Wednesday, March 29, 2017

That's What Lookin' So Bohemian Gets Ya

I am inspired by the appearance of a bohemian in the new millennium. ~ John Malkovich

And I am happy to carry the bohemian flag into this century, despite my credentials having been earned in the last one.

However, do not ever call me at 9:40 a.m., or really, any time before 10:30 a.m., or you will get a return email hours later that, yes, answers the burning questions you left on your message, but also reminds you of my long-standing rule. Which, I might add, you should know by now.

Bohemians sleep 9 hours and they don't get up early if they can help it. That's how we cover multiple millenniums without burning out.

I'm a girl from a good family who was very well brought up. One day I turned my back on it all and became a bohemian. ~ Brigitte Bardot

Right? Although honestly, I'm not sure I ever considered embracing the alternative.

Heading to the river on my walk this morning, I paused to chat with a friend who works out of a nearby building because the garage doors were up. That's his signal for me to holler so he'll know I'm on the sidewalk and we can exchange pleasantries.

Once he joined me, the weather  became our first topic because it was already apparent it was going to be a changeable day. Humid, but intermittently cloudy and sunny, the weather has been warm enough of late that we'd both been making adjustments at home.

I've switched from flannel sheets to cotton and he's begun leaving a couple windows open in his Union Hill house when he leaves for work. We agreed that the terribly cold weather is probably behind us, but neither of us is completely convinced we won't still have a cold snap for a night or two.

As insurance for just such an occurrence, I told him I haven't yet thrown away the slippers that have gotten me through the last few winters. Oh, they need to go for sure this year, but I'll wait until there's zero chance I'll need them one last time. Because bohemians are cautious that way.

Chuckling, he looked down at me and said, "Yep, mine are so bad, all the leather part on the bottom is worn off, but I'm not throwing 'em away 'till I'm sure warm weather is here to stay." It's probably the epitome of middle age mortification to be discussing your worn out slippers with a friend, yet we both jumped right in.

Bohemians don't care about appearances.

All the time, I've felt like life is a wager and that I probably was getting more out of leading a bohemian existence as a writer than I would have if I didn't. ~ Christopher Hitchens

Absorbing the Post's obituary of William McPherson, the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic and editor in the '70s, I was struck while reading about his descent into the self-proclaimed "upper edge of poverty," a state he described as, "Not quite destitute, but where a roof over your head and a wardrobe that doesn't look as if it came from the Salvation Army is as good as it gets."

He blamed it on acting like a lottery winner and squandering money made from his books on houses, cars and Caribbean cruises, all choices that sound awfully un-bohemian to me. To my mind, we bohemian types would never blow funds on such bourgeoisie constructs.

Truth be told, I not only have a roof over my head and a wardrobe straight out of a thrift store, but a pretty fabulous cultural life, too. My guess is the upper edge of poverty looks wildly different to a Baby Boomer than it did to a member of the Greatest Generation.

My mother was a bohemian, in the good sense of the word. A searcher. ~ Madeline Kahn

As is my way, I search for something interesting and low or no cost to experience every night, but after a last-minute phone call from my companion for the evening who was sick, I knew I'd be doing it alone.

"It" was a donation-based screening of "Sustainable: A Documentary" presented by Tricycle Gardens at Ellwood Thompson's Beet Cafe, convenient because I could also pick up tilapia with lemon and capers, black beans and broccoli for dinner while I fed my mind.

Like all the excellent documentaries I'v seen on the subject of organic farming, sustainable methods and a shift away from the agri-industrial model that took hold at mid-century (so modern! so efficient! so terrible for the environment and humans!), "Sustainable" made its points using trailblazing farmers ("It's a noble cause to provide food for your fellow human beings"), chefs and advocates, all of whom are trying to shift agriculture away from the massively profitable but inhumane and ultimately deadly practice that it is now.

The film was shown with subtitles which provided an unexpected running thread of humor every time background music was played and the subtitle labeled it: captivating music, somber music, jubilant music, solemn music, enchanting music, pleasant music, grave music, playful music.

Not once did the adjective reflect the way the music sounded to me. Jubilant, for example, sounded wistful. Solemn sounded ominous. Someone was sleeping on the labeling job, that's all I'm saying.

Bohemian: (noun) a person with artistic or literary interests who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules or standards of behavior. Without bohemians, life would be a complete bore.

Without my fluid and unscripted lifestyle, I would be completely bored. The upper edge of poverty is what you make it.

Cue blithe music.

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