Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dislocation Blues

I lead a private existence on a strict schedule in Sri Lanka. My social interactions are limited to morning conversations with my personal trainer at the gym. Otherwise, I'm in my hotel-style room, reading political blogs or writing for my summer internship, with only the hum of the ceiling fan for company. Events in New York last semester contaminated me, so now I'm on a self-imposed quarantine in Sri Lanka to - in a sense - disinfect myself.

I'm seeing "results" - I guess. I've lost six pounds since my first day in Colombo, if weight is a metric of happiness. It usually isn't for me, but when my rational and empathetic values fail me, I revert back to the shallow basics. Less weight = better person is an easy formula to follow, but I hope a more sophisticated idea strikes me soon. I'm going to resist the urge to regurgitate feminist musings on weight and its negative correlation with a woman's sense of worth.
From Black Sand Journal

Here is a peculiar divergence from my normal pattern of behavior that I just observed. Anyone who knows me must know that I drink no nonsense black coffee. I like it brewed strong, I don't take any sugar (God help the barista who dares add 2% milk) and I enjoy multiple cups of the stuff at all hours of the night. BUT not only have I stopped drinking black coffee and switched to tea this summer, I have my tea with sweetener AND milk. [Okay, if you don't know me you are probably reading this and thinking, "what is the big deal?" but if you do know me then you're probably frantically searching the internet for the closest bunker because you recognize this as a sign of the apocalypse.]

I've always been such an "all or nothing" person, this unfamiliar balance of tea AND sweetener AND skim milk frightens me more than an Alfred Hitchcock film. Maybe I am changing in ways more substantial than I am conscious of.

This post isn't about much, but I'd like to share a couple of newly acquired nuggets of knowledge. The first is if you are ever facing a crisis, take a moment to listen to Chris Whitley's album that is the namesake of this post. The second is a challenge to conventional wisdom. We are wired to chase our desires in all fields of life - that boy, this girl, those shoes, an iPhone, a slim waist line, the ideal job. Having goals and the ambition to accomplish them is commendable (and the sentiment behind my tattoo), but there are times when we are forced to grudgingly accept some of our aspirations will escape us. This realization is usually accompanied with a great deal of disappointment, and in some cases anger and resentment. But if we know that getting what we want does not necessarily make us happy, why can't we embrace the reverse as equally true? That we can still be happy, despite not getting what we want.

I think it's a powerful idea. Meditate on it.


Gehan said...

ooooh.. deep.. very deep.. and thank GOD for not going into a feminist rant about weight and happiness...! :D

Mike said...

OK, I am starting to panic. I knew about the tea, and am more than willing to share my true love with you even if 'tea and tea' doesn't sound as cool as 'coffee and tea." But sweetener AND milk. No, no, no, this is not right. I think I am going to grab some Lipton and a kettle and HopStop a fallout shelter.

Roshana Vander Wall said...

I'm not scared. It's uncharacteristic of you but then, remember, you are on the island. It changes us all. Ususally for the better. I'd say you are in commercial detox. You might not have everything you want there but it'll give you back so much more.