Archive for May, 2011

Dromania

May 21, 2011

Also delightfully called Travel Fugue – the overpowering desire to wander.  Long a victim of this disease, my symptoms have become increasingly dire.  Though always a traveler, the success of Anatomy Trains has lately given me a free ticket to many places, and I have hit every continent except Antarctica in the last few years.  This year alone, since January, I have been to Greece and back, then to Oxford and Oslo and back, then to Australia and back, then to Norway, Denmark, and Germany and back, and finally to Tokyo and Nagoya and back.  My marriage suffers; my business languishes, but my dromania is satisfied.

But now I have tucked my passport away until October, and am suffering the pains of withdrawal: the weather at home is unending rain, drizzle, and fog, so my sailboat swings idly at its mooring; our ‘estate’ requires all manner of spring projects to be ready for summer which cannot be completed because everything is soggy; my retired neighbour is planing out old boards for his new barn floor and the all-day irritated whine of his planer is driving us all spare; and the long-denied business projects at my home office are so complex and stalled that I feel I am running on shale.

Still, it’s great to be home, as the maniac heart calms to a slower pace, regains its sense of place, stop living out of a suitcase, and relearn the lineaments of my Quan’s face (oom-chakka-chakka-chakka, oom- chakka-chakka-chakka).

Any road up, there are many signs that my dromania must come to an end.  Australia tested the upper limits of how many students I am willing to have on a course.  I can talk to an unlimited number of people; but teaching practical skills to 120 people in 3 days is an exercise in frustration for all of us, however well-handled (and that tour was excellently planned and executed by the Ozzie organizers).  In Europe, we have had trouble being paid on a couple of my courses, a new and disturbing phenomenon.  And the trip to Japan in this year of the tsunami and Fukushima was stressful in the on-again, off-again lead-up, stress with the organizers in execution, and for whatever reason – am I just getting too old for dromania? – getting back to East Coast time took a week of relative jet-leg.

Generally, I love my bipolar waves, and will weather the troughs in order to get the view from the crests.  But this is just too exhausting.

So I have told my scheduler: stop the madness.  I am booked a year out, so the madness continues this next autumn and winter, but then we must focus on the next stage of building a platform for these ideas without my waiting endlessly in airports: web-learning and electronic appearances.  Of course I will still go abroad – being in the belly of the American beast all the time is not good for the soul and skews perception – but my dromenon must go inside again, to search for its center not its outer wings.  And the mania must end.

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Obama Gets Osama

May 8, 2011

While we can all appreciate a well-executed execution, the death of Osama is cold comfort indeed in the face of the dismal decade after 9/11, and the changes in America we have wrought with our response.  The difficulties around flying alone (which used to be pleasant) are sufficiently expensive and unnecessary Kabuki, but we have a whole cultural attitude coarsening that I lament – with increasing bitterness in my tears, but maybe I am just getting old.  Two wars, burning Korans, and a culture of fear and separation that threatens to undermine the entire constitutional republic that despite its flaws has been, in fact and in deed, a beacon of freedom, opportunity, and easygoing acceptance to the world.

Whoever you think is responsible for 9/11, it is our response to this savage but brilliant crime that has been the sadder if slower offense.

The Abbotabad raid happened while I was in the plane coming back from Japan.  In my last dinner there, the conversation was not about the old days of Ida Rolf as usual, but of a world before computers, with these young people laughing as I described the first clunky small screen Macs and switching out floppy discs every 10 seconds.  All the computers on the Apollo capsule equaled about the computing power of the iPhone – something like that.

These young practitioners find a world before computers worthy of historical, somewhat hysterical note.  Anyone from puberty on down will similarly have no memory of a sunnier, pre-9/11 world.  Thus is the world changed – one funeral at a time, one birth into a new world disorder at a time.

I am no friend of Bin Laden.  Being a strict constructionist of the Old Testament, I am against capital punishment as contrary to the sixth commandment.  It would have been a better idea to take him alive, IMO, and put him on trial in Kenya and Tanzania, where his bombs killed innocent Muslims, and then just keep putting him on trial in various countries for the rest of his natural life.  No martyrdom, no jihad, just the long, slow death of being a perpetual defendant, subjected to the rule of law for his criminal acts of killing the innocents.

And you can say he killed our innocence as well, but I hold our own national response more accountable.  We have done exactly as he wished; we could hardly have answered his call in a way more pleasing to the jihadis.  I applaud Obama for not, as he said, ‘spiking the ball’.  Time to tone down the rhetoric, accept this small globe for the unsafe place that it is, and make the world an impossible place for any new Bin Ladens to emerge – through a return to core, and I do dare say, American values.

Last night, a dinner guest asked: “What will the next generation do for work?  Manufacturing is gone, they cannot all work at Wal-Mart.”  My answer, my hope: “They will stop building weaponry and build livingry.”