Sansaku: Intrigued


I messed up yesterday. “One Hundred Pots” is not number 23, it’s 18.   So, what’s the BFD? I quote Chyako in that very Sansaku as saying, “Don’t try to correct mistakes… Find the accidental beauty. The mistake may not be a mistake. Imperfection is fundamental to Japanese aesthetics.” This is how I go back and correct.

It’s not that the Japanese are careless or try to make mistakes. Far from it. That’s not the way. Trains run on time to the second. Basho took a trip to Fuji and wrote a haiku. The weather was bad, the mountain lost to clouds. Intriguing.

Chyako asked how Sansaku was coming. I told her kind of slow. It’s the fish and chips from the night before. We’d gone out and I ate too much.   She said, “You could have brought the left-overs home.” I tell her, “I’m not that smart.” Intriguing.

And today I meet the new housing staff. I help to prepare them. “This job will undress you. Do you know what that means?” I practice my bullet point prompts, using the journal as target range. Their job is not what they think or expect. They’re entering an intense gossip field.

Let’s talk about housing culture from an anthropologic perspective. It’s kind of unnatural. What do you think happens when you crowd a diverse group of adolescent adults into crappy living conditions? I’ve been in those rooms. I know why the kids called them ghetto.

I lived and worked at a boarding school that was twice as bad. I know what they’re getting themselves into. It’s an absolute set-up to live and work at the same place. This is rarely directly addressed and processed. You’ll be like family until you’re fired. Learn the rules.

I don’t like the term “residence” applied to life or halls. And to call these wild and living things “residents” is worse than a set-up. It hides the truth and ruins our relationship with reality.

Do you remember being a freshman and life in the dorm? It’s like a halfway house with cramped rooms you have to share with a complete stranger. I came from Boulder, the sixties, and my roommate was a sheep-herder from Craig who came to college to get drunk and have a good time.   He called me Beethoven and flunked out after the second quarter. I didn’t say good-bye.

My next roommate, Bill, decided to ferment wine which exploded in the closet. The smell even worse than the stains. I can’t believe he wasn’t caught. I wanted to ask the RA, “What’s wrong with your nose?”

I feel badly now about Bill and my lack of relationship. I haven’t thought of him in years. He had a painfully bad complexion and eyes that avoided looking to see if you were looking. I tried not to.

After we stopped kicking kids out for pot violations, the number of incidents went up and the VP called me into her office to explain. I told her I was pleased. She didn’t understand. I said the RDs and RAs have had to look the other way. They didn’t want to punish with banishment. Now they can confront and engage.

It’s the same with most problems. Make it safe to disclose. The VP was impressed and said, “You’re thinking like an administrator.” I told her, “No way, I’m thinking like a counselor.”

When I used to talk to the big groups I had a couple of codeword phrases. Set up the radar, pay attention to foreshadowing. How to care, be aware, engage, relate, and confront.   I figured if they centered on those few concepts, they could derive the rest.

I’ll be intrigued, I’m sure.





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