Friday, December 11, 2009

Remedial Socialization



It was clay day yesterday. One thing I can report is that the unfortunate moment has arrived when American women begin wearing Christmas sweaters in public. Oh man. Those things are so completely ugly, every one of them. Lumpy, garish, overdecorated in every hideous way you can imagine, I can't for the life of me figure out why they are so popular. They are not flattering to ANY figure, and since most of the people who wear them are middle aged, they are especially bad.

I talk as if I had one single atom of fashion sense. I don't! Apologies to those who love Christmas sweaters. I saw a lot of them yesterday.

And as usual, I had fascinating interactions with perfect strangers all day long. The adults are very interested in the exhibit and ask lots of great questions. I love being a "content expert." Suits my ego just fine, thank you! The school kids could mostly care less, so I try to get them curious. Sometimes I ask the really little ones, "If that guy could talk, what would he say?" Or, "What does it look like he's thinking?" My favorite answers yesterday included, "He says, 'You will die forever!'" and "He's thinking, 'It itches underneath my armor.'" Good one. Both of those came from second graders. Cool.

After all these years of living my life mostly on my own and relating to people one at a time, the docent gig is proving to be socially rehabilitative. I'm re-learning how to talk to people I don't know, a Very Good Thing. Tonight I'm going to a Christmas party here on the Hill where I'll be able to practice my newly rediscovered social skills. I am actually looking forward to it! Yeah!! Happy Friday to all!

Yes the warriors had plenty to teach me yesterday. I'll include that information in the comments section since the body of this post wanted to be about exchanges with the living.

24 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

To be a good soldier, say the warriors, you must have patience, courage and purity of intent. They "told" me, too, that every weapon needs to be at least partially metallic, in order to "separate from the enemy."

That's interesting.

The archers "told" me what they cultivate is physical strength, a steady eye and a steady hand.

The generals talked about how true warfare is about working with all the variables, not just the enemy army. To develop strategy they must "become one" with the landscapes, seasons, weather and time of day. So in that way, these generals are functioning as warrior shamans.

They "said" a lot of other confusing stuff, like, Put aside all thoughts that weaken the mind in order to see weakness on the field with a clear eye.

Huh?

Well, I have many more clay days to go before the end of the show. Maybe their wisdom will sink in. You think?

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh, and they also told me I need armor I can put on and take off. I thought armor was bad. Hmmm...

ellen abbott said...

Working as a river guide did the same thing for me (did I tell you this already?). I would tell the guests that I was really anti-social and they would laugh at me.

Very interesting stuff you are getting from them.

NanU said...

What an excellent thing that the Ladies held off so long to don their Christmas apparel. A gift to you of the whole first week of December.

Armor has its place. Which should be mostly gathering dust in the basement, but when you need it, you need it. Just don't wear it all the time. Or if you do, try to accessorize with seasonal decorations!

Bonne weekend!

The Bug said...

OK, now I have a picture in my head of Reya, dressed as Joan of Arc, with a penguin sweater vest (which I happen to own. Heh.).

Expat From Hell said...

It's only a matter of time before American women start packing generators and donning Christmas lights and ornaments to go along with the sweaters. Did the good General tell you that he also needs to be at peace with himself? Why do I think about those things when I read your terrific posts? EFH

ewix said...

I do not own a Christmas sweater, Reya.
I do have my Mrs.Claus crushed red velvet (Eileen Fisher) skirt for reading to school children.....
but I wear a tasteful black sweater
not one with bells and bows

Wonder what messages the warriors will send today?
my message is
come and see the Union Square greenery with me at the solstice
oxo

Mrsupole said...

"Put aside all thoughts that weaken the mind in order to see weakness on the field with a clear eye."

I am not sure but I think this means something about putting away any "fears" that they may have, so that they can see where the greatest fear of the enemy lies so as to take advantage of those fears.

I am not sure how I feel about Christmas sweaters, I have seen some that I think are really cute, especially on little girls, but then I have seen some that are totally garish and make me want to run in the opposite direction. I will take the fifth on this one.

I love all the things that little kids say, it is from their heart, how can we not.

Enjoy the party and enjoy talking to as many people as you can. The one thing I try to remember is that they have to be equally as scared to talk to me as I to them. And one of us has to break the ice, and I am willing to have a go at it. I love talking to people and it can bring such great joy to one's life. I just love people.

