May 11, 2008

From a flea-market to Diamonds and Coal

Took advantage of a grey and eventually rainy day to head up to Baltimore for lunch at Bertha's-- mussels, a side of sauteed spinach, and a really lousy yet somehow delicious bread (had to be the garlic and caper butter I kept dipping it in). With the accoutrements of my meal and a good book spread out on the table in front of me, I was quite contented, which makes the thoughts that sprang into my head all the more perverse (though that should come as no surprise).

When it comes to aphrodisiacs, oysters are the shellfish most universally called to mind. But I've come to believe that mussels are a quite overlooked candidate for that categorization. Have you ever really looked at one? They're distinctly, specifically, female in appearance, if ya know what I mean, down to almost the last anatomical detail. And when drenched in warm butter, which always ends up dripped down the chin on the way into the mouth... As a heterosexual woman, I sometimes find it to be quite an, ahem, interesting experience to dine on them. But they're a gustatory indulgence I've come to associate with the edgy seediness of Baltimore and Fells Point, and Bertha's is a wonderful place in which to consume them-- Old and dimly-lit, with deep green walls (that match the exterior) and aged wood floors, and full of an odd-ball collection of vintage paintings and prints hung at sometimes cock-eyed angles. I haven't eaten anything there besides the mussels and spinach, but the rest of the menu must be better than decent, considering the place is pretty much always full and has been that way for a couple of decades.

The Full Moon Saloon's seen better days

Planned new shopping development: The beginning of the end for Fells Point

Patterson Park pagoda, north of Fells

Wandered through a flea-market on the square at the end of Broadway on the way over to Daily Grind, at which I found an Incubus lyric scrawled on the wall of the ladies room. Speaking of Incubus, it's been a few posts since I've used one of their songs as an excuse for my ramblings, so bear with me...

Diamonds and Coal

If it’s good to complicate,
then both of us are doing fine.
Just keep your eyes on your part &
leave me alone to mine.
If it’s good to instigate,
we’re a fast horse, bet on us.
I’m not calling you an animal,
I think we just fight too much.

Come on, in spite of this we’re doing just fine
Even diamonds start as coal.

We’re both aligned in framed of mind
but circumstance got us good.
And now you’re seeing a side of me
I wished no one ever would.
Yeah, if it’s right to pick a fight,
we’re fingers in a sugar bowl.
Love isn’t perfect,
even diamonds start out as coal.

Come on, in spite of this we’re doing just fine
Even diamonds start as coal.
Give us time to shine
Even diamonds start as coal.
We’re incomplete & infantine
Even diamonds start as coal.

Give it time girl, the fire feels divine.
The sweetest things,
they burn before they shine.
We think way too much,
look at us losing touch!
A promise is a promise, I'm told…

Yeah, in spite of this we’re doing just fine
Even diamonds start as coal.
Give us time to shine
Even diamonds start as coal.
We’re incomplete & infantine
Even diamonds start as coal.

This is unfortunately not one of their better tunes, yet it's been stuck in my head for a few days now (which is the unfortunate part). It's quite catchy and the vocals are smooth and mellow, but the lyrics leave much to be desired. I mean, count the cliches, would'ya? The man's a hell of a poet, but fast horses and sugar bowls as metaphors? Brandon, babe, what were you thinking? Even when he drops an occasional weak lyric, though, there's always at least one pithy line that jumps out and takes on a meaning for me that's oftentimes unrelated to the main theme of what he's written.

"And now you're seeing a side of me I wished no one ever would..."

We've all got that side, don't we? Those silly habitual reactions that we'd like to disown. But how many of us face them? How many of us are even consciously aware of them? For many, qualities like immaturity, pettiness, spite, and cruelty are acted out without us even realizing it. We act, or react, without seeing our own behavior, without recognizing the shadow within. What's even worse is when we slip into projection:

...Jung also noted that, instead of repressing or denying the shadow, we may also project the shadow onto others, attributing to other people those nasty, unsavory qualities that we would like to deny in ourselves. Shadow projection can thus result in paranoia, suspiciousness, and a lack of intimacy, all of which afflict individuals, groups, even entire nations. Far from solving the problem, shadow projections act only to exacerbate the troublesome quality of this dark side of our soul, injecting a kind of poison into interpersonal relationships through self-righteous denial and distorted perceptions.
(A Guided Tour of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Robert H. Hopcke)

Part of what I enjoy about this blog is that it's a journal of sorts, providing the opportunity to analyze my own character and intentions throught the prism of my experiences and the music I listen to. I've wondered more than once just how honest I care to be in these posts. I'm only aware of a handful of people who read them, and I have no idea how frequently those few do so. But this site might have been discovered by dozens of bored and anonymous intarweb surfers who have found my words moving, thought-provoking, amusing, annoying, or just plain ignorant. I'll likely never know. It's enough, though, to give pause and make me feel a tad self-conscious. Do I want a bunch of virtual strangers to see that "side of me I wished no one ever would"? Or is this the place to explore my shadow compassionately and dig up the better part of me? Something to think about.

Only a reflection of my self (a rare self-portrait)


Stargazerleo said...

Looks like you had a nice day. Cool pics, as always. And I will never eat mussels the same way again, lol.

A huge part of what I've been learning lately is to become aware of those habitual reactions, take a step back from them and 'try' to look at things from a fresh perspective, from the situation as it stands now, not based on past occurrences or future projections. Its not an easy task, but as with anything, gets easier with practice. The key is to separate yourself from those patterned responses and to be forgiving (yes, I used THAT word) if you catch yourself falling backwards.

I think using this blog to explore that shadow is an excellent idea!

Anonymous said...

ich hab das ganze mal überflogen , es ist schön die immerwiederkehrende sinnlosigkeit , einer labilen persönlichkeit ,in einer um ihn rum existierenden unsensiblen umgebung darzustellen.

du bedienst eine immer voller werdende nische , deine bilder sind toll , schön anzuschauen.

KaliDurga said...

Don't let the name of my blog fool you-- I don't speak German, I cribbed that phrase from Immanuel Kant. Would it be possible to get a translation?