It's muggy and noisy in the building where I'm teaching this year. We overlook a building site in full hammering and drilling swing, and a main road near a hospital with ambulances screeching past every few minutes. The city council could pass a ruling resticting heart attacks to evening hours, but of course they bloody won't, useless sods. My classroom is the size of a tennis court, so everyone has to holler to be heard two tables away, and shy Chinese girls do not like to holler. Yesterday I felt like everybody's stone-deaf grandad, cupping my ears and requesting endless repetition from shrinking violets with atrocious pronunciation. Brits tend not to do air conditioning, much as the Greeks tend not to bother with insulation. If I close the windows, the temperature goes tropical and everyone nods off.
We get a week off at the end of Course 4, for good behaviour.
Thanks to Bo, last week I discovered the excellent Pema Chődrőn, an American Buddhist nun whose serene bearing, good humour and utter lack of pretention made me realise yet again how easily I let my head become a sackful of snarling, scratching wild cats, and how I actually feed the buggers by reading things I know will incense me. Just what masochistic urge makes me enter into correspondence with homophobic Young Earth Creationist Jesus-botherering Bible Belt bone-heads on You Tube? If someone's mental furniture consists exclusively of aumbries, credence tables and hassocks, no point in trying to altar any of it, arf arf. Here's a sample or two, all from a young man who specialises in the dodgy analogy:
'So, since gay people are the minority, I should simply accept and tolerate this and do nothing about it? So, since the minority of people are starving, I guess I should just accept this and do nothing about it?'
'Science recognizes that opposites attract. Take two magnets for example. Only the North end attaches to the South end normally and vice-versa. The North end and the other North end push away from one another; the same thing happens when you try to put the South end with the South end. It's harder to put N with N or S with S, than it is to respect the fact that N goes with S and S goes with N no matter how hard you try to naturally put N with N or S with S. This is exactly what homosexuality does. It tries to put North with North and South with South, then it tries to pass it off as being completely normal in the same sense that North with South is normal.'
Imagine it: you meet a bloke, you like each other, you agree to get it on, but as soon as the pair of you get your kits off and hit the sack, one of you is catapulted off the bed into the wardrobe and the other lobbed into the en suite. Eventually you decide this isn't working and go to the pub instead. You decide thereafter to be straight. Aye, right.
'So you're promoting homosexuality because it "feels" right? So if it "feels" right for me to murder everyone in sight, I guess that's something to be tolerated and welcomed, right?'
What need is this serving? I'm bridling even now at his use of caps there, as if he were quoting me, when he isn't, the bloody cretin. I never fucking said... Anyway, I sent off immediately for one of Pema Chődrőn's books, I devote some of my daily commute to za-zen (not in the lotus posture - can't do that any more) and eventually I may bloody calm down a bit, dammit.
With thanks once again to the ever-inspiring Bo, here's Ani Chőying Drolma, of whom I first heard about fifteen minutes ago. She is the perfect antidote to the saccharine frumpiness of the god-botherers in the last post; a cool stream versus a cloying ice-cream soda. Try to ignore the painting behind her.