Sunday, August 30, 2009

Electronic Waking

RantWoman is debating what to make of two different electronic wakes she seems to be participating in.

First is the long media wake for Sen. Teddy Kennedy. RantWoman has been touched by accounts of his relationships with his extended family and by the deep personal appreciations expressed by many across the political spectrum who knew him. RantWoman is also touched by many expressions of his faith, his hand-delivered letter to Pope Benedict, the organ chords backing up all the hymns at mass and other ceremonies.

And then there is Chappaquiddick. RantWoman in college knew someone who could never speak of Sen. Kennedy without bringing up Chappaquiddick. The speaker herself was not from MA, but her roommate was. Conversations thus by turns got hysterically funny, for instance when Chappaquiddick turned into a verb (best don't ask) and a little tense. It's not that the other roommate worshipped the Kennedys. It's just that she was a loyal MA citizen.

Chappaquiddick would be considered a sore point in Sen. Kennedy's life. Chappaquiddick, a car accident where a young woman drowned and the driver took no action beyond saving himself, is the sort of circumstance where people with fewer connections and less legal wherewithal might have gone to jail and forever derailed a promising career. RantWoman thinks she is glad, unlike certain Republican louts with black marks of their own, that this episode kept Sen. Kennedy from becoming President. RantWoman thinks maybe he would have been a good President, but over the last four decades, the country has really, really, really needed good legislators as much as it needs good Presidents. Ted Kennedy by all accounts is a stellar legislator. Perhaps to seize John Calvi's toilet paper roll metaphor from his presence at NPYM Annual Session, his ultimate legislative service is the perfect example of him being the toilet paper roll to channel something desparately needed. Or perhaps RantWoman just does not have at her fingers enough dirt and discrediting fulmination to serve as a counterweight to the media mythmaking.

Even worse, RantWoman will now turn her attention to a beloved member of her meeting, now in hospice out on a big island in north Puget Sound. In terms of integrity and perceptiveness, RantWoman thinks Beloved Friend is at least on par with Sen. Kennedy. At the very least, Beloved Friend has no connections to any dead bodies ina car under a bridge, and RantWoman is pretty sure Beloved Friend would feel blessed not to have to interact with all that a politician has to interact with.

RantWoman guesses but is not certain that all her readers who know Beloved Friend already know of her CaringBridge site, but in case not,

RantWoman has a friend who is a doctor. Doctor friend says there are a million bad ways to die, and only a few good fast painless ones. Physically, iatragenic pulmonary fibrosis assuredly has got to be one of the bad ones. Yet, every time RantWoman visits this site, she is deeply touched by the profound love and humor about this Friend's journey.

RantWoman remembers another Beloved Friend who, when her lung cancer had taken enough of a course more or less demanded and got a wonderful celebration of her life, a memorial while she was still alive to enjoy it. RantWoman feels there is little she personally can or should do along this journey except hold all who are more closely in the Light, but RantWoman is so grateful for the hands and hearts and voices who are close by and so enjoying each new entry in the guestbook. RantWoman is even making mental lists of people from the guestbook who she wants to meet. RantWoman admits this may be a teeny bit unseemly, but as long as she is being unseemly, she might as well also wish Beloved Friend a rollicking good time along with the gasps for breath.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gunfight at the Jesus Corral

RantWoman is having several "Bad Friend" moments in the fullness of Seattle's summer heatwave and the resulting truly prodigious outbreak of totally overwrought whining about same. By "Bad Friend" moments, RantWoman does not mean merely screaming at children, snoring during Meeting for Business, or coveting new items of clothing or especially footwear far outside her range of budgetary sensibility. RantWoman means the sort of mental hiccups that cause RantWoman herself pause when considering whether it is appropriate to venture out into the streets.

In RantWoman's experience, unprogrammed Friends are darned unfamiliar with many forms of street prosletyzing or if they are familiar with it, they are resoundingly agin' it, sometimes with great overlays of past religiosity-induced personal trauma. RantWoman is of considerably more heterodox stock, which is perhaps one reason she lingered long enough for the following experience:

If someone were singing "Come on down and meet your maker," would you think this is:

a. a choral summons to a gunfight?

b, some kind of a weird invitation to a suicide cult.

c. an altar call at an ad-hoc outdoor Christian rock concert?

RantWoman was calmly sitting in a downtown park cooling her heels and working some Sudoku when she heard the above summons. The music was danceable, upbeat. There was a bit of scripture reading RantWoman did not hear and the kind of gushy testifying one might expect from this sort of street concert. RantWoman often takes awhile to parse and remember the words of songs, and the only other bits that stuck with her were "Rescue me." Nevertheless, RantWoman decided just to go with option c and to defer judgment on both theological and psychological grounds about the "rescue me" part. Despite past decades' religious imprecations against dancing, here RantWoman would advocate "just shut up and dance."

It is also Seafair weekend. This means some parts of town are awash with seamen (and women) on shore leave. It also means the navy's Blue Angels are holding midday practice flights and then air shows for several days running.

Blue Angels' appearances mean ear-splitting, crockery-rattling noise and airborne acrobatics. They also mean eardrums curling in the sound wave front and things flying so low overhead that feline staff would attack them the same way she attacks everything on the "cat TV" window flyby--if she weren't cowering under something secure because of the noise.

Can RantWoman maintain her good standing as a member of Cranky Pacifists Opposed to Mayhem Everywhere, resent the hell out of the Blue Angels' annual high-velocity wankfest--and still admit she thinks it might be really fun and a GIANT adrenalin rush to fly INSIDE one of these planes?

Is RantWoman further exempt from full opprobrium for medical reasons? RantWoman has the kinds of medical issues that cause doctors to recommend against things like rugby, football, and boxing. What are the odds that, even if RantWoman were easily to assemble a reasonable psychic framework within which to enjoy such a flight, her doctor might still find it contraindicated for such as RantWoman to fling themselves about at a few extra G's? Let's just say, if RantWoman ever gets any time to mess around with Second Life, a mad female fighter pilot avatar may just blaze across the sky. On her way to Meeting for Business?