Friday, May 21, 2010

And I have Otis McIntire to thank for it...

It's Friday. Not just any Friday, but THE Friday. The first day in about the last 45 that I haven't had to wake up before my time and do necessary and pressing things every hour of the day until I drop into bed ("Honey tell me the truth: are you having to schedule in an hour a day where you can think?")

So why did my soul still feel the red-brown color of a hundred-year-old barfed-on Oriental rug today? (FYI my soul does not turn blue when sad. It turns murky vermilion.*)

I have the memory of squealing through Robin Hood last weekend to keep me warm.

I have sunshine to revel in, snowpocalypse blues being a thing of the past.

I have the anticipation of beating my racquetball partner soundly this afternoon and attending my first-ever Nats home game tonight.

I even had my favorite Iranian falafel sandwich by the C & O canal to turn up the corners of my mouth.

Still I spent most of today fighting the urge to take a hammer to or stuff a stick of dynamite in... something. BUT! I'm just writing right now to say that I think I'm over the worst of it. Guess why.

Sometimes, when sandwiches, friends, hopes, heat, sports, and Glee can't do it........ a big, possibly homeless, black guy comes around the corner of the canal in Georgetown wearing a bright pink, smiling, styrofoam cartoon whale on his head. No I am serious. The pink whale clashed horrifically with his artfully argyled jeans and baggy hoodie. I have no idea who he was, or why, WHY on earth he chose to wear the world's largest sea mammal on his noggin. But I'm pretty certain that this brave and potentially unhinged soul, who passed by me just as I felt my murky mood couldn't sink much deeper, tipped the scales. Life is still worth living. :)


*When deliriously happy, my soul turns into a Jackson-Pollock-esque splattering of emerald green, royal blue, and bright yellow.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An open letter to a little sister who went to school with a hole in her pants.


When I went over to visit a boy a few weeks ago, it was raining, and as I followed him down his hardwood stairs, I slipped on my damp Chucks and fell-- bump, bump, bump-- on my tail bone down three hard-as-rock stairs. It hurt soooo much but I just popped right off and started to laugh. He did not join me in laughing, which was weird. I give people FULL permission to laugh when I lose my balance, which happens often.

Later, I was biking with the same guy, who was wearing me down stamina-wise (22 miles! MY BUTT!!!). Just after making the swaggerish claim, "I could kick your trash in swimming!" to try and save face... I took a tree branch straight to the face. Didn't EEEEEVEN see it coming.

Then, there was the time I fell down the escalator at the Suncoast Casino in front of Sam F., my junior year super-crush. Or the time I seriously sprained my ankle falling off a sidewalk (again, in the middle of a date, and there might have been swearing involved). I also ran into a pole at twilight in Paris. So (un)romantic.

How about when I opened an umbrella in someone's face and caused their lip to split open (on a blind date to a Jazz game in SLC)? Remember when I had to ride down Snowbird mountain in a toboggan at the end of the day and my friends thought I was dead, when really it was because my legs were so shot that I literally would have collapsed on the snow if I had had to snowplow six more feet?

Once, I came home from doing baptisms at the Provo temple and was standing in a ring of friends, just chatting, when I sort-of fidgeted my foot around in one of my shoes (they were borrowed, beautiful ankle-strappers, courtesy of the lovely Katie Worsley), when my ankle just suddenly tweaked downward off the shoe and I collapsed in a heap. In front of the ward hottie, who just stared at me and mimed catching me, even though he obviously couldn't have (my descent was too quick for him and his gallantry!)

And then, there was the granddaddy of all Lindsey-is-retarded moments, when I closed my eyes for a second to pant while on a treadmill in the Provo 24-Hour... and opened them in time to feel myself at the very edge of the belt, and then got shot backwards across the room onto my back! Undeterred, I hopped right back on the treadmill, having forgotten that it was still spinning around at a decent running pace of 6 mph. In quick succession, the spinning belt knocked my extended foot out from under me, caused me to crash to my knees on the treadmill belt (skinning both of them), and then shot me, again, off the back of the treadmill, roughing up my shins on the back cylinder as I passed by. I clambered up, still undeterred (the iPod blaring high-energy Beyonce helped block the pain). I reached around to turn the speed knob DOWN this time, and about 5 seconds later, I snuck a glance at the line of treadmills to see if anyone had noticed. At least FIVE runners had STOPPED their treadmills and were staring, mouths open, at me; the guy directly to my left mouthed, "ARE YOU OK??" incredulously, to which I just breathlessly replied, "Yea! Whew! I'm fine!" Then I turned around to face the tv monitors again.... and tried in vain to ignore the shooting pains of sweat seeping into the open wounds on my knees and shins.

