Publication: Freedom — OCR - Placentia News-Times; Date: May 19, 2017; Section: News; Page Number: 3
WHAT A DAY
Reliving my glory days
I usually think of myself as kind of geeky when I was a girl. That term did not exist when I went to high school (also known as the Jurassic Period), but I was a student who loved to study and was good at it.
Geeks are also supposed to be bad at fashion and social situations, so I guess I don’t fully fit the description. I can blame my early fashion disasters on being poor and having a mother who considered Dolly Parton as a fashion icon.
Whatever social awkwardness I possessed, I grew out of it once I started dressing like a normal person.
But loving to study meant that I read anything I could and loved talking about it with my friends, who were as geeky as me. We discussed literature and art and science. We talked about political issues, although we were too young to vote.
We even managed to discuss religion in a way that didn’t make anyone defensive about which pew they sat in on Sunday morning.
I was reminded of this last week after a conversation with my son. As I was relaxing with a little TV, I got a message from him on my phone. It was a link to a website.
“Hey mom, can you help me with this poem? I really like it, but I don’t get the end.”
Suddenly, I was on the spot. Being a writer doesn’t mean I can interpret poetry at the drop of a hat. Could I rise up and discuss this piece of literature like I used to?
I read the poem and agreed, the last line confused me, too. After three or four more reads, I put my mystery-writing tools to work and investigated. It seemed the poet was an unfulfilled, depressed woman who wrote poems about unfulfilled and unrequited love.
This was one of those poems. And yet…
As Marcus and I discussed it further, we looked at the words she used and what else they could mean. The lover’s eyes were brown, unlike the eyes of her previous lovers. Could the color refer to the earth, to a road, to the grave?
The tone was certainly somber enough to lead us toward the abyss.
We continued to dissect the phrases and the language. It felt like picking up a puzzle piece, turning it all around, and comparing it to the rest of the puzzle before putting it into place. The discussion came easier as we passed ideas back and forth.
At last, we decided the poem was talking about the author herself, the one person she couldn’t have a good relationship with. The one person she couldn’t make smile.
When we had finished, I felt like I had run a literary marathon, tired but proud. I wanted to find another piece of fine writing and analyze it. I wanted to be that geek girl again.
I suppose spending every day talking about nothing but intellectual ideas would soon wear thin. I’d probably lose my sense of humor. It’s difficult to laugh about the dog eating one of your books when you’re trying to discuss that book with a group.
Still, Eleanor Roosevelt had a wise saying: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Every once in a while, I’d like my mind to be great.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].