Sunday, July 23, 2006

Something To Keep You Busy This Week

I am taking the bar exam this week. We will not speak of it. But obviously I won’t be posting during the week, and then after that I’ve got so much going on that I don’t know when I’ll be posting after that. So I thought I would leave you with a bit of philosophy for you to ponder. I’ve actually been meaning to post this for quite some time, but Bobby (Jive to the Monkey) posted something last week that reminded me that I still hadn’t done it yet (I think—if I have, then just read it again) [if I didn't link properly, go here, and scroll down to "Philisophical Implications in Poetry"].

This is an excerpt from The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton. I won’t try to describe the book to you, and I wouldn’t dare recommend you read it--I don't do book recommendations because book choices are too personal. I find it to be beyond description. I loved it. It’s certainly beautifully written; Chesterton could turn a phrase. But it’s a strange story, a farce, a mystery, a social commentary, too many things wrapped into one for me to tell you for sure that you’d like it if you read it. You can learn more about it here.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book. Read it and see what you think:

Gregory resumed in high oratorical good-humour.
‘An artist is identical with an anarchist,’ he cried. ‘You might transpose the words anywhere. An anarchist is an artist. The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything. He sees how much more valuable is one burst of blazing light, one peal of perfect thunder, than the mere common bodies of a few shapeless policemen. An artist disregards all governments, abolishes all conventions. The poet delights in disorder only. If it were not so, the most poetical thing in the world would be the Underground Railway.’
‘So it is,’ said Mr. Syme.
‘Nonsense!’ said Gregory, who was very rational when anyone else attempted paradox. ‘Why do all the clerks and navvies in the railway trains look so sad and tired, so very sad and tired? I will tell you. It is because they know that whatever place they have a ticket for, that place they will reach. It is because after they have passed Sloane Square they know that the next station must be Victoria, and nothing but Victoria. Oh, their wild rapture! oh, their eyes like stars and their souls like Eden, if the next station were unaccountably Baker Street!’
‘It is you who are unpoetical,’ replied the poet Syme. ‘If what you say of clerks is true, they can only be as prosaic as your poetry. The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street, or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. Take your Byron, who commemorates the defeats of man; give me Bradshaw who commemorates his victories . . . .’
‘I tell you,’ went on Syme with passion, ‘that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I come there I have the sense of a hair-breadth escape. And when I hear the guard shout out the word “Victoria,” it is not an unmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest. It is to me indeed “Victoria”; it is the victory of Adam.’

So this is my question for you—who do you agree with, Lucien Gregory or Gabriel Syme? For me—and I’ve put a lot of thought into this—I’m with Syme all the way. If you really stop and look around at the world around you—the fact that you can get in this metal box with wheels and go somewhere, and that it gets you where you actually are trying to go—all the wondrous things around us everyday that we take for granted, it really is something of a victory. And I think we should never stop being in awe of the world around us—never take things for granted. Because that’s when life stops being an adventure and starts being dull. Lots of people feel like they have to create adventure because life isn’t exciting enough for them. I say, they’re not looking in the right places, and they take too much for granted. Everyday has exciting possibilities. You might think your life is boring because you know exactly what's going to happen from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to bed. But the truth is, you don't have any idea! A thousand things could go wrong. If your day does in fact go exactly as planned, it's really something to marvel at.

But what do you think?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Is This Why I'm Happier Than Many of My Married Friends?

I’m a 30-year-old Christian single woman living in Texas. If you are like me, well, then you’re probably not like me. What I mean is, most Christian single women I know, or even non-Christian single women I know, really, really want to get married. Even if they say they don’t care, they do. How to get a man, and when or if they ever will land “him,” features prominently in their thoughts, their writings, and their conversations. It's the subtext to just about everything they say or do. Me, not so much. It’s not that I have a problem with marriage per se, though most people who know me think I do (because apparently, if you don't think it's the BEST THING THAT COULD EVERY HAPPEN TO YOU, then you must just be anti-marriage). It’s just that I think if it’s what God wants for me, then I’ll get married, but if He doesn’t, then I won’t. And I have to say, I love being single. Love, love, love it. I don't particularly ever want to get married, but if I thought that's what God's plan for me was, I'd go for it. I just can’t relate to the mindset of the woman who just doesn’t think she’s complete without a man, like her life really hasn’t started until she can say she’s Mrs. Someone. I just don’t think that’s a good thing to have on your list of goals in life, because it’s too easy to marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons that way. Also, maybe God doesn’t want you to be married, and then you’ll spend your whole life bitter and unhappy, instead of concentrating on what you are supposed to using your life for. That’s not healthy!

And it turns out, people are finally, finally recognizing the benefits of being single. MSN has an article today called “Are you better off single?” by Dawn Yanek. Some of the reasons listed are: Reason #1: You have a better body; Reason #2: You’re more likely to achieve great things; Reason #6: You’re better rested and smarter; Reason #7: You’re less depressed; and Reason #8: You have better friendships.

It’s located here if you want to read it. Now if I can just get society, my friends (well, just my girl friends, my guy friends don't really bother me about it), and, oh, just about every woman I’ve ever met to stop bothering me about it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Apparently, what I need is supervision

Bar exam studying continues. Only 12 days until the exam. Yesterday I was so productive. Today, not so much so far. The only difference? Yesterday I had my friend Sue sitting here studying in the same room, and if I wasn’t studying, she’d notice (and make me be productive). She’s a mom, so she has that “is that what you’re supposed to be doing?” way about her, the aura that means no back talk, and do your homework without being told. I was shamed into studying like a good little girl. Today, I’m here all by my lonesome and getting nothing done. And what little I am reading is not sticking in my head. I used to know this stuff!

