Sunday, June 25, 2006

If we could control the weather...

Right now I’m sitting in the Birmingham International Airport (Alabama, that is).

Right now there is a large storm over Atlanta.

And as it goes, I don’t think I’ll be boarding my plane anytime soon – the same plane that’s supposed to be leaving in 17 minutes.

The desk agent came over the intercom a few minutes ago to update us of the situation. I’m not too worried, or angry. The
Delta folks have been great, and this has been nothing like the American Airlines fiasco last month. I mean, the Delta folks even smile.

But the funniest, strangest, or most out of place statement (take your pick) thus far is what the desk agent afterwards. She stated, “If we could control the weather, we wouldn’t be a bankrupt airline as it is.” This, of course, elicited the response she was looking for – laughter (there were a few ooooo’s as well).

So we’ve covered funny – laughter.

Strange. Strange, because I didn’t know that the financial well-being of a company, group, or individual was based upon weather conditions. I wasn’t aware that a multi-billion dollar institution would hang it’s hat on the coat rack of the totally and completely unpredictable and false science of weather watching. Now, I can understand that the weather has, does, and will continue to totally screw up your plans, but the weather has never been a good guide for investment strategy – right? (Mental note – don’t invest in a company that claims to be bankrupt due to the weather)

But then again, she was just a Delta Desk Agent, what does she know…

Out of place. Maybe not for the culture, maybe just in my mind. Jason and I visited Eric’s grave site (or what we presumed it to be since there was no headstone to be seen) yesterday and it started sprinkling. At one point I said, “It wasn’t supposed to rain today…but then again, I guess it was.”

There are many ways to look at all of this, but two come to mind. On the one hand, you can look at the circumstance and say, “Well, I guess it was supposed to happen, because it did.” It’s a sort of fatalism that places all circumstance and situation into the hands of blind fate. I suppose some find solace in that, I don’t think I do. On the other hand, you can look at the circumstance and say, “It was supposed to happen because it was planned.”

There’s comfort in that – to believe that someone had this in mind and that there’s a reasoning behind it. You can say I’m playing semantics, but I’m not. The view point of one hand against the view point on the other will mean all the difference when situational occurrences, circumstance, or tragedy occur. I can sit around and feel powerless and alone or I can roll with the punches in the face, the kicks in the stomach, and the knees in the groin knowing that it all happens for a reason.

But really, it’s not always that easy - but it's true.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Have you seen me?

There’s a magazine in Birmingham called, “About Town: Birmingham*s Social Scene.” I think that it is distributed monthly. It’s “complimentary” (presumably paid for by advertisements). It’s a magazine that shows pictures of all of Birmingham*s beautiful people who attend all of Birmingham*s beautiful events. I had the opportunity to be in it once, I opted out – so it looked like Laura was going stage(ette?) to the function we were attending.

When we pick up a copy, we can pretty much guarantee that we’ll see someone we know pictured at some gala, some fund raising even, or some other evening event.

I really don’t know why I am so absolutely attracted to this magazine. Maybe it’s the hope of being famous by association. Maybe it’s the joy of seeing familiar faces. Maybe it’s the comfort of feeling like I’m home.

But to be quite honest, it’s probably the whole popularity by association deal.

In a related note, we were walking through Brookwood tonight and I stopped into Books-A-Million to check out the magazine rack while my lovely wife checked out some clothing. There was a magazine entitled “Birmingham,” and its feature story was, “The Most Beautiful People in Birmingham.” I skimmed through that too, but I didn’t know anyone there. My favorite was the last guy. The list was not necessarily proportional to Birmingham’s makeup (it’s been a while, but I thought that the last time I checked, Jeffco was predominantly African-American, these people were predominantly white). Most of the people it showed were working in the medical profession.

That is, all but the last guy.

He was something of a “Day Laborer” at Birmingham Steel (?) – I think.

Walking away, I was talking to Laura about it all. She asked, “Were you in there.” I said, “Of course not, I mean, they would have called me if I was.” She laughed hysterically at my answer – it’s the kind of thing that sort of implies, “If they would have known, they would have placed me in the spread.” Right?

I’m assuming that’s why she’s laughing.

If you want to check it out “About Town”, click here.

If you want to check me out, sorry I’m already taken. Perhaps you’ll see me out in Birmingham*s Social Scene though.

You don't know what you're missing...

That is, you don’t know until you’ve lost it.

Laura recently went on a trip (paid for by her workplace) to Las Vegas, NV. I wasn’t able to take her because I had the opportunity to teach our Sunday School Class at Briarwood. The moment I left the door, I felt a sort of sinking feeling.

In large part, it was because the person I love more than anyone else would be leaving my life for a week.

I don’t mean to sound sappy by any stretch. To be honest, this doesn’t just happen to me with my wife. It happened to me when my dad died. It happened to me when my friend died.

Thankfully, Laura was just going on a trip to Vegas. She's back now and we can fall asleep in each others' arms.

Still, to let you in on my secret: I think of death and loss more than I ever did before May 5, 2005.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's not really the king of all blogs, just a sad dinosaur...

When we visited San Francisco last week, Brian suggested having a listen to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise and Seven Swans.

He said it would take some getting used to.

For me, it was an overstated acquired taste. I was pretty much hooked on my first listen. I googled Sufjan (soof-yan) and figured that I didn’t want my wife to see his picture (I’m married to a wonderful and beautiful woman, but Sufjan’s still a pretty attractive dude).

Illinoise just seems to be so much of a thoughtful and witty compilation of musical ability and lyrical prowess. The emotional breadth of the CD is simply off the map. Three cheers to Mr. Prentiss for the recommendation! And I digress as there are more than enough analyses and reviews on the net for your viewing pleasure.

However, there are a few songs that really seem to wrench @ my heart. The one I can’t stop listening to is “Casimir Pulaski Day.” It’s a song about a friend with “cancer of the bone.” It’s a song about the frustrations that come when you can visibly see a friend dying and the worlds of night and day come crashing together. The most affecting sections of the song are adorned in such a way as to cause you to hear every word spoken, and to feel the pain and loss there.

I’m mentioning it because it’s just such a very vivid word picture of what pain and loss can feel like. Every time I listen to this song, I come closer to the point where I just want to weep because I feel like someone is telling me their secrets of how they hurt too. And I ask myself, do I want someone to understand so that there can be consolation or just so that I know that I’m not the only one who’s being hurt in a world where there seems to be so much that I can’t do anything about?

There’s so much we can try to say, but there’s so much that is so difficult to understand. More and more I’m deducing that it’s better for me to shrug my shoulders and say, “God, I just don’t understand this.”