Friday, June 20, 2014

A Rainforest Metaphor, and the News

I'm slowly hacking my way through the jungle of tasks that seems to have sprouted around me, flourishing and winding together like tropical foliage. Like lianas, those wrist-thick vines that Tarzan used to swing on. I have been feeling bound up in stuff to do.

For a couple of months, Dave and I have been meaning to get a handyman to the apartment to address a couple of problems -- a minor leak in the bathtub faucet, a wonky light switch, a shower that's missing a piece. We scheduled him and he came yesterday, but as it turned out he completed only one of the repairs -- the light switch, which, granted, seemed like the most potentially hazardous problem. He couldn't fix the tub leak without turning off the water, and none of us could figure out how to do that -- if there's a main water valve in this apartment I don't know where it is. And we couldn't find a suitable replacement piece for the shower. It seems kind of optional anyway.

At least the bathroom light works now.

We've arranged for a mover to help us relocate, and we've scheduled an official hand-off meeting to collect our keys on July 8. We'll get our packing materials next Monday so we can start boxing things up.

I bought a ticket to Florida for the end of July, so I finally have that trip on the calendar. And I had to do some little stuff, like get a tube refund for a fare we paid twice by mistake (long story) and get Dave's birthday package from his mom redelivered. Meanwhile, real estate agents continue to traipse through our apartment. Yesterday I had one show up while I was eating lunch -- I just sat placidly at the table and ate my lasagna while he and a potential buyer hovered over me discussing the attributes of the kitchen.

Some interesting stuff in the news lately:

-- Did you see that Ultra Violet, one of Andy Warhol's protégées at the Factory, died several days ago? I had no idea that later in life she repudiated her wild years with Andy and even joined the Mormons. Good grief.

-- You probably saw the story about the 89-year-old Philadelphia man who's being prosecuted for war crimes at Auschwitz. I have mixed feelings about this. No one can deny that the Nazis perpetrated heinous atrocities, but honestly, at this point, does it do any good to harass a few remaining individuals in the final years of their lives for deeds that they may or may not have done? We aren't talking about architects of policy here. We're talking about foot soldiers, people who were teenagers at the time, and putting someone that elderly on trial essentially gives them a life sentence by default. I just wonder if anything good can come of this prosecution.

-- You may have seen that Tony Blair came out with some bizarre remarks about the newest insurgency in Iraq, declaring that the instability in that country isn't a result of western intervention 12 years ago. He sees it as symptomatic of a more widespread convulsion of change that manifested itself in the Arab Spring. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, responded with a withering criticism that was a joy to read. Many people in Britain are still furious with Blair for supporting George W. Bush and the Iraq war, and they see Blair's essay (rightfully, I think) as a feeble attempt to whitewash his own reputation.

(Photo: A back patio off Portobello Road, June 1.)


  1. I hope that if I were discovered to be complicit in the deaths of over 200,000 Jews, someone would prosecute me. Heinous crimes are still heinous and the Holocaust or any other mass genocide should never be trivialized nor should it be forgotten. Good luck with your move.

  2. I'm not a big fan of any of the people who got us into Iraq offering advice now. Andy Borowitz says, the best time to listen to those guys talk about Iraq is never. Agree 100%

    I also agree about prosecuting the Nazi guy. He's 89, for god's sake. How does it help anything? It just keeps the energy alive. I say, the holocaust is over. Let go!

    Didn't know about Violet. Wow.

    I salute you for your valor in attending to the lengthy to do list as you prepare to move. Why do you have to fix the plumbing? Isn't that the owner's responsibility?

    Happy solstice, Steve!

  3. Yeah, I'd read that about Ms. Violet. Very strange indeed from Warhol's studio to the Mormons. Whatever gave her peace.
    I can't even begin to figure out why we'd go back into Iraq. It's beyond me. I was thinking this morning that I could truly see myself as I age retreating more and more and having less and less to do with the world. I am not sure that's how one should be but I think it may be my nature. To go about my own business and leave the world to go about it's own. Does that even work?
    As you know, going about our own business can certainly keep us busy.

  4. E: I don't mean to downplay, trivialize or "forget" the heinous crimes. My concern is that if he is innocent, which is always a possibility until one has been tried, he has STILL been given a life sentence by virtue of his age. His deportation and trial will take years, which in all likelihood he doesn't have. Also, I think we have to recognize his extreme youth (17) at the time of the events in question -- an age where, in our own country, we do not hold defendants to the same standards that we do adults because we recognize their brains and powers of judgment are not yet fully developed. Finally, I just think enough is enough. It's been more than 70 years.

    Reya: I love that Andy Borowitz line! And yes, I completely agree re. the Holocaust. I don't see how tracking down and prosecuting 90-year-olds for their roles as foot soldiers and minor pawns is going to help anything. Re. the plumbing, we agreed to make minor repairs as needed and bill the landlords. But in this case I think we've done all we can do, and that's exactly what the handyman told us -- "Let the landlord deal with it!" LOL!

    Ms. Moon: I definitely recognize that same isolationist impulse in myself. I think as we age we recognize that our country cannot right wrongs with intervention the way we may believe we can when we're young. Some wrongs just have to right themselves. Blair is right about one thing -- Iraq has always been a powder keg. It's just unfortunate that we set it off.