“Just remember: The only estates that the Rule Against Perpetuities applies to are contingent remainders, executory interests, and vested remainders subject to open!”

Gah. Failing. . .

Saturday, July 01, 2006

You Know Who You Are!

[And now everyone else will, too.]

I am seriously so bad at studying, so let’s not talk about that. Instead, let’s talk about what happened the other day when I was shopping at my friendly, neighborhood Central Market, my favorite grocery store. While I was there, I saw this couple.

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I first encountered the couple in the fruit aisle, and I then proceeded to stalk them through the store. I took the picture from behind to protect their privacy, and well, yes, also because I did not have the nerve to ask them to stand still and smile for my phone camera.

Here’s what happened. No, first, let me start by making clear my position on the oh-so controversial topic of grocery store grazing. I’m against it, period. You know what I’m talking about—the “sampling” of items that are not pre-packaged. Folks, let’s call it what it is—yep, it’s stealing. If you do this, I don’t want to know because my opinion of you will be irreparably damaged.

And for those of you who make the (lame) argument that “how else can we tell if it’s ripe,” let me ask you—do you open up loaves of bread and sample the slices to make sure it hasn’t gone bad yet? I can see the argument (sort of) if you are sampling fruit that you already intend to buy, and are taking, say, a grape from the bunch you are right now actually planning on buying. But that’s not what you see. You see people randomly sampling grapes and then either not buying them, or not buying them from that bunch (but usually just not buying). The produce section is not a free buffet!

So, anyway, I’m buying grapes, and I notice this couple eating some strawberries. The man says to the woman, “they’re ripe,” and I think how not surprised he should be, considering that it’s early summer and the strawberries look exactly like ripe strawberries should look. As soon as he said it, I knew, I just knew that they were not going to buy any strawberries. I was buying some, however, and when I was weighing my choices I noticed something out of the corner of my eye--they had stopped by the grapes and lo and behold, fruit juice samples! Of course they stopped to try it. They commented on the fruit juice flavor, but unsurprisingly, opted not to purchase any. Then they stopped over by the pineapples. I couldn’t see what they were doing, but I think there were more samples. They did not buy any pineapple.

At this point I should say that I don’t have anything against taking samples. That’s what they are there for. There’s nothing wrong with even choosing to do your grocery shopping on the day you know they hand out the most samples. But I think it kind of crosses the line if you aren’t going there to actually shop, and you’re there just for the samples. And I don't mind if you see free samples and stop to see what it is. It's just that they seemed to be purposefully hunting down free stuff and "free" stuff, and it really seemed like that was the only reason that they were there.

Anyway, at this point I made up my mind to follow them. I thought they were going to go by the meat section, but they surprised me by tracing their steps and going towards the health and beauty section. They almost made it through that section when . . . wait, yes, look to your right, there, they spotted . . . free soap samples! And of course they stopped to dig through the basket.

Then we moved on to the grocery section. First the woman went down one aisle and emerged with what looked like a package of seasoning (it was about that size). We then went to the bulk bins, where I knew what I would find. They did not disappoint me. Yep, sure enough, as I peered through the shelves where I was pretending to have a hard time deciding which container of pre-packed mini chocolate covered sandwich cookies to buy, I spotted them helping themselves to a handful of bulk candy.

At this point, I called rr because I really wanted to tell her what was going on. We have a mutual disgust for people who take food out of the bulk bins—especially those who have no intention of actually buying anything. Sadly, rr was not at her desk, so I had to leave her a cryptic message.

And now for my lecture on not taking candy from the bulk bins: you cannot possibly justify grazing on the jelly beans or the chocolate-covered almonds because you are checking to see if they are ripe. And if you’re just not sure if you will like them, that’s the chance you take. You know, like when you buy ALL THE REST OF YOUR GROCERIES. And now your grimy, disgusting, just-had-them-to-your-mouth-when-you-were-eating-that-strawberry hands are all over the little scoop thing that will then be used to scoop up the candy that the rest of us are intending to actually buy. THANKS A LOT!

So, anyway, from there we went to the bread section. Ah, the smell of fresh baked bread—it’s by far my favorite part of the store. While I pretended to look at scones, I saw the guy pick up a loaf of bread. Now what, I wondered, is he going to do with that? Apparently he handed it to a store employee to be sliced. But while she was doing that, he went over to the scale and seemed to be weighing . . . nothing, and then he printed a label. After the employee had put the bread in a plastic bag, he put the label on it. For a minute I thought he was trying to steal bread, but then I remembered that you have to print your own label for the bread and don’t have to weigh it. I think he was printing a label correctly and not trying to pay less for the bread than he should have. I think. I’m just saying that it was odd-looking.

Unfortunately, although I followed them through the fish section, I was unable to spot anymore “sampling,” because I thought it might look odd that I was monitoring them, even though I was trying to play it cool by pretending to talk to rr on my cell phone (sorry about that long message, by the way). They got in line, and I didn’t have the courage to stand in the same line. So I don’t know what they paid for that bread. But I do know that they didn’t buy any jelly beans.