Bobo the Clown

I spent this Christmas in the Inland Empire. I’ve spent a lot of time there, because Chris’s mom lives in Upland. Most of the time I’ve spent there, the entertainment options have pretty much been going to malls.

But isn’t that what L.A. is supposed to be about? Not the best feature in my opinion, but when in Rome…

In the spirit of the season, on the 26th, I woke up early and bought a paper so we could scope the ads and see what was on sale. I knew we would go shopping because Chris’s family tradition is to return most of the presents recieved the day before.

But I saw the Book Review section, so I had to look. On the last page there was a review: Bohemian Manifesto by Laren Stover. The reviewer tells us, “She wore a ‘yellow thrift-ship hat and a fuchsia jacket I found in a trash can on Christopher Street” to her first job interview.”
It goes on,” ‘Bohmians…create new work and change paradigms.’ When Starbucks and the Gap move into the neighborhood, ‘Bohemians move out.'”

Oh, yeah. Thrift store shopping and treasures from the trash. That’s my background. I write a lot about growing up in Alaska, because Alaska is so weird. But the truth is, we were wierd even for Alaskans. It finally clicked for me. That’s why this guy at work jokes about me being engulfed in clouds of Patchouli (a scent I enjoy, but do not own). It’s the idea of patchouli that surrounds my way of life. Mom and Dad were definitely Bohemians.

I talked this over with Chris. He said, “What does Bohemian mean anyway?”

It’s a way of life. It’s being dedicated to the meaning of things, of ideas as more important than the moment. That the idea, of art, of social activism, or something, is more important than living the life of a philistine.

In fact, avoiding the life of the cushy bourgeouis philistine type of life is quite possibly the idea that a boho is trying to follow. Being open-minded and ready for new experiences that life has to offer…That’s basic bohemianism.

Chris; “What’s wrong with a middle class life?”

Me; “Chris, I’ve told you this before. It’s exactly that kind of question that almost make me leave you when we were first getting to know each other.”

Chris walked into my life, with his wonderbread dedication to name brand foods-it must be Coke, it must be Nabisco, it must be Kraft, or it is unacceptable.

He loves Disney.
He loves beef.

He will not eat at a Thai food restaurant, an Indian restaurant or any other type of ethnic food. When we eat out, it’s three choices: Italian, Mexican, or American cuisine.

All of which are basically American foods.

He wanted to go to Hawaii, not Europe.

These are against the grain of my bohemian lifestyle, my upbringing. My father and I used to peruse the foreign food section at the grocery store, marvelling at all the interesting foods and languages written on the packages.

I have never aspired to go to Hawaii. Hawaii is not old enough.

“Don’t you want to see architecture and art and history in Europe? I’ve never wanted to go to Hawaii.”

He answered: “But it’s pretty. You will like the flowers.”

And you know what? he was right. It was pretty.

But having to buy BRAND NAMES for him still rubs me the wrong way. Corporate clones! I don’t want to have anything to do with that!

It was a huge struggle. I seriously considered that we might have nothing in common. If our very philosophical basis was opposed, then we were doomed.

He challenged me: “Why are we so different?”

Saying that he liked Kraft and Nabisco seemed not enough of a reason.

I wrestled. Would I be giving up my ideals to be with this man? What kind of open minded student of life would I be if I were tied to bourgeous boychik?

My ideals. I had to be open minded.

And that was the point. I had to be open-minded. Was I really living my philosophy if I was judging Chris based on outward appearances and not on his heart?

Chris liked Coke because much of his grandmother’s retirement fund was Coke stock. He always thought of his grandfather and his grandmother when he bought the 24-pack of Coke.

And he loves his family, and he loves me. He doesn’t worry so much about my philosophy (which is admittedly a little vague), he is deeply concerned with whether or not I am happy.

True, he does not enjoy my open mike poetry readings. He doesn’t want to go to the parties with my artsy friends. But he meets me when I come back with a kiss, and often makes me a cup of tea while I tell him all about it.

No, he is not open-minded about trying the new sushi bar. But he was more open-minded about my hippy-dippy ways than I was being about his white-bread background.

And, as it happens, he makes me very happy. So…Different cultures, even when they live next door to each other, have things to teach one another.

free stuff

I’m sure it will surprise no one to hear that my pants are tighter than they were at the beginning of the month. There are just too many good things lying around to be eaten!

