Watching the Sky

On February 18th I saw an especially vivid full moon coming up in the East, with brilliant ragged clouds in a sky so clear that through the city lights the stars shone like diamonds.

On February 19th I saw the same circle of the moon on the Western horizon just ahead of the dawn. Large and golden, and as the sun rose and the sky turned blue it started to snow. A snow shower from the patchy clouds and a thin layer of icy flakes that did not melt in the sudden arctic cold.

Ain’t life grand.

Hi Neighbor!

Just time for a quick post. I drove to work at 8am this morning and got off Rt. 95 at the Elmwood Avenue exit. The radio was saying the highway was closed in Cranston and Warwick. Everything was copacetic on the streets I was driving on. I thought of the tales about the Indonesian tsunami. If you were one foot from where the wave ended you would be just fine.

My visits were in South Providence, North Providence, and Cranston off Cranston St. No problem anywhere. A few puddles, but I drove around them.

When I left work at 4:15pm, just South of Roger Williams Park, I reconsidered my plan to pick up Rt. 10 to Rt. 95 N. I was under the highway bridge and noticed that the cars were driving backwards–reversing their way to the off-ramp to Elmwood. I continued up Elmwood through downtown. The traffic was light. I had the radio on listening to reports of hellish traffic jams on 95.

Some of our neighbors got inundated. They can’t even go home until the water recedes. Some of our roads and bridges will need major repairs. We really didn’t need this trouble. Not in the middle of a recession with both the private and the public sector hurting.

Hi Neighbor. I hope you’re okay. We had a lot of rain and it’s a real mess. Let’s pull together.

Concrete and Vinyl Siding

Several years ago there was a man in my neighborhood who raised eyebrows by cutting down all the trees in his yard and paving it over. (It was in the area between Camp St. and N. Main, to the best of my recollection.) His landscaping was legal, but weird. Like he had ordained that no blade of grass would enter his property. But that was his right.

He got into the ProJo for other reasons. He tried to cut his wife’s head off. If it were not for an Emergency Medical Technician with insomnia who heard her screams there might have been orphans. (Next time I have access to the Journal archives I will search for this story so I can give a link.) I hope this woman is now living with decent and peaceful people, and that the children are doing well.

An abusive husband does not usually see himself as a violent criminal. He sees himself as a disciplinarian. He deals out punishment and exerts control. Pave that yard, keep those kids quiet. The wife has to learn how not to make him mad. She’s so dumb. She’ll never get it right. He resents her incompetence. He’s only a poor, put-upon man who is trying to make things perfect.

Smarter men than the above-mentioned (who ended up dead) know that a cutting word will do the job, with no risk to liberty or reputation. Tell her she’s ugly. She’s heard other women called that. It’s the shadow side of beautiful. And best of all, she’ll never be good enough when the goal is perfection. She’s human, physical, mortal– the shadow side of our ideal image. You can always point out a flaw.

There’s a whole consumer industry that depends on our collective unease. Women are an especially profitable market for a whole range of improvements. It’s important to convince them that improvement is needed. Get them to internalize the fear of the natural. Get them to pay to be paved over. Any sense of confidence can only be temporary, if it’s based on self-hatred and the approval of men who do not like women.

So where is this leading? An article from BBC News says that the British National Health won’t pay for surgery to correct the appearance of women’s genitals, so women are paying with their own money. The National Health has deemed the surgery medically unnecessary and potentially harmful. The main reason women choose to go under the knife is that they feel ugly.

Any woman who got that intimate with a man who made her feel that way should do the obvious– dump him and find someone else. He’s not a lover, he’s an abuser. But maybe it’s not one man, but the thousand voices whispering every day that you are not good enough. Maybe it drives some women so mad that they will pay a doctor to take a knife to them. Subjugation is most efficient when the target is trained to degrade herself.

All the concrete and vinyl siding in the world cannot change the fact that the house cannot last forever, and the earth has her own way, and will prevail after the concrete has crumbled to dust.