Two lives

So far, I’ve been inclined to consider my physical life real and my online activity supplementary.

As a matter of fact, the term ‘Second life’ may very well be real. At the moment, I’m travelling and taking pains to get online to continue my presence there seamlessly. That is pretty real… The fact that I get responses from online friends contributes greatly to my well-being. There is a sense of connectedness, that I’m not alone, even though at the moment, I may not have a soul to talk to except my dogs.

The beauty about my online presence is that presenting my personality is much more manageable. Naturally, when we rub shoulders with people, most of what transmits is non-verbal. When we connect online most of what transmits is media-driven. But handling this media is highly creative and brings out aspects of me, that would otherwise be washed under in the daily grind.

This creativity has a real effect on my everyday life.  


That’s change

When I went to school, my teachers were of the sincere belief that what they taught us will take us through life. Even then I knew better.

Nowadays we don’t know if what we teach today will take the learners through the next year.

Naturally, rather than learning stuff, people learn to learn. Hurray… finally…

Cool and smooth

Water beadsphoto © 2010 Kirsty Andrews | more info (via: Wylio)Admitted: I play Solitaire on my phone. At first, my eyes sort of squinted, as the screen was too small. But whaddya know, my eyes got used to it. Actually, my fingertips are ravished with the cool smoothness of the phone’s surface. My touch finds a response in a slight quiver, as though the phone was alive. The tiny cards snap into place.

Aunt Martha would have been moved to tears. She was so tedious in her play, so careful not to upset the stacks.

When you didn’t grow up with them, smartphones, notebooks and tablets are somewhat of a challenge to handle – at first. Eventually, when efficiency sets in, the ease of doing things is enthralling. I often feel like – not one, not two, no like all three of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers. They changed whole outfits at the wave of a wand, I do it with a tap of my fingertip.

Y’know, I’m an early baby boomer. When I was a tot, vinyl records were the rage. We used to huddle around the radio. In the seventies and eighties, I thought that video tapes and walkmen were incredibly nouveau. We would carefully slide the records into paper covers and rewind the cassettes back and forth to make sure they didn’t get crinkles.

I look at the care of the designers, to make gadgets sensually attractive. Have you noticed, that in nature there are no parallel lines, no perfect circles, no smooth surfaces? No level paths, no straight edges, no rectangles? The knowledge of these used to be magical mysteries, so much so, that masons and builders died for them.

Our ancestors would have been awed at the mere make and shape of our world, never mind the feats we accomplish, the mysteries into which we have delved and the refinement we have achieved.

We live with far more ease than the nobility of a few decades ago. The power of sending our words around the world…

Sometimes I cannot stand the mindlessness of taking it all for granted. Gratitude is the only attitude that behooves us.

Silence my friend

We talk when our personality has come under fire. It’s a last stand our linguistic brain takes to assert itself and construct a sense of personality.

Sometimes I have to leap across a barrier to overcome silence. It’s like leaving the embrace of a good friend that doesn’t want to let go. And talk then is like a babbling brook that won’t be stopped until the source runs dry.

Never bother about what a person says, look for what he/she doesn’t say.

When I talk, there is so much more I’m not talking about. The silent tears, the upwelling sadness, the dread of company, the futility of trying… it’s all wiped away when I use that most cunning of human gifts: the gift of the tongue.

It’s quite possible to self-hypnotise this way, creating illusion, creating reality… what’s the difference? It’s near impossible to remain silent. Company means joyous rustling of colorful peacock feathers. The dull bird is the odd one out.

And then, I return to my lonely friend, silence, collecting her due for the time of absence. It makes me wish that I had never opened my mouth and dispensed with energy at such cost.

My assessment has touched on writing as well. Crafting word to word, thought to thought, building stories, recapturing memories: it’s a good thing that the end of it is a mystery. Unfortunately I’ve come to believe that mysteries when unveiled are mostly platitudes: the obsession with words is a service we do to ourselves. There is nothing wrong with it: we play a game.

But as it goes with games: never take them too seriously. Always remember it’s just a game. Victory will be less husky, defeat less debilitating.

And life goes on.

Take it to the cellular level

If I were asked to give one single advice to posterity, I’d say: STRETCH.

My life has changed by keeping two 15 minute sessions a day of stretching every and any muscle I can think of. The well-being that flows through a stretched body is better than sex. I was talented at sex and had my share. But this is better.

In fact, I’ve come to think that rather than going down the psychosomatic lane, that is our soul affects the health of our body, why not just inverse the whole deal? Since our minds are sooo creative, it stands to reason that for every little physical ailment, it creates a mental equivalent, sort of like explanations for a certain feeling in a way that makes sense.

SuperStock_1886-5181I may feel restricted, stifled, assaulted, apprehended, bound, withdrawn, feeble, unloved, neglected, and a whole slew of other things that I lack the nerve to list now. Obviously the mind picks scenarios from my environment to explain those feelings. We are so good at looking everywhere but inside. But then how come, when I stretch, all those scenarios don’t feel valid any longer? When on a cellular level, my body doesn’t get the scope of expansion it is capable of, why make up misery? Why not just STRETCH?

Can you get your nose to your knees? Well, that’s the scope of stretching in the average toddler body. No wonder we all are nostalgic about how things used to be better when we were young…

New at living

There is something embarrassing about growing older. You’ll notice that most older people get quieter and quieter.

The longer you live, the more you realise that our lives are governed by age-old forces, the accumulated legacy of our ancestors. As a final member in that chain reaching into the distant past, we stand in the duty of linking up to the next generation who think, of course, that their lives are unique and special.

I’ve come that road. In my young days I determined to live anew, find better solutions and improve on my forefathers and mothers. As we go on in time, we realise that this quest for uniqueness is the prerogative of every individual, that it is the most common process in life. In fact, it might be vital to human functionality. So as we get older (and know better), we simply shut up and let the young ones have their way. They may believe, as we once did, that passions and desires, ambitions and quests are theirs to realise.

handThere comes a time, for some sooner than later, when we all realise that we stand facelessly in a universal endeavor of which most of us can’t say what the outcome shall be. The first inkling of this underlying force comes to us, when we bury our first childhood dream, because it doesn’t serve us well. The first time we turn traitor on ourselves, that’s when we start growing up.

You’ll find older people growing quieter and quieter.

We all are damn new at living, at every age.

125 Years of Automobiles

(This is an article in simple English for my students.)

Cars have been around for 125 years.
It all started with one woman’s journey.

Nothing has changed daily life like the automobile. It changed modern society and is part of Germany’s industry.
It was not easy, in the beginning. People laughed at the first car. It had three wheels and a stinking, noisy one-cylinder engine. It was a horseless coach. Carl Benz made a patent for his invention on January 25, 1886. He did not know what to use the car for.

Then, one August morning in 1888, his wife Bertha secretly took their 13- and 15-year-old sons and drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim to visit her mother. The trip is 106 km.

After 45 km they ran out of fuel which was a cleaning fluid. She bought some at a pharmacy.
Also, the motor overheated, so they had to refill water at every roadside inn they found. On uphill slopes they had to push the car. Berta fixed the brakes with leather pads and repaired the ignition cable. She cleaned the fuel duct with a pin from her hat.
When Berta later returned to Mannheim, people were more interested in cars and inventors started having ideas on how to make cars better. Berta had proven that the horseless coach was absolutely suitable for daily use.
Without this brave woman’s trip we might not have cars today.
In May 2008 a sculpture was placed in Pforzheim to remember Bertha Benz’ first car journey.

Read the full article here.

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