Thursday, March 25, 2010

Memories of My Dad Coming to Me While in the LawBrary, Trying to Write A Paper

I remember chicken marabella and couscous that mom cooked, the way it rolled in it’s own light olive-colored sauce, the tiny bubbles of oil pooling at the bottom of the bowl as I lifted it to the dishwasher.

I remember cherry pie and mango ice cream, him twisting the ice cream maker’s handle with his large hands.

I remember his hands, with black hairy knuckles and broad, flat fingernails; how I used to play with them in church, try to stick my pudgy fingers into his cavernous palm before it closed on me.

I remember sitting in the yoga room (before it was even that, I guess) on the burnt orange couch, sitting there with a sketchbook in the evening, and seeing his sure, easy fingers draw the smoky outline of a face, a woman’s face, beautiful and definite. “You come from a line of beautiful women”, he told me there, while I sat staring in frustration at the page, an unhappy thirteen year old. “Let me tell you about yourself. You’ve got your mothers lips, big and full, and that’s a good thing, although you may not think that now.” and he drew them there, a curving, gentle line with a smoky dark shadow under it. I stared at the page. He smiled as he drew. “You’ve had your mom’s lips since the day you were born, and you’re lucky.” And I thought of a picture of me, maybe three months old, clutching a tiny teddy bear and puffing out my lips, wide eyed and whispy haired. (I feel that way now, sometimes, just sitting and clutching and staring, adjusting in my body, knowing my own skin and eyes, sitting breathless in my own life.) “And,” he said, “you’ve got your grandmother’s hair. My mom.” I winced a little, running a hand over my frizzy splitting ponytail and wishing that I had inherited something a little less unruly. His voice changed for a moment, thinking, not talking to me anymore. “Your grandmother was a beautiful woman.” I thought about her, hunched and a bit paunchy now, generally looking stressed. Carma. I hardly know her, I wonder sadly, Grandma Carma. I thought of her name, Carma Carma Carma. What a beautiful name, I thought. I wish dad had a photograph of her when she was young, like a wedding picture. I imagined Carma with brown, curling hair, still short, but very thin, like all the girls of the 50’s. Maybe she wasn’t like this at all, I didn’t know though, so I let her name and Dad’s thoughtful description whisk me away, while he sketched.

“Carma Carma Carma.” I remember this.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

If I Ran The Zoo...

A few days ago, one of my friends asked me why I was taking German. I shuffled through the various reasons:
  • because I've heard too many lame jokes about choking on your food and being mistaken for speaking German
  • because after three years of Latin in High School, I didn't feel up for another romance language, but wasn't quite ready to commit to hours of meticulous scratching over kanji or Chinese script during my first semester of college
  • because Germany and Austria sounded completely bomber places to visit
  • because it wasn't Spanish, which somehow seemed so boring (and now, I envy the pure range of communication that any Spanish speaker has, just the functionality of being able to speak with so many people in America...unfortunately, there aren't that many Germans wandering the Utah highways, asking for directions...)
and then suddenly, I realized why:
Because when I take over the world, I'll be able to communicate with the most organized and technical people on Earth, who have already had some decent experience with world domination.
And then my friend reminded me that with my background in Latin, I'll have both the Germans AND the Romans behind me. Alll RIGHT.

(Mostly) all joking aside, though, what would I do if I ran the Zoo? A few thoughts:
  • have more art and music taught in schools
  • abolish billboards
  • bigger libraries, with higher paid librarians
  • more funding for the UN
  • tax breaks for people who recycle, and for people who bike to work
  • frisbee more popular than football
  • start breaking down the military-industrial complex
  • more cobblestoned streets
  • un-invent drugs. (...unfortunately, this is a very hypothetical world...)
  • have mango trees in my backyard
  • more bike racks
  • lower the prices of: climbing shoes, ice cream, hand lotion, tie-dye kits and laundromats
  • more stores closed on Sundays
  • no torture, ever.
  • give funding for free concerts in the summer
  • live in a place where the Wasatch Front meets the North Atlantic Ocean
  • more local businesses!
  • lose the drug taboo on dreds
  • be able to slackline/hang hammocks on BYU campus
  • and, as a shout out to the newly Oscar-ed Ms. Bullock: World Peace.
And what about YOU? What would YOU do if you ran the Zoo?