Thursday, 07 July 2011
I've had some random thoughts lately. What else is new?
Whatever and Ever Amen
By Ben Folds Five
Steven's Last Night in Town
I'm not into body piercings. I mean, if you want to, that's fine with me and I'm not going to tell you not to, but I never saw the appeal in piercing the nose, lip, navel, eyebrow, nipples (ouch!) or whatever.
When I was a kid, my sister wanted to get a nose ring. She liked what I guess you would call "Hair" bands: Poison, Megadeth, etc. We shared a room and she had the posters up all over our walls and there was one with a skeleton with glowing green eyes that used to scare me when I woke up in the morning and found it staring at me. But I digress. She wanted to get a nose ring and then have a chain connecting it to her ears. My mom said no.
She also wanted to get a pet iguana, to which mom also said no. She did let her get a second set of holes pierced in her ears, though. Considering my sister now works for the Boston Public School System, it was probably a good idea to forgo the nose ring.
Anyway, I've never found such things appealing or attractive. Usually if I see a teenager or young adult sporting excess facial piercings I think (rather condescendingly, I admit) that they need to grow up, and they'll never get a "real job" looking like that. I don't think I could date someone who had facial piercings. When I was in high school the big thing was to get your tongue pierced, despite the fact that it interfered with your ability to talk or taste.
For the most part, polite society agrees with me. I think most retail establishments require their employees to remove excess piercings. At least the retail establishments I've worked in did, as did a few that I had friends working at. This was cause for argument whenever the management randomly decided to enforce the dress code, because there were so many part time teenagers, quite a few of whom disliked having to remove their piercings before work.
So I wonder why it is that people pierce things to begin with? When did it begin? At what point in our long ago history did some caveperson look at their ear and decide they wanted to poke a hole in it? And why, when we overall abandoned piercing of the nose, lip, etc that some tribal people apparently still favor, did the ear alone remain as the standard?
I've got a hole pierced in each ear, and I occasionally wear earrings. Some people have it done to their kids when they're very very young but if I remember correctly my mom made me wait until I was nine, and probably the only reason I got it done was because my best friend was having hers done and I caved to peer pressure. I don't really know why, since I was a pretty tomboyish kid, and indeed I went on to wear earrings so rarely that by the time my eighth grade dinner dance came around at 13, I found I couldn't squeeze the things through my ears, since the holes had closed up. (I got them stabbed again)
So why the ear?
That was random thought number one.
Thought number two was regarding genetics, and how a mixture of information combines to form a new person, but never combines the same way twice.
My mother's mother's family came to America from Switzerland back in 1890 whatever. My mother's father's family I dunno, I think he was Irish or German or some combination of such, though he occasionally claimed to have Native American blood in him (which we're pretty sure he was not serious about). My mother has four brothers and three sisters and they all look different. They have different heights and weights and hair color and eye color and hair type.
For the most part, my mom's family is characterized as tall and thin, with curly hair. In old pictures, three of my four uncles sport respectably huge afros, despite the fact that, as mentioned above, they're whiter than white bread. My male cousin who inherited this trait from his father keeps his hair shaved so short he hasn't been able to use a comb in ten years. (My own hair is a giant frizz ball of curls that, if I didn't add a gallon of goop to, would be big like that guy from the Harlem Globetrotters who routinely kept huge objects in there like some biological equivalent of Mary Poppins' bag.)
All her brothers are pretty tall, each one over 6 feet, the tallest topping at 6'4 and insanely skinny. My curly-haired male cousin mentioned above is pretty tall also, passing his father and sadly passing on a career in professional basketball. Even the sisters in my mom's family are tall, the lone exception being my one aunt who is only 5'2. (Said aunt used to think she was adopted for the longest time [or sired by the milkman] until she at long last saw a photograph of her grandmother [my grandfather's mother] which looked so much like her that her children asked her why she had put on an old dress and posed for a black and white picture. She quite literally cried at the sight of it.)
As for colors, half of the siblings have brown eyes, the other half blue, and the hair ranges from blonde to medium shades of brown to dark almost black (most notably in the aforementioned 'weird-looking' aunt).
