Friday, May 22, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

...hey, how did that start getting played on all the 24-hour-a-day-Christmas-song stations, anyway? Snowflakes? Brown paper packages tied up with strings? Yeah, that's a great presentation of a Christmas gift. (Though one very good friend used to present presents in a plain old paper grocery bag, which-- if you know him-- was oddly endearing.) What? Oh, yeah...

Partly out of a choice to simplify my life and partly out of necessity, which is to say a lack of both big bucks and space, I'm living with far fewer things than I ever have before, and I like it. There comes a point, after all, when your stuff owns you. (Remember George Carlin's routine about stuff?)

As the saying goes, "The best things in life aren't things."

Nevertheless, there are a few things that have become pretty important to me.

Above all, of course, is my laptop. My first month here, without an Internet hookup, was grim. My computer keeps me in touch with my friends via email, Facebook, Windows Messenger, and Skype. I can watch tv shows and movies, write, keep up with news, run this blog, occasionally play games (download Plants vs. Zombies right now, by the way), and listen to all of the Mets' games... okay, most of those things are good.

Next is my iPod Shuffle. The first thing I need to say here is that I've always been a snob about running; real runners don't use treadmills and they don't listen to music... the whole point is to get out and experience the world, dontcha know. But I find I can run a lot more frequently using a treadmill, as it doesn't rack up my knees, and listening to music while running really does make the time go by. (Best running songs? Jump by Van Halen and Fighter by Christina Aguilera. Worst? Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens [a.k.a. Ali Cat] and absolutely anything by Sarah McLachlan, Dido, Enya, or William Shatner.)

Even better, though, is the endless stream of free podcasts that pass my time walking to work or riding the bus. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and Real Time with Bill Maher always brighten up the first part of my week, and there's news and commentary, Marianne Williamson, Doctor Who commentary, and podcasts about the Mets. (Never mind.) For awhile, I was listening to stuff every chance I got just to fill time, but now I've become more selective and I'm not afraid to just live with my thoughts sometimes. Sometimes.

Then there's my bead bracelet from Donghwasa, but I've written about that before. Peace.

And there's my Mets cap. It's amazingly versatile; it keeps the sun out of my eyes and the wind off my hair; it warms me in the cold and shields my glasses from the rain; it's part of my low-tech but effective personal-temperature-control system (layers of clothing on and off, the same with the cap, walking in the sun or the shade); it links me to my past, as I've had a genuine Mets cap for over 40 years, and to my Dad, with whom, if nothing else, I could always talk about the Mets.

So that's about it for my indispensibles, I guess.

Oh, and the Moon. I love the Moon. It's hard to believe somehow that the same orange moon rising over the mountains to my east shines on Ithaca and St. Augustine and shone on Christ and Shakespeare and the first Neanderthal.

What? Okay, I'll shut up now.

No comments: