Sunday, August 28, 2005

I was visiting Katja and she led me to this short story by Bosnian writer Alexsandar Hemon. Although his writing style is a little frenzied and fragmented for me, he reminded me of many things in this short.

He describes his relationship in pre YU wars Sarajevo, with a poet and drinking partner nicknamed “Dedo” (Grandpa), and meeting him many years later in the U.S.

“He turned to me in a snap, as if I had just woken him up, and he did not smile. He didn't recognize me, of course. It was a painful moment, as the past was rendered both imaginary and false, as though I had never lived or loved. Even so, I introduced myself, told him how we used to drink together at the Writers' Home; how he used to sing beautifully; how often I had remembered those times. He still couldn't recall me. I proceeded with flattery: I had read everything he'd ever written; I admired him and, as a fellow-Bosnian, I was so proud of him—I had no doubt that a Nobel Prize was around the corner. He liked all that, and nodded along, but I still did not exist in his memory. I told him, finally, that he used to think I was a conductor. "Dirigent!" he exclaimed, smiling at last, and here I emerged into the light. "

This passage reminds me that memory is selective.
Some people loom so large for us, influence us, inspire us, screw us up, make us bitter and angry, while we have no impact on them whatsoever...and vice versa.

I have been told on occasion of things that were very important to other people that supposedly, I was deeply responsible for (good and bad) and I have absolutely NO recollection of what they remember in detail.
There are people who have come into my life that I connected such importance to, that I meant absolutely nothing to..and probably wouldn't remember me if we met again.

Our memories, and the things that we connect importance to are so very different, and I suppose we only choose to remember the things that gave us an actualization or affected us in some life altering way.
Good or bad.
I cannot count how many times I have relayed a memory to someone, only to be greeted with the blank stare of non-recollection.

Which immediately makes me doubt my own memory, but then I realize that we all have our own selective memories.

There are certain things I’ve done in my past that I would love memories of to stop sneaking up on me late at night. Those being the big ones that I acknowledge…never mind compounding them with things that other people have connected importance to that I am unaware of.

Forget some of the bad so that we can live with ourselves.
Forget some of the good so that we don’t get too swollen with our own importance.

Maybe this is really a blessing in the end.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How Important is Your Name to You?

For some people, their names are really, really important to them.

They go out of their way to spell their names in an out of the ordinary way, just so that they can be different. Maybe spend a little more time discussing their name…because they’ll have to spell it for you, and then you can discuss how unusual it is, or whatever.

Being someone with a name that you’ll never find on those little license plates that you can stick up on your bedroom door, or on pencils or cups at the dollar store…I’m used to having to spell my name, and then discuss how unusual it is…and being asked what nationality it derives from.

Frankly, I could live without it.

I was very ready to take on The Misters surname when we got married, just so that I could stop spelling my name when people asked for it.
About 10 minutes ago, the courier guy came in and asked for my name, (which isn’t really Radmila, in case you didn’t know) and I said it, and he thought I said something else, and I didn’t correct him.

Then, I thought about how I do that a lot.
I have one of those names that is unusual (to Canadian ears, but quite common in Slavic countries).
With the change of one letter it can be transformed into at least 5 other names.
Some of these other names are more commonly heard of than others.
Some are actually nicer than my own name.
Sometimes people will go months saying my name incorrectly, and I won’t say anything.

For me, whether I correct you or not will depend on how important you are, or might be in my circle of life.
If you’re a business associate, I’ll correct you.
If you’re a Cashier I’ll never see again, I won’t.

Some people are very particular about their names, adding double letters where they aren’t necessary.
Apostrophes in place of letters…silent letters that serve no purpose but to confuse anyone who wants to give them a Birthday or Christmas card.
And they’ll get righteously pissed if someone spells it wrong.

Personally, I have enough stress in my life without adding to it with trivial shit.
The way I look at it, I could have been named anything.
In fact, the first elementary school teacher I had changed my name completely, simply because she didn’t know how to pronounce it.
I went through my entire school life with a name that wasn’t even legally mine.
Ok..that pissed me off as an adult because that had more to do with not accepting immigrants than it did anything else. But, as a kid...I just wanted to fit in, and even though the name was hideous, I didn't complain.

These days, everyone wants to be different.
Sometimes, you can be so different, that you end up being the same.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Let's Talk About God, Baby...

