Thursday, December 29, 2005

Runny Noses and Cottony Ears

I am here in my den, gazing out through swollen, watery, dull-brown eyes, at the dreariness that characterizes Portland, OR at this time of year. The forecasts say rain for the next 5 days, which has been pretty much it since … oh, I’d say the middle of October (yes, we did get a few lovely days in November but that’s only a fleeting memory in the scheme of Portland winter).

Around me lie wads of Kleenex, little goopy clouds of safety that I hold to my periodically bleary eyes and faucet nose in some futile attempt to stave my body’s drippy revolt. I am in the miserable throes of a nasty head-cold. If you’re trying to tell me something, I can’t hear anything that isn’t muffled by the pressure that is lurking behind my thick eardrums. And just now I felt the onset of those icky chills that plague you in that relentless low-grade way. And all I can claim is a cold so real sympathy is hardly forthcoming.

And I blame all this on the pre-teen who sat across from me at a Christmas dinner last Sunday—a surly little guy who wiped his running nose from elbow to wrist on several occasions, in addition to open sneezes and coughing with no attempt to cover his mouth. Had he been charming, this may have been worth it, but he embodied much of what I feel is wrong with today’s youth—innate boredom, indifference and lack of personality probably due to a lifetime of indulgence and video virtuality (if his conversation was any indication). He really alienated me when I inadvertently used the word “damn” and he chastised me as if he had some kind of authority over me—I mean ten full minutes of telling me to “watch my mouth”—so you can see that in addition to being germy, he was also self-righteous.

At any rate, the good thing about being sick is that it slows you down. You have time to sort of wallow in reflection as you tend to your misery.

I’ve been reflecting on the future. These are the things that are on my fuzzy brain:

* I can’t imagine 3 more years under our current administration.
* I worry about the weather—things do seem different, and I believe there is significant global warming, and therefore we should be very concerned.
* What am I going to be when I grow up? Or more relevantly, why don’t the arts offer better financial opportunity?
* Why do I harbor such a love/hate relationship with Oprah? I love her compassion and creativity, but hate her propensity for buying into the materialistic status quo (if everyone
gets a car, the world will be happy).
* Why don’t more people read?
* How do we stop the
rampant suffering of children?
* Why is
unadulterated greed so rewarded in our society?
* Why do we presume that there must be a winner and a loser in most endeavors? Can we conceive of a paradigm in which people offer various creative or physical options and we don’t determine a grand-prize financial caveat of which will be valued to the exclusion of all others?
* If there are people scattered all around the US who have converted their cars to
running on vegetable oil, why isn’t the government subsidizing a conversion rather than frantically drilling for more oil?

These, and other conundrums plague me as I type my final words before heading into a steamy shower in an attempt to obtain nasal, and intellectual, clarity!


At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pamela, I do hope you are feeling better and got the relief you were seeking!

As I read your thoughts - the first thing I think of is, where was that kid's parent to tell him to cover his mouth, be respectful, not talk back and just be a good mannered individual? I think back to growing up and how my parents, as loving and dear as they were, also did what a parent should do - put the fear of god into a child that did not behave properly. I would never have thought in a million years to talk back to a grown-up, to not seem interested and attentive at the dinner table -unless I also wanted to spend the rest of my childhood in my room without supper.

Unfortunately today we live in a world where children are the bosses, they are the ones who think they should command authority - and it is because parents are too busy/afraid/apathetic to be parents. I could write about this for days..

I hope 2006 brings you better dinner company and the respect you deserve!


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