Delaying Reality

I’m kind of funny when it comes to some things.  Take lottery tickets for example.  I, like I’m sure a lot of other people, purchase lottery tickets when the jackpot gets really big.  Then it’s worth my hard earned bucks.  But one thing I don’t do is check the numbers right away to see if I’ve won.  It’s kind of crazy I know.  But until I check the numbers and am given the final dash of cold water that I’m going to have to achieve my millions just like everyone else – one buck at a time and with hard work and diligence, I’m in a suspended reality that maybe, just maybe, I could have the winning ticket.  So I continue in my fantasizing of all the things I’m going to accomplish with all that cash and of course knowing all along that I’ll be able to handle it in a mature, intelligent responsible way.  HA!

This behavior bleeds over to other areas of my life.  I was out of the country recently (did I mention I was in the UK?  No?  Hmm, I could have sworn I did.  Here come sit next to me, I’ll tell you ALL about it!) so I missed the last 3 episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show.  I have been a long time fan and viewer, going back to her AM Chicago days when I was in town for a friends wedding and she turned me on to the show.  Over the years, mostly because I was working, my viewing was hit or miss.  When I moved to Chicago though, I was back watching regularly.  The ABC station here ran it twice a day, live in the morning (she used to tape the show at the station) and then again after another of my favorite shows, Nightline.  Which meant I could watch at the end of my day.  I was back in the fold once again and my girl crush was full on.

I’ve been watching religiously, especially since she announced her retirement, collecting lessons and thoughts and memories, storing them away for the day when her wisdom and the wisdom of those she surrounds her with would no longer be a part of my daily life.  But I just can’t watch those last 3 episodes.  Because then the cold water of reality will be unavoidable.  Her show is over and it won’t be back.  I know she’s moving on to new adventures.  There is a time for everything and this time is ended. Avoiding watching them isn’t going to change anything.   I just need to sit down, watch the shows and move on myself.  But I’m dragging my feet every step of the way.

Standing on Their Shoulders

I mentioned a few days ago I’d spent some time in the UK recently.  I made a point to cram in as much of the history as I possibly could.  And history from all periods in time.  I went to Stonehenge with it’s mystical stone formations from people long disappeared.  From there to Stratford where Mr. Shakespeare was born and raised and returned once his success was ensured.  He was a climber of the first degree.  He built a then, and actually still today, huge 22 room house to show those townspeople what the glove maker’s son had achieved.  And in the meantime introduced to the world over a thousand words and hundreds of phrases still in use today.  Then to the palace’s and castles of the Kings and Queens of the Tudors, Stewarts, Hanovers and Windsors that led to the formation of the good ol’ USA and the eventual up-yours of the Revolutionary War.  Realizing I was standing on floors older than my entire country is a bit sobering.  And that includes the James Colony settlers.  Then to the only surviving original operating room (remember I’m a medical geek) and all the scary gadgets that passed for medical instruments back then.  Finally to the horrific and unrelenting conditions of the London blitz during World War II.  The smoke, darkness and confusion must have been overwhelming.

Being lucky enough to be able to see these amazing and important places and to have the thirst for knowing more is a gift I am most grateful for.  I realized somewhere along the way that all these things and many, many more, lead to where I am at the moment.  The struggle of early women for equality.  The rise of the middle class and the expansion of education for all.  The artists and performers that braved humiliation and sometimes persecution to bring art to all.  The formidable thinkers who saw far beyond their place and situation in time and created laws and institutions that protect and motivate todays leaders.  I could go on and on.  As I sometimes do.  But my long winded point here is that none of this happened in a vacuum for any of us and it ain’t a bad idea to get a little familiar with whose shoulders you’re standing on as you climb out of your current place on to the next rung in the ladder.  I know you’ll find my boob tube tuned to the History Channel a bit more in the future.

Words, Words, Words

I’ve just returned from an extended holiday in the UK.  It was first vacation I’ve had in probably 8 years that wasn’t work related, even though there was a smidge of work done on the trip.  This time I went further than just the city of London, which is one of my favorite cities on earth.  Even though I was a French major in college and have a fondness for Paris, I absolutely adore and am in serious crush with England.  And it returned the affection.  The weather was fabby, the people wonderful and the sites everything I’d want them to be.

I’d hoped to do more inhaling of the accent than I was able to but circumstances prevented that.  What I did do was listen to all the talking going on around me, which was so easy to do on the tube.  And for a word junkie like me, it was quite the treat.  I’d read somewhere that Americans use about 2000 words but the Brits use approximately 5000 words.  Very soon I was suffering from word envy.  And it was a serious case of the green eyed monster.  They use the language so richly that I was embarrassed to open my mouth sometimes.  Not really but you get my drift.  When you are in the presence of someone who has more skill than you do at something, a shyness comes about when you realize that you don’t measure up to their expertise and you’d be a fool to even try.

Instead of letting this stop me, I’m resolving to try to increase my master of language and all the wonderful words we have available to use.  After all, I just visited the home of where so many words were created hundreds of years ago.  I wouldn’t be doing my travels justice if I didn’t at least try.  So fair warning dear reader, you may need a dictionary nearby in the future.