Friday, May 31, 2002

I was thinking about ritual this morning. I used to smoke, and I think one of the strong attractions to doing it (besides addiction) was that so much of the behavior was ritualistic. The new pack of smokes, pounding them against your palm with the rhythmic 'thwak, thwak, thwak', and the regularity of it, the unvarying insistence of it. And of course, now I have my morning ritual of making coffee, a caffe latte, actually. It's something I do every morning and I enjoy doing all the steps in order (fill the resevoir with water, fill and tamp the grounds while the wand starts to steam, froth the milk). I enjoy the feeling that it is a necessary part of my day- something that I choose to do- that I need to do (or suffer the caffeine withdrawal headache). Ah well, it must fill some deep inner need. What rituals do you have?

Anyway, I've been reading "Moby Dick" and last week I read Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejuidice". While I was reading P and P I kept thinking in that sort of way they speak-- can't do it now, of course, but it was all proper and polite. What a crazy book. It's all about vanity- I think it's Elizabeth in the novel who makes the distinction between pride and vanity- pride is how we feel about ourselves, and vanity is how we are concerned with how others perceive us. Maybe this is a 'no duh' kind of thing for you, but I always think of vanity as someone looking at themselves in a mirror, thinking how beautiful they are. But if you think of it as impression management, then it's a whole 'nother thing. And I've never read "Moby Dick". I like his style of writing, very storyteller-like. But the whole 'native as exemplar' thing I don't buy, so that wears a little thin (like man in his natural state is naturally moral and 'gets life right').

I've been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning these past few days. Whoever cleaned the apt. before us did a terrible job, I must say. Not to mention that it was neglected for a month or so. So I've been taking pride in my hard work, but we'll see how long that lasts. After the first blush wears off, then I'll probably just hate having to vaccuum all the time and consider it drudgery. Maria Montessori really emphasized what she called 'practical life' in her method for the education of the young child- all the children in my classroom know how to sweep up a spill, dust the shelves and wash the tables. We have child-size brooms and cloths and brushes and everything. When I took the training (3 years ago) we read about how she always cleaned her house herself, even in situations where she could have had others do it for her, because she felt that it was an intensely human (and good) thing to do. So I've been trying to have that outlook on it. Cleaning is good.

Now I have to go clean the car for our long road trip to Tennessee. The windows get all scummed over with this film- really wierd. So last Spring and now this one, I get out the Windex. Makes me wonder what I'm inhaling into my lungs... Freon leak, anyone?

So I'll be back Tues. or so. Maybe I'll have the neverending shawl done by the time we get back. We've got the "Lord of the Rings" on CD (it's the BBC version, something like 60+ hours long!!) and the shawl is all I'm allowing myself to take so we're set.

Oh ya- and I'll be sending out my 7 things so be checking your mail, ladies. Woo hoo! Fun things in the mail. I can't wait.