Content Having Nothing

About 360 BC, Diogenes the Cynic, Diogenes of Sinope (404-323 BC) who was a Greek philosopher that lived a very poor and ascetic life, took up residence in a large wine cask (some sources claim it was an abandoned bathtub).  He got rid of his belongings, and maintained a diet of just onions and the only possession that he kept was a wooden cup, which also served as a bowl so he was able to eat his food and drink water.  One day, Diogenes was passing a stream, when he saw a boy drinking water out of his cupped hands.  He thought, “A child has beaten me in simplicity”, so he threw away his cup. The boy asked him “Why did you throw away your cup?”

Diogenes replied, “I never saw anyone drink water by cupping their hands and I figured that I should not be deprived of such a joy.  The wooden cup that I tossed away had no feelings and when I would fill it up with water, I felt nothing from it.  Now when I fill my hands with water, they will be able to feel a connection with the water, they will feel the coolness of water and its life-giving energy.  My spirit will enter the water through my hands, and it will come alive and I will be drinking that also.”

Diogenes cupped his hands in the stream and drank water from them and then he started dancing.  Diogenes said, “I have been a fool for using a dead vessel to drink my water from, because it made the water dead.  But now the energy and the heat from my hands is not able to pass through to the water and this is insulting to the water.”  Diogenes realized that he did not need a cup to sustain himself.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #250 hosted by Michael – November 21 – Cup.

She Was Not There

We met on the internet and we chatted all the time and then I decided to go and meet Dorcas.  I was in North Carolina and she lived in London and I knew that I should have just moved on, because this was not going to work out.  On the surface we seemed perfect for each other, with me being newly divorced and her having just broken it off with her boyfriend.  She worked as a secretary and I had just started a new job, but I told my boss that I wanted to take a week’s vacation and go on a holiday, which he approved.  If things worked out, she was going to return with me.  I booked a flight and she was going to meet me in Gatwick outside of the customs area.  My 8-hour flight actually took place over a 13 hour period, because London is 5 hours ahead.  I took off from Charlotte at 8 PM and landed in London at 9 AM.  I didn’t get much sleep on the flight and I was looking forward to getting some rest when I got to her place.  I was not sure if my cell phone would work in Great Briton, but I had her address and her home phone number and I figured I could always find her on the internet.

I was going to stay at her place and after all of the flirting we did with each other, I was really looking forward to this holiday.  Customs was crowded and the line was taking forever, but two hours after I landed, I was done.  I looked for Dorcas and I did not see her, and since my cell did not seem to be getting any reception, I went to a pay phone and called her number.  It went to her voice mail and I told her about the long line at customs and figured that she was on her way back to her place.  I thought it was a bit rude that she didn’t wait for me, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it.  I told her that I would be at her place soon.  I didn’t know my way around London, but I got some help from this guy who told me that it would be best for me to take a train and then get off at London Bridge Station and from there I could get a cab to take me the rest of the way.

I got into a cab and told the cab driver that I wanted to go to Huntingdon which is north of London and I asked him how much it would cost to get there.  He said that it was about 90 kilometers and it would cost about 130 £ and it would be cheaper for me to take a train.  I told him that I just got off a train and I went into the story about Dorcas not being at the airport for me and that I just wanted to relax as this was my holiday, so the price was fine.  He said that it was an hour drive and he asked me if I was hungry as it was lunch time.  He said that if I liked, he could show me around London and point out the sights to me and I said that sounds like fun.

We stopped at the Greenwich Observatory and we both had a sandwich, I had a beer and he drank a soda.  I picked up the tab because he seemed like a nice guy and he had real interesting stories.  After lunch we crossed the Tames and drove past the Eye of London, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.  An hour later we arrived at the address that Dorcas Robinson gave me.  He asked me if I needed help with my bags and I told him that I could manage and after I paid him, he said he would stick around just in case there were any problems.  I didn’t think that was necessary, but since I gave him a big tip I said it was fine.  I saw these two guys in the apartment complex and I asked them where apartment 909 was.  The one guy said that there were only 6 buildings here and that there was no 909.  The other guy made a joke and said that maybe I was looking for the one after 909.

