Tuesday, October 27, 2009

disembodied daily

"Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow*"

Disembodied, now that's not a word that comes up everyday, but we do it daily.
But the more I think on it, the more and more we are moving toward a disembodied life.
If you take disembodied to mean to divest from substance or materials, technology is purposefully moving me away from touch. Removing the body from the equation.
It's hit me several times this year how much I don't touch things.
Take the airport as an example.
I don't touch the toilet in the airport (and granted who would want to?), I don't touch the sink either to switch on the water. I wave and dance and sometimes talk to these motion sensors to cajole them into working, but touch? rarely. And now the soap and the paper towel holder have incorporated this same (sometimes functional) ability to dispense. Not until I am confronted with a sink that requires turning a knob do I realize how strange it is that I would stand in front of it waving my hands in vain.
Mixing technologies in the bathroom are just as bad as mixed metaphors. A toilet that needs me to flush it coupled with a sink that is motion detected, normally these combinations result in an embarrassing assumption on my part: I try to flick something on that won't work or walk away from something, forgetting to do my part.
I consider it a forced indolence.
For a tactile learner not touching is a difficult to rationalize. I want to open automatic doors, roll out my own paper towel, decide if I need lights on or off. If I need two pumps of soap, there is probably a good reason for it.

Have you noticed the extent we take to not get our hands dirty?
I am surrounded by "makers" which are artificial limbs: a bread maker a dishwasher.

Are we a tactility defensive generation?

I drove to Jiffy Lube the other day. My headlight wire is crimped. I have been to many different Jiffy Lubes to alleviate the problem. It simply requires jiggling the wire. As much as I love asking Rodney at the Hanley and Delmar Lube to adjust this crimp week after week, I had failed to have him teach me how to fix my own problem. And it had gotten beyond embarrassing. I took it upon myself to fix it, but try as I might, I didn't know how to open my hood. I pulled the lever. It popped up. I stuck my hand under the hood. Tugged. Tugged harder. Bent my knees, pulled. "Gesture without motion.*" Nothing more than a jarring sensation.
Thus thwarted, I shoved the hood down.
And I found another Lube. Here I anonymously pulled into the carport. And instead of staying in the car to be waited on I got out, almost slipped on the oiled floor, and explained the problem. Then I made the man teach me how to open the hood. Pleaded being stupid. He assured me there was "no such thing."
It took several times. Hand over hand he showed me. He might have wanted to recant saying stupid didn't exist. I practiced a few times with him, and then did it on my own. And he taught me also where the faulty wire was. How to find it, jostle it into forming a circuit. And presto. There was light.
It went out right after I drove away. But I had learned. I had slipped on an oily floor, and reached inside a car. I had touched.

*The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot

Friday, October 16, 2009

rule of thumb

My rule of thumb has nothing to do with the thumb at all, but rather another digit entirely. The pinkie. Based on my very limited experience, it would seem that men who wear pinkie rings are not to be trusted, or trifled with. Diamond, band, turquoise, no matter. If you spot a signet ring there, break away.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

cold secretary of health

Interesting: a pocket full of posies used to be the talisman of choice that would ward off the plague. But today instead of flowers in our pockets, we may soon begin to put our faith in elbow patches.

We all know about colds. We all know about the flu. But do you know the correct way to sneeze? It seems the elbow is the preferred receptor rather than the hand.
As Elmo and Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius have both made clear, it is no longer okay to sneeze in your hand.

Speaking of cold, Sebelius called out a member of the press after he sneezed inappropriately. She began treating him as you would a child, chiding him and repeatedly modeling the proper protocol for the sneeze.

There are majors flaw in the sneeze in the elbow technique.
1.) Some adults cannot bend their arms close enough to their faces to form a protective barrier. Tight clothing or muscles both can prevent this from happening.
2.) My mouth is far larger than the crux of my elbow.
3.) The element of surprise. Sneezes are reflexes to foreign bodies and do not always allow for a blockage plan, let alone one that is contrary to years of in-the-hand training.

