Monday, 28 September 2009

Change your cords, change your life.

Change your cords, change your life. This is something I have just started seeing, and I will not explain it eloquently. I need you to help me explain it, so I will just put up some pictures and stories. awkward I know, and hope for the best.

Before I left for my travels, I had dinner with my sister, her new twins and beautiful husband. There is something miraculous about their house: it is a haven of peace. Two infants, two new careers: Yoga and Photography, so not much money. But everything works. When you want something, with your eyes closed, you reach to the place and there it is, clean and ready to go.

With my ever-perceptive sister I got a conversation on cords going, something I had started noticing with increasing excitement. Katie got all animated too. "Yes, the way Jorge wraps the cord around the hairdryer, I was so moved when I first saw it". Jorge is the one who brought the orderliness to the family. Not forced, but seduced us into it. With excellent results. Anyway, a hairdryer was found and a demo was given.

Cord management, Jorge style

Jorge started explaining: "Professional photographers can't just do that thumb-to-elbow winding thing, because if you do, every turn twists the chord, and the kink stays. Then when you need to roll it out quickly for a shoot, it just doesn't obey you, it goes its own way, and you miss the shot".

A week later, my first day in Copenhagen this trip, I got lucky and got invited on a yacht party. Gorgeous food, gorgeous Danish men, but what really impressed me was the ropes.

On a boat, a few seconds delay can result in getting overturned, and never coming back. Captians go to the bother of being 'ship shape' due to consequences that are less forgiving than those found in other professions.

I'll search my archive for a better photo. The hand grabbing my bunny is Michael Reppy's, my sailor-friend. He is in my old Tokyo kitchen, and wearing 4 things: sunglasses, sandals, t shirt and shorts.
He's wearing the sunglasses because he doesn't have a bag to put them in.
In fact, he doesn't have anything but these 4 things. Not a passport, not one Yen. Or dollar. He was sailing solo from San Fransisco to Tokyo on the Naia, ripping through the Pacific on this fast little boat, and a day away from arriving as a hero. He was two days ahead of the current transPacific world record.
The media attention he was to receive was going to the cause he was sailing for: to save a family of recently captured killer whales, that were starving themselves to death in a Tokyo aquarium.
He fell asleep, and woke up to the buzzing sound of a boat going way to fast. "If I hadn't paused to put my sandals on, if I'd just jumped up on deck and cut down the sail..."He spent a few seconds too long, the boat overturned, and he was fished out of the ocean by a passing freighter.

On a ship, in life, a few extra seconds at the right time can change an awful lot.

Here is another cord picture from Copenhagen. A style of cord arrangement familar to suburban Australians. Note the shoelaces too.

The song of these street musicians was just notes in air, but it had the power to stop traffic. There we were, a crowd of people powerless to keep on walking, because the music was just too beautiful. Music to make you feel how sweetly painful love is, remember things you yearned for once, and might again. Beautiful music that appears only a few moments in a year.

I walked around to the front to see about buying their CD, something I rarely do. There was nothing to tell me their name, no price for the C.D. They were surrounded by people with transfixed faces. People who were not buying their C.D.s.
So close yet so far.
Later, when the crowd had subsided, the cardboard had been proped back up, I found their name and even a CD price etched in biro lines. They were talking with a mate, about how hard it was. They were getting gigs, but there were so many obstacles.

What would it take to put together a CD cover that communicates, a sign that works? Some A4 paper, scissors, marker pen and maybe a Google Image search for some fonts. With hands as deft and sensitive as theirs, it would take a few minutes. Maybe about the same as the time they spent trading stories of their struggles with their passing friend that day. But something stopped them. Told them that they didn't have to, maybe told them that they absolutely shouldn't do such a thing.
They keep their obstacles, the world misses out on their songs.

It was a couple of years ago that I first started winding my cords so they didn't tangle, securing them with the black twisty things they come with when purchased. It felt so decadent, and still does. So much undone work around me: taxes to calculate, grant applications to fill in. Yet I persisted: if the Japanese, if wealthy and successful people can afford to wind up their cords, invest time and effort in winding cords, maybe I'm allowed to as well.

Along with my evolving tidy-cord life, my life is having more and more little patches where there is clarity and readiness. Maybe one day soon the patches will join up. Clarity for generativity. Clarity for redeeming lost hours, lost sales, lost boats, lost whales. Clarity and maybe even small giggly children, looking kind of like me.

I'm Australian, we know, from little things, big things grow.

Jorge and Katie, parents of a few hours, glimpsed May 2009

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully put Cecilia. I do love your pictures too so simple.

    I hope you are well and happy.