22 June 2006

Viewpoint: Oasis

I have experienced oasis. It is not always a place.

Sometimes a conversation takes on a life of its own and stays aloft for hours. I have found oasis in those hours.

Sometimes I think I see a kindred spirit. And if that person recognizes me back, I find oasis in that moment.

I have so often found oasis in laughter that sometimes I think I laugh at the wrong times just because I expect to encounter oasis again.

I am grateful for my friends, who provide great depths of oasis. Carol is one of those friends.

Besides being full of encouragement, she has generously invited me to stay at her house about 87 times this year. I finally ended up paying rent because I couldn’t find enough to barter.

I cooked, I cleaned, I doctored the plants, but it didn’t seem to balance out. I was losing my grip on a feeling of equilibrium.

When she protested against the amount I wanted to pay, I insisted that my dignity was at stake.

She smiled and said it was pretty difficult to find an argument against that. I said, “Yep, dignity is the trump card.”

At the moment I am watching all of my friend Maggie’s DVDs. This morning I watched Dogville for the first time.

Granted, I am focused on the concept at the moment, but I swear this film is about oasis: The town simply gave this lady shelter.

But then, she slowly starts losing her dignity. Either the town takes it from her. Or she gives it away. The audience has to decide.

In any case, by the end of the movie, she’s pretty much the town slave.

When her gangster father shows up, they sit in the back of his car debating the nature of arrogance and judgment.

They talk about who has the power to decide how to make the world a better place.

Finally, her patience runs out. She claims her source of power and has the town removed from the map.

Great film. Kind of exhausting though.

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