Chanticleer #26

Chanticleer
I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up. 

Henry David Thoreau

March 26, 2001

“Chanticleer Calls”, a whenever-I-get-around-to-it newsletter for discriminating readers, thinkers, feelers, speakers, listeners, and cogitators.


SEEING

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
“A person does what he does because he sees the world as he sees it. – Alfred Korzybski
“We see the world as ‘we’ are, not as ‘it’ is; because it is the “I” behind the ‘eye’ that does the seeing.” – Anais Nin
“We see what we see because we miss all the finer details.” – Alfred Korzybski

At two score and seven, I’m forced to confess the inevitable frailty that follows us all — lurking unseen like a shadow facing the sun.

Chanticleer wears bifocals. Crow, crow!

I’ve had them for a week now. It’s been a weak week.

I have the “progressive” (doesn’t “regressive” sound more descriptive?) lenses, meaning that there is not the clearly-defined line separating the magnifying lens at the bottom from the corrective lens above. So to the observer, they appear to be “normal” glasses. And the lightweight, stylish titanium frames are not unattractive.

However, from the business-end of these “progressive” lenses, they look much differently.

Imagine taking a load of Vaseline and smearing it around the outside third of your glasses, or sunglasses. That’s the effect I’m adjusting to with these bifocals. Nothing is in focus unless it’s right in the “sweet spot” of my “progressive” lenses. Peripheral vision? Like the Southwest Conference … it’s history.

So quite literally, I “see” differently.

The most obvious change is that I now have to move my whole head (which, as some of you know, can be a challenge in itself) instead of just shifting my eyes. Not that I was all that shifty-eyed to begin with. But now I have to try and keep my eyes in a fixed relationship with the lenses. So I look like one of those ’60s service station giveaway football dolls with the over-sized helmets that bounce uncontrollably from the rear deck of the car in front of you.

Yep. “Slingin’ Steve” has become “Swivelin’ Steve”.

Looking at my monitor as I type on the bottom of the screen, I have to tilt my head up to read the menu bar at the top of the screen. Now, I have to turn my head around to look for traffic before I change lanes, instead of casually glancing. It’s as though I’m continually “zeroing in” on what it is I’m trying to see. I was in a sports bar the other night, and even looking at the TV screens clear across the room, I had to ratchet my head a few degrees each time to focus on each individual TV. It’s like I’ve become a scanning radar.

The experience has, however, given me a greater sense of, and appreciation for, “individuality” – how I/we inevitably see things differently from anyone else. And how I/we see things differently from the way I/we used to see them.

Some notions that might help us all to see with “new eyes” as we continue the “voyage of discovery”: We each have a different “corrective prescription” for achieving out best visual acuity Even with our vision “corrected”, we still each have varying degrees of what we can, and choose to, see What appears to be clear for some, may appear to be ambiguous or fuzzy for others How we see, and what we see, is to some degree a function of our past experiences, how we’ve adjusted to our individual “corrective prescriptions” Sometimes we can’t see things clearly until we shift our perspective, until we look at them from a slightly different angle.


“IRONY”

Some of you know that the last five months of my life have revolved around a little diversion called He-Said-She-Said. I met a female friend through an online dating service, we decided to write an unofficial ‘newsletter’ within the online system, we expanded the concept to include a website, we hosted a couple of large parties that drew 400-500 people, we raised $4,000 for a slain police officer’s family, and we developed something of a rapport and reputation with about 800 other adult singles.

The results from this little diversion were so encouraging that we felt we could make it a business. In fact, I felt so strongly in our potential that I gave notice at my job with the intent to focus on growing this into an actual business. We were going to develop the online website while providing a variety of offline offerings, from the full-blown large parties to small dinner parties to “relationship coaching” discussion forums.

But something happened on the way to the forums.

Remember the joke from the Woody Allen movie, Annie Hall — “Those that can’t do, teach. And those that can’t teach, teach gym.”

Well, the prospective relationship “coaches” encountered a few irreconcilable perspective differences themselves. Forget about “coaches” … is there a doctor in the house?

Talk about putting the “I” in “Irony”.

The underlying notion that inspired He-Said-She-Said … the notion of different perspectives … foretold its demise. What happened? It depends … there’s what He-Said, then there’s what She-Said.

In other words, even though there might be no dispute regarding four of five key ‘facts’, the “story” that takes those ‘facts’ and weaves them together to relate intentions, motivations, results, consequences, etc., will vary with each individual. Each person will tell “a story”, not “the story”.

So … that’s this character’s speech about the He-Said-She-Said ‘play,’ now fully aware of the incongruity.

It’s all about the irony.


WEATHER OBSERVATIONS

A few weeks ago, we had a long-forecasted line of thunderstorms move through the DFW area late on a Saturday morning. I rushed around early that morning to get some errands run so I could get home before the storms began producing “local effects.”

When I got home, I came in and turned on the TV so I could watch the storms approach on the Weather Channel’s radar. As I sat down to look at the TV screen, I had a sudden thought: If I want to ‘see’ the storm approach, why am I sitting inside looking at a television image of a radar image of the storm? Why am I not outside actually experiencing the approaching storm, ‘seeing’ it for myself? There’s something to be said for occasionally experiencing things for yourself, rather than relying on the interpretations and representations from others’ experiences. But consider an umbrella.


AND FINALLY

This is the season for potholes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Where does the “stuff” that becomes the “hole” go when the “hole” is formed? Does it evaporate? Does it sink? Is there, like, a whole freeway system somewhere underneath the roads? I’m still scratching my head over how one inch of rain can cause a lake to rise by a foot.

A great lyric by Ivan Lins in his song “Love Dance” – Turn up the quiet, Love wants to dance.