Monday, March 31, 2008

The Disillusionment of Six

Four Men and an Elevator

I went to meet a friend for lunch today. She works in a big skyscraper in Century City.

Because it is a skyscraper, I had to check in at the front desk before I could go up to her office to meet her. I walked up to the reception desk and a man in a polyester faux-business suit (affordable and easy to clean, who can blame him?) was leaning on the counter not quite admitting belonging behind it.

"Do you work at this thing?" I said.

"Yes," he said, "How can I help you?"

"I'm here to see Irene Parisknova-Millicent Beane, please." [Name changed for publication.]

"Ah, yes. And your name?"

"Jean..." (He was waiting for something more...) "...Nnosullivan."

I was on a list so I was given clearance. He pointed behind me and now had an accent, French or Italian, something classy, "The elevators are just there, ma'am."

"Thank you!" I turned and went for the first bank of elevators I saw but was stopped by a man in a suit by the same maker but the pants were olive. (Designation: Security Guy.)

"What floor?"


"Not this one, that one, miss."

He gesture-herded me into the direction of the next bank of elevators, which I entered, intently passing Security Guy 2. Security Guy 2 followed within inches, "What floor - what floor, ma'am?"

"Forty." I didn't look back, stepped into the elevator, catching the doors' electric eye to thwart their attempt to close, and pressed the button but it didn't light up. There was a sixty-ish man in the elevator. He wore tan slacks and a peach colored sweater. White hair. Expensive clothing, too many too-white teeth for a man his age. The guard followed and pushed the button in a way that made it light up. I thanked him but was not sincere. My guess was he felt it, which put me a little on the defensive.

Alone in the elevator with the comfortably well off man, I said, "I'd never make it in this parta town." The silence lasted a floor or two, but perhaps my saying nothing more made him comfortable chancing engagement, "hmm?"

"Too many rules," I said, looking up at the numbers, "too uptight. Just to get onto an elevator took three approvals."

"Where do you live?" he asked.

"San Fernando Valley," I said.

"It's..." he looked down slightly, shook his head just a little, then up at me, to condescend: "It's 'The Valley', you don't say 'San Fernando', you just say 'The Valley.'"

At that point I didn't say anything. I just smiled.

"Where are you from - originally?" he said.

"I'm from the San Fernando Valley," I said.


"Yup! My whole life."

The elevators opened at floor 34 and he grunted as he left, eyes averted.

The doors closed on yet another rule.

Epilogue: Lunch was delicious! We ate beside the big green lawn.

Befuddlement Unraveled

Devotion to secrets
causes the betrayal
of those devoted
to the truth.
If those who wish to conceal a wrong
fear exposure acutely enough,
the cost of maintaining the illusion skyrockets,
overall trust depreciates,
And, if necessary, histrionics
become the order of the day,
and one by one
all involved
in the maintenance of the lie

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Four Cornered Credo et Latin


you exhale

an involuntary physical reflex,
a choice for the mind:

you expire

Allow inspiration
you die

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Over One Million 8's and 3's"

"The Real Meaning of 4000 Dead" by Lieutenant Sean Walsh:,8599,1725642,00.html?xid=feed-yahoo-full-world

(the above links to article in TIME Magazine.)

Support the troops. Bring them home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Beyond Babies

Parents: before you discourage your children away from the career that they aspire to but which scares you, consider how suited they may be for a life of compromise. Do you want your child to live a mediocre life just so you can feel secure?

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Art in the Background"


Presumed concepts of what is "background" are challenged in this masterpiece of tertiary elements alternating as fore- back- and sub-grounds. A refreshing perspective from fmtpo. Encore fmtpo! Encore!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Pile of Junk Can Be Art, Too, If It Also Has You!

One day while downtown for jury duty, I ate my lunch in the courtyard of the LA Museum of Contemporary Art.

I sat beside a fountain and looked at a 25 foot high, 18 foot wide sculpture made of severly damaged airplane and helicopter parts. It was cleverly structured to look like the pile of junk had fallen naturally into place, but against gravity, as the pile was larger at the top and very small at the bottom and was suspended above the ground bound and stitched with steel cable.

I analyzed this art as I ate my sandwich and drank my iced tea, contemplating for revelation: this had to be more than a pile of junk. It had to be more than the labor of its construction and the toil of the installation. This pile of junk had to have some meaning, this sandwich is pretty good! Wait: it is an upside down pile of junk. Am I supposed to be thinking of plane crashes? I can only think of who this guy musta slept with to get such a prominent showing of their piece! Maybe a woman made it; how sexist of me to presume only a man would manage this much wrecked and wrested steel! The artist is probably somebody famous maybe I should know who it is. Maybe I'll go get a cookie for dessert. Is this sculpture about the price we pay for breaking the laws of nature? Why do modern contemporary artists get away with so much? Is it a statement about the violence and destruction that permeates our daily experience but which we choose to ignore as if it would never really touch the holy ground on which we walk? Is it about nine eleven? Is it a statement about the power of sheer mass against itself? Who said the artist could put this here?!

And it came to me:

You can analyze the hell out of a pile of junk and, even if upended it will still be a pile of junk.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Thing About Lies

When, in any kind of meaningful relationship, one person lies to the other, the intuition of the person being lied to becomes obscured. This causes injury to the psyche of the person being lied to.

The joy of a close relationship includes a shared internalized reality. When one person's contribution is driven by fiction, the reality is destined to crash. When the "dupe" begins to sense discord, asks for a reality check, and gets a lie, the desire of the "dupe" to trust the friend forces self-admonishment.

This is a downright cruel thing the liar has done.

It can be remedied with honesty, humility, and diligence to maintain honesty for the future.

Lying by omission is a little more tricky; some information is nobody's business, but the person withholding information knows the difference between keeping healthy boundaries and being deceptive. What is the litmus test? Omit information that isn't necessary to the health of the relationship and it means nothing. Omit information that is necessary and it means everything.

Compassion IV

Thought A:
"We will never have peace as long as we have the instinct to protect our families from hostility!"

Concept B:
"We will have peace when Compassion becomes so huge no one would think to attack anyone else."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How to Wear Perfume

A reminder: perfume is meant to be an invitation, not an announcement.

This message brought to you by the person who, with her lunch buddy on the patio today, sat downwind of the ladies who smelled like big, sour, fleurs d' eau non!