Saturday, June 03, 2006

Random Thoughts and Rants

Thursday, my wife and I went to the new Ikea store. I felt almost as out-of-place as I do in Home Depot, only I also get lost in Ikea. I see so many things and haven’t a clue as to how they would look in our home or how I would get them home and install them if I could afford them and we decided that we wanted them. It’s times like those when I feel especially sorry for my wife being stuck with me. And then I recited my mantram to try to dispel such negative thoughts, the way Easwaran recommends. But is that the way to do it? Or is the way out of such thoughts “through” them?

I spent much of Thursday cramming for my coding exam coming up later this month. There’s so much to review and so little time! Actually, there was much more time, but I threw it away with my habitual procrastination, and now I feel almost overwhelmed with how much material I need to cover in three short weeks. Why didn’t I begin studying sooner? Why did I wait until almost the last minute, the way I’ve done for most of my life? More to the point, how can I stop procrastinating? Just obey the Nike ads and “just do it”?

Thursday night I dreamed that I was running. I don’t know where or why. I seldom remember my dreams in any detail if I remember them at all. But I know I was running, and it felt incredibly good, the way it sometimes used to feel when I actually ran. It felt effortless. My feet just glided over the ground, almost off the ground in fact, and I felt completely relaxed, and my breathing remained slow and easy. I don’t usually dream of flying any more. At least I don’t remember doing so. But I do sometimes dream of running the way I did Thursday night, and I always love the feeling of it. How nice it would be to
lucid dream and run (or fly) every night. What else would I dream if I could make myself do it?

I also dreamed of happening by a school ground where elementary school age children were doing the softball throw as part of their fitness testing, the way we used to at my school. They stood back and threw toward this big house-like structure, and the teacher stood in front of the house with a bat in his hand trying to hit any softballs that reached him. One black girl threw the ball so far that it bounced high off the house, and the teacher said, “That was an exceptional throw! Just exceptional!”

Once upon a time, when I was in sixth grade, I was being tested in the softball throw. The previous year, I had thrown the ball about 130 feet or so. This time, I threw it way over the backstop. The teacher estimated the throw to be over 200 feet. I couldn’t believe it! I was almost in shock! I went on to win the district softball throw championship that year. I felt on top of the world. I was the fastest 50 and 600-yard runner, the best softball thrower, the best standing broad jumper, and the best basketball player in my school if not the entire district. I felt on top of the world, at least until I went home from school every day to hide in my room. But my superior athleticism was in areas that depended far less on applying intelligence to cultivating skill than on taking advantage of my precocious height and strength. As I grew older and my peers grew up, I no longer had that advantage, and I couldn’t compensate by using intelligence I didn’t have.

Yesterday morning, my wife and I went to the immigration department. It’s now under the Department of Bushland Insecurity. To enter the building, we had to pass through a metal detector. But first was had to take our camera cell phones back to the car, because camera phones are not allowed. It would have been nice if the website where we made our appointment had told us this in advance. Many people carry camera cell phones these days. What would they do if they came on a bus by themselves with a camera phone and were then told that they couldn’t stay in the building with it? You’d think that the security people would be able to hold it for them, but they won’t do that. What are they afraid of with camera phones anyway? That terrorists are going to take pictures that can be used to plan deadly attacks? You mean to say that dedicated terrorists couldn’t draw floor plans of the building’s layout that are just as revealing as lousy pictures taken with a cell phone camera? And how would those terrorists armed with cell phone pictures penetrate security to plant their explosive devices or wreak whatever havoc they were bent on wreaking? I also had to take my tiny pocketknife back to the car, even though I could surely do a lot more damage with my fists or teeth than I could with that flimsy little 1 1/4” blade.

We had an appointment, but it turns out that the appointment was only to take a number to sit in a big room and wait for over an hour while only one counter out of nine was open most of the time and another counter open part of the time to slowly process those in the room ahead of us. What was the point in making an appointment for that? Furthermore, why weren’t those other counters open? Because Bushland Insecurity can’t afford to pay more workers on account of tax cuts going primarily to those who don’t need them? It turns out that my wife needed only two passport photos instead of three, even though the website told us three, and we bought four passport photos yesterday because we thought we needed three and you have to buy them in sets of two. I came away from there wondering why our public servants don’t make more of an effort to actually serve us instead of making life more complicated and expensive than it needs to be.

Last night, I concentrated better, executed better, and scored much better in my bowling league than I did the previous two weeks. It was a good way to end a relatively productive day.

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