"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

cheese therapy

We started to watch a movie last night called "My Life Without Me," about a 23-year-old mother of 2 who lives in a trailer with her underemployed boyfriend, works as a janitor, and finds out that she has some kind of horrible aggressive cancer. Which then (according to the Netflix summary) prompts her to start really living and doing all those things she always wanted to do. The movie has Deborah Harry in it and seemed like it should be good, if heavy in some ways, but I couldn't watch it past the first 10 or 15 minutes. It wasn't the cancer issue that really stressed me out (though it's a plenty scary subject), but rather the family of 4 living in a tiny trailer...in my brain, their intake was on my desk and somehow I had to help them with their lack of functional plumbing and heating facilities or denial of Medi-Cal coverage.

Then later when I was trying to fall asleep I couldn't make my brain stop thinking about clients--real ones, not fictional movie characters--in that whirling, pointless fashion as it does sometimes when I'm trying to sleep. It occurred to me, why don't I try to fixate my brain on something else, something soothing yet complex and visceral enough to engage with, and somehow I started thinking about cheese.

I first thought about camembert and all my experiences of it, about the rind and how it looks powdery on the outside; how some people don't like the rind but I do, as long as there is enough middle remaining to go with the rind; how we had camembert sandwiches when I was in France, how I used to buy it in little round wooden containers when I lived in Strasbourg...then I thought of the big blocks of orange cheddar we always had when I was growing up, and I thought about eating gouda (the kind that came in red wax, and tasted slightly waxy) and summer sausage while hiking with my dad.

You can really go deep with cheese. I started feeling calmer immediately. After thinking about camembert for awhile, I decided to try to think of types of cheese for every letter of the alphabet. Had to skip "A" because I couldn't think of an A-cheese. Of course when I told Celia about this today, she replied, "Asiago." As if she'd been thinking about it ahead of time. Now, "American" comes to mind as well. It would be hypocritical of me to exclude it after all those family car trips with our Kraft Singles and some various cans of squeezy cheese I may have once purchased and consumed as an adult.

I don't remember getting past Havarti before I dozed off, so I was spared the dilemma of whether or not to include "Velveeta."

It's a three-day weekend and with just a little more time between me and my most recent work day, I think I can try again with that movie. The other DVD we just received from Netflix, "NFL Greatest Follies," might be a good chaser.

No comments: