Saturday, August 26, 2006

If it can happen to Pluto...

I've been thinking about what's happened to Pluto -- how it's been demoted from Planet to Dwarf Planet. And not only that, but it even has to share that nomenclature with a bunch of other rocks out there. Now I know that Pluto doesn't really care one way or the other, but you know, it could! One minute it's out there, orbiting around, thinking everything's fine, just the way it always is. It knows its place in the solar system. And then BAM! It gets the rug pulled out from under it (metaphorically speaking of course -- there's no over or under in space). Everything it knew about itself and its world has changed. It's no longer part of the family. Cut out of the will. Sent to wander with a bunch of crappy little hunks of ice and rock, way out in the wilderness.

And I figured, if it could happen to Pluto, why not to me? Or to you? It could, you know. The world is a perilous, mercurial place. When you step outside your door, you never know what might happen. You think you know who you are and where you belong but really...everything could change in a heartbeat. Your dog could die. Your identity could be stolen. You could get fired. You could lose your car keys. Shit happens, in ways that we can't anticipate. Just be alert, that's all I'm saying. Be prepared to take a tumble. Because you never know.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Words Fail Me...or is it me who fails the words?

Why is it, I wonder, that so many of us think that the written word holds more power or importance than the spoken one? Why otherwise would so many people be so interested in reading the blogs of strangers who, were they to encounter them on the street, wouldn't be the slightest bit interested in hearing what they had to say? We'd probably ask them politely to shut up. I dunno, maybe that's just my urban crankiness coming out.

But back to my original thought. Instead of writing, can you imagine would-be bloggers all holding forth on a street corner? They have that in London, don't they? Speakers' Corner. It predates the blog by, oh, centuries. Anybody with anything to say could just drag their little soapbox to the park there, hop up and share their thoughts with the passersby. I wonder how many actually stop and listen. So now we've got the digital equivalent. But there's a big difference between reading something and hearing it spoken out loud. There's a wonderful juiciness to spoken language that infuses it with more meaning and texture than the actual words carry. There's slang that looks foolish on the page (or the screen) that takes on a whole personality when you hear it. Ever gone to a spoken word theater performance? Then you know what I mean.

But then again, I'm a word geek. I write for a living. I think words are unbelievably cool. I cringe when they're mistreated. Which, sad to say, is very, very often. And every time a word is mistreated, somewhere in the universe...absolutely nothing happens

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Starting small...I mean really petty

Tough day in the New York City subways. And wouldn't you know it, I got the car on the downtown A train with the faulty air conditioning. Normally these days that's not a problem, I'm glad to say. Even if I'm shoulder to shoulder (to shoulder) with my fellow commuters, there's usually enough coolth to go around.

But here's what's really pissing me off -- since when did it get to be okay to bring baby strollers on the rush hour! First of all I don't understand where they're taking these babies. Clearly the (usually) women pushing the strollers don't appear to be on their way to work. So why can't they just wait an hour or so and make it a little easier for us working folks to get where we're going! How freakin' important could it be?

Thing is, they never used to let you do that. You'd have to take the baby out and fold up the stroller and carry the baby and the strolleronto the train. Takes up less room. More considerate to one's fellow passengers. But no longer.

Clearly not very important in the cosmic scheme of things. But then very little actually is. For me, today, this was worth a tiny little rant.