Friday, October 30, 2009


Anyone over the age of 21 knows that time passes at different rates of speed based on your age. When you're a kid waiting for Christmas, the month of December is at least two centuries long. If you're the mom organizing the family's holiday observance, it's about two days. And by the time you're my age, the whole dang year from one Christmas to next seems to fit within one 24-hour news cycle.

A related concept is the different rates at which we age. I trudge along from one year to the next, and so do the people around me every day. But people I don't see frequently, particularly young'uns, remain frozen in time, shocking my socks off when I'm forced to face the reality that they, too, have taken a few journeys around the sun, just like me.

Such has been my pondering through the month of October, as my son turned 30, the son of a dear friend turned 16, and Grace Slick, lead singer of late 60s psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, turned 70.

The fact that my son has reached the age of distrust -- a reference no one under the age of 50 today will even recognize -- is not a surprise, since I do see him every so often, mostly when he is out of quarters for the coin laundry or food in the refrigerator. The fact that the past 30 years passed so quickly is cause for wonderment -- it really was just yesterday he was on my shoulder, being burped -- but not a nerve-jangling jolt.

The fact that my friend's son is 16 is more of a shock. To me, he's a bump in his mother's pregnant belly. At most, he's the precocious grade-schooler at a long-ago Saturday evening picnic/party, not a teenager with car keys and license to use them.

The fact that Grace Slick is 70 -- s-e-v-e-n-t-y -- is utterly beyond my mental grasp. She can't be 70, jowly and white-haired, as her "today" picture on her Wikipedia page suggests. No, she's the sultry, outspoken ex-model who made men drool and whose distinctive vocals on White Rabbit and Somebody to Love provided the backdrop to my discovery of beer as a college freshman.

If she's 70, what does that make me?

Running out of moments to live in, that's what. Time to get busy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ugly moment

Driving home from work this evening, I came to an intersection two blocks from my house -- one that's on my daily dog-walking route -- and encountered quite a scene. A dozen or so otherwise normal looking people, including a few children, were gathered on the corner waving signs that commanded the attention of passersby.

"God hates fags," said one. "God hates Jews," proclaimed another. "Jews killed Jesus." "Obama is a beast." "Bitch burger" (huh?) And "God is the enemy."

I'm not sure what God hating Jews and gay people has to do with Obama or burgers of any sort. I've made enough trips around the sun to know that it's a phenomenal waste of time trying to make sense out of the nonsensical. But I work in communications, so I can't help but try, when I encounter an organized effort such as this, to figure out what action the organizers hope to inspire. For the life of me, I can't fathom what they were protesting, why they were in my neighborhood, or what onlookers to this scene were supposed to do with this mish-mash of foulness, other than dismiss its perpetrators as hateful beings.

It scares me to know that people like this are out and about in society, and that they bring children with them to pass the revulsion along to succeeding generations. I'm less charitable than another small group that had gathered on the opposite corner with hastily hand-drawn signs noting that "God loves everybody, even these guys."

But I also believe in free speech, even when it's offensively spewed. So I'll support their right to spew it

But I took another route for my evening walk with Otis.