Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Thoughts - Many and Varied

Thought the First

I was just watching Trading Spouses on Fox (guilty pleasure, I admit it). That show intrigues me. I love watching people who have money (or vice versa) getting to see how the other half lives. People truly can't conceive that for some people, $200 for a dishwasher is an extravagence they can't afford. And people who are poor - but happy - can't understand the fast pace lifestyle and obsession with things that people who have mone have.

Needless to say - considering I am driving a car with no insurance and bad brakes - I fall into that latter category. We were talking about weddings at work the other day (my supervisor's daughter is getting married - for the very reasonable price of $6500), and I mentioned that I just don't understand how people can spend upwards of $15000 on a wedding. If I ever get married, I want a morning wedding with a luch reception in the church hall and a cake from Albertson's and that's it. I don't want a fancy dress, or a DJ, or videotaping, or any of that junk. What's really important - the party or the marriage?

On the show tonight, a Georgia country father switched places with a New York City attorney. The attorney's son was preparing for his bar mitzvah, and the mother mentioned wanting to spend the $50,000 they were awarded for participating on the party. She even commented that it should cost about the same as a typical wedding (and I can guarantee she wasn't thinking of the $6500 variety) She was absolutley livid that the country guy - who got to determine how their money was spent - chose to spend the money on things designed to bring the family closer together and slow down the pace of their lives.

I couldn't have been happier with his choice. Is a bar mitzvah - or any religious ceremony for that matter - really about impressing people with an extravagant party? Isn't there another reason we do these things?

Yet another part of my current spiritual crisis.

Thought the Second

I'm thinking about going to services at the Lutheran Church down the street this Sunday. I went to mass this weekend (I really am trying), but I am feeling a really significant disconnect. I can't seem to find a place where I fit and feel like I am being nourished. I don't think going to mass is supposed to make you tense and angry, but that's how I felt this weekend.

So, if the faith of my father's isn't currently working, I may as well try the faith of my mother's. I may even try the Episcopal church. There's a little one not too far away that looks inviting.

I've picked up Tom Beaudoin's book Virtual Faith again. It looks at the spirituality of Gen-X. It's interesting reading. I never got around to finishing it (got busy with stuff at St. Al's CCC), but I came across it on my cleaning frenzy last night and I'm looking forward to finishing. When I do, I'll write more.

Thought the Third

My cleaning frenzy. Last night, for some unknown reason, I got the urge to clean. I cleaned out the drawers in my bedroom, the entire kitchen, and everything in the living room I didn't have to move to clean. Where did the urge come from? Who knows. But the cleaning stuff smells really good and works really well for an environmentally safe product. This weekend, I'm going to do the bathroom (that stuff smells even better).

Thought the Fourth

I was going to write this this weekend but I got distracted.

I was thinking about jealousy this weekend. If you were like me, you learned in seventh grade that jealousy (well, envy) is one of the seven deadly (or - in the kinder, gentler Catholic Church - capital) sins. (As an aside, up until 7th grade, our religion classes consisted of, "God loves you." and not much else. In 7th grade, they became, "God loves you, but you're going to burn in love anyway."). But I was thinking this weekend, is there such a thing as righteous jealousy?

What brought this on, you ask? A phone call from the student loan people. They can't seem to get it through their heads that not only do I not have any money to give them, I don't have any family I can ask for money to give them. They seem to think that I like being poor, and that I'm faking it. Yeah. I like barely being able to scrape my rent together, playing shut-off notice roulette, and driving an uninsured car with bad brakes. I like living on ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, and, as a treat, tuna. This is how I always envisioned my life would be at 33.

Anyway, I found myself feeling really jealous of people who can ask their parents or siblings for a loan to get them over a tight spot. I have never had that as an adult. I've had to make, or not make, my way on my own. I suppose in some ways that's good, but in many other ways it just plain sucks (pardon my crudeness).

Is it wrong to be jealous of their families? I mean, I would never begrudge them what they have, or hurt them because of it, but I would like to have that, too. I really miss my parents. I wish they were still here. And not for financial reasons. I just miss their advice, and their laughter, and their calming presence in my life. I miss them encouraging me, and kicking my butt when need be. I really just want some family in my life. I used to think that maybe I could find that in a church community, but not any more.

Thought the Sixth (I think)

Even thought I just complained about it, I really like having mashed potatoes for dinner. They are yummy, and you don't have to think to eat them. Not that eating other things requires a lot of mental effort, but there you go.

Thought the Seventh

They just said something about the elections on TV. I don't want to vote for Kerry or Bush, and Nader isn't on the ticket in Louisiana. I'm thinking about writing in a vote for someone totally off the wall, like David Letterman or Jon Stewart or William Forman (my US History teacher in high school). Yeah, it would be a wasted vote, but at least it would be a vote. I wish the democrats would put forward a candidate I can respect.

Thought the Eighth

You know you are getting old when you are irritated by college students just acting like college students. It really gets under my skin when the kids in my complex get all loud and goofy after 10 at night on weekdays. And football season is starting Saturday. It's only going to get worse.

Thought the Ninth

It amuses me to drive along the route of a Mardi Gras parade and see beads still hanging from trees months after the fact.

Thought the Tenth

Why so many random things tonight? I've made a committment to myself to spend at least an hour a day on my writing, and this was the only way I could do that today. Tomorrow I plan to write about my mom.

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