Friday, December 9, 2022

F ³: Memories of a Village

Free Form Friday. What a concept. I’m free to write about whatever I want. It should be easy, right?

Sometimes having no boundaries or expectations is harder than you think. I’m reaching way back today - - to December of 2011 - - because my brain is just grinding its gears this morning. And one other thing. It’s kind of creepy how relevant this is from a local standpoint, eleven years later.

Greetings from Santa’s Village (12/24/2011)

Just a thought before closing out 2011--some of you may remember that I won an I-Pad in an online contest from the generous folks at Patch at the beginning of this year.  It has certainly transformed my life.  I use it in my teaching, at Village Board Meetings, for blogging, and when I happen to be having dinner alone at The Second Chance.  But the most unexpected change in my life has come from apps.  Yes, the game sort of app.  I never thought I would be sucked in.  Famous last words.

Recently my husband suggested a cute little holiday app called "Santa's Village."  It is rather like "We Rule", in that you are forever building things and making things and so on.  But somehow this little thing has taken over my life.  It takes a very specific amount of time to make each kind of toy, and if you don't come back in time to collect it, these annoying little purple things, called Grumpkins, come in and destroy them.  And then you have to start all over.

For the first time in my life, I am prioritizing tasks according to how long they will take. Can I start this Toy Soldier now?  It might be finished while I am asleep. Should I accept the challenge to produce all those Rubber Duckies if I know they will come due while I am teaching?  I have even been setting timers, for heaven's sake, to avoid missing a toy "harvest."

What is particularly disturbing about this is that I would never do this in real life. I am a concept girl--a starter more than a finisher.  A procrastinator, a wishful thinker.  More touchy-feely than concrete sequential, if you will.  What has caused this change in my "it'll get done" philosophy of life?

Metaphor.  Yes, I suspect it's because I look at this little village and see multiple worlds. For example:

1. Santa and his elves are trying to build a better Columbia.  The Grumpkins are the naysayers who want everything to stay the same. 

2. Santa and his elves are the overly-abundant ruling party who are merely displaying their power-hungry desires through land-grabs and graft. The poor, misunderstood Grumpkins can do nothing but express their dismay over this untenable situation.

3. Santa and his elves are really big money developers.  The Grumpkins are devoted Pioneers, trying valiantly to preserve Jim Rouse's vision.

4. Those elves are renters, dagnabbit!  The North Pole just isn't the same since Santa started that affordable housing program. 

5. Santa and his elves are doing their best to provide for people who might otherwise be left out. The Grumpkins are disillusioned elves who think that it's nothing more than Socialism.

6. The app was created to train CA Reps how to relate to CA Staff.

7. The entire app is a metaphor for the Howard County School Board. (Choose your own particulars.)

I have promised myself that even if the app does not automatically shut down on Christmas Day, I am going to delete it.  I have too much living in the real world to do! 

Whatever holiday, religion, season, or reason--I wish you all joy, and happy times with the people you love.


Yes, I deleted the app. 

I still use metaphors in my writing to get my point across. Frequently.

It’s remarkable to me that, with the exception of nary a mention of the Howard Hughes Corporation, my list of “interpretations” remains pretty much the same after eleven years in Columbia/HoCo. 

Why is that?

Facebook tells me that eleven years ago I bumped into two fellow teachers at the Second Chance Saloon. I was rueing my decision to play Mrs. Santa Claus in the Sunday School Christmas program at church. My daughter had a Peabody Chorus rehearsal and then we watched Frosty the Snowman at home together. Those memories tell of so many changes in my life: I don’t teach anymore. There’s no more Second Chance Saloon. Children's activites at church have been limited since the onset of the pandemic. No programs, no pageants. My daughter is a senior in college and takes herself to her own rehearsals and gathers her college friends to her apartment to watch “old-school” Christmas specials.

How can so much have changed since 2011 and yet in Columbia/HoCo so much is the same-old, same-old? Yeah, I know.

There will always be Elves and Grumpkins. 

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