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A brief post-exilic interlude

June 10, 2009

One of my friends recently asked me whether I missed writing about politics and economics lately. My response was kind of perfunctory: “No, this is my exilic period.” I mean, by the time local businesses are, in effect, receiving pink slips from the President of the United States, who of course has a perfect right since he is, after all, auditing the company’s budget, I have to say that I no longer know how things work here.

Today, I listened to one of the most important sermons I have ever heard, one on justice, preached by Pastor Tom Chantry of Christ Reformed Baptist Church (link is on my Links page), expositing on Isaiah 1. It is imperative that Christians remember what actually constitutes oppression, their duty to stand against true oppression, and what it means to do justly and defend the weak. There isn’t much more I can say to this until I’ve thought about it for the rest of my life. Anyway, I think I’m more in a thoughtful, quietly active interlude than true exile. But listen to Tom Chantry.

It is true that I don’t know how things work. It doesn’t particularly bother me very much when I use Chrysler and GM interchangeably in the same sentence. I think it must horrify my husband, who stays on top of everything, but I don’t have to make excuses for myself; he gallantly makes them for me. “No one knows what’s going on with these things,” he’ll say. That actually seems terrifyingly plausible. So exile seems somehow more reputable a refuge than stupidity.

Speaking of stupidity, my elite professional version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 just crashed. It seems that the incantation, “minimize window,” which frequently triggered a freeze unto death when invoked in Internet Explorer in the regular version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, still works its evil spell intermittently in the professional version. This requires a fair amount of hands touching keys to perform the necessary end task routine, depress the button of death, and reboot. The whole point of using Dragon NaturallySpeaking in its finest form is to avoid touching keys, because such action fried the user’ s hands in the first place, plunging said user into the murky realms of reliance upon voice-recognition software.

No one sees what I see. If I’m trying to describe the location of an object, I’ll say, for instance, “mouse grid five.” “Mouse grid” is a Dragon NaturallySpeaking navigation command. Just to type those words, I have to give other commands to cause the program to type the command, rather than to comply with the command. I’ve also noticed that my voice, never particularly inflective, now tends to remain in a low monotone preferred by my voice-recognition software. However, when the mouse runs away and refuses to obey a command, I admit to yelling, “Stop!” repeatedly in a volume not preferred by my voice-recognition software. This is highly ineffectual. But it doesn’t matter, because there is no other remedy anyway. I just try to remember that cuneiform evolved into mass-market paperbacks.

Our garden looks more established than I feel. The grapevine my husband planted from a sprig and trained to our deck lattice two years ago is now a fruitful vine sprawling across the lattice, and we will be able to pick bunches of grapes from our very deck at summer’s end. Nasturtiums he started from seed in our greenhouse now bloom and trail from hanging baskets on the deck. The colors and the future fruits delight me. I no longer mind the weeds that prosper from my lack of puttering. My presence in the garden has simply taken on a new phase and I enjoy it in a new way. That is what limits teach us: that we have to find new ways to do things.

  1. Vic permalink
    June 10, 2009 10:20 am

    Double Fie on Dragon! For some reason, the first thought I had was how unrealistic Star Trek was.

    Captain Piccard says “Computer, Earl Grey, Hot.”

    And he gets a Merl Grey Pup.

  2. June 10, 2009 10:25 am

    Oh, scenes we’d like to see!

  3. kamelda permalink
    June 11, 2009 12:03 pm

    Lauren this was a cheering thing to read: you’re right that we learn a new way of having joy in things when we’re forced to focus on fewer peripherals — I mean, peripheral to *us* though no doubt central to something or someone else. Only God is big enough to focus on everything & have no ‘peripherals’; what a relief to be a creature and accept the limitations He gave us, and fit where He placed us, and enjoy the garden.

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