Have fun, lots and lots of fun.

God bless.

Linda Sue said...

"you will die forever" perfect! and the sweater thing- nobody wears them here but I would love to see that happen in a "halloweenie" sense not a fashion sense. LOVE the top photo of the three chairs! Great post.

Nairam said...

I love Christmas sweaters. I don't own one, but I think they are wonderful and did buy one for my sister one year (it was on her list, and I found a pretty cool black one, as I recall, though I can't think now why it would have been black. Penguin art?

I am now into my bag of Xmas socks, and am searching AGAIN this year for antlers to replace the ones that wore out 2 years ago. Target, the mecca of seasonal headgear, failed me in this search last year.

Ronda Laveen said...

I love the "warrior speak." I also love the "2nd grader speak." I'm trying to imagine how the conversation would sound between the two.

My mother used to love the holiday sweatshirts. And to gift them to me. Then I was expected to wear them all the time because one can only wear them one time a year.

"Honey, where's that cute Rudolph sweatshirt I bought you? And the matching socks?"

"Uhh, I loaned them to Nina, I think. I'll have to get them back from her." (in about 20 years).

Ronda Laveen said...

Have fun at the party!

k-brow said...

Ugh, the Christmas sweater...my cousin told me a crazy tale of my mom and her sister going out to the mall in them...in October!

Your warrior messages are fascinating. I'm wondering about the armor message. I have a particular black t-shirt that I favor above all others. When I need to feel ultra-comfortable, competent, smart, relaxed, energetic...I wear it, with skirts, jeans, shorts, whatever the occasion demands. I think it's my armor. It has replaced several generations of other black t-shirts, too. One given to me by my mom, another, worn across Indonesia. You never know when or where you'll need armor.

Whitney Lee said...

Fascinating! I love the top picture.

I like what the generals had to say. I would imagine it is much the same for any leadership position in that one needs to be able to think on their own, to provide solutions to unexpected situations without needing to be told what to do...

Reya Mellicker said...

Well I may not understand everything I'm getting from the warriors, but I believe they are trying to help me.

Thank God for all of you helping me to understand!

As for the Christmas sweaters, someone told me today that it's very cool to have an ugly Christmas sweater party. Go figure!

Barbara Martin said...

I'm glad to see that ancient museum pieces speak to you, because I got similar responses during an Egyptian event at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto several years ago.

I need to do catch up with your posts after being off-line for two weeks.

Love the photos, especially the posed gloves with a great colour.

lakeviewer said...

A good soldier must not doubt his intent or actions. He must go forth with valor and courage, all the way to the end.

Pam said...

"...remedial socialization". What an excellent term. I need to partake of some of that myself! This time of year makes me want to run the other way and crouch down behind a clay warrior or two! You will laugh Reya when I tell you I blogged about venturing into the realms of dangly Christmas earrings (photo to prove it!), and a commenter noted that the Christmas sweater and socks would be next. That's like saying if you like prawns, chowing down a whole whale is only one dangerous step away.I shall stand firm in my resolve.Your warrior posts are great.Makes for such interesting reading!

Steve said...

LOL! I bet it DID itch under that armor! Hope your party was fun! :)

Susan said...

LOL - we are having a "hideous Christmas sweater" day at work on Dec. 18, complete with prize (suggested retail price $99.99)...

steven said...

hi reya - very cool post. i love the clay men speaking to you.
managing this world has only been possible for me because i have armour that i can put on and take off! seven

lettuce said...

haha, you make me laugh about the sweaters

Hope the party is great Reya.
I like being able, nowadays, to talk to people I don't know

karen said...

Hi Reya. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying the socialising, after all, and the interaction with those warriors, too!

I have not really been able to read blogs since the first few days of december, so I have only now been catching up and was shocked to read about the traumatic and sad event that has coloured your life in the interim. glad to hear that the healing process is ongoing... thinking of you!

Karen said...

Yes, the armor. I was told recently that it is HANDY sometimes; it's a tool, and when you need it, there's nothing like it. But you needn't wear it all the time--way too heavy, would just get in the way, etc.

Are those hideous Xmas sweaters a kind of armor? Hm... maybe not. I think they belong to the wider genre of "school teacher" sweaters--equally hideous designs for every month of the year, plus some with pencil & book appliques. *shudder*