Until we begin wearing clothing that contain kleenex sleeves, I prefer using my hand, Secretary. Don't call me out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

repulsively friendly

High fives are confounding phenomena.
Boiled down to its core components a successful high five comprises of two participants, two hands meeting squarely and bouncing off of each other, thereby creating a sound. Unsuccessful high fives normally result in a do-over and have something go awry the first go round. Maybe the trajectory is wrong and you smack the other person in the face. Maybe the other person lingers and tries to hold your hand. Maybe they start to improvise and expand upon a simplistic high five and add a leg grab or jazz hands. Maybe you are left in limbo, arm above your head. All are awkward.

High fives are appropriate in social situations, even anticipated, in some, particularly when the situation is sports related. But other times: salutations and exiting a conversation specifically, I am at a bit lost.
Initial greeting high fives I understand. "Hey, I am acknowledging your presence," it says.
But as an adieu, they leave me cold. Dates that end in a high five, I would interpret as a bad sign. "Hey I don't think your hand looks especially germy right now," it says. "Do I wan to hold your hand? Nope. I'd rather hit it away from my body. In fact, I need to keep at least one arms length away from you." *Smack* Hand deflected.

Not a good ending. But the perfection of the high five is also not lost on me.
How can a sane person call out another for this seemingly friendly act.
"Oh. No. You. Did. Not. just smile and say 'up high! Come on!"

Oh high fivers, you are wily folk. I am onto you. I simultaneously tip my hat and wag my finger at you. With both of my hands thus employed, I might leave you hanging.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

people that you meet each day

There are few people I know in my neighborhood. Fewer still that I know by name.
There are however, two people who have peaked my interest. I know neither of their names, though I've spoken to both.
These two men travel in opposite ways, literally. The first man I call The Backwards Walker (TBW)
As his name calls to mind, he walks backwards. This is probably why I noticed him originally. At first I thought he was a landlord surveying his properties. He had a clipboard and seemed intent on conducting projects. Clipboards give off that importance vibe. But I noticed him again and again. Walking backwards, clipboard in hand. He turns at a specific point on the road. I am not sure the exact marker: bus stop sign or storm drain, but it is predetermined.
In the summer he wears shorts and tall socks. Once the weather gets cooler, a hooded puffy coat, hood up, no matter how temperate the weather, is his attire.
I talked to him once, and though I didn't have many pre-conceived notions about TBW, he shattered the ones I did have. He was sitting on the steps leading up to my apartment in the cool of the shade. I was walking out and had to sidestep him. I asked him if he'd like some water. He was very sweaty and it was a scorcher. He looked up immediately and said no. And I offered again citing the heat. But he took this the wrong way, as though I wanted him to shove off. He used big words like "congenial" or "manganimous" or something else I wasn't expecting, then he walked away, this time forwards.
The second man who is of note in the neighborhood is the Awesome Skateboarder with Dreadlocks (ASD). He practices tricks in the Walgreens lot and goes back and forth on the street. He seems to favor his right leg. I wonder if the muscles are overdeveloped. It seems the skateboard is his major mode of transportation and his schedule thus far is nothing I can tack down.
But today I saw him headed to Schnucks. Actually, we entered at the same time. I grabbed two items and headed to the check out. He did the same and there behind me in line was the Awesome Skateboarder with Dreadlocks, skateboard in hand. He set down his can of beer on the conveyerbelt and he spoke saying, "I think you're following me." I gave a look of surprise (first because the ASwD was talking to me, and second because he was baiting me) " We walked in together and now here we are..." To which I replied "the follower is normally behind the person being followed. You're there, so then you are actually following me." I got my receipt and left only to see him propelling himself down the street ahead of me. Oh so awesomely.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

blog #1

It always surprises me to find a painting left unnamed. Left out there all the work put into it. Well, here is my first blog since my stint on Myspace ended abruptly. And I've nothing to say and nothing to name it. But it is a beginning never-the-less.