My father, on the other hand, comes from a family of short, fat people. I know literally nothing about his biological father, but his mother was under five feet (4'9 when I knew her, but according to my mother she had shrunk a bit in her old age). Being from the midwest, his family had an appreciation for fatty meats and carbs and an underappreciation for vegetables. Their favorite Sunday breakfast was biscuits with bacon gravy (which is mostly fat, the mere mention of which disgusts my mother). Their evening dinners often lacked vegetables or fruit, unlike my mother's mother, who insists upon three choices of veggies and several options of fruit, and the gravy they put on their salty meats was so thick the spoon would stand upright in the dish. I believe one of the major reasons my mother never got along with her mother-in-law was simply because she was mildly disgusted by her cooking.
As for the biological combination of these two genetic histories? Well, from my mother's side I get insanely curly hair, but I have not inherited any height or tendency for thinness. I call this picture "Big Hair Mode" (and it's actually been gooped-up and beaten into shape here):
This maternal thinness is partly genetics and partly the result of the fact that they cannot sit and do nothing, but are constantly moving, thinking of what they should be doing, doing that thing, doing another thing, etc, etc. My father's side is perfectly content to spend an afternoon falling asleep on the couch watching a golf tournament.
Me, I can sit and watch television for a period of time, and then I start to feel restless. Most often when I'm watching television these days, I'm drawing or writing or surfing the internet or doing embroidery at the same time. I'm perfectly okay with sitting for long periods of time, however.
Another conflicting behavioral trait comes into play in the clash between the Wanderer and the Hermit.
My mother's father loved to travel. He was a grumpy old man in the truest sense, though he was a nice guy when he wanted to be. (He definitely had the grumpy reputation, even in the neighborhood) At least once a year or so, his children would urge him to go on a road trip, because if he didn't go off on a journey periodically, he'd become unbearably grumpy instead of mildly grumpy. And travel he did. His dream, he told me a few times, was to drive from the Atlantic to Pacific, on the Canadian side of the border, and enjoy all the scenery. I kind of want to do that, too, but I think it'll wait until I've got a better car, and of course now I need a passport to cross the border but I digress. Again.
My mother's mother, on the other hand, is a homebody. She was never fond of traveling, and was perfectly fine with having her husband go off gallivanting about the countryside while she stayed at home and took care of the house and made sure everyone knew there were peaches AND cranberry sauce available on the table, as well as bread. My father remarked a few years ago that as my mom gets older she becomes more like her mother, not wanting to go anywhere. Her car often sits in the driveway, unused, for days.
I definitely fall more on the wandering side of the spectrum in this matter. My dad seems to like traveling too, which probably comes from having moved so many times when he was a kid. My mom, on the other hand, has lived her entire life in the same small area. (Sure, she moved out of town when first married, but not very far away, and then she moved eventually into a house two doors over from where she grew up.) My dad will occasionally suggest vacation destinations, to which my mother has very little interest in pursuing.
Where the conflict comes in, within me, is probably in my hermit tendencies. Probably because I'm the middle child and I didn't have a lot of friends as a kid, I never learned to make friends, and so I learned how to keep myself occupied. I would read, draw, write, play solitary games, use my imagination, make music, sew doll clothes, etc, because I had (mostly) no one else to play with. I learned not to depend on others for my happiness or to relieve my boredom, but to make my own. Which doesn't always work, but that's beside the point.
I'm turning 30 this summer, and I want to go on a trip. I want to go to California (haven't yet decided on San Francisco or San Diego, still have a buttload of research to do before I do anything) because I've never been there before, I've always wanted to go, and I have to make my own happiness.
But I don't want to go for a whole week. I'm afraid that I'll get out there, spend two days sightseeing, and get insanely homesick and lonely on the first day and want to go back home. I know, people take vacations by themselves (my sister has many times, which is part of how I got the inspiration) and I'm pretty much a hermit anyway, so what would be the difference between going AWAY and being alone or staying HOME and being alone? Answer? There is none, it just FEELS more alone because it's a weird place. I guess.
All the same, the fact remains, I cannot rely upon others to make me happy, so I will make my own happiness. I want to go to the west coast, so I will go. So there.
And maybe while I'm there, I'll buy some new earrings. :)