If you would like more stories like that, I have them. Or if you have favorites I've missed, please remind me :)

Never let it phase you, and enjoy laughing at yourself. It's good to be a clown.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gossip and Lasting Sacrifice

I absolutely loved my friend M.C.'s post last week, right here. If you're too lazy to click it and read (although you should, she's a great writer), I'll tell you what I got out of it: 1. Benjamin Franklin, if you read his autobiography, was a completely brilliant, stuck-up #$$, and 2. more importantly, there is a great deal of value in being real while simultaneously being positive. Don't wait til something awesome and news-worthy happens to write a blog, basically.

I'd been thinking about the idea of being real and forthright right before M.C. published her eloquent thoughts. Someone called to my attention the fact that I put a lot of my idealism, my super-awesome museum/art blather up here, with very little.... gossip, for lack of a better word, about myself, to balance it out. :) Do you concur?

So I thought of a bunch of stuff to write and confess on this blog to make up for that imbalance... but I don't want to overwhelm all 8 of you, so I'll start with this: I think I've been watching too much Glee.

Juicy, I know!

Haha. There are several wicked awesome real-life stories that that little revelation entails, for more info, see me (one of the perks of being my friend, not just my blog reader). But I would just like to point out that I really deserve a little Glee this week especially. It's Police Week, the week when they place the names of 194 men and women killed in the line of duty in 2009 on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial's walls. They bring in the grieving families and coworkers of the fallen officers to see their names. They treat them like royalty-- motorcade escorts, trained support counselors, camps for the children, etc-- in an attempt to help them through the monstrous task of mourning and learning to live again (cheesy as that sounds... you'd understand if you were here). This week, 20,000 people will pass by the memorial to lay flowers, mementos, pictures, sometimes guitars, toe shoes, car doors, and coffee cups-- any and everything-- at the wall, in memory of their friend or loved one. Often times they just stand and stare, or cry. Or laugh (my favorite).

This week my job has been to talk to the families at the wall, make sure they have paper so they can do a rubbing of their loved ones' name, give them tape to stick their little mementos on the wall, hand them tissues, and just listen. It's been three days, and I already feel like I have attended one hundred funerals. Here at the wall, I have been brought nearly to tears at least 6 times already as I contemplate the ultimate sacrifices that these people, who are often very simple, humble, and funny, are ready to make. They really and truly accept and live amazing principles like valor and sacrifice. And they're so nonchalant about it. I randomly hear stuff like this all the time, "Well, in my third shoot-out, I realized this was a suicide-by-cop scenario, so I let down my gun and got behind the car..." and the more I speak to the police officers, the more I realize that they are just about the last people on earth who take seriously the cause of protecting people. They are some of the last and greatest people I know of. They stand and stare down what can only be classified as pure evil on a daily basis.

I've heard horrific things in three days' times (three to go). I've seen the numbness on the faces of those who are here for the first time, here for one tragic, horrible reason: a spouse, a father, a work partner, has been shot/stabbed/crashed their car while responding to an emergency call, etc. Their emotions are written all over their face, their powerful grief and love and ideals hang in the air around the memorial. Bagpipes go off, big women sing Amazing Grace, brass bands play, and flag guards and solemn processions abound.

I think they deserve a lot of Glee. After work yesterday I went to Zumba to shake it off, then I visited my very favorite pregnant friend, to laugh and remind myself of the flip side of life, all that is good and positive, all the things that my new friends at the wall so valiantly serve and protect.

Yep. I watch a little too much Glee. It, along with cookies and flowers and long showers and kind friends who let me sleep on their floor and late nights of laughter, make my life. Thank heavens!!!

"In valor there is hope."

"The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion."
Proverbs 28:1

Ps I'm taking my camera with me to the wall today. You'll see pics of this awesome place soon.
Pps I realize that my supposedly juicy post turned into another idealistic one, but I don't care. That's WHO I AM! (One of Glee's most favorite things to tout: Being who you are. Got it.)
Ppps Update: Day four was a little more family reunion, a little less tragedy, yay. I got assigned to the jewelry counter at the retail store (someone must have noted my face after my shift yesterday :). Christensens, you'd be so proud. I must have sold well over $4,000 worth of goods today. Not bad when the average price of my inventory is around $40!
Pppps. Rest in Peace, handsome Detective Ridley, age 23, from the Bronx. Your mother is so proud of you. She told me all about your last act.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

On being teleological

Teleology–noun. Philosophy.
1. the doctrine that final causes exist.
2. the study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature.
3. the belief that purpose and design are a part of or are apparent in nature.
4. (in vitalist philosophy) the doctrine that phenomena are guided not only by mechanical forces but that they also move toward certain goals of self-realization.

