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You have to imagine the groovy twangy beat of that Stevie Wonder song from 1972, “Superstition,” playing in the background as you read this, because as soon as I read the word “obsession” this morning and realized I’d been tagged on http://stacybuckeye.wordpress.com/ my brain remixed the song to reflect this topic.
“Here is my obsession… BOW–bowp–bowp–BOW-buh-bowp–bowp…”
Problem is, you could cut and paste Stacy’s post and it would quite nicely represent my own situation (changing the name “Jason” to “Richard” would be the biggest edit). So in order to avoid being a copycat, I am going to have to change it up a little. Instead of organizing by number of years old (yet another similarity!) I’m just going to riff on a few big fat categories.
Chocolate, for openers. And closers too, thank you very much. As I always say, if it doesn’t have chocolate in it, it doesn’t really count as a treat.
Seafood. Fish tacos, shrimp scampi, crab louie, poached salmon with a buttery pesto sauce. Oooo baby. If it’s been extracted from the stinky polluted swill that is our modern day ocean and served with rice pilaf, then count me in.
Coffee. ‘Nuff said.
Eating out. I know it is an addiction which involves spending too much money that is, quite literally, flushed down the crapper, but I crave going out to eat. I love not having to cook it (though I do love cooking, I just need the occasional respite), feeling taken care of, even if it’s for a price, and best of all, not having to clean up after it, dirty dishes being my nemesis.
Eating with my family. Due to my husband’s current work schedule, I’ve pretty much had to give up this obsession, but it still means a lot to me. Sure, after hours of making a special meal and laying it out in a lovely way on the table for the whole family to enjoy, the event inevitably ends with one kid refusing to eat the squishy looking side dish and the baby howling for attention and one of the older kids yapping ad nauseum about some goofball thing that happened at school that doesn’t even sound like it was funny to have actually been there for. But somewhere in the midst of it all, I always have a lucid moment where I rise above all the squalling and complaining and appreciate that we all happen to be in the same place at the same time and that this is why I bothered getting up this morning.
If you took all the books I’d ever owned and laid them end to end, it would reach the moon. Or at least Cleveland. Okay, probably only up the street, but you get the angle I’m going for.
I currently own a paltry two bookcases worth, which does not accurately represent my deep love for these items. I love the way they smell, the way an old heavy hardbound opens into the palm of your hand and submits to your penetrating gaze, the way a new paperback waits with intact, unbent spine for me to be the first to devour its words.
I love to hold a reference book and imagine that I hold the key to an entire subject, that simply by possessing it I become the ultimate master of whole kingdoms of human knowledge.
I love to fall so deeply into a fictional tale that the world around me becomes laughably irrelevant and the only thing that matters any more is the bright tunnel that leads me on into the author’s imagination.
I love to fall so deeply in love with a character that I genuinely miss them when I close the book for the final time, the bittersweet joy of having made the acquaintance of a fabulous personality about whom I will never learn more, but who must wait in passive silence for me to deign to visit again when I reread the book.
“The power!!!” *cue lightening and thunder* “The awesome power!!!”
I suppose you could say they are my driving obsession… driving them to the park, to the library…
I could go on forever about them, but one of them is in desperate need of a diaper change and another hasn’t stopped hounding me since I began this post to hurry up and finish so he can play on the internet.
So I will wrap up this category quickly by saying that however satisfying it is to eat a great plate of tortellini alfredo, to take that first sip of coffee in the morning or to find ten hardbound books of “Asterix” at the thrift store for a quarter a piece, hearing my kids laugh tops them all.
To continue the tag, I invite el burro and Kelly to blog about their obsessions/addictions.
My whole life I have had a fairly common neurosis: chewing my fingernails. Except that mine goes beyond the nail to include the skin at the side of the nail and a fair way down the finger, especially on my thumbs.
Periodically I go into remission. Up until just recently I had managed to keep nice nails for a couple of years, so nice that they actually got filed and painted (with clear polish… that’s as froo-froo as I get!)
Then a few months ago I slammed the middle finger of my left hand in the car door. Aside from feeling incredibly stupid and having to push my fingernail back down onto my finger (and my lunch back down into my stomach), it wasn’t a big deal.
Except then I had this awesome mangled finger to pick at. And once I had the one, I might as well tug at another until it rips, and then I might as well straighten it out by removing more of the nail with my teeth, and then…
I currently have four chew toys on my hands. I don’t know how I manage to leave the other six fingers alone (when I was a kid I chewed all of them all the time.) During the day I leave them all alone because I’m always doing something else with my hands… typing, cooking, changing dirty diapers, etc. But when I sit down to watch tv or a movie in the evening, I won’t even realize I’m gnawing until I’ve already started in on the healed bits.
