Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Halleluja It's Christmas

    I am sure that everyone on the planet has seen that flash mob internet video    of people in a food court somewhere singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  I wish I had been there!  My alto part of the Chorus is as familiar to me as the sound of my breath going in and out of my lungs.

    Every year in December I participated in a community production of The Messiah for all of the years I was “forming,” in Ada, Oklahoma.  The singers included the high school  and the college choirs, and various church choirs, along with anyone else who wanted to participate.  The orchestra was filled with people from similar talented groups around the small town. 

    Year after year we would begin practicing before Thanksgiving and by the time we performed we were a melodious and powerful group.  It stunned the standing room only audience almost as much as it awed those of us singing.  To me, it was the beginning of the magic that was Christmas.  Ada, Oklahoma was a great place to spend one's formative years.

    The first Christmas I spent as a married lady in Southern California, I waited for the Christmas magic to appear.  It was balmy,   but there were Christmas decorations in the stores.  There was no Messiah.  We were a struggling young couple.  I realized I had to make Christmas happen in our little apartment.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table making dough ornaments to hang on the tree that the elementary school where Richard worked, had given us.  I sang my heart out.  “All we like sheep...”  “...and he shall reign for ever and ever..Hallelujah!”  Alto part only. Oh, and with a smidgen of soprano thrown in now and then.

    The thing about religions is they have some beautiful music.
    The thing about apartments is they have some thin walls.

    My new California neighbors smiled strangely at me.

Left and Right Ramblings

    I am one of those people who just don't instinctively know their left and right.  My sister and I share this affliction. 
    When we give one another driving directions – we employ the “Your Window, My Window Method” Turn left at the corner just won't work with us.
    For example when instructing one another in which direction to turn.  It's like this,  “Just go your window at the next light and then go, quick, my window.” 
    It is a mild form of aphasia. We have learned to compensate, using the sister code.  When there is someone else giving the directions it can get ugly.  I stuck a little R and a little L on the appropriate sides of the speedometer of my Mustang.  That helped, but I had to take a bit of teasing for it from my non directionally-challenged colleagues.

    The Hokey Pokey?  A chore.

    Oh, and that little trick of making an “L” with your left hand? Well my right hand makes an “L” too.  It's backwards, but my mind doesn't immediately see it as backwards.  I can also read upside down, and in mirrors, which came in handy when I taught kindergarten.

    When I was in School Teacher School, (which is what I called that year I spent learning educational jargon after I had my BA,) we saw a film about this very thing.  I remember one part of the film very well.
It was filmed with the fish-eye lens to make it scary.

    There was a child pretending to be the teacher, and he had a tea cup.  He held the cup up to the teacher, who was playing the child and asked, “What is this?”
The Teacher/child answered, “It's a tea cup.”
Then the Child/teacher turned it upside down and again asked what it was.
The Teacher/child said, “A teacup?”
The Child/teacher said, “NO! Now it's something else!”

    Next he turned it around so the handle was on the other side, and the frustrated Teacher/child meekly said, “A teacup?” 
“NO!” Bellowed the Child/teacher.

    Suddenly, I understood what children went through learning to decipher the sticks and balls of the printed word.
I suppose I had learned to read in a less precise way, as I taught myself to read by deciphering the Sunday comics, before I went to kindergarten. I probably used the “Right Brain Method.”  (I probably just made that up.)

    People who are dominated by the left hemisphere are practical, linear, detailed, and orderly. They process things from part to whole.  They see all the details when they enter a room.  They are the engineers and the scientists of the world. They also make excellent proofreaders.

    Those of us who are right brained dominate are artistic and impulsive. We see the whole room.  Furthermore we get a feeling from it.  Color and music are always involved. We read what the writer meant instead of the actual letters and words.

    Needless to say the well balanced person taps into both hemispheres. The school district that employed me gave all of us a test to discover whether we were right or left brain dominated and I came out almost totally RIGHT.  Was anyone surprised?

    They found that almost all of the teachers tend to be either evenly situated between the corpus callosum and if they were dominate on one side it was definitely to the left.  Well.  That explains a lot of things. 
Like my desk, for instance.
And why I was always having my students perform.

    So here's my question.  How did people who see everything black and white in politics become associated with the musical, interior decorating, mural-painting, tap-dancing side of the brain?
    How is it that the Don't Tell Me What To Do In My Private Life political party is in any way connected with the stoic, calculating, reasoning, “if-this-then-that” lineaar hemisphere?

My left hemisphere Googled this subject, because I am the curious type.  It has nothing to do with today.  It came to be back in the 1700's in France, during the revolution. People who were conservatives sat to the right of the king and the people who were more liberal sat to the left of the throne.

That's it in a nutshell.  We are carrying on a French tradition.  Ces't la vie.