Last night, Jody was sitting up on her side of the bed, and I was in a chair beside her.  Right in front of me was the tiny wooden table that holds her Kleenex, water bottle and a bowl for meds.  I looked at the light brown hand towel that covers the table, and especially at the tag hanging from it, the one with washing instructions.  My forehead wrinkled, and inside I said “No”.  I wanted the towel to be pure towel.  I wanted the essence of towel to be all I saw.  I knew that the towel didn’t need the adornment of “Machine wash in cold water.  Tumble dry low.  Remove promptly.”  It was a diminishment of towelness.

I feel the same way about meatloaf.  Don’t want the heavy gravy.  I need to sense the beef itself, and the spices the chef used.  Sometimes I get strange looks from people, implying that I’m not dressing up my food appropriately.  “So boring, Bruce.”  Oh well … it just feels like a different drummer, wanting to taste all the subtleties.  No better and no worse than anybody else.

The beauty of the blue spruce tree in our backyard is just so “balanced”, symmetrical.  And the light turquoise tips blend naturally with the brownish needles closer to the trunk.  It is enough.  At Christmas, our neighbour festoons his spruce tree on the front lawn with strings of multi-coloured lights.  In that context, I see this too as “sufficient unto the day”, with its own beauty.  But some folks add blinking lights to their display … and that draws forth another “No” from me.

I’ve always enjoyed watching movies in theatres.  I went to Expo 67 in Montreal as a teenager, and one day was watching a film outdoors with hundreds of others.  Suddenly something happened that I had never experienced before – instead of one image on the screen, there were now two!  A collective gasp filled the space.  I enjoyed the novelty, and actually was shocked by it, but the fact that I needed my eyes to go back and forth to see both movies started feeling like … no.  In 2014, many advertisements have pictures flashing by every second, assaulting my sense of now.  I don’t like it.

Perhaps I have a towel, tree, light and film idiosyncrasy.  I don’t mind.

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