Once I bought myself a really cheap silver ring with a cool spiral on it and I made myself promise that if I wore it, I would have to stop decimating the finger it was on. That made me quit for a while. So I just need to buy myself jewelry? What am I, courting my hands?
Do I need to wear gloves? It’s so hot, though! Tabasco won’t work because I LOVE spicy food. Do I need to include more protein in my diet so I don’t consume my own self? Do I need extensive psychotherapy? (Like THAT isn’t obvious!)
Could be worse, I suppose. At least I have the opportunity to ponder the mysterious workings of the human mind.
I just can’t hold anything up for someone to look at closely or else they’re bound to remark, “Ooooh! What’d you do to your finger?”
Sigh. I ate it.
I am imagining an alternate way to approach meaning in the world. Semantics and other similar studies deal with meaning in what seems to me a very passive way, simply observing the relationships between symbols, signs, and meanings. I added a suffix that signifies “work” so that the word denotes an active usage of meaning.
It seems to me that human consciousness is evolving to greater awareness. At some point we became aware of meaning, how to create it and interpret it: that a certain sound uttered signifies a certain message, that a certain marking on the cave wall indicates a certain event. We even developed special rites, gestures, and other indications that communicate meaning to ourselves and the outer world.
But we have become spectators, passive consumers of meaning. I humbly acknowledge a huge debt of inspiration derived from the philosophy of the Situationists, who dealt with the phenomena of spectator and spectacle in modern times.
As we move from being spectators to being agents in the world, in our own lives, we must be guided by something. Can we go through our daily lives and infuse every action with a good intention, can we make every word reflect our truth, can we keep in mind a purpose that fits into a bigger picture, whatever that might be for each of us as individuals?
Sounds like an overwhelming project, but what is the alternative? Have our lives dictated to us by the media? Flail thoughtlessly through our days? Speak what people want to hear, or parrot what we’ve always heard? Focus on the little details, like the labels on our clothes and the hood ornament on our SUVs, without considering how these details make up the story of our lives?
I choose to work with meaning as though it were a medium like clay or words, to weave significance into every aspect of my life, to make sure my actions and words represent what I think and believe. I reserve the right to interpret the meaning of events, art, nature and the world itself in ways that might be different from the way others tell me I have to understand them. I want to open up the discussion to all thinking people, to share what seems true to each of us and learn something new.
I leave behind the role of unthinking spectator, consuming what the commercialized world tells me is valuable, and take on the agency of participant, producer of meaning, accepting the freedom and responsibility that comes with open-eyed awareness and intentional living.
This application goes in the column of evidence supporting the theory that Facebook is just a bunch of wanky elitism.
Here’s a great way to make sure everyone who isn’t in your “Top Friends” knows that they are of a lower value! “Hey buddy, aren’t you one of my bottom friends?”
Oooo, even better, if your significant other is one of your “friends,” you should totally make sure that your ex appears in a higher place in your “Top Friends” list, just to, you know, keep your partner guessing. Can’t let people get too comfy.
Do I sound bitter? Am I one of those people who gets a pissy attitude if they aren’t the most adored human within a thousand mile radius?
What does it mean when the people you interact with most on Facebook are the people you live with?
I like that I am connected to people in my past. And by past, I mean just the last couple of years. We recently moved across the continent, and all those folks I got to know are now my “friends” on Facebook and Myspace. Whereas in my distant past those kinds of contacts would just have been lost, because no one calls or writes real letters, now I can say hey once in a while. Cute.
Gives me a way to minimize the trauma of moving to a new place, a town we aren’t going to stay in long term so there’s no point in trying to make new friends. But other than soothing my lonely ego, why bother?
This is the opening bit, the preface that some might skip, in which I state my intentions.
The title explains it all.
“The world” — since I enjoy being eclectic, I cannot settle my mind to one subject but prefer to look at as much of life as I can find. I want to explore books, movies, news, and observations from my own life, see if there is a bigger picture once I have it all compiled. Taoists say that you can learn about the whole world just looking out your own window, but I find that at times, I need to change my angle, have a different frame of reference besides the same rectangle of wood holding the pane, venture out to see what’s happening.
“According” — brings to my mind an “accord,” an agreement, which is all words are anyway. Ultimately we all understand and imagine whatever we want, but in communication we (usually) attempt to agree on the gist of the thing, to reach an accord via the symbols we speak, write, or heave threateningly at each other. I do not want to have the last word, I do not want someone to agree with me based solely on my perspective or opinion, I only want to serve up some soulfood for thought, because we all get along better with a full belly. It is up to you to digest it as you see fit.
“e.” Just me. Simple, kind of a silly sound, like a quick noise someone makes when they are startled by a particularly freaky critter. They take a step back, have another look, realize it is just a salamander, crawling out from under its tree root to go visiting.
Will I make you a cuppa?