I took out my cell phone and I showed them a picture of Dorcas and neither one of them recognized her.  The cab driver was watching all this and he asked me what I wanted to do, so I said I was real tired and I should probably check into a hotel and get some rest.  He knew a Holiday Inn that was near by and he took me there and I checked in.  I got some rest and then I turned my laptop on to see if Dorcas had sent me an email, but she did not contact me.  I wrote to her and told her what hotel I was at and that she had given me the wrong address.  I felt like Bob Dylan stuck inside of Huntingdon with the London Blues.

I called Dorcas at the number she gave me but it kept going to her machine and I was getting a bit worried about her, but mostly I was mad, as this holiday was not turning out as I had planned. Two days later I got an email from Dorcas saying that she was stuck in Nigeria and that she needed me to send her $400. I had sent her money before, so she could buy herself a new dress for her birthday and I also had flowers sent to her where she works, but I was not born yesterday and it felt like she was scamming me. I asked her why she didn’t meet me at the airport and why she was in Nigeria and she said that there was something wrong with her visa and she had to go there to straighten it out. I also told her that she gave me the wrong address and that all my calls were going to her voicemail.

She said that she was crying and I caved in and sent her money on Western Union.  I asked her when she was going to be back and she said as soon as her paperwork was fixed.  I told her that she was stupid for not planning this out better and I told her that she ruined my vacation.  I said coo, coo, ca-choo Dorcas Robinson this is the last time that I will ever send money to you and if we meet that is fine and if we don’t, I am OK with that.  There wasn’t much to do in Huntingdon, so I checked out of the Holiday Inn and went to London and checked into a Hilton.  I decided to enjoy myself and I never met Dorcas.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #249 hosted by Michael – November 14 – Holiday.

My First Bralette

I became aware that I needed a bra when I was a tween as my bosoms started budding, but I was reluctant to take the leap into womanhood.  My dilemma was compounded by me being the only child of a single dad after my mom passed away.  I knew the basics of straps, cups, underwire and padding, but I was not into frilly things.  I wanted something that would hide my nipples, as the boys did seem to be looking differently at me and that made me feel insecure.  I knew that I was approaching puberty, as in Fifth Grade we learned about male and female body parts, pubic hair, menstruation, periods, erections, nocturnal emissions, hormones and all that awkward stuff, but lucky for me, I was not the first girl in my class to develop breasts.

Several of my friends were wearing bras and I decided to start looking at the different styles online to see what would work for me.  I didn’t want a training bra, as I remember when the boys found out that Susie was wearing a training bra, they asked her what kind of tricks she was going to be able to do with her tits.  I could probably use a sports bra, one that would be sturdy enough to minimize breast movement, and also alleviate discomfort, as I wanted to play soccer.  I knew that I was not ready for a cupped bra, a padded bra, a strapless bra, a pushup bra, or a wired bra yet, but the bralette looked interesting to me and I decided that is what I would shop for.  The bralettes seemed like a better alternative to me instead of going with the bra, being more comfortable because they are wire free and I didn’t need all that much support yet.  I wanted to be comfortable and have something that was less constricting, something that was not going to be too tight, because I didn’t want anything that would leave red marks or indentions in my skin.

I could wear the bralette as a layering piece offering me coverage if I wore a low-cut tank top, or a revealing blouse with open armholes, or a top with a deep V-neck.  If it was made of thick enough material, it would minimize the protrusion of my nipples under my clothing and that was important to me.  There were still plenty of decisions for me to make, as I wasn’t sure if I wanted one that was made from microfibre, lace or a cotton blend and there are also various styles and patterns that I needed to consider.  Another thing for me to decide was whether I should go with the front or back closure, or would a pull-on style work better for me.  I guess I also needed to consider what color would work best for me and if I should look at bralettes with flower or butterfly patterns on them and the more I learned, the more difficult I realized that this shopping was going to be.  I knew that shopping was going to be a big part of my life and in the future, I would be purchasing lingerie to make me look good and wearing undergarments like boyshorts and thongs that would empower me and make me feel like a sexy woman.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #245 hosted by Michael – October 17 – Shopping.

Alone Again

Neil Diamond said that he would remain a solitary man until he could find the girl who would stay with him and won’t play games.  George Thorogood sang ‘I Drink Alone’, Bill Withers said there ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ when you are gone, while Céline Dion wanted to be all by herself.  Around 1903, Edward Hopper painted his Solitary Figure in a Theater when he was barely in his twenties, before he made his famous trip to Paris to discover the French avant-garde.  Hopper achieved success with this stripped-down image and this uniquely urban and desolate realist developed a style that was existentially isolated being engaged in transcendental silence.  This smallish monochromatic oil painting may have been inspired by the early silent black and white movies of the time.  Linda Pastan an American poet of Jewish background wrote a poem to explain this painting.