I first came across the word "teleological" last semester in my aesthetics
philosophy class of DEATH, and it was one of the few words, besides Logos, that really warmed my soul whenever I read it, after I first figured out what it meant (as opposed to deconstructivism, which still just makes my soul feel like a tired, sad little raisin every time I see it).

In case the above definition doesn't do it for you, here's the Lindsey watered-down version: when you describe anything as teleological, you are recognizing that it has a purpose, and that it is en route to achieving its final destiny. You say something is teleological when you believe you see it mid-journey, whizzing towards some ultimate (hopeful) awesomeness. You go hiking in the woods and see the world's most amazing sunset and are moved to exclaim, "What a teleological phenomenon!" because you feel that this sunset is not only following its regularly scheduled scientific retirement into night, but it is also kindly fulfilling its God-given mini-purpose of letting you know that He loves you, specifically, in that moment (and also letting you know that He loves beauty and His whole earth, too).

The reason I was thinking about teleology today is because I fully embrace the idea that nature, people, time itself, and everything that surrounds me has a final purpose in the grand scheme of things. Up until this week, I myself was teleologically barrelling towards my finals and the successful close of my first year of grad school. All my thoughts, time, and most of my emotions were wrapped up in securing myself some good grades and in really doing the world a solid by giving it 29 pages worth of my bebe thoughts about Frederic Edwin Church's 1865 painting, Aurora Borealis, left.

And now, there is no endpoint. I feel a little empty. A little deconstructed even (NOOOOO!!!!). I came home Thursday after 1.5 hours of sleep in the past 48, having just handed in my last paper, and what did I do? I cracked open a textbook. I hadn't really gotten to peruse it this semester, and I was mocked considerably when caught.

Just call me Hermione. On finals week crack.

So, the big question is, am I teleological anymore, now that the gauntlet has been successful run? I sincerely hope so. I can't stand the thought of sitting still, or just meandering around aimlessly. I have an internship, yes, and I will learn a lot therein... but nothing quite gives you the same sense of heady direction as
a semester's curriculum to be learned (except maybe the act of dating someone... haha :).

As I pondered this favorite word of mine, snapshots of select modern artworks began to crop up in my mind's eye. This seems perfectly reasonable, in retrospect: no longer commissioned by kings or the privileged class, no longer able to act as the world's source for visual stimulus (that role has been usurped by youtube and modern advertisements), modern art, as opposed to the art of centuries past, simply screams out, in its very un-understandableness (un-understandability?) for you to help define its end point, its purpose. I AM A MONOCHROMATIC CANVAS WITH SLASHES IN IT! DEFINE ME!
(Google Image search Lucio Fontana for more of that sort...)

I can think of no better, more... calming adjective for this work, Condensation Cube, 1963-2008, than teleological:

It was one of my favorites to visit when I worked at the Hirshhorn. What you see is pretty much what I saw: a clear plastic cube that comes up to the middle of your thigh, it has about an inch and a half of supremely clear distilled water in the bottom and an ever-varied pattern of condensation droplets streaking the sides, which changes depending on the time of day and the season (although in my experience, these streaks were almost always grouped into the corner of the cube that was nearest the window. Methinks this photographer cheated to get this all-over condensation look). Despite its simplicity, it is a work that really stops people in their tracks, and I think that is because they sense immediately that it is making bare its own destiny, its own journey. Behold! I am a never-ending variation on the theme of water condensation!

As you look at it, you are caught up in the simple patterns, imagining what it would look like if the whole thing were covered in drops. Or you stare closely at it, trying to see if you can spot any drops rolling down the sides. Or you are wondering what would happen and what the cube would ultimately look like if you gave it a giant shove down the escalator... :) By making itself so plain, by revealing over and over again the trick that will continue to be its reason for creation and also its reason for continual adoration by visitors and curators, Condensation Cube, 1963-2008 is a really (dare I say it?) beautiful example of the simple idea of teleology, as it always is, in action.