Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2/29/12: Leap Year

My word ledgers. Past posts have described this valuable tool, which, rather than a book of words that I've defined so that I may broaden my vocabulary, has become more of a Tarot or I Ching.

Example, today.

Exhibit A:

Two days ago, I finished studying one such ledger and then picked up a new one, it featuring a nifty string bookmark (why don't all books have these?). When I went to open it for the first time, I instinctively did so from this bookmark, which was set in its middle, randomly, from when I'd last gone through it.

Even though I wanted to start it from the beginning, I went with this funky middle placement. It felt very Right, in the distinct, characteristic way I've come to identify with these things.

Exhibit B:

Last night, I went to and noticed a little thing on their front page asking if you knew the word for inserting a day in a calender, which I did: "intercalate." Everyone knows that (everyone who reads my ledger, at least).

I clicked through the question, and it led to the definition for "intercalary." Close enough.

Exhibit C:

A maximizer, I read my ledgers over meals. This morning was no different. Halfway through my breakfast, however, I gave pause, on "intercalate."

On February 29th.

In a 200-page ledger containing a few thousand words.

When, two days ago, I'd started the ledger and opened it halfway, at the "wrong" place.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2/3/12: Onion

Ever realize something that's always been subconscious to you? Call it a revelation, a broadened awareness, eureka; whatever. Last night, I realized I like onion. Like it very much, in fact, as some people do chocolate or a choice drug. Crisp, zesty, domineering -- that's the onion.

This occurred to me over a friend's email and a dinner salad, which had onion in it but only a minority, as to allow only a few choice bites of oniony goodness, the non-onion bites providing the contrast necessary for me to appreciate my bulbed, eye-watering ally. After several sans-onion bites, I came up with a nice, comma-shaped slice of it, and that's when it hit me, all at once: I like onion. Love it, maybe. So count me as an onion lover, even if it one day gets something of a Star of David on my window.

The epiphany, while grand, did not interrupt the reading of my friend's email (my friend trumps onion, it seems). And then, there it was, in the very next paragraph down: "And as a side note. I love onions." My chewing stopped.


Now, my immediate response to this was "peripheral reading," a syndrome I am quite familiar with. It happens all the time when I'm writing: I'll come up with a brilliant, original, perfectly fitting word, only realize I'd used it halfway up the page, or was reading it off a web browser tab or something across the room. We do this, involuntarily and subconsciously, and, besides being exploited endlessly by advertisers and propagandists, it is a constant source for synchronistic false-positives, since the "supernatural" inspirations come from a source beyond your conscious awareness.

Except, I was eating onion before it happened. In the salad, my oniony bite, the necessary ingredient for my realization and its "chance" reiteration. Peripheral reading does not manufacture salads and put them in your mouth, oniony or otherwise.

Update, 2/16:

This one happened again, almost exactly the same: me eating dinner while catching up on email, the email written by the same friend, except this time it involved broccoli. I'd just taken a big bite of the stuff when no sooner did I read, " I think I'll go eat some broccoli." There were no thoughts of admiration as I did so, but still ...