Monday, March 06, 2006

I've Forgetten

how strange I can appear at times. Actually, like all good little weirdo's, I don't really think I'm strange at all. I'm ok with that. I don't suppose being different is all that much to brag about in most places, and I remember enough feelings of uncomfortableness during my formative years that I try to keep a big wide space between the "benignly strange" and the "dangerously weird" in my life and in my personality.

It helps that I'm fairly reclusive, I'm sure. I don't go out much and so I'm not constantly having to face my differences or to compare my lifestyle with the lifestyles of others. I know that poetry is considered "weird" in many circles, but I stay out of that loop for the most part, and when I'm in it, I know enough to keep my mouth shut and my smile fixed. Dan will occasionally push the issue and tell his friends or some work-type acquaintance that I'm a "poet" but he's aware that it bothers me and he's fairly careful to keep it light and not let anyone press the issue with either of us. He's much more apt to show my work to people than I am. I've gotten used to it, but I'll never be comfortable with it.

Occasionally, tho, I'll be reminded that the things I take for granted in my life - the things I enjoy, the conversations I have - they are not considered "normal" by even other abnormal people...such as the "poetry people" I know and admire.

Case in point - I recently workshopped a poem here on Eratosphere:
Four out of eleven people remarked on the unlikelyhood of people in a relationship waking up and talking about God in the morning. I agree with many of the other comments - "unshaven skin" does NOT keep the cold from creeping in.....cold always "creeps in" and so to baldly state it in a poem is redundancy supreme...."comparision" is not only rhyme-driven, it's just plain wrong......but the part where people had trouble with the AM conversation - well, that part threw me. Am I to take it, then, that people do NOT routinely wake up and discuss God over coffee and bagels? Is this one more way that I am "different" and somehow flawed? Or, looking at it from my point of view, (always dangerous) am I just uncommonly lucky that Dan is willing and able to bypass the usual "car needs gas" and "we're almost out of milk" conversations and move right on into the interesting stuff? It helps that he has a major in Religion, I'm sure....there's not a question I can come up with that he can't answer...and it also helps that he's a non-practicing Jew who has no trouble believing in his faith, yet some difficulty believing in God and I'm a lapsed Catholic who has no dificulty believing in God but all kinds of trouble with organized faith. The truth is, we DO wake up some mornings (many mornings, in fact) and discuss God-ism...and creationism and Darwinism and Buddhism and Judaism and Catholicism and every other "ism" we know of. We discuss, we argue, we rant, we rave, we laugh and we snarl over these things regularly. It's nice....I enjoy it. I had all those years where the conversations that filled the entire day went something like "Don't forget your key, I'm on call today" and "Damn it, don't you let that cat outside again" and "Mom, we need milk, bread, cereal, money, etc etc" I realize that I am at that point in life where I don't have to be consumed by all those little details that make up marriage and parenthood, but still....don't other people in other relationships talk about God in the morning? Is there a better time? A more proper time? Is it the morning hour itself that caused a problem or the conversation in general?

It's perfectly natural here in the Halberstein/Heidy household. The following books are on Dan's nightstand - " Where God Was Born" by Bruce Feiler, "The Holocaust Chronicle" by Publications International and an often-read and favorite Bible which I borrow all the time. On my side of the bed, you'll find "To Heal a Fractured World - The Ethics of Responsibility" by Rabbi J. Sacks and "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield. (There's also a copy of Cosmo and one of Glamour as well, but we won't talk of them right now.) The downstairs bookshelves are filled to overflow with books on religion - from a dozen books on the Crusades and the Knight-Templars to several dozen different historical books, written both in English and in Hebrew, to a well-worn copy of the Quran and a King James version of the bible with the New Testament included. Why would we not speak of our interests in the morning? Isn't that what people DO in the morning when there's time? And if there isn't time, and the questions are important, don't they MAKE the time?

If this is strange behaviour, let me paraphrase St. Augustine and say "Lord, make me normal, but just not yet."

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