Saturday, August 16, 2008

The intolerable other

I wrote a few months ago about the kind of person that would make me cringe the most if that person showed up in my faith community. Well, I found another kind of person, and I live and work with her. Awesome combo.

Here's the deal: I live and work in a house for single mothers who are trying to get their lives back together. There are rules and chores and so far, the two residents haven't stepped up to them. So every time the residents are out of earshot, or something new happens like someone calling to say they're going to miss curfew, my coworker crabs about it, but even worse, her tone makes it seem like it's my fault. I tried to tune her out, because I'm not going to be able to change someone that's older than my mom. But tonight I couldn't handle someone crabbing at me that much and I told her that I wished she wouldn't complain like that because it brings me down. Now she's pouting.

It's harder to be tolerant of differences when you're supposed to be on the same team. I thought the hardest part of the job was going to be the residents. Maybe I just screwed up something by not stuffing things down and keeping my mouth shut. I don't know if I have all that theoretical Christian patience. But I have to, or this job is going to be hell. Hell in my own house.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


The news about John Edwards' affair bums me out. When things falter with Obama, I could just reassure myself that he was not my first choice. Man, I believed in that guy. I thought he was honest and genuine, but if a person can't keep a promise to just one person when they're suffering from a potentially fatal disease, how can that person keep promises to millions of citizens. Even more, if a person lies about his or her personal life to the public, how is the public supposed to trust him or her to tell the truth about public matters? I feel let down, and I'm not even married to him.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Project 40: July

I've got three books that I started in July, but I'm halfway through all of them. I'll see you next time! (I've been watching Reading Rainbow lately)

"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov

I found this one kind of uncomfortable to read. Old Humbert Humbert has a thing for little girls, falls for one in particular named Lolita, moves into the house as her mother's boarder, marries the mother so he can continue to be close to Lolita, then when the mother is conveniently hit by a car after she discovers his pedophilia, he takes Lolita on the road and makes her his lover. She's a typical precocious teenager though, and doesn't really fit his ideal of a little lover. I thought this was going to get better or he was going to get caught, but it never happened. I'm not really sure what the point was, to gross out the reader with reserved erotic descriptions of 12 year old girls or to make you identify with a pedophile or something in between. I might be interested in reading some literary study on Lolita to see what other people think about it. It's not explicit, and the coy way he dances around sexuality is actually kind of poetic, so I give Nabokov points for that. I would recommend this book only to people I thought were mature enough to handle the subject matter. B-

"Life of Pi" by Yann Martel

This book was easy to get through, and I finished it in a day full of plane delays. A zookeeper's son from India, Pi, is moving with his family and a ship full of zoo animals to Canada when the ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific. He's set adrift in a lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, orangutan, and, he finds out a few days later, an adult male tiger named Richard Parker. The hyena dispenses with the zebra and orangutan, and Richard Parker takes care of the hyena. Pi realizes that there's no way to get rid of the tiger, so he has to survive by keeping Richard Parker alive and happy. He survives in the ocean for 227 days. The survival story reminds me of Robinson Crusoe in its detail, and I really believed it was a true story as told to the author by Piscine Patel until I did a little Google research. So Martel made all that up out of his own imagination. Sweet. The first part of the book was also kind of interesting to me because Pi is a very religious boy who practices a combination of Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, and is told by his spiritual leaders and family that he can't have it all. His answer is that he just wants to know God. Fair enough. A

"Buddha, Vol. 2: The Four Encounters"
In the second book of this series, Siddhartha battles heartache, royal responsibility, and a few pretty fearsome foes. He begins to feel a pull to become an aesthetic monk and forsake his comfortable lifestyle near the top of the caste system. The storytelling is really effective, and I definitely understood the complicated choices that Siddhartha has to make between family, love, responsibility to his people and the spiritual life of denial he believes he should practice. A