Sunday, March 08, 2009

It seems to be one of these bizarre weekends where there's some things that are simply, for want of a better term, off.

There's just no other way to describe it when I hop into the car that just had nearly $4,000 of repairs done on it, put it into Drive, and I find, as I'm driving it, that I can't get it out of gear, the speedometer needle is not moving from zero as I'm moving, and then, when my husband gets into the car and drives it around, nothing is wrong. Reminds me of the story my grandmother would tell of the brief period when she and my granddaddy owned an Edsel: the car's Teletouch Drive began malfunctioning whenever she drove it, but when Granddaddy got behind the wheel, it worked fine. She went into hysterics for a few months when this state of affairs continued - there's only so much you can take when you try to put the car in Park and the trunk opens, or go for Reverse and end up moving forward in the parking space....and then, one fateful day, the car showed its true colors and did its mix-up show for my granddaddy.

I really hope things don't go that badly.

As it is, I was unable to get to my religious school morning meeting on time today because another supposed time-saving device failed me: the alarm on my cell phone. Of all the clocks in my home, that's the one that doesn't reset itself...until I get to the school meeting. I'm starting to wonder if the weird thing Dan has against resetting any clocks whatsoever (the reasoning being that eventually, the time goes right back to what it was anyhow) isn't as crazy as I think it sounds.

Our course of study today centered around the holiday of Purim, which starts tomorrow night...and it occurred to me that we in New Orleans already live in a Purim sort of world. The Purim holiday is one where, like the nature of luck itself, tables get turned, the oppressed rule, and the beauty-contest winner of a competition for the hand of a drunken king saves the day. If the wheels of justice were actually turning, the responsible parties would indeed get served...but there Hizzoner the Walking Id sits, like a nouveau Ahasuerus. Who knows what the man is on, or what sort of handle he has on things, or how much power he really wields - and who knows how far the illusion goes?

As the story opens, we meet our first player: Achashverosh. Although he is described as a powerful king, ruling over 127 provinces from Hodu (India?) to Kush (Ethiopia?) - we soon find that his power is more illusion than reality.

First of all, the party about which we read in the first chapter (1:3-8) seems to be his inauguration ball (see v. 2); yet it only takes place in the third year of his rule. This seems to indicate that the transfer of power into his hands was not so smooth. We will soon see that plots abound in and around his court and that his control over the realm is not very secure...

  • Achashverosh seems to be very insecure - both personally and politically. He spares no expense to show off his wealth - and specifically invites the governors, ministers and soldiers of the Persian and Medean armies. It seems that he is trying to consolidate his power and bring the military into his good graces. At the end of his six-month party (!), he invites all the citizenry of Shushan to his gala bash. This insecurity will increase and become a prominent feature in the events of the Megillah.

  • The image of Achashverosh's kingdom, a monarchy governed by protocol. Note how often the word Dat - a Persian word meaning "custom" or "protocol - shows up in the Megillah: 20 times! (Save for one verse in Daniel, it doesn't appear in any other books of the T'nakh). This would seem to indicate that everything in Achashverosh's realm was done "properly" and that the system was orderly and just. We soon find that this kingdom of Dat is just as illusory as his power.

  • I'm now agog in anticipation for what Monday night's Megillah reading (yes, the whole Megillah) and the following Purim day will bring. If men become women and vice versa on Purim, and you're supposed to get so drunk you can't tell the villains from the heroes, and you have to say the names of the bad guy's offspring all in one breath because they are barely worth even that, then why not a smidgen of justice?

    Yeah, I know. A hangover's much more likely.

    Wish me luck as I navigate the rest of this week. It's gonna be a doozy.


    Speaking of doozies...Dan left a message on my cell when I was watching the little guy run from inflatable to inflatable at the Purim carnival that told me he was hemmed in from getting to a rehearsal on time due to a March for Christ parade on Jackson Avenue. What made him indignant, however, was that two public high school bands were marching in it. So much for a separation of church and state was his point...

    ...although, chances are, the bands are being paid for the march. That's what's happening with the Mardi Gras parades, after all.


    D-BB said...

    I really wanted to read this but please, can you shorten this thing down to 100 words or less?

    You starting to ramble like that Katrinacrat nut who I sent had to get rid of.

    Thanking you in advance and sincerely always, yours truly and really really mnbff, well I guess mobff, whatever....with deep regards, D-BB

    Leigh C. said...

    Just parcel it out, man. Take it in small doses. You have that luxury. I didn't, is all. And that's just life. ;-)