Saturday, October 14, 2006

What's In a Name?

Shakespeare asked and answered himself by talking about roses. I once had a lit professor who, tongue in cheek, I think, said Poe was not a good poet because he needed a "t" at the end of his name ... So my name's been Calender all my life. I don't know if my sense of season and attention to anniversaries of various sorts is unusually keen. Probably not. But the season has announced its change this week, from 80s Monday and Tuesday to crisp 50s the last two days. And I'm knee deep in the seasonal drawer and closet revision. In a small NYC apartment out of season stuff needs to be stowed out of sight/reach .. top shelf, back off closet, under the bed, hide the clutter.
Handing off these four quilt postcards for the project to have NYC cards for sale at the planned quilt show in the spring did not significantly unclutter my work space. They are, I must say, somewhat prettier than the picture because there is glitter both on the apples and in the windows of buildings that did not photograph well.
In the course of closet cleaning I discovered what I've done with the majority of my star quartet wall quilts so I decided to take a few to show and tell. Some habits get so ingrained in us as teens they rear their heads even when they seemed to have been overcome half a life ago. That physical feeling of mild panic before speaking in public was back -- but milder, no dry mouth, no butterflies in the stomach. But I'll bet my blood pressure was up.
On the subway ride home I meditated on why someone who's conducted many public meetings, speechified to similar size gatherings nevertheless reacts viscerally to a non-threatening situation as if it were a threat. Because a psychological threat is always there! The matter is, metaphorically, in that apple with the bite out of it. Eve's legacy -- never mind the good and evil part of the story. [Of course they exist but they are often a matter of definition]. The real reason Adam and Eve suddenly grabbed the fig leaves has nothing to do with modesty. The loss of innocence is realizing that externals, superficials always affect the way others see us. No one will ever totally know us from the inside out. We will be judged often not for who we are but for something beyond our control, how the other needs to see us.
On one level, I do not care what those women think of me or my quilts; However I toted the quilts to the meeting, didn't I? To share. Not for charity toward them, but for my own ego. I offered myself, not nakedly {heaven forbid!] but to be judged by their individual standards. The group is too big to be warm as a small group would be. This is only the second time I've done show & tell ... I'm feeling ambivalent about it ...
I think one reason people don't feel old when they're beyond AARP age is that these residues of youth haunt us. They're not all uptight like stage fright; some are the need to twirl around the coffee table when the radio is playing The Blue Danube or start singing to Sousa, "be kind to your fine feathered friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother .." etc. So I'm still capable of stage fright, it's simply part of the package.

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