Category: society

THE SZENTENDRE TRAIN – part 1 of 30

I took the Szentendre train twice each week.  Early Monday mornings I stood at the station near my home and waited for the train to take me into Budapest, where I was an assistant professor of anatomy at Semmelweis University.  Friday evenings I caught a train back to Szentendre.  Between the two short train rides, my life was bland, grey, boring, and repetitive.  In Szentendre I did my grocery shopping in the open market and prepared my meals for the week in the city. I was able to rent a cheaper flat in the city if I didn’t need cooking facilities.  In Budapest I spent most of my time in my flat, and the rest of my time with my students.

Last autumn I began to wonder about my life.  I had been on vacation for the summer, and the return to the routine of city life and work was objectionable to me.  Weekends at home were no better.  Lonely days and nights, some so lonely I just sat around my house and cried for hours.  It took all my will to go to the train station in Szentendre that first Monday morning in September.  The usual scattering of people was there, waiting for the train to Budapest.  I kept my eyes down as always.  I was not in the mood for idle small talk.  My spirit was in turmoil.  I wanted to be left alone, to avoid social contact.  At the same time, I wanted love, affection, attention, and sex.

My husband… my former husband… was a dentist.  He had run off with his office assistant three years before.  I didn’t see it coming, and it put me into a deep depression.  I wasn’t interested in anything, and I simply buried myself in my work. It had not always been so, but I was thirty-nine years old, living alone and longing for love.  I would have settled for any old fool of a lover, just to be touched by a warm, tender hand again.  I was grey.  My hair, my complexion, and my spirit were all grey.  I was a colourless lump of average looking, depressed, slightly overweight middle-aged female meat, and I felt like shit.

Nothing Is Balanced

I live in a seedy little village in the midst of fertile farmland. The nearest shopping is about 20 minutes’ drive away, so I go up and down the secondary two-lane several times each week. Enjoying the quiet, scenic drive, I get to thinking. For instance; although there are vast, cultivated fields lining the highway, there are also massive stands of trees. Deciduous and coniferous trees, growing like weeds by the millions.

I remember being unhappy when I learned that a European country, locked in a horrible war, was suffering through a cold winter. The news said people were breaking up their furniture and their house interiors to burn for desperately needed heat and cooking. At the same time, I’m driving along thousands of kilometers of road, and forests sit idle on both sides, proliferating each spring.

It’s out of balance. One society has none, another society has an excessive abundance.

I know a woman of extraordinary beauty, from flowing hair to tiny feet. She’s also wealthy, thanks to a successful father and a successful ex-husband. Unfortunately she is without intelligence. She’s actually stupid. Somehow, it’s out of balance.

I know another woman, plain, poor complexion, rather square torso and stumpy legs. From a simple, working-class family, she works at a menial job, in a windowless space where she is seldom seen or heard from. She’s bright, intelligent, well read and reliable. She’s out of balance, within herself and compared with the stupid beauty.

Some places are flooded with water, other places can’t find water. Some people are starving in streets or in wilderness. Other people have food available on all sides. Some is free, most is inexpensive. There is no balance.

Any of us could go on at length about imbalance. In fact, there is no balance, ever.

The Victim Is Not The Sinner

David was grumbling aloud. David is an uptight guy. He needs any reason or no reason, but he’s always nervous. Apparently his mother was severely depressed, and it was a burden on David while he was growing up.

David had just given $20 to an old man at the door. The man claimed to be a rabbi without a congregation, and was hoping to create a synagogue. Now David was grumbling. He was thinking, what if the guy wasn’t a real rabbi? What if he just takes the $20 and buys a small bottle of gin and a cheap hooker.

I wanted to give David some relief, if I could. I pointed out that he’d done nothing wrong. In fact, he’d done an  act of gracious generosity, which is a good thing and it was the right thing to do. If the man is a liar, he has sinned. David, however, was honourable, and has not sinned. The victim is not the sinner.

If someone disappoints you, and does something against you, don’t blame yourself. You’ve done nothing wrong. You are the victim and your antagonist is the sinner.

