31 July 2006

Ten things I love about L.A.

The Apple Pan. The freeways (except the 405). The garment district. Crunchy shrimp rolls at a strip mall sushi joint with my mom. Still knowing my way around even though I haven't lived there since 1982. Zucky's (ok, that's loved, past tense).

Sunset Boulevard. Still amazes me. Santa Monica Beach. I've even come to love the Santa Monica Pier. Chico's. The drive from Glendale to the Westside through Silver Lake.

30 July 2006

How to say OK

I always want more people to know how to do more things. In line at the grocery store, it's read. R-E-A-D. You know, when the sign says Express Lane, and the person parks their cart jammed with groceries right in front of you, daring you to burst into her iPod-modulated environment and challenge her right to be where she is for the trivial reason that she's exceeding the legal count of grocery items by a mere 18 or more.

It's a sort of misanthropic trait, this wanting other people to do more, know more. Why do I not just accept them as they are? For that matter, why am I always trying to convince myself that I am always trying to learn something new, always striving to better myself in some way? I have never believed in original sin, or so I have always thought. So why not just accept me and everyone else as we are?

And what the heck can I do to for my uncle? I had no idea things were so bad for him as my aunt described. And I don't know what happened this week, and she asked me not to say to him that I knew, so now there's drama and intrigue, where someone also desperately needs something, but no one is sure what. If I were Indian, Hindi, or Buddhist, I might accept that his karma and fate are different from my own, but I might also let my compassion be my guide to acting. I suppose "What would Buddha do?" is more my kind of question. But how do you walk up to someone who hasn't asked you for help to offer help? I've been wrestling with this a lot lately in my relationships.

So it turns out that my folks really did raise me to not be attached to a religion, and the nice thing about that is I find I can sift through and choose from a cafeteria of options. I find Buddha's acceptance and compassion very important to keep in view and deed, and I like Jesus for altruism and the power of doing good, and I love the Quakers' non-interventionist attitude toward communicating with the divine. I often think music is "god's" way of communicating with me. I believe everyone who is guided by some kind of faith, which I am, is guided by something unique to them. My own object of my own faith is just about impossible to describe or explain because it's so obvious to me, and so unquantifiable in anyone else's terms.

But I sure like having it, I must admit.

At my daughter's heritage camp a few weekends ago, I learned about some things kids with attachment issues may need to hear from their parents again and again before they will truly believe it:

I will always love you.
Tomorrow is a new day.
No problem is too great.

And perhaps that's all any religion gives its followers: that mother's voice saying, "It's going to be all right."

Because my faith has not told me how to reach out to my uncle.