Last night (July 19, 2017), I went to bed cataloging the things I wanted to accomplish the next day. Taking to bed with me a newspaper to finish reading an article, completing the task, then sorting through news on the phone, seeing the report of an interview to be published in the next day in the Times. Shaking my head, mumbling incoherent thoughts, seeing the accomplishments to be achieved the next day, wondering whether the task list was too long, falling off to sleep, believing, convinced all things are possible.
I complained in the last musing [Just Musing: “I think he died in the zombie apocalypse…”], that my mind had taken an unexpected hiatus. I sadly must report, after awakening at 3:00 a.m. such is not the case anymore. An internal awakening, first, a gentle jab, followed by an alarm which refused to stop – ringing, ringing, ringing – malfunctioning in the worse way. Compelling the body upward, announcing in bold, unmistakable terms – “you didn’t honestly think I was gone forever.” Causing confusion, fully awaken, finding myself at a computer at 3:30 a.m., typing confessions.
Confession – I didn’t start shaving regularly until nearing the age of thirty – turning left, looking deep into the mirror – turning right. Feeling for stubble – finding none – moving closer to the mirror, promising to dare not confess to others; as if shaving was part of the rites of passage; a determination of manhood. Silly, silly man I was.
Confession two – the one time I used a deodorant I burned my underarms. No older than 13/14 standing in front of Mamma showing, complaining; inflamed, reddened, painful unarms – watching her touch, smile, smell – “as only a mother can” – before speaking, “you’re lucky”. Telling me not to bother, using logic, inquiring, awaiting an answer, walking away requiring me to figure out the rest. Never imposing a male standard, what boys should do, what boys need to do, preaching against stereotypes. No, that wasn’t Georgia way.
“Do you smell anything?”
“Did you smell anything?”
“You’re lucky, you don’t need a deodorant. Also your skin is too sensitive.”
In an abstract written by Yutaka Nishiyama, the author postures Asian cultures prefer odd numbers, Westerner cultures prefer even numbers. Quoting from the abstract seems appropriate:
Abstract: Japanese prefer odd numbers, while Westerners prefer even numbers. This is clear from the distribution of number-related words in Japanese and English dictionaries. This paper explains the reason for this cultural difference by surveying the history of numbers, Yin-Yang thought from ancient China, ancient Greek philosophy, and modern European mathematics.
The concept of numbers is seen in other aspects of our lives; in design, in the art of placement (feng shui), and even in storytelling. Whether two examples are sufficient, or whether three examples have a different meaning in other cultures, I am going to play it safe and side with the rule of three and provide one more confession. Confession three: I didn’t start drinking coffee until the age of sixty (if you can call my habit “as drinking coffee” – a (as in one) cup in the morning).
The repairman was making a second – third – visit, in only a month. Wondering out-loud why the coffee machine (a fancy relic of the law practice) was now deciding not to malfunction.
“The counter says you barely use the machine.”
“The counter is right.”
He fixed the machine, at a considerable price. Before leaving he gave me some advice, “If you don’t use it, it will continue to break down.” To comply, I decided to make a cup a week, discarding the contents in the sink. Something in the back of my head realized how wasteful this practice was, seeing my grandmother chastising me, standing over my shoulder, instructing me “not to waste food.” Seeing images of years past, peeling potatoes, remembering her instructions, “it is not properly done until you can see through the potato hull.” Watching her take the potato away and show me, wondering whether I could ever move as fast as she.
Telling the story of the machine to a friend, who came over to talk food, and continue the lesson on making Korean Seaweed and Rice rolls. After making her a cup of coffee, Sue smiled, went over the coffee machine and retrieved a bean and bit, consuming the entire bean.
“Good for you. Good for you.”
Extending a hand, handing the other bean she held to me (“bite it”); smiling, letting me figure out for myself, laughing at my silliness, discussing the origins of coffee, suggesting I drink a cup a day, or get rid of the machine. Moderating behavior thereafter, consuming one cup a day when in place, seldom consuming coffee when on the road; don’t ask me why not on the road – I have not earthly idea. But I digress; this musing has little or nothing to do with coffee, but more to do with the confusion which remains from reading what I read prior to going to sleep the night before.
My mother was a master of watching, listening and injecting at the right time. When I was deciding on a major in college, she asked, “What is your decision?” Never demanding; always stated in the question form; watching, waiting for an answer.
“Political science or religion…,” was my response.
“Why religion?” … “Do you have plans to teach?” … “Do you intend to open a church”, said with a smile. I answered “no” to each question. Mamma knew the answer was no. I probably went through some long explanation of religious conflicts, wars, doctrines of various faiths around the world, world peace. Mamma listened from afar, extended a spoon in the pot, tasting, turning, smile askance, before advising, “You needed to consider whether the School of Religion is a debating society, willing to debate faith.” So political science it was, the study of culture and politics. I say the above to say, everything I has learned over the years has been turned on its head. Perhaps I made the wrong choice. Perhaps I need faith. Confused … lost … bewildered … what is occurring?
It is now 4:41 a.m. in the morning. I have not read today’s (June 20, 2017), New York Times’ story wherein our President admits he would not have appointed Attorney General Sessions if he knew Session was going to recuse himself from the Russian investigation.
No, I am not fan of Attorney General Sessions. I didn’t think he was qualified to be a United States District Judge and was happy the Senate denied the attempt to promote him years ago; finding explicitly he wasn’t qualified to make decisions on others rights. When the President-elect identified Sessions as a possible choice for Attorney General, the shudder returned. This time no matter how reasoned the argument Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions was appointed to the highest law enforcement office in the land. The plans of mice and men … maybe the mice will survive … I digressed again. I’m sorry.
The reason I am confused: I have never seen in my life someone, anyone, a President, continue to insist other constitutional office holders owe him a duty. That shouldn’t be the role of the Attorney General. He/she is not the personal lawyer for the President, if so the rule of law will always be subverted, no matter who the President. Hoping against hope, not seeing the sun, wishing I knew an appropriate prayer, chewing on coffee beans, seeing the time (5:01 a.m.), having rushes of anxiety come in odd numbers, then even, flowing over and out, feeling for stubble, smelling, smelling, smelling the foulness of the his statement, wishing to see a day someone pulls the Constitution in one of his interviews with the alleged fake press, and use the document when questioning him about his continual assaults, which are nothing than a fundamental attack on the rule of law.