Saturday, October 26, 2013

Are you having fun?

While searching (mentally) for an illustration to accompany this post, I eventually thought of using this figurine. Actually, there are two figurines here. The dog has been glued to the base as an addition alongside the boy. As you might guess, the figurine was not originally mine, but it does have symbolic and very personal meaning for me. We will not bother with that element right now. However, we will note the word "January" at the base of the figurine and the time on the clock as 11:00 p.m. A new year is approaching. This thought has been on my mind -- a new year, I mean, and what to do about it. It is only two months distant from us, you realize. One of my "favorite" films is "My Favorite Year," with Peter O'Toole. Other than the fact I think O'Toole is the greatest actor alive (still) today and in this role demonstrates a wonderful comedic talent, the title of the motion picture fascinates me: "My Favorite Year." I have had some good years and some bad years, but I am not sure I have a favorite year. I still am looking for one to designate with that distinction. Next year? 2014? I wonder ....

There is only tomorrow

I read somewhere once upon a time that at a certain point in the life of a man, he will realize that he has all that there is to have, that he is all that he will ever be, that there is no more to life than what is now. Some men accept those things as fact and live with them; other men get a divorce, buy a convertible and find a girlfriend twenty years younger than themselves in a futile gesture to restore their lost youth. This usually occurs somewhere between the ages of forty and fifty, and is the so-called "mid-life crisis."

I wrote somewhere once upon a time that I was divorced (for the first time) at age twenty-three, owned a convertible (for the first time) when I was age seventeen and had an eighteen-year-old girlfriend when I was age thirty-four. (Is a sixteen-year spread close enough to twenty years?) So, what is there to do when you apparently begin to have mid-life crises while you still are a teenager yourself and have done it all long before the age of forty -- some of it several times?

Never mind. I do not think there is an answer to that question.

Hmmmm .... just a thought.

I think I might have come up with a temporary solution to a crisis at any age: Four or five concerts in four or five countries over the course of a year. How about next year? In 2014? For me, it might be enough to make it "my favorite year."

How about Wacken? I am a quarter German by ancestry, so I can visit an ancestral land while I am dancing in the streets.

How about Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee? Some of you might have noted and recall that I have spent considerable time in and around Knoxville during one of those "once upon a time eras," and I love a southern accent.

How about someplace Alice Cooper is performing? I saw him in Detroit a while ago (a long while ago), so this time it would need to be out of the U.S. I am sort of hooked on his music right now. Not to mention (once again) the positively great guitars in his band, and his drummer, most probably, is the best performing on stage right now. Look at the second video here if you doubt me. He is a magician with drum sticks. I once was a drummer, and I cannot believe the skill with which he handles them.

There has to be at least one "classy" concert in this mix. How about Sarah Brightman? Actually, she will be performing sort of next door to me in Saint Paul in March and only a hop-skip-and-a-jump away in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a few days later. Or, how about Andrea Bocelli? Maybe in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Valentine's Day?

You know? I just thought of another idea. I am wondering about going back to work again. What an unexpected idea .... work .... well-l-l-l .... sorry .... there are moments when forget myself and act like a nostalgic fool .... but, a press pass has been known to accomplish wonders at concerts .... but-t-t-t .... no, no .... no.

Whether he meant it literally or not, Thomas Wolfe was right when he wrote the novel, "You Can't Go Home Again." Periodically, I have to prove that over and over and over again to myself. And, going home includes past work, past women, past incarnations. They might exist somewhere in time, but right now, for me, there is only tomorrow.

Well, a bit of music in the form of live concerts during the months ahead is just a thought. I am open to suggestions.
To quote Alice, "Are you having fun?"


ANITA said...

Yes.It s fun to visit you:-) :-) :-) :-)
Myh oh myh you got alot tlo tell.
Love that little figurine.

Fram Actual said...

And, it is fun to have you visit me, Anita.

The figurine is very attractive but, while it seems to represent the beginning of something and a happy occasion, it actually is symbolic of the end of something and a sad event. Life sometimes is not what it appears to be if we look beyond the stage where the players perform. It serves as a reminder to me.

Gert Jan Hermus said...

I think I know what you mean: Life is short, time flies and there is so much to do... :-)

Best regards from the Netherlands,

Fram Actual said...

Yes, that is among my thoughts here, Gert Jan.

When I was very young, I was in a race to experience everything I could before the clock ran out on me. Now, I wonder if, perhaps, I ran the race too well, because I am bored with everything and looking for something to jolt me back to actually living life with enthusiasm once again. By the same token, I do not want to go on experiencing the same things over and over again. I want something new.