Most People My Age Are Dead

I plagiarized Gloria Steinem for this title. She’s about 82 now, and still attractive. I am finding old age quite fascinating. I’m my own research subject. Throughout my life, I never contemplated or even thought of myself as becoming elderly. Now that I’m here, with eight decades to look back at, it can be fun.

One thing that’s interesting is learning of the deaths of people one has known over the decades. Some of the people who have passed evoke feelings of sadness; sometimes regret sometimes happiness, sometimes satisfaction or even relief. Living an active, varied life for a long time teaches one many lessons through many adventures and more importantly, misadventures.

I’m not concerned at all about my inevitable death. Still, it interests me to not how many people pass away while I live on. My first wife died the other day. She was three years younger than I am. I’ve also learned that two of the nicest girls I dated in high school died several years ago. Also an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years died in ’03, I just learned. He owed me money. I guess that’s why I hadn’t seen him in years.

I realized I could look through obituaries and see who I’ve outlived. There was a new president brought in at a large, international company for which I worked. The new president was uncomfortable that a major client was deeply dependent upon me, and trusted my judgement completely. I guess he feared I’d take the client to another agency, so he set out to oust me. One by one, my clients where bled away from me until I was let go. The group head that had to tell me, thanked me for how I’d elevated his career.

I searched obits for those guys and a few others, and learned that I’ve outlived all of them. I even found out that a false friend that had backstabbed me, died of a massive heart attack twelve years ago.

So on I go, gradually outliving friends and enemies along the way. It’s kind of cool.

Most People My Age Are Dead

I plagiarized Gloria Steinem for this title. She’s about 82 now, and still attractive. I am finding old age quite fascinating. I’m my own research subject. Throughout my life, I never contemplated or even thought of myself as becoming elderly. Now that I’m here, with eight decades to look back at, it can be fun.

One thing that’s interesting is learning of the deaths of people one has known over the decades. Some of the people who have passed evoke feelings of sadness; sometimes regret sometimes happiness, sometimes satisfaction or even relief. Living an active, varied life for a long time teaches one many lessons through many adventures and more importantly, misadventures.

I’m not concerned at all about my inevitable death. Still, it interests me to not how many people pass away while I live on. My first wife died the other day. She was three years younger than I am. I’ve also learned that two of the nicest girls I dated in high school died several years ago. Also an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years died in ’03, I just learned. He owed me money. I guess that’s why I hadn’t seen him in years.

I realized I could look through obituaries and see who I’ve outlived. There was a new president brought in at a large, international company for which I worked. The new president was uncomfortable that a major client was deeply dependent upon me, and trusted my judgement completely. I guess he feared I’d take the client to another agency, so he set out to oust me. One by one, my clients where bled away from me until I was let go. The group head that had to tell me, thanked me for how I’d elevated his career.

I searched obits for those guys and a few others, and learned that I’ve outlived all of them. I even found out that a false friend that had back-stabbed me, died of a massive heart attack twelve years ago.

We Are Not The Ultimate

We must consider the power of infinity and eternity. Given the endlessness of these two factors, the truth is that anything, any event, any moment, any product can happen, and it will. With limitless time and limitless distance, the evolution of the universe will continue far beyond our measly scope. We see ourselves at the top of the pecking order; we kill jungle cats and rhinoceroses, we build elegant towers into the clouds, we explore the moon and other celestial bodies. Yet, we are just one tiny rivulet in the relentless flow of time and distance.

We chase property, we covet jewellery, and we build mansions as if we are to be here forever. The fact is, our time on Earth has been but a blink, compared to the vast evolution that has taken place. Earth, air, and water has brought us to this level of intelligence and ingenuity. The mistake that many people make is the idea that we, here and now, are the pinnacle of development.

circleoflife

Most of us are familiar with the graphic that we see of human development from Neanderthal to homo sapiens. Few of us think about the continuation of the little line of people that evolve from apelike to a person standing tall and proud. Most of us clamour for prosperity plus. Multiple homes, multiple cars, and a life of luxury amid sumptuous surroundings is the goal. The fact is, we’re taking in and putting out more than we need to, and more than we should. If the world were to suddenly end, the billionaire and the homeless wretch would each be equal amounts of doo-doo.