I'll start this entry off by letting you know that I'm not that keen on organized religion.
I believe in God, but I don't believe in the rituals that man connects to God.
I think that the Bible is an incredible book of lessons, but I don't take it literally.
I do not fast when I'm supposed to.
As Uja says every time it's time to fast, "sin does not go into the mouth, but comes out".
I don't believe in man designed rites.

That said, The Mister and I were talking about someone we know who has joined a religion with a lot of rules to follow, and we got to talking about the contradictions of some people who claim to be following "Gods word".
Specifically because the person we were discussing is one of the most pretentious and contradictory people we know.
I'll say honestly, that in my experience, some of the meanest, most unforgiving people I've ever met were regular churchgoers.
Which makes me think that churchgoing for them is like insurance.
As long as I show my face, repent, or confess...I can start again.

Tabula rasa.

The Mister and I were discussing how some people revel in the rules of their religion, making it appear that they are so pious, while looking down their noses at others as though the ordinance of their religion gives them some sort of superiority over people who do not follow the same doctrine. Meanwhile, subscribing to very different and more relaxed and forgiving principles for themselves.
Almost as though not eating certain things, not going certain places, and being in the house by a certain time allows them some sort of slack in the more important aspects of being a decent person.

Why is that?
I'm confused as to how someone can claim to love God, yet be so mean and unforgiving to others.
I wish this person good luck on their recent conversion...with one thought I heard many years ago to ponder:

Sitting in a church makes you a Christian, like sitting in a garage makes you a Cadillac.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Love, Unconditionally.

Is there such a thing as unconditional love?
I hear this phrase being flung around a lot.

This morning while I was at the gym, I was watching The View on one of the overhead TV’s.
They were interviewing Madonna, and obviously, after six years of marriage…she’s an expert on relationships.
We are in desperate need of her opinion on marriage.

She must have referred to “unconditional love” eight or nine times.
I’m not familiar with unconditional love.
Yes, I know that my mother is supposed to love me “unconditionally”, but all of my life I had conditions on how much she would tolerate from me for her love.
She had lots of conditions.
It was me living up to most of those conditions that stopped me from becoming a miscreant.
She used to tell me that if she didn’t have these conditions, it would actually show that she didn’t care about me, much less love me.

How unconditional is the love that Karla Homolka’s or Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents have for them?
In the case of Karla Homolka, how do you as a parent feel the same way about a daughter that murdered another one of your children?
I cannot be convinced that her relationship with her parents is not damaged irreparably.
If a loving relationship still exists at all.
So, how unconditional is it if people say they love you “unconditionally”, but you don’t feel loved?
People have been fired by their parents for certainly less than killing a sibling.

That’s parental love which is probably the closest thing to unconditional that we’re going to get, if it exists at all.

How about marital love?
Certainly there are conditions there…otherwise divorce wouldn’t exist.
What is unconditional love of a spouse?
Certainly allowing someone to beat you, and abuse you could be construed unconditional love in some people’s eyes. Spouses allowing each other to have sex with others has been described as unconditional love simply on the notion that not being possessive of your spouse equals “unconditional” love. Allowing a spouse to gamble, drink, your family’s savings away…is that unconditional love?

People toss this “unconditional love” phrase around in a very cavalier way.
I don’t believe in it.
All love requires a certain amount of condition and sacrifice.
I know no one who loves and lives with another person who hasn’t modified their way of living to compliment or compromise with their chosen partner.
There is a limit to what we will tolerate from another person whom we claim to love “unconditionally”.
I’ll wager that Madge wouldn’t call her love for her husband “unconditional” if a woman showed up on her doorstep with his baby in her arms.

I officially hate that phrase.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My mother asked me to change the message on her call answer service.
I called her to ask for her password, but she wasn't home.
This was her message:
"Ahhhh, ahhhh, ok...tis is (her number), I'm nat home. Ehh...ahhh...leave da message. I gonna kall yu bek" and then just before it beeps, in Serbian, "Tis vas no goot. I screwed up."

I thought I'd die.

So, when she called me back and I got her password, I changed the message.
I then went into her calls to see if she got my message.
I picked up this message from a speed talking Serbian friend of hers:
First, she recites a cute Serbian limerick like poem using my mothers name, and then, "Change your message. Just say, 'Leev da message, I gonna kall you bek, dets all!', you don't need to say anything else. Finished." She goes on to tell her some other things and then ubruptly hangs up.
I wish there was a way to put her message on a wav file and post it here.
It's freakin' hilarious.
I could listen to her friend all day.