December 26, 2008
I went to the movies today to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It tells a story of a man aging backwards. It was a bizarre yet remarkable movie. My Ebert and Roeper analysis is this: It’s provocative and poignant. Brad Pitt is spell-binding. It’s a 'must see.’ I give it two thumbs up. The movie made me think about the middle of my life. I thought about the part of my life that is intermediate, the part of our lives between life beginning and death decaying. I wondered if my midpoint has been meaningful. We are all growing older (nothing like Benjamin Button, who grows younger)....
December 24, 2008
On Christmas Eve I went to visit Jason. As I sat in the office waiting, I could hear him asking the clinician, "Where is she, where is she?" I stood up to hug him and I could see where a fist graced his face. He said that he was thinking about calling me. "I was!" he said, enthusiastically, assuring me that he was thinking about me. "Tell me about Africa," he asked. I started to tell him how beautiful it is and how I would love to take him there. I can see him traveling, imagining as I talk. I can tell it is helping him escape the four walls of the Department of Youth Services. I pause....
December 19, 2008
I took the day off from work in anticipation of a New England snowstorm. When at work, I never get to watch daytime television. So today I watched Good Morning America, then Ellen, who picked pals with Paris Hilton and premiered the Pussy Cat Dolls latest single. Then something strange transpired. A talk show, Life with Bonnie, followed Ellen. It was the driest, dullest disaster done to daytime television. At first I thought it was a practical joke, but then she welcomed and introduced a new Christmas CD by Melissa Etheridge. Who is Bonnie? And why is she a talk show host?
December 8, 2008
The value of ten dollars is almost valueless. President Hamilton’s bill is as cent-less as President Washington’s dollar. My daughter invited three young girls from the church in South Africa to our hotel. The resort where we stayed had plenty of fun activities for them. They swam, they bowled, they played miniature golf. After dinner we called for their parents to come and, as they say, “fetch” them. My husband and I gave them 100 Rand each, the equivalent to ten American dollars. One of the girls began to cry. “I never had 100 Rand before.” I was taken aback by her reaction. After...
December 6, 2008
I lifted it. My left hand on the barrel of a 9mm, my right hand tightly gripping the clip, and my index finger on the trigger. My heart is racing rapidly. “He deserves it,” I thought. He walked out of the building, and I squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit him in the head. I reloaded and squeezed again. Reloaded and squeezed yet again. I fired 243 shots and got 89 hits - 36% accuracy. Adrenaline was altering my common sense. Points are deducted when you hit an innocent victim. I hit three. As I was completing stage one, a homeless man lay across a city bench and I knowingly squeezed the...
December 5, 2008
I had a flashback of me as a child, sitting in our two-bedroom apartment. The smell of crack cocaine burning is deeply-rooted in my nostrils. Suddenly my son startled me and asked, “What is that smell?” It was the smell of the burning trash that lingers in the air in South Africa. “It’s just burning trash, Danny.”
December 4, 2008
On a safari tour, the tour guide pulled up next to two rhinoceros. Not only did he stop the jeep; he also turned off the ignition. The rhinos looked at us as if they recognized the tour guide and the jeep. They didn’t seem fearful or frightened; I felt timid and terrified. I swiftly slid to left of the jeep. We saw red bishops flying, waterbucks wandering and impalas grazing. The guide explained, “Weak males reproduce weak babies, and weak males shouldn’t breed.” The fold of impalas forces weak males out of the flock. A banished male begins to rebuild his strength so that he can return to...
December 3, 2008
The rain drops dropped heavy, like hail, and it seemed as if there were fewer drops falling to the ground. Fewer drops, dropping harder. The rain flooded the South African highways, making the brick-red dirt look like Campbell’s tomato soup, creating drinking pools for the boundless sheep and cows.
December 2, 2008
We visited the place of rest, a place where I would in no way lay my head. The place of rest is one of many informal settlements in South Africa. The settlements look like hundreds of makeshift clubhouses. They look like my seven-year-old gathered cardboard boxes and tin and made a place to play. But there are thousands of Africans who live in the settlements. As we drove in, we were greeted by an elderly woman with a shovel, digging though piles of trash for food. We pulled over the caravan to give her one of the two hundred bags of groceries and soap we’ve brought. To show her...
December 1, 2008
We’re driving cars fast and furious, rushing for the train to get to work on time. We are feeding our children pop tarts for breakfast; cereal eaten in a stick. We are noisy, horns beeping, road rage rearing its ugly face. We are driving though a drive-thru to get a flu shot. We are just busy, too busy to stop and see the homeless man sitting in a corner in the train station. We run past him. Too restless to know we need rest. Too busy to notice our business; too busy letting the small things go unseen.