Monday, December 29, 2008

The Year(s) in Review (Part II)

This is a continuation of my collection of unfinished thoughts and tales from 2008:

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It seems to me that the mathematically inclined always casually ask their math-questions aloud to everyone around them: "How many tablespoons in a pint?"; "How many sandwiches can we make with these 18 loaves of bread when each loaf has 23 pieces?"; "Is 437 a prime number?"

I have never been very good at math-on-the-spot, and it always seems that this is one skill that I am always quizzed about in public. No one ever asks me to diagram a sentence at coffee hour, or spell novemdigitate at dinner. But the math whiz will always do his or her cogitations aloud expecting me to jump in and help out. If I don't have a pencil and paper in front of me, I don't bother any more.

(answers: 32; 207; and no)
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Last Wednesday I spent the day at Nell’s house working with her and Sarah to make blue altar and analogia coverings for Annunciation, which we celebrated Monday.

We measured and cut, and sometimes embarrassed ourselves with our poor math and geometry skills. We had two sewing machines and one ironing board. It was a good combination. My job was to iron the seams so the fabric could be easily sewn. Sarah and Nell did all the sewing.

It occurred to me how these blue coverings are an example of the vitality of the Church. Currently we use obviously homemade analogia coverings, inherited from the ladies in DC, NY, NJ, and maybe other places. They might be a little oily or burnt in places, but they are still very nice. These coverings were obviously in place for many years: for many services and amongst many of the Faithful.

Maybe our church will someday be one of those that can pass along our blue coverings to a mission church somewhere yet untouched by Orthodox Christianity, where the priest and matushka there are just as excited as we were to open a box of old and oily, but nonetheless beautiful analogia-covers.

* * *

I don't like big cities.

I don't like them for the obvious reasons, like traffic, crime and noise. But what I hate most of all is that they make my brain hurt.

Signs, billboards, flashing lights, flashing signs, flashing billboards--are everywhere. I can't drive a half-block in Atlanta without my peripheral vision being bombarded with 25%-off-one-time-only-blow-out-zero-credit-special-adult-toy-dancing-Coca Cola-girls-drive-away-today-ron-paul-limited-time-only-reason-for-the-season-holiday-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-mountain-getaway signs saturating my brain as effortlessly as a South Carolina 5-minute thunderstorm.

Sometimes I wonder whether children and illiterate people are fortunate, in that this information doesn't litter their brain the way it does mine or that of the other literate folks. Now that the girls are all reading, I feel like a certain part of their innocence has been lost: "Mom, it's Two-for-Tuesday at Sonic!" or "Five on Friday!" or "Mom, you and Papa should go there--it's where 'the Adults shop!'"

* * *

I wonder if there is a diagnosable degeneration that takes place in the mind that is similar to macular degeneration in the eyes. Macular degeneration is the gradual loss of one's central vision while the peripheral vision remains unaffected and clear. Sometimes I think I have a perfectly normal memory or sense of organization while I am thinking about how I ought to think about what I have to do, but when I sit down with pen in hand or in front of my task-list on my computer, my mind becomes frighteningly dark.

It could be that my thinking about thinking instead of just thinking about the tasks themselves is what's causing the problem. Maybe I have a finite number of synapses available to me in each day and this redundancy is using them all up. Sometimes in these "peripheral" moments I will plan how a table with special color-coding is the answer to all of my difficulties. Other times I conceive of intricately designed spreadsheets with repeating formulas and delight in how this will solve my problems with planning each week's assignments.

I wonder if this is diagnosable...

But then, tonight I hear Fr Mark discussing Irenaeus' Against Heresies with Rose in her History class. "...it's the Void. If you say there is nothing there then there must be something there or you wouldn't be able to say there was nothing there. Do you see?"

And Rose says, "yes."

Then he says professorially, "I think we will end there."

And then I wonder if it is not really me but just too much danged philosophy in my house.

Or not.

Or too much.

* * *

Donkey Donkey Donkey Wooo!
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