Around the office, all the “vendors”, aka people who take our money for stuff or services, send us little goodies to say they appreciate us giving them money and would like us to keep doing it.

So there are chocolates, cheeses, crackers and today an entire spiral cut ham.

Complete with mustard.

These are sometimes sent to individuals, sometimes to departments, and sometimes to the entire IT department.

The purchasing lady was looking over the chocolates, saying, “I haven’t been getting very much good stuff this year. I think my vendors are getting stingy.”

“Drop hints,” I said. “Like, ‘You know, Beef Stick. A little Beef Stick this time of year is always appreciated.”

Happy Holiday!

This is the day!
THIS is the day!

This is the day that the sun dips lowest, and after this it will start to increase in strength.

The winter solstice is upon us, the shortest day of the year. People say it is the beginning of winter. No, it’s the last day of winter. After this, the sun gets stronger, little by little, every day!

The actual day of the solstice has changed a little. It’s drifted, because our man-made calendars are not perfect.

The solstice, long ago, used to be on December 25th.

This, my friends, is the true holiday. This is the day that no one can deny is special.

I checked the almanac. The sun, in my time zone, rose at 6:55.

I made sure to take the time to be near a window, to watch the sunrise. But you know, the almanac has this to say:

“Sunset occurs when the upper edge of the Sun — called the upper limb — sinks just under the horizon; sunrise occurs when the upper limb rises just above the horizon.”

And the 6:55 sunrise time is for sea level. What if my horizon is the level of a bunch of 50-foot tall skyscrapers getting in my way?

Sunrise was view from around the skyscrapers.

I still toasted it. With my coffee.

Celebrate with creation today!

the language of…

Last week was the work holiday party. I didn’t go the first year, but I went last year.

I was very concerned last year about creating a good impression and being circumspect. I wanted to check it out and see what it was all about.

Now that I know, I decided this year I would be myself. Which is not entirely circumspect. I got together my outfit, which was really great. And I made sure I had very high heels that were still good for dancing.

And I got a hat.

Now, I would like to talk about clothes for a minute. On a very basic level, clothing is for shelter from the elements and for modesty.

We’re way past the basic level though. And now, it’s all about the message. I’ve read Dress For Success; and I see all the magazines with Best and Worst dressed.

Dress to Kill.

Or maybe to get laugh. Or to turn heads. There are a lot of little strings you can pull with the right outfit.

I think of dress as a whole language, and I like to make jokes with my outfits. I like to make people think, “hmm…That’s interesting. I never thought of that before.”

For example, my party outfit had two major elements:
a huge hat
a red feather boa

Now, the boa spoke for itself. It was a lot of fun to wear a red feather boa to a work party. Stopped a lot of folks dead.

But the hat! _I_ was thinking New Orleans. Chris told me I looked like a pimp. I was willing to go along with either.

However, all the people who commented on it (more than the requisite ‘what great hat!’) said it looked like Ascot.

English. Horsey. Interesting.

I had used the hat previously for high teas. Of course, for this occasion, I had added a tiara to the front, a red scarf, a puff of curly gift ribbons and it’s own little fluffy white feather garland. I thought all that made it something else.

But the language of the hat spoke England to a lot of people.

Of course, the outfit had it’s moment during the first half of the night. THe second half, the band was playing.

And that is when a different language took over.

The language of dance.

I love dancing, and I think it also has it’s own message. And no, that’s not what I mean. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Certain movements evoke responses. Ever hear of physical humor?

It’s funny when a group starts doing the electric slide. And of course, the Travolta pose when “Stayin’ Alive” comes on is necessary.

But throw in a little Pee-Wee Herman dance, and see if you can get a smile of recognition…? Eh? I like that one.

I’ve taken the time to learn a lot of dances, thought I’ve never had a decent partner stick around long enough. I know that pretty much no one but me is gonna get the riverdance moves I throw in. And then there is the old hollywood 7 brides for 7 brothers one I do every once in a while.

Swing moves slip in very easy.

Once, in San Francisco, I had a great time with a very happening gay guy. He would call out the dance. “Riding the bus!” And everyone would do some kind of dance in the stance of holding a strap while on the bus. “Shopping cart!” and we’d all boogie around pushing a cart and throwing our invisible purchases in.

How much fun was that! It was great.

And that’s what I like to do, with my dancing and my clothes. Make little statements. Surprise people, make them happy. Just be silly. It’s worth a little effort.