An empty theatre: seats
shrouded in white
like rows of headstones;
the curtain about to rise
(or has it fallen?)
on a scene
of transcendental
silence.

And the audience?
A solitary figure sheathed
in black, a woman
in a hat perhaps
(more abstract
shape than woman)
sitting alone
in the cavernous dark.

This is quintessential Hopper—
cliché of loneliness
transformed by brushstroke
into something part paint,
part desperation.
“Oil on board,” the label says,
as if even a tree
had to be sacrificed.

Hopper painted a lone female figure, sitting in the front row with her elbow gently propped up against an armrest, and her left hand is holding something white, perhaps a program or paper.  Hopper paid great attention to the nonhuman ingredients of the theater, like the shafts of light piercing through seat backs, the large, open gray stage curtain above the woman’s head, one which makes her look tiny as it takes up almost half of the painting.  Hopper conjured a moment between shows and painted the solitude of waiting or lingering.  He evoked the morbidity and redundancy of theater space in the absence of its crowd.

Hopper’ base primer is a thick light gray.  The rich texture of horizontal, wavy bands along with layers of darker gray and then smokier gray diagonal and vertical brushwork are dotted with flecks of white.  This lends an uncertain spatial value to everything in the painting, making it hard to pin down exact physical placement and relations.  The painting was bituminized, (Bitumen is a naturally-occurring, non-drying, tarry substance used in paint mixtures, especially to enrich the appearance of dark tones and this became very popular as a paint additive in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries) creating an ageing effect which produced a sense of dust, further enhancing this sense of elusive dimensions and properties.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #244 hosted by Michael – October 10 – Why is your figure solitary and the song above pretty much sums this up for me.

Make Me Happy

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, as all I need is a good night’s sleep to be in a decent mood for the day.  From reading WordPress posts, I realize that there are a lot of people out there that are suffering from depression.  I went through some rough times, but I never got depressed, because I realize that things could always get worse, so I always count my blessings.  I could be in prison and forced to listen to nothing but Rap music all day and have a cell mate that snores at night.  It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, and the glass is half full attitude makes life become more stressful, so it is best to cheer up.  Antidepressant drugs and therapists have created a whole generation of depressed people that seem to have nothing better to do than complain.

Suck it up and carry on, as no one can change your life except for you.  Nobody ever said that life was going to be a rose garden, you make your choices and you need to learn how to live with them.  You need take hold of your life and make something out of it.  If you don’t have a place to lay your head, because somebody came along and took your bed, don’t worry, be happy.  Imagine how the world could be for you and me, we could be so happy together, love can make us happy. To be in love with a beautiful woman would make me so very happy and put me back in the high life again.  What a wonderful world it could be if everyone could find happiness.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #242 – September 26 – Happiness hosted by Michael.

Wading Into The Waters

Asclepius started out as a man, a physician who treated wounded soldiers on the battlefield at Troy, but later, he become elevated to the status of a god.  The Greeks created a cult around Asclepius, and he became the pagan god of healing. Devotion to Asclepius was widespread throughout the lands dominated by the Roman Empire.  Snakes were a key component of Asclepius’s cult of health and healing.  Even today, one of the key symbols of modern medicine is a pole with a snake wrapped around it.  During the Hellenistic period, the Greeks built these ancient healing centers, all across the Greek Empire and there were more than 400 healing centers throughout the Roman Empire functioning to meet the needs of sick people.  The ill and disabled would congregate at these regional healing centers.  They would drink and bathe in the waters and then sleep within the temple’s walls.  They slept on mats laid which were supposed to induce divine dreams, that would give the sick clues about their healing.

The Greeks attributed the healing powers of natural springs to spirits.  The cult of Asklepius built their temples near sacred springs with shallow pools and baths.  Participants would wait by the water, praying, fasting, chanting, etc., until Asklepius or his helpful “serpent spirits” churned the water.  In Bethesda there were two Roman Pagan pools, one dedicated to Fortuna the goddess of fortune and the other to Asclepius god of healing.  The stirring up of the water was part of a ceremony when the priests of the Asclepius temple opened the connecting pipes between the higher and the lower portions of the pool. Because one set of pipes was higher than the other, this caused a “stirring” of the water in the pool.  When bubbles or ripples made their way from the spring to the pool, this was considered to be the best time for a healing miracle.

