Saturday, June 18, 2005

The End of My Vacation

So, my vacation is winding down and it's with mixed emotions that I face going back to work on Monday. On the one hand, I'm finally kind of bored, but on the other hand, I was really hoping for quite a few days of mind-numbing boredom so that I'd be very glad to get back to work. Ah well. I didn't find any ghosts at Fisk or even anybody to let me into the art gallery, but I did find John Work's house and when I get the photos developed, I will post them here (though I may have to ask Peg for help on how to put more than one photo in a post). Today the Southern Baptists came by to ask me some questions about church. They seemed very nice and I answered them as best I could in their paradigm, because who has time to fight with total strangers who mean well at your own house? I don't need that kind of negative energy. Anyway, this morning the dog and I went to the park and meandered around. It's funny. On Thursday, when I was supposed to meet the Professor for lunch, we flew around that loop in 40 minutes--two shits, a trail of pee, up and down the big hill--record time for us (and still I was a little late for lunch). Today I had no plans and I don't own anybody anything until much later this evening and so we just strolled around the park, sniffing and staring at things, and thinking our own thoughts. I know you all know this, but god, I love that park. Green in the summer, brown in the winter, the trees twisting slowly sky-wards, like they're spelling out some great truth in an alphabet you feel intrinsically like you should know, but have forgotten, how to read. As we were walking, I was thinking about my grandpa Bob and my great-grandpa Harry. I was just thinking that this, being out in the park with nothing to do but see what there was to see, seemed like the kind of thing I might have liked to do with them, if I knew them now. I'm so jealous of people who know there are ghosts, who are visited by their ancestors. I hope and I go places that are said to be haunted and I listen and I feel and I remain uncertain, unconvinced, and lonesome about it. The past is a deep well, full of important things, hidden and revealed, and the present is just that surface of the water. Everything we are is constructed from the flotsam and jetsam of the the past. I guess that's what makes me sad about cosmetic surgery. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm as fucked up about my body as anyone, and have fantasies of somehow waking up thin and pretty and hairless--like some Aphrodite emerging from the foam of the real woman I am--and able to navigate with grace and without fear through our world. But this body looks like the bodies my grandmas had and this hair looks like my mom's and the Butcher's, and these eyes look like my grandpas' and my uncles' and these freckles on my face are like my grandma's freckles and the freckles on my arms look like my dad's. I look like my family. I look like a midwesterner, too, the generic germanic branch of that particular strain of people. And the thing that freaks me out about cosmetic surgery is that it can (not that it always does) make you not look like yourself any more, not resemble your family, but instead resemble everyone else who's had noticeable cosmetic surgery. This is not some anti-cosmetic surgery screed. Lots of people have nose-jobs or tummy tucks or breast implants and that's their business. I don't give a shit. I'm talking about that next step, beyond that, in which the surgeon seems to erase any distinction from you and molds you into someone who looks like someone who's had a lot of cosmetic surgery. That's what I don't understand. You want to make some minor changes--more power to you. You want to cut away everything that makes you unique and replace it with parts that closely resemble others who've had a lot of cosmetic surgery? That's weird to me. Your body tells a story about who you are and where you come from. Why would you try to give the impression that you're tied to these other folks you don't even know? ******** Obviously, one might choose to have cosmetic surgery to no longer resemble people he no longer wants to be tied to. I have a much easier time understanding this than I do the striving towards the generic look of the overly-operated on.

5 Comments:

Blogger Taketoshi said...

Well said. I have image issues just like everyone else, but I'm glad my face looks eerily like my father's when he was my age.

6/18/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Nicely put, as always. Hope you feel "vacationed".

6/18/2005 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

You are such an amazing writer. Seriously. This bit: "I hope and I go places that are said to be haunted and I listen and I feel and I remain uncertain, unconvinced, and lonesome about it." Anyone else would have led with that sentence. You bury it. Dude, I love that about you. Keep doing what you do. It kicks ass.

6/19/2005 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Twyla said...

"trees twisting slowly sky-wards, like they're spelling out some great truth in an alphabet you feel intrinsically like you should know, but have forgotten, how to read." What a gorgeous sentence, and it explains perfectly how it feels to gaze on them. Wonderful.

6/19/2005 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Oh, y'all are too kind. I'm blushing a little. Thanks.

6/20/2005 04:41:00 PM  

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