I know people who possess great amounts of property, power, and wealth. I know people who choose to live simply, earn a good living and enjoy their time. Ninety percent of the time, the simple life encourages happiness. Most of the time, the acquisitive people are stressed and unhappy. We take our chances when we make our choices on how to live our individual lives.

The Strippers’ Dressing Room

We’ll call her Morissa, because that’s the name she chose to use when she danced. She was not very nervous, the first time she performed. She knew that she moved well, she knew that she was beautiful, and she was an exhibitionist by nature. Still, her illogical courage led her to make her living with her natural attributes.

She began her career at ‘Le Strip’, in downtown Toronto. It was an upstairs theatre setting. Not a bar. In a bar, the girls were incidental to the drinks, and within reach of the drunks. The girls at ‘Le Strip’ were on stage individually, in the spotlight all the time. They chose their own music, usually the latest hard rock. Morissa was different, and chose some swinging Frank Sinatra, and Count Basie music.

One bad thing about ‘Le Strip’ was the lack of a rear or stage entrance. It was above some stores on Yonge Street. A person, dancer or customer, had to mount the long, narrow staircase to the box office. The route to the dressing room led all the way across behind the seats. The dressing room was at the opposite end, and some men would not take a seat, but stand in the dim light at the back wall, so they could get a close look at the girls as they came and went.

Morissa’s first task was to make the gauntlet run, from the top of the long stairway to the dressing room across the theatre. She kept her face away from the back wall of voyeurs and looked at the girl that was on the stage. She was just finishing her set, and removed her tiny pubic covering and strode around showing pubic hair. She strode back across the stage to the dressing room stage entrance and paused, turned to the audience, and spread her legs to reveal her vagina for several seconds before she darted into the dressing room.

Two seconds later, Morissa entered the dressing room from the other door. The dancer that just left the stage was glistening with sweat. She picked up a white towel to wipe herself down and looked over at Morissa.

“Who are you?” she said.

“Call me Morissa. Do we have to do that?” she said.

“Do what?” the dancer said, while she wiped sweat from between her breasts.

“Show our… uh… private places.” A black girl in a cotton robe was sitting on a stool at the cosmetics counter.

“There ain’t no private parts here, honey.” She laughed and took a long toque on a thick joint. The marijuana fragrance flowed through the air.

The drying dancer was naked, moving down the length of the room to the shower at the far end. She called over her shoulder to answer Morissa’s question.

“No, honey, you can if you want to. This is a theatre, so showing your honeypot is legal, and we get a $25 bonus if we do it for a few seconds. They’d jail you if you did it in a bar.” The black girl blew a cloud of fragrant smoke into the air and beckoned to Morissa.

“Come over here, honey. Take the chair next to me.” Morissa did that, and put her costume bag on a back shelf.

“Maybe I should change my name to Honey,” Morissa said.

“She calls everybody Honey,” said a third girl. She was dressed and prepared to go on stage. She walked to the stage door, and when she heard her music come booming through the wall, she darted out the door and began her routine.

Morissa dug into her bag and withdrew first her cosmetics. These she arrayed randomly on her counter space before the huge mirror. The mirror was surrounded with light bulbs. She chose her layers of costume, one by one. She put them on carefully. She had practiced several times, to be assured that she wouldn’t make a fool of herself in the spotlight.

Morissa sat with the black girl, who still wore only her robe. It fell open, and that was ignored because it didn’t matter. Morissa learned that she was called Blue, and that she was transsexual. They passed a joint back and forth. Blue assured Morissa that the smoke would improve her routine, and she’d enjoy it more. They heard a burst of applause as the dancer on stage finished her routine with a revealing spread that earned her $25 for 5 seconds of exposed vagina.

Morissa prepared for her first performance. She was eager to see the smiling, eager faces in the audience, as they appreciated her body and her dancing. Of course, she planned to expose her vagina. She didn’t care about the $25 bonus. She enjoyed the rush of excitement she gets when she’s sexually bold, anywhere in her life.

Her music began. Frank Sinatra sang, “You Make Me Feel So Young”. Morissa flung the stage door open and strode on her long legs into the spotlight at center stage.