Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wide View

The slowness with which I have been domesticating my domicile has begun to be something of an embarrassment. Just the other day, when I was entertaining a particularly toothsome Latin American lawyer, I actually went so far as to lie about how long I'd been living here. He asked me when I'd moved in, and I said, "Oh, just before the holidays," which, I suppose could technically be the truth, provided that you consider "the holidays" to include Halloween.

Anyway, I went through some of my old vacation photographs on my computer and came up with a series of six shots from Joshua Tree National Park. I took them using the panorama feature on my camera, which causes picture 2 to overlap picture 1 by about a third. I had taken the series using a lightweight tripod that I took with me. I use Costco's online service for most of my photo processing, and then I pick the prints up the next time I'm there to get some groceries or whatever. My camera takes pictures with a 4:3 ratio, and Costco doesn't offer 9x12 prints, but the significant overlap from one picture to the next allowed me to crop them down to 8x10 without losing any content. So I sent the six prints off, picked them up, got some map pins at Staples, lined the prints up, and pinned them to the wall. It only took me two tries to get the result I wanted, and the total cost for a panorama that's about 8x47 was less than ten bucks. Plus a sore thumb from pushing the map pins into the drywall, but I reckon that'll sort itself out in a day or two.

There's some unevenness in the color from print to print, but I'm very happy with the overall effect. Since this was sort of the test case, I put it on one of the interior walls in the office/library, or what will be the office/library if and when I ever get around to erecting bookshelves. Right now, it pretty much just has my computer and a lot of boxes, but it also has white walls, and unframed prints look good on a white wall.

I was sitting in church this morning, and my mind wandered, as it is wont to do. I was thinking of writing "Ode to Osculation," which would begin something like this:
Though I have the body of Adonis, but do not kiss, I am nothing.
And though I can suck without cease like a Dyson, but do not make out, I am as a torn condom.
And though I can crack pecans between my marble smooth buttocks while never damaging the nutmeats, but will not kiss, I am as empty Whip-Its.

But then I had to stop. I would like to pretend that I stopped out of deference to the Biblical source material, but the simple fact is that the rest of 1 Corinthians 13 doesn't lend itself as easily to replacing "love" or "charity" with "kissing," and I was too lazy to make it work. And then there was another hymn to sing.

The young couple sitting in front of me had their infant son with them, and during the last hymn, he kept looking back at me and smiling, causing me to smile back at him and miss some of the words, which was just as well since it was some sort of dreadful humanist hymn trying to link religion and science, two things that I usually feel should be kept apart. I was unable to work up any pique about the hymn, though, because of the smiling baby, sitting on his mother's hip.

It took me back to eleven or twelve years ago when YFU was a baby and always wanted to be with me when we were in church. I would sing solos with her on my hip, which was definitely a win-win situation. She liked it because she got to be with me, and I liked it because everyone was looking at her, so I had less reason to be nervous. I sure wish I had a picture of that. These days, I'm rarely nervous when I sing, and YFU isn't even in the same room. In about a month, she'll be fourteen. EFU will be twenty-one, also next month. Tempus fugit, eh?

February is also the month when I turn a year older, at least in those years when I acknowledge that my age has changed. I can't remember the last time I thought that my birthday was a big deal. Probably when I was twenty-one, I reckon. Since I was in my late twenties, all of my birthdays have fallen during my busiest season, when there's no real time to celebrate, and perhaps that's part of why thirty and forty came and went without any dread on my part. Or maybe I'm just generally content enough not to worry about arbitrary temporal landmarks. Then again, maybe panic will start to set in when I'm approaching fifty. But probably not. I am blessed with low expectations. I come from a lower middle class family, and my parents never really provided a context by which to judge my accomplishments, if any. If I had any goals as a child, they were probably to grow up and have kids of my own, and I'm already doing that.

The toothsome Latin American attorney who visited me last week told me that he doesn't often spend HQT (horizontal quality time) with men because he's so busy with his job and with getting his next book published, and sex dilutes his efforts in those other areas. Whatever makes him happy, I suppose, though I didn't get the impression that he was an especially happy person, despite his somewhat impressive accomplishments, his thoroughly slamming body, his sartorial splendor (French cuffs!), and his generosity of spirit.

It almost seems like someone with so much going for him is obligated to be happy, if only to avoid ingratitude; then again, it seems uncharitable to blame him for not being happy. Surely he's already suffered enough.

Occasionally, I'm tempted to think that my own high level of contentment keeps me from accomplishing what I might accomplish if I were more of an unhappy sort, but I'm not sure to what extent it's really a choice as opposed to just how I've always been. If it were a choice, though, I'd choose contentment.

1 comment:

  1. You almost touched buddhist enlightment through happyness and contentment...

    On a more practical level, maybe we should celebrate our birthdays together then?