And, yes, life is all too short, more so for some than for others, as it was for our youthful "January" here. As Gloucester remarks in William Shakespeare's "King Lear:"

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,
They kill us for their sport.

Well, we shall see if I find a path out of the forest or remain lost in it until the gods discover and destroy me.

I am glad to see you have found your way here again.

A Cuban In London said...

Now, that little figurine tells its own story. It reminds me of the Punch and Judy shows I have seen here in the UK. Not that it looks like any of them, but the figure is built in a similar way. I don't know, my mind wanders.

On another note, I read your comment on my post last night and will be replying to it later on tonight. You're right. Anyone who has volunteered or worked in a nursing or care home will have witnessed what the passing of time can do to you. However, my post was more about the idea we have of old age. We seem to have a blinkered view of elderly folks. All drooling and incoherent when many are the opposite. It's true that your wits fade away as the years pile in, but there's no age limit, not time for when this happens. My grandmother, whom I mentioned in my post, suffered from senile dementia in her latter years. Sadly I wasn't there to say goodbye to her, but also, sadly, when I still lived in Cuba I didn't make her life better despite the fact that her dementia began when I was in my early 20s. Every time I write a post about old age and Alzheimer's or dementia I'm writing it for her, really. You brought a dose of reality, a much-welcome heavy dose of reality, I must say, and for that I thank you. It's good to read your contributions.

Greetings from London.

PhilipH said...

My favourite year: 1951, (the last seven months of it anyway).

Why? I hear you cry. Well, like so many others can confirm, it was when the first love appeared in my life. Stella.

I was a gauche and naïve sixteen and a half and experienced all the love and affection that had been missing until then. Stella was six-and-a-bit years older than I but it mattered not at the time.

I sent a 'Dear Stella' letter to her. It broke my stupid heart.

50 years later we met again. It was another great year, even though Stella was ill. Rapidly fading away from reality she had Lewy Body disease. She now knew nobody. She died a few years later.

Looking back it seems as though life 'fast forwards' at the fastest rate of knots.

Stella: I still love you. Do you remember that evening in the Classic, in South Croydon ...

Fram Actual said...

I can think of a thousand things to say CiL, but I will refrain and limit it to about three for four.

I loved to watch the British comedy, "Waiting for God," and laughed incessantly at the characters and their antics. But, unfortunately, my own experience, which includes a grandmother and a mother in a nursing home, has shown me that good times and happy residents are few and far between. This is not to mean their feelings and emotions have grown old along with their bodies, but the world is passing them by and, inside, most of them are crying.

Perhaps, my own perception of old age is clouded by my experience, but I still would maintain experience is the best means to learn in this matter.

And, my experience includes journalistic work in the sense of nursing home mistreatment and abuse of its residents. This alone, makes me skeptical of what goes on out of sight. You see? Much of your post came to me in terms of old age within a nursing home as opposed to old age among those who, more-or-less, are capable of independent living. As it is, in many ways I do not consider anyone capable of independent living as being old.

By coincidence, I had my annual physical examination today. (I managed to stall an extra six months before having it done, which should say something about me.) I have been seeing the same doctor since 2005, and we know each other quite well. She is experiencing the same problems with both her parents at this moment that I began experiencing with my mother about two years ago. And, like me, she lives some distance from her parents, so her role in the matter is limited.

What I found interesting today is that she was questioning and measuring my reactions to my just-ended situation in relation to her own current situation. In a sentence, she was digesting data from me to learn what might be useful to her. She is a doctor, younger than I am, seeking to learn from me, her patient, just as she is my teacher in regard (mainly) to my physical health and, to a degree, to my mental health. Perhaps, you can understand why I trust her implicitly. I have had a few doctors who were fairly close friends, but never one to whom I was a patient.

Finally, for now, I am very glad you wrote about your own experience with your grandmother and your feelings about her in retrospect. The more people can see inside one another, the more able they are to understand one another and to actually learn from one another. And, if we are not learning from one another, why are we even talking?

Fram Actual said...

Greetings, Philip ....

I have seen your comments at CiL's blog, and especially enjoy those left by people who write more than a single sentence, such as those you write. In short, I enjoy reading your comments, and I am pleased you have found your way here and left your thoughts for me. By the way, I did go to your blog and found a "no admittance" sign. Apparently, it is open only for invited readers.

I wrote a post entitled, "My Dixie dear & other thoughts," on September 22. You might find that one reminiscent of your own experience, although my adventure was taking place upon entry to teenage years, when neither one of us had any idea of who we were or where we were going.

Come again, Philip, anytime ....

Smareis said...

