nnn .


JULY 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

I was born in July, and one day has never felt like enough to celebrate the marvel of existing in this form, so for years now I have been having adventures – my favorite gifts – on many of the days in the month of my birth. Some of the best, and occasionally the worst, are documented here.

2011 Portland, Oregon, USA
I have been thinking about respect and admiration, and how, while they are similar, they are not the same. Respect seems to me to start with a behavior, while admiration starts with an attitude.
Because I am determined to treat everybody with respect, I seem to end up feeling at least a grudging respect for pretty much anyone I am required to feel anything for. It is possible to lose my respect, but that takes some doing.
But my admiration for people doesn’t change how I behave toward them, unless a disclosure of the admiration counts. And it is possible to gain my admiration, but that also takes some doing.

2010 McLeod Ganj, India
Not all the adventures are successes. I've been hauling a keychain abacus around with me for a couple of years, asking people at random how to calculate on it, and they've suggested I check the web, where I spent half an hour for today’s adventure. I still don't get it. I like math, and I'm usually good at it. What's wrong?

2009 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
We never did get to the castle, but we saw the Jewish museum and the Sarajevo Brewery, where the water came from during the siege. After a tram ride out to the end of the line at Ilidza and back – on the three trams we took, two groups of inspectors asked to see our tickets – we went to the National Museum, where a storm was rumbling as we wandered through collections of butterflies and minerals. There was only a little rain, wetting the pavement and nothing more, before it moved on. It reminded me of all the time I spent in museums when I was a little girl.
I found a new letter in the Cyrillic alphabet, apparently a Bosnian letter. I saw it first at the National Museum, then later on a building with the same word in both the Cyrillic and the Roman alphabet so I was able to figure out its sound.
On to Serbia today, in this strange tour of former mortal enemies.

2008 Riga, Latvia
“Either you’re serious or you’re desperate,” I heard someone at the next table quote me. I don’t think this is exactly what I said, but I do think it’s true. I am not desperate, and I rarely have been, while I have always been serious, and hope always to be so.

2007 Granada, Nicaragua
A couple of adventures already, including one in my sleep, which was as delicious as I can remember, possibly because I washed the sheets, and that apparently discouraged whatever was biting me in the vicinity of my elbows, making me itch. So I feel rested, a new sensation of late, even though I awakened to a travel anxiety dream in which I was gathering up many of my possessions - except my clothes, which were in another place - at the time the plane was scheduled to take off. It was as if I had stepped inside somebody else’s consciousness for the length of this dream, although one of the dream people in attendance was even more optimistic than I was, telling me at 3:57 that I might still make a 4:00 flight. And then there was water, great gushing fonts of it, so I took a shower. Only in Nicaragua are water and electricity such sources of excitement.

2003 Blagoveshchensk, Russia
I heard a rumbling that wasn’t like any of the dozens of other rumblings I’ve heard here. I looked at the spot on Gorkovo St. where there’s a break in the trees, and a train of kvass tanks passed by, pulled by a tractor. I had wondered how all those kvass tanks ended up all over town, but had tentatively concluded that they were hauled one at a time, attached to trucks. But the kvass train – I wonder if they call it poezd kvasssa – reminds me of the Russian ingenuity for the simple that sustains my love for this difficult country.
I suppose I’ve been having a little adventure with pretending to be world-weary, and that’s fine, but I don’t want it to get so deep into my outlook that I no longer notice what makes this country Russia. When I first came here, I was telling Irina, I watched everybody carefully and tried to fit in. Now, I still notice, but I’m comfortable being the eccentric in public that I am in private. For Irina, sitting on the steps of a café, nibbling on stuffed eggplant from a different café was an adventure, so I added it to my list of adventures. Do you sense any disapproval, I asked her? No, she told me, only curiosity.
And yesterday at the Chinese dormitory, which is also a market, there was a program in English with Chinese subtitles, an adventure I could never have anticipated.

1999 Portland, Oregon, USA
David has been saying preposterous things about taking photos of Koosh balls in compromising positions, in bed with Gumby and his horse Pokey. He’s planning to scan the Koosh ball he named Luther into his computer. The idea of blackmailing Koosh balls still has me in stitches.

1998 Portland, Oregon, USA
I scrubbed the back porch yesterday, inspired by David’s mopping of the kitchen, hall, and bathroom floors, and when I peeked out there this morning, it looked shockingly cleaner. It’s hard to tell the difference when you’ve been on your knees over it for an hour, but apparently it’s easy enough the following day.

1991 Barview, Oregon, USA
I’ve been slinking around the edges of exhaustion all day but it’s been entirely worth it. I fell asleep with the radio on and was awakened by Musical Media Mayhem or whatever it’s called. Wow! It is the edge: controlled, violent, repetitive, evocative of sound tracks of horror movies, pounding, screeching, so unpleasant and verging on painful that I was really tempted to get up and turn it off, but I didn’t. I even fell asleep in the midst of it, relaxing at the edge of discomfort. Perhaps I will try writing while I listen to it some time, see what images it evokes.

1983 Bandon, Oregon, USA
We were planning to go out to eat, but Jim had some recording to do so I found myself waiting for him. I was not yet impatient, but I was prepared to be. Then, in the car on the way, he said he wanted to stop by the baseball field to see his son’s game. We sat there, and it began to seem like a long time, and I was cold and hungry and at the edge of irritability, when an idea came to me in exactly these words: You have to carry your enthusiasm with you. I’m not sure I would have understood these words if anyone else had said them to me, but they were my words, and they got my attention, and I dug a little deeper and found, if maybe not quite enthusiasm, at least forbearance.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012