I was reminded today of this Bible passage, the origin of the Jewish festival of Sukkot. It's easily my favorite in the Bible, because it essentially says "I am God, and I make you do stuff".

I'm enjoying my long weekend, although I have some work to do, especially tomorrow (which is fine because I don't really have anything else to do, except try to get my insurance company to send me a field rep so I can get my car fixed). I still need more sleep, and I am feeling the aftereffects of Saturday's relatively intense training. Still, better than feeling all soft and squishy and couch-potato.

It's very strange: I'm very present, I'm here, I'm focusing on what I'm doing, but at the same time I still feel a little distant, like I'm just not all here. I feel as intelligent as usual, and I'm very near my pre-accident level of verbal fluency--I was about to write "articulateness", which is a real word, but I can't read it without laughing--so I'm guessing it's just a matter of time. I hope so, as I'd prefer to go back to the way I was before. The important thing, anyway, is always the mindset, the way of being, the not clinging to things. If I let this go and don't be concerned about it and focus on being in every moment, it will work itself out on its own, one way or another.

I'm listening to jam bands on KFOG right now, and getting a flashback to my freshman year in high school...the Technical Director was a senior named Perchik, a talented theater tech with long hair, a vegetarian with a good sense of smell--from the other side of the building you could hear him yell, "I smell flesh on pizza!". The cast parties for the theater were organized by the senior day students, who were likely to have cars and sympathetic parents and who were not covered by the in loco parentis rules governing the boarding students (these latter being precisely why I switched to being a day student my junior year). Cast parties were always on Saturday nights, and at midnight on Saturdays, one of the Hartford radio stations did, and may still, play an hour of live Grateful Dead. Perchik is a huge fan, so if he was at the cast party, that's what happened with the radio. Everyone sat around rather agreeably, possibly drinking (although I was even more oblivious then than I am now), eating pizza, sharing stories of the production, talking about our hopes and dreams and wonders and curiosities--being friends the way we do now, actually. I don't know how good I was at talking about myself then, either.

I learned a lot from the older kids...at that point most of them had gone down roads I wouldn't travel for several years, doing drugs and having sex with each other, and I was blessed to have the benefit of their experiences as I went ahead and made many of the same mistakes. What a nest of bonds, though--I've yet to meet a more emotionally entwined group of people. Almost everyone had dated almost everyone else, with the resultant web of betrayal, hurt, reconciliation, friendship, grudge, all of these things that are water under the bridge and contribute to the richness of shared group experience: even the people you don't like any more were there with you when it happened and knew you both before and after, and could see the way the experience changed you. In many ways that crowd was a warning against adding sex to the endless emotional chaos of high school...probably a fruitless warning, as it's a rare thing to keep high school kids from having sex, given the opportunity (one of the things that parents seem to consistently retain from their high school experience as they got older, which is why, if they're smart, they realize the most effective use of much of their energy goes into preventing opportunities for high school kids to have sex).

(Although kids today grow up in a world from which I am wholly divorced, not only because I'm 26 and on my own with a job and my own sets of problems and joys and have almost no contact with teenagers, but because a number of things have changed since the early 90s: students killing each other is much more common now, for instance, especially in the form of massacres. Sure, I spent junior high school worrying about being beat up, but I was a scared little jerk in the 11% white minority in an inner-city school, and in evaluating these sorts of situations you have to be honest about when you're being victimized and when you're wearing a big neon sign that says "FEEL FREE TO ATTACK ME WITH NO CONSEQUENCES".

My lesson from junior high school was that fighting is sometimes the right thing to do, for any number of reasons. I hit people twice out of sheer anger and frustration when they were physically harassing me, and the second time was so effective in earning the bully's respect that I decided I would never again do the Gandhi act. Gandhi himself said, "If there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I do believe I would choose violence." A blind pacifism is, to my mind, as stupid as a blind anything else. Gandhi also said that in most cases there are alternatives to cowardice and violence, and the beauty of aikido is in discovering those alternatives. If you attack me, I don't need to destroy you. I don't need to grapple with you, show you I'm stronger (I may not be), break any of your bones--I only need you to stop attacking me. So if you attack me the first thing I'm going to do is essentially get the hell out of the way and not try to forcefully block the attack. The second thing I'm going to do is try to put you in a position where you're no longer attacking me, which probably means pinned the ground if you're really into this for some reason. The choices here are cowardice: I let you attack me as much as you want; violence: I attempt to destroy you; and aikido is the alternative, where I use only enough force to end the fight, being careful not to hurt you (there's some ambiguity here because most people will resist and/or won't know how to fall down properly, so they're likely to hit their heads on the pavement; but there's only so much you, as the defender, can do).

Time to go to bed before I shoot my mouth off too much about things I don't quite understand. *grin*