The Gospel story (John 5:1-3) tells that Jesus came to Jerusalem and healed a man at the Pool of Bethesda.  In John’s scripture it says that an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water.  That whosoever stepped in was made whole.  People were told that at certain times of the day, an angel would stir up the waters in the pool and whoever would enter the water first, after it was stirred up, would be cured.  Many sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed people come there every day and they wait for the waters to move, so they could be the first to wade into the healing water to be cured of whatever disease they had.

John 5:1-3 New International Version The Healing at the Pool
5:1 Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  5:3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #240 – September 12 – Wading.

Scumbags

I never wanted to be a politician, as I think that all these people do is take from society and they never give anything back. Politicians are supposed to have a caring attitude that allows them to commit their best efforts toward the public welfare, but it seems that most of them are only interested in gaining money, status or power.  The 32nd president of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt referring to the owners of power utilities whose actions he deemed to be against the interests of the American people said, “My friends, judge me by the enemies I have made.”  In politics, enemies are made, but there are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, there are only permanent interests.  Politicians think that they are right, because they won an election and they develop their own preferences instead of trying to compromise and allow people to cooperate with each other.  They use things and people, as tools to achieve their result and public figures make us hate their enemies, so they can get their way.

Politicians need to make deals, in order to get any legislation passed and every time that they make a deal, a little bit of grease from that deal ends up sticking to them.  When any politician makes his or her way out of the bush leagues up to the top of the political chain, they are very greasy.  It is not abnormal for politicians have a license to steal, and this becomes poignant to their constituents when they are fleeced.  The Supreme Court insisted that political spending is a form of protected free speech, and this gives all politicians a monopoly to collect money from wealthy donors.  As the US heads closer toward the 2020 elections, all politicians will utilize campaign staffers to work the phones in hopes of encouraging a larger voter turnout, and making a mad dash for donations, which will lead to a significant rise in unwanted calls from these pests.

Roman Emperor Tiberius allegedly conducted sexual experiments on goldfish, ushering in an era of decadence and the sadistically wacky Nero drained the treasury to support his elaborate lifestyle.  Much of Rome was burned in the great fire of 64 and it is often said that Rome was lost as Nero played his fiddle, but he actually played a lyre or a cithara, as the fiddle didn’t even exist during ancient Rome.  Nero may or may not have been responsible for the blaze, but he did take advantage of the situation, by building himself a verdant landscaped palace on the land that was destroyed.  Nero accused the early Christians for setting the fire, making them the scapegoats and somehow he was able to make this logic click with the people.  He was a despicable character with an insidious reputation who got what he deserved in the end, because he was too interested in debauchery to take a bold and billowy stance about anything that would help the people.  Nero tried to wreck a ship that his mother was on, in an attempt to kill her.  After a turbulent 13-year reign, the Roman senate ran out of patience and declared Nero to be a public enemy and he became the final Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Nero married a castrated man named Sporus, and he played the role of a bride to his bedfellows Doryphorus and Pythagoras, which lead to him being called the rainbow emperor.  Nero thought of himself as being a charioteer and a singer and there is a good chance that he may have been up on the roof watching as Rome burnt.  Nero was performing in a theater when the legions revolted and he fled the city in disguise when he heard about a plot against his life.  When they caught up to him, a few of his faithful followers dug a grave for him and he burst into a verse of Homer’s song, “The gallop of swift footed horses strikes on my ear”, and when he finished singing he committed suicide.  Elvis impersonators need to be able to sing, and the first professional Elvis impersonator actually didn’t look like Elvis and he only saw his career take off when he stopped sitting at the piano and began to gyrate his hips onstage.  It is no accident that the first Nero impersonator was able to pass himself off as Nero in part because of his musical impersonation.

Written for Tyler M Deal 5 Words Prompt – Verdant Dash License Piano Final, for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Poignant, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Wreck, for the Daily Spur prompt – Click, for FOWC with Fandango – Abnormal, for August Monthly Writing Prompts – Bold and billowy, for Ragtag Community – Bush, for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #102 – Public figures make us hate their enemies, for Sara’s Closet Full Of Notebooks Prompt – Rainbow, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #238 – August 29 – Pests, for Paula’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Monopoly Goldfish Rome and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Lost.