, are just ludicrous. I'm embarassed by them. I mean, the name for one thing. "Do they know it's Christmas?" - Well, some of "them" are christian, and certainly know. Some of them aren't, and for them it's NOT. A more appropriate question might be do WE know it's not Christmas for everyone? And should people have enough to eat even if it's NOT Christmas?

And then the "there won't be snow in Africa" - well, actually, there most likely was, some places in Africa. There are some dang high mountains over there, from what I hear. I bet there's snow on at least some of them. But more to the point, who the hell cares about snow? Yeah, that's what starving people are missing out on, snow. Poor things.

I know, poetic license and all that. It sounds good, and was very moving. Sold a lot of records, made a lot of money, which I heard didn't actually help the situation all that much. (as famine is almost always political, rather than due to actual lack of resources anyway)

So I guess it just got me back into thinking about charity and how we see our relationship to the world. The song is so much about guilt because we have and others don't, but also, in this weird way, about how we're better than them (we, after all, know it's christmas, and we have snow to boot)

I'm all for a sense of justice - a sense that something is wrong when we have a huge excess and others are suffering from want, but guilt is different, somehow, I don't like it. And the idea that people are starving because they're missing something that "we" "get" is just offensive.

But the song still moves me. Nostalgia? Poetry? Still caught up in my western world white guilt? Yeah....

*edit* link to youtube video, courtesy of Martin, Thanks!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sad - Missing my co-op

Yesterday was North Country's last day open. I went there in the early evening. I'd been meaning to all week, but this stuff does get put off....

I was amazed at how sad I was. I've known this was coming for ages. Even officially. They announced they were closing a while ago. When the New Riv closed I found out cause I planned on going to lunch there that day. Much more of a shock (but also a long time coming..)

I'm mad that it didn't work, and yet I was part of it not working too. I haven't done my grocery shopping there in ages. It's a little further away than Seward Co-op, maybe a mile, and just that little bit harder to get to (at a weird intersection, with very little parking, sort of trapped between two highways and the river) In addition it sort of never had critical mass, or something. The produce wasn't as good, because it didn't have the level of turnover the other coops do, and so fewer of us bought it, making the turnover even worse.

I miss the community-ness of it. From the handpainted wooden signs which retained a little of the old co-op feel, to the signs salvaged from other closed co-ops that they saved, a bit of history. I wonder where they'll go now.

I know when I was more involved there was a sense of an "in" group. Working members and board members, lots of people who knew each other and were excited to chat when we saw each other. I think that created sort of an "out group" feeling for lots of people, and have heard that was part of what was alienating. Many of us would rather go somewhere where no one has much of a connection (though regulars will often know some of the cashiers, or whatever, anywhere), but it makes me really sad.

I got interviewed, along with lots of other people, for a west bank (the neighborhood) history project. I'll be interested to see that when it's up (I think it will be a website, I'll link to it) - I don't feel very articulate, but it was actually suprisingly healing to talk to this unknown young woman about my history of the place, and what it's meant to me.

Afterwards I swung by Seward Co-op on the way home. It's beautiful, with abundant, lovely produce as you walk in the door, lots of stuff, lots of lights, marketing endcaps. They're doing it "right". So right, in fact, that they're in the process of moving down the street to a much bigger place. The large parking lot is often filled, and the lines are getting long.

And they exist because in 1973 or whenever North Country was getting too big and needed to spin off another co-op. Weird.

I love Seward too, but it felt sort of soulless. I resented it, sort of like when my old dog, Patches, died, I resented my younger dogs, just for not being her, really. How could they ever compare?

I guess they won't. Something real is lost, and something else continues on.

Friday, November 02, 2007

what privilege do you have?

From Jeanne, who often rocks my world

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

Had more than 500 books in your childhood home (I don't know, I think so?)
Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Had to take out less than $5000 in student loans in order to go to college
Didn't need student loans to go to college out of high school
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
(a YMCA one, but still)
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels (occasionally, when I was young)
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (I adored hand-me-downs, but I didn't need them)
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (in order to wangle the scholarship that allowed me to go to college without student loans)
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
(true, but we also couldn't always pay them)

Wow, I figured I'd have a lot bolded, but this is particularly a lot.

Of course this list is flawed, or at least incomplete.

Someone else somewhere mentioned that it doesn't ask if you went to, or finished college, if you worked your ass off not to have college loans, or took 8 years to do it cause you were working full time...

I went to a private (Friends) high school, but in grade 4-5 I went to public school, where my compatriots were much richer, one of my classmates was the FDR's granddaughter. Bill and Hilary Clinton bought a house in that suburb when they went to New York. So if I'd graduated from that public high school, would I have less privilege? I don't think so. The most working class school I went to was Catholic, not public. I'm not sure if that would have been "private" or not.

Also, in my experience having a tv or phone in your room was a status symbol of much greater interest to my working class friends. I'm pretty sure my best friend, who was clearly more "working class" than me had both of these well before I did. She had a greater awareness of them as status symbols, and to some extent it was easier for her family to provide those than, say, a college fund.

Also, lots of my wealthier friends had hand me down cars. Getting your parent's 4 year old audi when they get a new one certainly isn't less privileged than getting a 10 year old junker that's new to your family cause your parents aren't done with their 10 year old junker yet :)

And original art. My grandma's house had tons of stuff that she'd made, perhaps falling in the category of crafts ratehr than art, but how do we count that? we had *my* original art, from middle school art classe, on the walls :)

Which actually reminds me of a conversation I had with Jeanne about grade school classes. I left my main room for art, gym, music, and I think science in grade school. I think she said they didn't leave for any of those. That's a difference I had no clue about, I thought all kids did that. Though I know those programs are getting gobbled up in public schools these days, I thought they were alive and well everywhere in the 70s.

Oh, PS, I'm not tagging anyone, but I'd love to see lots of people do this.