Monthly Archives: August 2008

Fame

The Coach has gotten some ink in the local press recently, due to his accepting recently a coaching position with a popular local team (different from, or really in addition to, his regular coaching job). Now people we know, both well and only in passing and everything in between, are telling him — through me, sometimes — congratulations and looking forward to everything you’ll be doing with the team. And that’s nice, that people would be happy for you and wish you well when they find out you have a new job.

But sometimes the congratulations can veer off in an odd direction. One guy, after introducing himself to TC, said, “you’re famous; you can Google your name and you’re all over the place.” Which struck both TC and me as just weird. He is so not all over the place; there’s been like, two newspaper articles that have mentioned it, and when curiosity got the better of me and I googled his name, I’m sorry, but all that came up were one of the recent articles about him and another one from a couple years ago.

On the way home from church TC and I had a brief discussion on the whole “15 minutes of fame” idea, and it seems to us that not only are people eager to have their own 15 minutes at some point or other in their lives, but they have a real fascination with other people’s 15 minutes, too. As far as TC is concerned, he accepted a job offer to coach for a season, but for what seems like an awful lot of outside observers, what he’s doing is all about the celebrity status. Such as it is, I mean. This is still a pretty small pond, after all.

I guess in the 21st century, in the age of information access and New Media and all, people’s appetites for publicity and exposure and fame and celebrity have just exploded. So even if the topic is something ordinary, like the job you’ve done for the past 2 dozen years, if it’s out there for all the world to see, it’s by definition interesting. She said, posting on her blog for all the world to see …

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Missing my boy

Dropped Number One Son off at the airport last night, to take the long flight back to Our Nation’s Capitol to begin his third year of college. Well, two flights, actually. He expressed some reluctance to go (I sure know that feeling), but he’s awfully resilient and will be right back in the swing of things in no time, I’m sure.

(Just tried to check in with him on AIM; the away message says: “The party begins!” Sheesh. Even more “resilient” than I suspected.)

Plus I think his reluctance had a lot to do with what a good summer he had. I mean, a trip to Fiji, one to Maui, surfing nearly every day — who can argue with that? He gets credit for working two jobs — even though there wasn’t a whole lot of $$ earned — and the key thing as far as The Coach and I are concerned is it was emotionally smooth sailing. Which is something we haven’t been able to say for every time he’s been home in the past two years. Our M.O. is usually to butt heads over … well, anything, you name it, whenever he’s back occupying the room he grew up in, but this time: nothing. TC is particularly impressed with that stat, and it’s making NOS’s leaving that much more bittersweet, I think.

The thing is, we know NOS does have a tendency to be a bit of a drama queen (king, I guess), and sometimes we just have to take a certain amount of care, shall we say, around him in the interest of maintaining family harmony (and please leave off with your two-cents’ worth about how the parents call the tune and the children should dance to it, etc.). TC said to me earlier today, “It was a such good summer; no major blowups this time,” with such a tone of poignancy that I got a little choked up. It was a big step, a breakthrough for us, because as TC then added: our boy is growing up.

He’s a good boy (I use the term loosely, as he will reach the Magic Number five months from now and is less boy-like by the day), we couldn’t be prouder of him, and we miss him already. I’m praying for a good semester for him — socially, academically, personal growth-wise — and can’t wait to see him again in December.

"Foreign," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

A whole bunch of people are unhappy with a certain network journalist, who whined on Sunday that Barack Obama is vacationing in Hawai`i, acknowledging:

“And I know Hawai’i is a state. But it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be in Myrtle Beach if he’s going to take a vacation at this time.”

That was too much for our junior senator, Dan Akaka, who blasted back:

“Saying our 50th state is somehow ‘foreign,’ does a great disservice to the hardworking, patriotic Americans who call Hawai’i home … Hawai’i is a great U.S. destination; just ask the 5.5 million Americans who visited last year for business and pleasure.”

Other local folks backed him up, wanting to set Cokie Roberts straight while letting her – and presumably other Americans as well – know that her comments and the attitude underlying them are offensive to the people of Hawai`i.

To be honest, as someone whose hometown (and alma mater) is the same as Obama’s, being offended was not my first response. I thought it was kind of funny, actually. We’ve heard it so many times that I think a lot of us here in the islands are pretty thick-skinned about the whole Hawai`i-is-a-foreign-and-exotic-place meme, and not only do we not take much offense anymore (I mean, look, next year we’ll commemorate the 50th anniversary of our admission to the Union, for crying out loud, and we still have to put up with Mainland yahoos who can’t remember Hawai`i is a state), but I think a lot of us really kind of revel in it. Our foreignness and exoticism, that is. We like being different; we have no desire to be exactly like all our fellow citizens over there in North America. We’re not geographically connected to the other 49 states, and there are a whole lot of other ways we’re disconnected from them as well. And our little secret is: we like it that way.

And the flip side of the whole foreign-and-exotic issue is this: there are a lot of ways the Mainland U.S. and all its denizens seem pretty foreign and exotic to us. The food they eat, their way of life, how they conduct themselves at work and play – all can be ever-so-slightly different from the norms here in our Island culture. When we travel to the Mainland for vacation or to attend college or whatever, often it requires a real adjustment to our mindset, because life there feels so, well, foreign. We speak the same language, of course, but their English is ever so slightly different from ours, so we adjust our speech patterns a little bit so as to be understood and fit in. And we get used to eating their kind of food, even though it’s not really what we like best (their idea of rice? Please. Just … no, thanks), and we live in air conditioning instead of with the windows open, and keep our shoes on in the house – and we manage just fine. Happily, even. But I’m sure Mainlanders never know how weird it all seems to us, that inside we’re thinking, “all this stuff is just so foreign.”

My Big Project


Yesterday I received all the files I’m going to need to work on The Big Project in my life over the next six months. Talk about intimidating. I’m trying to remember that saying about, how do you eat a [something really big — that’s the part I forget], and the answer is, one bite at a time. I keep telling myself that I just need to focus on one little piece at a time and I’ll be fine, but it just keeps looking so … big.

Now, my tendency with these types of things is to go into avoidance/ procrastination mode, and that is surely the wrong thing to do here. I need to keep reminding myself that this is something I took on willingly, eagerly even, and I’ve got to honor the others involved (and in fact my own decision) to do my best with it even if I’m scared. Which I am. This is such a major administrative undertaking, and I feel so rusty and inadequate doing that kind of work. But I guess something in me believed, when I said “yes” to it in the first place, that I could do this, so maybe that’s what I need to hold on to.

Plus, a whole lot of prayer …

*Gulp* First Post

I don’t know why but I’m really nervous about this. I’ve been reading blogs for so long now that you’d think posting would just be such a natural, easy next step. But here I am, all freaked out with my palms sweating like someone’s going to give me a grade or something.

I think it’s because, in my mind, the very first post is this huge hurdle to get over, and all those years of thinking about it should result in this magnificent, profound result that the blogging world has just been waiting for all this time. Well. Clearly in my current state that’s not going to happen, so maybe if I just click on “publish” and get it over with, then I can just move on to whatever’s next and get on with doing this just like I’ve always done it.

And then in future posts, I won’t use the word “just” quite so often …