Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Ignored the journal all last week due to work-related stress; namely, the incessant scanning and editing of over five hundred classic Jumble(R) puzzles for an upcoming book from my publishing house. Since each scan and cleanup job took about five minutes, and I am not a machine, the process was mind-numbingly boring, eased only by the presence of my portable CD player and a large pile of digitally mastered music, including some albums I’d forgotten how much I liked (Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After” holds up very well). Also, the answer key had to be typed up, which is, to my mind, the grand-daddy of all busy work.
Research topic to pursue government grant on–can a connection be established between the prolonged exposure to Jumbled(R) words and dyslexia? Are dyslexics better at unscrambling Jumbles(R)? Can dyslexia be somehow contracted by those of us who are forced to scan over five hundred of them in the span of two weeks? Also, supplementary research topic, to boost grant award–is Green Ketchup a Vegetable?
On Friday, my sister and I, sans parents and third sibling, took a trip up to Canada to attend a congregation of relatives who I haven’t seen in ages. It was, in a word, wonderful. In Canada, apparently, people from my cultural background have managed to grow up without judgmental streaks a mile wide, who appreciate and applaud the differences between human beings. It was the first time in a long while that I found myself in a group of my own people without feeling apologetic or looked down upon for admitting that I was a book editor, working to carve a niche in professional theater. I felt like the sort of person I occasionally suspect I am, when I’m not being told otherwise by my immediate family in this area.
My uncle–and it’s weird to consider certain people your uncles and aunts when they’re barely older than you or in one case younger–was undergoing a second wedding ceremony to a monumentally cool woman who I unfortunately met only briefly. I will likely see her and my uncle again over Thanksgiving, and I look forward to it.
Saturday night, I was introduced to the swell party game “Mafia,” which resembles, mechanically, the child’s game “Heads Up Seven Up” (ah, the pervasiveness of the soda wars) but is, in actuality, a simulated witch-hunt. In a group of twelve people (optimally, you can go somewhat higher, but not too much lower), two people are selected to be “Mafia,” and the rest are ordinary townspeople. The townspeople tries to expose and execute the Mafia, the Mafia’s goal is to decimate the town’s population to the point where they have a numeric advantage, but, of course, the townspeople don’t know who the Mafia are among them. Accusations fly, defenses are made, and a lot of innocent townspeople get executed via a voting process among the townspeople…including the two Mafioso. Additionally, between rounds of voting–called “nights,” the Mafia judiciously eliminates another townsperson, leaving more accusations to fly over the second dead body come “morning”.
I unfortunately fell victim to gamblers’ fallacy as the night wore on: I had not been selected as Mafia in over ten games, and as a result, I was eliminated by the group as a matter of principle for the following ten games, since “He’s GOTTA be Mafia this time,” (and I never was, damn it all).
I also discovered the Mosquito Dilemma of Winnipeg; ie, they have a lot of them, so much so that the city periodically releases pesticide fogs to kill the swarms. Of course, Darwinism prevailing, the mosquitoes that survive are meaner, faster, stronger, and by my estimation, Winnipeg only has a short time before they complete their construction of the uber -mosquito that will destroy them all.
I discovered also, among my relatives, that I could find many who looked like American actors. This weekend alone, I met the Arab/Indian equivalents of Nicolas Cage, pre-nosejob Jennifer Grey, “Good Will Hunting”-era Minnie Driver, and Kirstie Alley.
On the plane ride home, we passed over a sheet of clouds so solid and textured that it looked like an Arctic landscape. The patches of sky looked like icy water, the sky above it clear and perfect. I wished to walk across those clouds, in the thin air of the evening, eventually let go of the illusion, and silently sink through the layers, my clothes soaking in moisture, drying in gravity’s wind shear, my mind clear and my body concentrated within itself, as I floated to the ground without any parachute other than my own sense of remembered tranquility.
I didn’t do this, mind you. I certainly thought about it.