Olá Fram,

Depois de um tempinho ausente, cá estou de volta.
Como sempre postagem excelente.
Gostei da Estatueta, muito linda.
O ano novo já esta as portas. Passa muito rápido , nem acredito que só falta 2 meses para 2014.
A gente nunca sabe o que vem com o novo ano.Precisamos pensar positivo que só vem coisas boas.
O futuro é tão incerto, não dá pra fazer previsão, tudo muda, vivemos em constante mudança.
"... dizem que a gente tem o que precisa. Não o que a gente quer."Eu concordo plenamente!
Eu acho que os adolescente é que estão tendo crise de idade.Parecem perdidos nesse universo.
Ehehehe, adorei os videos.Alice Cooper gosto muito! Ótima escolha!
Deixo um abraço com desejo de uma ótima semana!

Fram Actual said...

When I was a college boy, I took a survey course about the history of South America and the nations which exist there. That was a number of years ago, most of what I learned has faded from my memory and it amazes me how little I know about life in Brazil or any of the other countries in our southern hemisphere.

What I am saying is that I really value your journeys to my blog. Through your comments here and your blog, Smareis, I am touching a person and a place new and interesting to my experience. Thank you, for coming to visit me.

Yes, the statuette is very appealing.

Yes, the music of Alice Cooper has more to it than most people realize. He is not a fool but, rather, a showman, an entertainer; there is satire in many of his songs and he almost always has brought excellent musicians on stage with him.

And, yes, only two months until the new year .... only two months until the symbolic opportunity for another chance at life, another start at life, another opportunity to set a new course in life. It is on my mind these days.

I am glad you have returned to the blogs, Smareis.

A Cuban In London said...

Thanks for your second response on my post. It's funny that we both agree on the same thing and in fact, on reading your second post today again, I realised that you proved my point. The reason why I wrote that post was to explain why I didn't think and still don't think we get old age right. Correction. We don't get many ages right (ask parents about babies and toddlers for further clarification!). But old age is that last stage of our lives with which we should be more in tune. Yet, we're not. You have far more experience than I have with your mother, grandmother and journalistic record. That shows me that old age also comprises the examples you gave. However, it's not all there is. Lately there's been a fashion about labelling different ages "the new...". So, 70 is the new 60, 60 is the new 50 and so on... It's obviously driven my market forces wanting o cash in on what we call the grey pound here in the UK. But the pernicious effect it has is that of keeping our old people "young" and forcing this idea of the "young oldie" on youngsters. No wonder they can't get their heads around the fact that one day they will be seventy something and will be in a nursing/caring home. Or maybe not, maybe they will be enjoying the outdoors. Because these youngsters don't know what life has in store for them.

On the question you asked in your post: convertible, younger girlfriend, divorce. You had the three separately. Most blokes (and it's usually blokes, although women are catching up quickly) want the three at the same time, when they turn fifty (because fifty is the new forty, uh?). Glad you got that out of the way when you were younger. Thanks a lot for your contribution. And yes, I also appreciate people leaving long comments, too! :-)

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

I (undoubtedly) might drift off topic a bit here, CiL. I am tired tonight and my mind is drifting.

The last few years I was in high school, my friends were my contemporaries, but I spent a great deal of time playing cards and pool in the local taverns. There, I associated mostly with men who were old in the eyes of a teenager -- men in their thirties, forties, fifties. It seemed obvious to me that these were the men I could learn from and benefit from their experience at life and living.

As an eighteen-year-old "college boy," the groups I associated with consisted mostly of men in their mid- to late-twenties -- many of them married, many of them with past military service, those who had a taste of life and wanted an education to better themselves.

I really have not changed much during the intervening years, only my motivations. I often say I have experienced everything there is in life (the exception being death, if course) in one form or another, so I no longer like the company of older men to learn from their experience per se -- now, I want it and seek it in a historical context. It is because I want to know what it was to be alive in, for instance, the 1930s, or to have been among those who actually fought in World War II.

I seldom saw this trait in young men when I was one of them, and I really never see it now among my contemporaries. No matter if you are sixteen and do not trust anyone over thirty or are fifty and cannot comprehend yourself as the old man asleep in the hallway of a nursing home, age often is a barrier to understanding one another. And, one of the problems we face as human beings is that most of us would rather talk than listen. In a sense, this is a curse.

Yes, CiL, I think we often study in the same library; we simply enter it though different doorways.

I might add, just a little bit tongue in cheek, that my philosophy about cars (better fast than pretty) and women (better pretty than fast) continues to evolve in mysterious directions which, probably, will elude me into old age.

P.S. I do not think I have mentioned this, but I have sort of a step-brother whose wife is Cuban. They live on Long Island, New York.

Something special ....