The ever-thoughtful Squadratomagico has tagged me for a meme of her own devising, based on the "eight facts about me" meme that's been circulating lately. What, she asks, are eight things you wonder about? I am happy to comply, especially because I am feeling giddy and in the mood for a meme. Even though I have put my back out today. Quite badly. Oh dear. I can barely walk, and I can't move laterally, bend over, or lift anything. The toll taken by days of moving boxes and heavy furniture around, and scrubbing floors, etc. It happened when I shifted a box this morning - nothing particularly heavy or anything...But it sent the low back over the edge. Hmmm...it hurts. But still, giddy. And I must be damn giddy if I'm still meme-ing through this pain.
Why giddy, you ask? Well, it's because the movers have taken all my things away! On their long haul to Scary City. They came and loaded up the all the stuff from my two storage units this morning, and put it into a container, which was in itself fascinating to watch. All that stuff! One shipping container! So I am feeling liberated from stuff - I have only the bags of clothes and a few books and papers, etc., with me until the unloading in Scary City in three weeks. Which fact - the feeling of freedom - brings me to the first of my eight pieces of wonderment...
1. Why do I - why do we, here in the Western world - insist on stockpiling so much freaking stuff? What does it give us, really? What does it keep at bay? And I say this as someone who has relatively little...no knick-knacks, really. Okay, quite a bit of clothing, but otherwise, the majority of the dozens of boxes moved today were filled with books. But considering how free I feel to have nothing but bags of clothes with me, I wonder if I shouldn't think about seriously scaling down. I think about the Canadian musician Jane Siberry, who recently changed her name to Issa and divested herself of everything she owns - including the masters of all of her music! - except one backpack full of clothes. Well, now that's a bit extreme - one bag of clothes!!! ;) - but I think she may be onto something.
2. Why do people insist on ignoring the undeniable fact that oil is a finite resource? (Like all of the big-picture questions here, this is posed more rhetorically than anything, while still reflecting a kind of grand wonderment...I have some ideas, as do many of us, about things like the reasons for addiction to fossil fuels!) Seriously, something doesn't compute for me. Any kind of governmental commitments to combating global warming seem completely meaningless, in the face of this willful ignorance. I don't really get how people - policy-makers, but also just whoever - make sense of this to themselves.
3. Why do I appear to need external validation in order to feel confident in my abilities? Ahem, driving, is a good case in point. (This is a skill I've learned in order to drive from time to time - like yesterday, when I borrowed a friend's car in order to move some things around - and that's my justification for driving in the face of the above point.) Yesterday when driving my friend's car around the city on a couple of errands, I was driving alone for only the second time. I am, I see, a much better driver when I'm alone. Because I have to be - I have to trust my knowledge. When I drive with someone else in the car, I am constantly saying, "Can I go?" or "Should I move over?" Of course, I know the answers to these questions, as demonstrated by my perfectly capable driving on my own. I just lack confidence. The same was true in the case of the highway test two weeks ago...I took this test - even though I didn't need to - because I knew that having the approval of a driving examiner would make me feel as if I can drive. I can drive, for goodness sake! Why can't I trust that? And this is only one of many instances of this kind of need for external validation. Grrr.
4. Why do most people seem to become more conservative as they get older? I am a case in point. By that I mean that I used to be a young radical, and now I am more complacent, less, well, het up - although my favourite young people are the young radicals. And I have no way, really, of explaining me to myself. There are all sorts of vague but plausible answers involving the words "wisdom" and "experience", etc., but they are not satisfying. This is such a common phenomenon, I need concrete answers! Hmmm...is it because you lose hope? I know that the reason I love the young radicals the best, of all my students, is because they give me hope. I guess the longer I live, the less hope I have?
5. Why do I sometimes have to fight with myself to go for my runs, when it almost invariably feels so great? Not always, but sometimes I fight - and sometimes the don't-go-for-a-run voice wins. But running can be the most profound high - why in the world would I ever not want to do it? Is my memory that short? Do I just forget that it doesn't suck energy, but gives me energy? Why, why? I ask this in the wake of the most glorious hour-long run yesterday, during which I felt like some kind of superhero. How can I not always want that feeling?
6. What's up with (non-)monogamy? By that I mean, why do so many of us folks who understand monogamy to be a social construction, still cling to it? In my case, it's in part because I think it's just too tiring to imagine having other kinds of relationships...I don't have the energy for the constant emotional negotiation any other arrangement would require. But I do wonder about others' reasons. Are they the same as mine? Is it also because, like me, they get to feel morally at ease when they tell themselves, "This is what being an adult is about...managing my desire for this other person...whom I'd really like to, well, sleep with, for starters"?
7. How does the postal system work?
8. Am I going to be able to manage a weekend away in Vermont - my annual visit to my dear old friend, who lives in Burlington - this weekend, what with the fact that I can barely move? What am I going to do about my back? I can't go to a chiro - there's no time. Will something as serious as this just improve on its own?
This feels horribly self-indulgent! Do know that there are plenty of other, more weighty issues I wonder about - in particular lately, lots of questions around Middle Eastern political situations! - but I am not in the frame of mind to tackle them. Please forgive my navel-gazing. And -- this is a great meme. I'm not going to tag specific blogfriends, but do know that I'd be very interested to read all of your questions, should you feel like giving it a try!
Off to drink some vodka with my feet up (assuming I can lie down)!
Update: Perhaps have answers to Question 8: What the hell was I thinking? I can't go to freaking Vermont!! This is getting worse by the minute; no, I can't even lie down. I would require bloody morphine to travel. Uh oh. What have I done?