Samstag, 31. Mai 2008

ja! kinder und kultur

Today, while running errands, stymied by Bodum's rennovation and, in general slowed by tourists, I noticed that throughout the city were pockets of teens and young ones, playing music.
It is not as if music is never played in the streets of Zürich. Indeed, visiting fans of the Euro will be greeted by busking accordian and guitar players (though, if these musicians are in the "Fan Zone" their earnings will probably only be spendable on Coke and Carlsburg products) What surprised me was how many they were and how young they were. Finally, I stopped to get a closer look. A young group were just beginning a beautiful piece, all of them playing violin, in various levels of ability. They each had a sign on their music stand that said "JA!"
At first I thought that these sweet young musicians were just positive people. It was actually in that exact square when my path crossed the laughing day parade a few weeks ago. (I believe that I have already blogged about this unsettling group that march through the city forcing themselves to laugh the whole way.) A moment later my question was answered as two women approached me with clipboards and pamphlets and information on how I can vote in order to help these children recieve more funding for music instruction in their schools.
I shall now admit a guilty secret. Typically, when I am approached by anyone in the street with a clipboard and pamphlets I respond in my best Southern American accent "Ah'm sorry. Ah'm not from around here." his time, however, I took the information and thanked them for their efforts. The rest of my boring Saturday tasks had a lovely soundtrack and I was pleased.
Later, when speaking to my mother and describing it, I said "They were playing to stop the government taking away funding for music programs." I then needed to correct myself. That wasn't right. Their music stands had told us to vote "ja" on the proposition, afterall. I realized that in my american mind, I had instantly and automatically rebuilt the situation to fit what is now normal in the states. This idea of the arts as being irrelevant, when funding is concerned.

Montag, 12. Mai 2008

buttons and bells

My paternal grandfather once said that a woman could not be president because at a certain time of the month, she would push the button. I believed, at the time that "the button" had something to do with....some sort of irreversible military decision that is enacted by means of button-pushing. I can't be sure, however. Had I been a bit more aware as a child, I would have probably asked about the button. But then, I would have also probably pointed out that any woman old enough or accomplished enough to reach the race for the precedence, would probably be post-menopausal.

This morning I was listening to my podcast of NBC's Meet the Press and I am fairly sure that Clinton's Campaign Chairman was about to make the "tired" excuse for her again. This whole gross sound-bite in which Clinton seems to use "hard-working Americans" and "white Americans" interchangeably, was distressing. Terry McAuliffe merely said "It's been a long campaign."

Between McCain senility causing him to mistakenly referring to the wrong group in Iraq and Clinton being so tired that she wells-up, miss remembers a girl giving her a flower for sniper-fire and interchangeably referring to "hard-working Americans" and "white Americans", I think that I'll vote for the youthful and coherent Barack Obama.

Donnerstag, 8. Mai 2008

The Doctor is Out

It's spring time. The weather is warm and lovely
and children are happy to replace donning Rain trousers for sun cream. This afternoon I was out in the Kindergarten's garden with the little ones and was taxed. Terribly taxed. Every single
child had a good cry today. A few were crying because of exclusion, misunderstanding or sleepiness. Most, however, were first aid situations. They were so orderly about it. One accident after another.
Girl with broken arm, falls on other arm.
Push - Fall - mouth-whack. Most asked if, after the bleeding or tears had stopped, they may sit by me a moment. This means that almost the entire afternoon I was accompanied by a child breathing heavily: post-sobbing-sighing. I like to be a giver of comfort, but all of that suffering, however minor, is tiring.

Sonntag, 4. Mai 2008

Sitting in Idealneyachashna cafe

-No anymore, but I shall write about the experience.
It appears that traffic cops are some of the least trustworthy people in all of Russia. I can believe this even more after my experience in the Idealneyachshna cafe.

A tow truck appears on the corner of a busy street. He takes photos of one of two parked cars. One from each corner of the car. He passes from passenger to driver's side. Then he knocks on the driver's window of the car in front of that which he is photographing. He gestures further down the road. He looks pessimistic and then gives the driver a last warning shrug. I interpret this to mean "your funeral, buddy".

I attend to my tea.

I look up. A happy police officer watches as the first car, the photographed car, is pulled upon the tow truck. The warned driver of the other car looks disappointed, and then drives away.

I attend to my carrot cake.

I look up. A woman holds a video camera. A man sits in the would-be-towed car. It is being lowered back onto the street. The woman is recording this experience.
The car is now safely on the street. The waitress takes my crumb-covered plate. The driver mops his brow. Mops his eyes. Shouts a few select words. Mops his mouth. The truck and car both depart, both lighter and heavier than before.
We leave the cafe and look. The rest of the curb, that which was not visible from the cafe window. The curb is full with parked cars.