Confessions of Ignorance, where Seana Graham is "Correcting My Limitless Lack of Knowledge, One Post at a Time." She keeps me from many a parlous mistake, although, alas, I go on and make many mistakes of my own. Hoping to be tactful, compassionate, and kind, I have too often in life said the wrong thing...or, the other side of this coin, been heard wrong. If my legacy were to be remembered as Miss Understanding, well, that, too, would be heard wrong.
I remember working on a board, hoping to solve a sticky personnel problem, and reassuring a colleague that I was "a pretty politic person" and could probably handle it. I meant "politic" in its political philosophy context, as judicious and having to do with the group's existing policy, looking out for the body politic, doing what's wise for the whole group, with connotations of prudence and being a good citizen. I later realized my colleague heard instead connotations of being "political" in the glad-handing, shrewd sense, saying what needs to be heard to get something done expediently, the cunning sense. The icky feeling of being misunderstood was compounded by the realization that somehow I had confessed to being worse than I probably am.
After a short silence, I said, in seeming complicity, "I guess so," which is what I always say now when what I must mean is, "I guess that is the way you see it, yes." My friend and colleague could only see me through the filter of her own literary ambition.
So it was with understanding, delight, and a parlous background feeling of vindication that I learned that poet Arielle Green Bywater (Given) is leaving her fulltime job in Chicago and moving back to Belfast, Maine, where she will feel part of a community that already loves and welcomes her, and live with her family a simpler life. I sense it is a whole-life decision, a choice to live according to principles and beliefs, and it helps me understand her poem "This is to Find Out About Something" in the book Brute Neighbors in a whole new way. Her poem ends, "Do not end with the wind or grey / that is the name Chicago."
And now I send you to parlous, part 2, Seana's account of a particular misunderstanding involving Santa Cruz, and her sense of the "Pacific being just a small pool."
And I send myself off to enjoy the sunshine and blue sky of this day, and the junior high state volleyball tournament, the joys and pleasures of my little life on this earth in this community, while they are here. They might not be here by 2:45 p.m., as many in Japan suddenly learned in the midst of their daily lives.