One of the scariest things I can imagine is ending up completely batshit insane. I don't mean becoming a spinster and living in a dilapidated house with dozens of stray cats and singing scary little tunes to myself. With the way dating life has been going the last couple of years... well let's just say it's good I like cats. What scares me are the prospects of visions, voices, and paranoia. What I chills me is the idea I could be so disconnected from reality that every encounter is met with distrust and fear from at least one side. As if the mind were a maze and connections with loved ones were bearing within it, I'm scared of loosing my way and being irrevocably lost.
And yet, when I meet a seer, a visionary, a person who thinks they hear the voice of god and feel the need to disseminate their knowledge, i.e. the end is near, I feel a begrudging yet deep-seated respect for them. While I fear that I will become like that one day, I also admire their candor and their lack of regard for what we are all thinking (Crazy on the loose over here!!!)
Here is exhibit one:
this is a student at one of my schools. These are his newest dance moves. I was totally impressed and tried not to laugh too much as I was taking the video with my cell phone. After this performance, apparently he fell asleep in class. He's retired and now is studying both English and Korean. He has a plan, well I'm sure he has many plans, but I am savvy to three of them.
1) After mastering Korean, any day now, he will become a diplomat and unite North and South Korea. After all, this is going to happen any day, what with the threat of nuclear war and all, so it shouldn't be hard for a man of his charisma and obvious dance technique to get the leaders to get over their minor squabbles. All that’s needed is his genuine smile and a little comic relief. Naturally, after this he will win the Nobel Peace Prize.
2) He loves singing, especially traditional Japanese songs, and often carries around a pink plastic microphone that looks like it came from a 100yen (85 cent) store. Soon, as soon as his English reaches past mere 'How are you?' 'I'm fine,' he will go to America and become the new pop sensation. As far as I can tell, this sensation of burning (talent) will be either in Hollywood or Nashville. I'm not sure 'merica is ready for his type of sexy heat... though his dance routine is kinda refreshing, yeah?
His plan to rise to American star does not involve him alone. In fact, he seems to think I am an integral part of this plan. He’s decided I am a great teacher because, so far, the three year olds have more impressive grasp of English than he does-- though they've probably been going to English classes longer. In fact, I am on the short list to be his manager for USA stardom. He carries a pocket-handkerchief that looks vaguely like an American flag and always shows it off to me. My Americanness and my convincing smile and not mean that I'm the ideal manager. In fact, I think this short list only has one name on it. Amazing where these adventures take me.
3) Despite being retired, he is in good physical health, from all we can see at least. In fact his health is so good, he plans to compete in the next Olympics. I think he believes they will be in ‘merica (I don’t know, will they?) and conceives me to be his manager for this endeavor as well. Success will soon be ours, after a little karaoke, of course.
But despite the sarcasm and despite the coddling of this crazy guy, I have a certain fondness for him. I stop what I'm doing and come say 'hi' when he comes in twice a week. He is paying for enough private lessons that his lesson fees are probably on level with my apartment’s rent. I hope he has friends who he doesn’t pay for. I don't envy his teacher, but I am glad to have met him and shared a couple of dances and songs. His craziness is kind of lovable and infectious. I feel inspired that there is at least someone who believes that Korea can be united AND has a childlike vision of winning in the Olympics. Even if I think he's nuts for believing it, I'm glad he does. There is a transparency in some crazy people and in some children that becomes so lacking as we grow older and more 'mature.' As if we pull our hearts so far back from our sleeves we forget to consult them. As if we are so good at lying to our friends and co-workers with that simple ‘I’m fine, you?’ that we lose sight that it doesn’t mean anything and that we aren’t saying anything worth saying anymore. While Dancing Dude’s conception of rising in the American Pop charts may have some major details that need to ironed out, his invitation for all of us to rise to the top with him seems absolutely genuine, even if it was just genuine for the moment.
As Alix Olson says, in her funky 'Popcorn and Laughter' (http://www.alixolson.com/lyrics/BLT_popcornandlaughter.html) about 'a man on the subway singing Amazing Grace looking out the window like he don't belong this place... laughing his Jack Daniels' laugh, head thrown back, eyes laughing... '
we've all got these hidden lives
that's why crazy folk got shining eyes
we take our lies and hold them up as true
they take what's inside and let it shine through
is kinda crazy sometimes
I walked out to the subway yesterday, after being woken at 4am by an earthquake and in a daze made from too many thoughts and not enough sleep. It was the smoggiest day in Tokyo I've ever seen. I looked at the horizon; layer after layer of sky scrapers and houses faded into the gray brown sky and one clear rose in my mind. "Maybe the nuclear bomb has fallen" I thought to myself without any sense of irony or sarcasm or surprise. Maybe today's the day the world ends.
It was shocking for such thought to surface, inspired by current events, earthquakes and smog. It was shocking because it felt so simple and logical with the world being so crazy and spinning so out of control these days. Yet, since the missile and nuclear tests, I don’t feel anymore collective unease in the commuters and students than before. People don’t seem to be quieter or edgier. Everyone is reading the newspaper with the same intensity as before. It’s as if we can’t be any more worried about it. The situation seem both completely out of hand and out of our individual hands that in the end it leaves almost no impact.
so yeah, truth is kinda crazy.
So, if you need cheering up after this depressing post, here are two sindicated videos that really inspired me. My friend and I are planning a similar Tokyo experiment. When it happens, the video will certainly be posted.