Monday, September 12, 2005

Smile in the sky

OK, so the picture is blurry and far away (trust me, that's us up there). But at least this time that's not my fault. This was taken by a very friendly woman Taz and I met when we went parasailing off Block Island, RI over Labor Day weekend. (I mentioned this trip here). What I didn't mention in that earlier post was our parasailing adventure. As luck would have it, we ended up in a boat with two different groups of young Indian people (two of whom--including the woman who took the picture--were quite friendly), as well as a father and his twin 12-year-old boys. The boys weren't very talkative, but that's probably because they were scared to death. Once they were up in the air, their father told us that one of them has a fear of heights. I didn't bother to ask him why he thought sending them up on 800 feet of rope above the sea would cure his kid of that. None of us saw any major flailing around while they were up there, but as soon as they came down, they curled up in a wind-protected corner of the deck and fell asleep. Here you can see they looked less than thrilled with the experience:

As for me and Taz, we weren't scared at all (really, parasailing is nothing compared to this, which we did a couple years ago) and found it to be a very relaxing and peaceful experience on the whole. But we also agreed that it's not the sort of thing you'd really want to do again in the same place--better to go somewhere with different scenery.

OK, so maybe you've figured out that this gratuitous sharing of the parasailing experience is really just a ploy to get you to ignore the fact that I don't have much knitting-related content to share today. I did knit this weekend, really, but mostly on the infamous merino lace cardigan, which means I have so little to show for my efforts, it's truly not worth photographing. But by the end of the week (maybe even tomorrow?) I hope to have one or more FO's to show you!

Downer alert: If you're sick of reading and thinking about Katrina, you might not want to read on, although there is a really good book recommendation in all this...

As for book-related content, I've been quite engrossed in Isabel Allende's Mi PaĆ­s Inventado (My Invented Country), which is a rambly memoir of her growing up in Chile, interwoven with a rather subjective (but good) exploration of Chilean culture and history. I highly recommend it. Perhaps it's because I started reading it right at the time of the Katrina disaster, but one part in particular has stuck in my head so far, which is when she talks about how Chileans are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, always expecting the next catastrophe, and at the same time, always expecting solidarity from their fellow citizens in a time of need. I remember when I lived there, flooding was a regular occurrence (though usually nothing so bas as we're seeing now in New Orleans), and there was very little the government ever could do about it (so they claimed). But neighbors would pole old ladies and children across the street and bus drivers would pull up as close to "dry land" as possible so that people could leap onto the bottom step. Many would take time off work to help feed and clothe those who had lost their houses. People had little or no expectation that the government would help and every expectation that neighbors and total strangers would be there for one another, always prepared. That doesn't mean they didn't complain about the government response, or that neighbors (much less strangers) were equally friendly with one another during times of non-crisis, but still. In many ways, the reality of the situation mirrors what's been happening down South here. But the real difference, I feel, is in the expectations. I don't know if I'm expressing this clearly, but that little bit of the book made me wonder if Katrina hit us that much harder because we are so trained to expect the best from our government, despite its repeated failures to live up to those expectations. Thank goodness ordinary people are so generous.

6 comments:

Zarzuela said...

Wow! You guys are way braver than I am!

Good points about the government response. I think you're right. We do expect the US government to solve problems quickly and efficiently. That's probably what makes it all so shocking. The richest country in the world is botching something that should be so simple.

Jessica
http://zarzuela.blogspot.com

Tish said...

I think there's a thousand reasons why we expect the government to help us out and are continually surprised that they won't/can't/aren't, all of which will make me sound too pretentious and snobby to regale a relative stranger with.
But parasailing adventures? With happy face parachutes? That brings me joy.

Sami said...

You got blog-bling! Nice buttons! Sure, anyone can parasail... but you've got buttons. That takes talent.

My merino cardi shows little expansion no matter how much I knit. Seven stitches to the inch, I suppose that explains it.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

your page is very rich and very cool. i've also noticed some changes on the UNA pages.

by the way i like your comments on my page. see i know who u r :) how did you manage to find the right button for making comments on a chinese page?

Deenz said...

Heh...those kids remind me of Ben Stiller's character's kids in The Royal Tenenbaums, lol...they just need the red track outfits...*g*