It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
'Cause Sadie moved like water poured
The shapes she shaped had angels floored
She knew her walk turned wind to fire
A wink from Sadie turned brains to mire" -Tim Seibles, The Ballad of Sadie LaBabe
Sunday, May 07, 2006
a love story, part one
I have returned home to a place I left eighteen years ago. I left on the day after graduation. a day, where up to that point, I had never been happier.
The house is not exactly as I remember it. But mostly. I walked in through the kitchen door, as I always had done. The same wallpaper - sick with dying flowers - lines the walls. Pushing farther into the house, I see the same - can you believe it? - couch and chairs. On second thought, I can believe it, as dear old mom and dad are predictable like that. The curtains are not the same as those I grew up with. Replacing the blue frilly ones are blue straight panels. Always blue. I am still surprised by people who consider blue neutral and outfit their world with it. The carpet is the same as that I walked on for the first eighteen years of my life, just more ragged and worn the way only shag carpeting can be.
The biggest difference I see in my childhood home is the expansion of an office. A room that used to serve solely as the place my father escaped by mother. The room is now lined with books and plays host to a personal computer. Books I am sure have never been read. The computer, well, I cannot imagine what purpose it was to serve.
The phone rings and scares the hell out of me. Who would call? No one knows I am here and everyone knows who's not. Telemarketers, I concluded.
The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. This is one of my absolute favorite stories. Focusing on prejudice, it demonstrates the silliness of segregating people based on categories (race, religion, gender, etc). The story's strength is that it shows just how arbitrary these categories are.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In this classic story, a new mother suffering from what we might today call 'post-partum depression,' sinks into a still-deeper depression invisible to her husband, who believes he knows what is best for her. Alone in the yellow-wallpapered nursery of a rented house, she descends into madness.
"Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?" He asked.
"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
(both quotes from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," available in full-text here.)