A Journal of My Mid-Life Crisis
3 January 1999 - Hakuna Hatinafsi
Before I get to the real entry for the week, I'll do a quick followup on some of last week's rambling. I finally found silly putty. They sell it at Target. They sell at least 3 kinds of silly putty, in fact - original, glitter and neon colored. I bought the original, of course. And now I have absolutely no idea why I wanted it, other than that it was hard to find.
As for what I really wanted to write about, I sometimes fall in love with words and hatinafsi is such a word. It's Swahili and is used to refer to a person taking an action without consulting anybody because he thinks they may try to persuade him not to do it. This is something I do all the time, especially as I am firmly of the "it is easier to get forgiveness than permission" school of thought.
Now, when I am writing things here I am not exactly consulting anyone, per se, but I do think that if I said I was planning to do something dreadful, one or two people might send me email suggesting that, say, selling my soul to the devil was probably not a good idea. So I have been thinking about a new title for this journal and the idea of "hakuna hatinafsi" came to mind, "hakuna" being Swahili for "there is not" as you should all know from The Lion King and that silly "hakuna matata" (no problems) song. Is this too obscure? Tell me what you think. (Other title suggestions are welcome too.)
By the way, you really do hear people say "hakuna matata" all the time in Kenya and Tanzania. Geoff, the driver of the first overland truck I was on, used to say "hakuna banana" all the time and I always found myself fixated on the song "Yes, We Have No Bananas" whenever he did.
While I was speaking of selling my soul to the devil, it has always bothered me that whenever people in fiction decide to do that, the devil just pops up. When I was working on my Ph.D. dissertation, I would have welcomed eternal damnation in exchange for 120 neatly typed manuscript pages, but I never got the chance and I had to do the whole bloody thing myself. And, of course, I think about selling my soul every time the Red Sox are preparing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but we all know why that wouldn't work. I did find a web page that lets you sell your soul and mailed the URL to Milo, telling him this was a way we could be sure our ground segment will be "on line in '99" but he turned it down.
As for actually doing things, I made a bunch of progress on organizing things at home. For example, I did the contact paper on all but two kitchen shelves, so I have put away my pots and pans and even unpacked a box of kitchen stuff that I never unpacked the last time I moved, which was about 8 years ago. I bought some wire baskets (and a frame for them) for the closet and started sorting out some crafts supplies. And I wrapped up a lot of coins to take to the bank. At this rate, I might be unpacked before the next time I move.
I've also been seized with an overwhelming urge to see the aurora borealis. This isn't really a new desire, just one I had been repressing in favor of other travel goals. Actually, the aurora australis would do fine, too. I need to research the possiblities a bit more and balance this against all the other travel that I want to do. I am more and more interested in going to Tristan da Cunha, for example, because almost nobody I've mentioned it to has heard of it.
Finally, I had a minorly uplifting experience along the lines of "random acts of kindness." I got a phone call from the manager of my building. "Did you lose your car key?" she asked.
"I don't think so," I said.
"Do you drive a Saturn?" she asked.
"Well, someone turned in a key with a Saturn tag that was found next to your parking spot."
"Hmm, I guess I'd better check." And sure enough, my key wasn't in the compartment of my pocketbook that it was supposed to be in. So I went down to the office and she gave me the key and a note saying "I found this next to spot #111. Can you get it to the person who parks there before they go crazy tearing their apartment apart searching for it?"
I realize this is trivial, but it was still nice. And, speaking of nice, I am listening to the original cast recording of Nine and anyone who has never heard the song "My Husband Makes Movies" is missing out on a lot of pleasure.
Copyright 1999 Miriam H. Nadel
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