30 November 2013

rule #531: stop questioning self

I sometimes dream of being a construction worker or a plumber or a gardener. When I was younger it was a car mechanic. I have also at times dreamed of being a potter with one of those fire pit earth kilns, living abroad, and a farming ant or elf. This could explain how I'm 26, with a bachelor's degree, scrubbing toilets in France. Part of me feels I should have amounted to more by now. Shouldn't I have a full time, salaried, benefited job by now? Or be finished with my master's and have published several papers? And let's not even talk about the making documentaries thing. Nobody knows what's going on with that one, least of all me.

The 26 part might be the real rub. While I adore getting older because all of my life I've dreamed of being an eccentric 78 year old woman there's a problem. You see at 26 you cross a magic line where society expects you to be able to pay 10 times more for everything suddenly and while I don't believe I deserve a free ride, it just serves as a slap in the face that I'm still managing the budget of a child or a severely impoverished adult.

But I'm in France. I generally have no clue what's going on but I'm living abroad with the possibility of much European and Scandinavian exploring to be done in the next year and the plebeian in me is rather pleased to have some menial tasks to do. However the documentarian/artist in me is connected to the plebeian and now I'm realizing how much of my brain I need to spill forth to (1) get everything out of my brain and (2) to feel a sense of balance. I even feel incredibly inclined to pick up my camera and film people and then share those videos. Have I already told you about how blocked I've been about that for the past several years?

I keep returning to what I'd tell people at the beginning of my introduction into the film program, "I want to make movies that no one will see." And by that I meant I'd make them for me and put them out for public viewing with the expectation that there might never be an audience yet not giving a darn. That is a thing that will carry me through the next few years, I have a feeling.

So maybe (I can't even believe I'm sharing this idea with people), just maybe I'll rediscover the joy of being behind a camera and asking people questions.

What questions do you like to ask people? Do you have horrible quandries about doing things you love?

25 November 2013

Christmas of abandoned beasts

Exact translations are always fun as seen by the above title. The billboard is really about some kind of event for people to adopt rescued animals in the spirit of Christmas but I find this translation to be oddly compelling like the Island of Misfit Toys gone more savage and helpless.

I like to watch people walk. In fact, I cannot help but study the way people walk as it falls under the category of the way things look and my brain is a video camera always on to avidly devour my surroundings. I see how everything is composed as if the whole world were a photograph or a painting, a film I am walking through. It's something I can't turn off and can't ignore, so I have chosen to study and appreciate it all. The overwhelming thing is then I feel full of images of beauty, fit to burst for lack of finding my way to communicate this for fear of boring the world.

I saw a man crossing through a parking lot on crutches today. One leg appeared to be quite weak for being the strong one, the other he would swing limply left and forward as if it had no bones. I've seen legs with prosthesis, bowed legs, injured legs, uneven legs, legs that end in duck feet but this was none of those––well, it was uneven. It seemed to be several inches longer and made of rubber. Why, I wonder. Is it exhausting for him to walk anywhere? Is he in pain? Is it temporary or is this his life? Has it always been this way or was he injured? Does he have people to love him? Where does he live? Does he eat fresh fruits and vegetables? Does he have to walk up and down many stairs?

There is a lot of walking to be done in Paris and the banlieue (surrounding suburbs). The streets are twisty turny, I'm forever wandering around aimlessly as I never can keep straight which direction is north––for a while I would always check the compass app on my phone as I left a metro station but I've given that up. With the onset of cold, the sky is generally grey giving me no glimpse of sun to guide me, the trees have not collected directional moss, and the streets will likely curve around to send you to unexpected locations. I generally don't get lost unless I'm looking for falafel and then I wander all around the neighborhood where I know I've been to good falafel pita restaurants but I never find the right street and end up right back at the metro where I started. I have to use google maps every time.  

Are you as concerned as I am about what direction you're facing? How many banana nutella crêpes do you think you could eat in one day? What are some of your favorite walks? Are you a people watcher?

PS. Apparently compass directions may go haywire soon anyway: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/11/are-the-earths-poles-about-the-flip.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=newshour

PPS. This is a really great list: http://brbl-archive.library.yale.edu/exhibitions/utopia/utoplit.html

17 November 2013

A work in progress

07 November 2013

llamas, baguettes, and jeune fille au pairs

At 7:30 am I did not want to wake up. I was wide awake but feeling sad, weighted down by the doldrums of routine and the worries and stresses of a job that has a tendency to feel like waiting for Godot by myself. I live in this job, by the way––I'm a jeune fille au pair, or in other words, a nanny.

I had an argument with myself about wanting to stay in bed, to skip my French class and recover from not being able to fall asleep last night (so instead I ate a baguette while reading Harry Potter et le prince de sang mélé at 1:30am) but French class always cheers me up so in the end, I made it there almost an hour late. We talked about guillotines and burning people at the stake.

This afternoon I was listening to President Thomast S. Monson's October 2013 General Conference talk True Shepherds" while scrubbing the drains in the children's sinks when I realized one of my problems might be that I'm the slightly heartless sheep herder egging the kids on rather than a shepherd who really loves their sheep. I want to be a shepherd! Maybe it will be easier if I imagine them as sheep! I thought. But do I love sheep? No, I love llamas! Remember that time my roommates rented llamas and I immediately wanted to nurture and protect them? Llamas, yeah, that's it. When I struggle I'll think about how loveable llamas are.

I'll let you know how that works out.

Listen, if you have a nanny who sometimes secretly pretends you're a llama, don't take it as an insult. She or he is just trying to remember that you're a wonderful living being that she or he wants to care for tenderly and patiently. Sometimes she/he probably feels overwhelmed that the job is far from what she/he was expecting as far as pay/hours/and duties. And she/he probably never had a nanny her/himself so she/he finds it bizarre that nobody else expects you to hang up your own coat. 

Luckily for you they are pretending you're a llama, it means they want to love you and not judge you.

Have any of you ever pretended children or people were animals? What do you like to eat at 1:30 in the morning?