Occasionally, there are battles in the sky. One likes to imagine the angels are always triumphant. One does not like to think of the ancient and terrible scales balancing the infernal and divine as wobbling back and forth. Tilting freely, to and fro. One does not like to think that sometimes it is the angel that falls.
So it was a crossroads summer, when the universe seemed to stand perilously still like an egg wobbling on a precipice, a regular rite of passage summer that saw us traverse the hazardous divide between the illusions of boyhood and the far more pernicious deceptions of maturity, et cetera.
We must be willing to change chairs if we want to grow. There is no permanent compatibility between a chair and a person. And there is no one right chair. What is right at one stage may be restricting at another or too soft. During the passage from one stage to another, we will be between two chairs. Wobbling no doubt, but developing.
There's an emergency link to the defence grid, but that's only for use in the direst emergencies." "And of course a mile-long unknown intruder approaching your main source of power isn't an emergency?" Karan hesitated, his chins wobbling slightly with their own momentum. "It'll take time, but I could access the defence grid's sensor logs for that sector... " "I won't tell if you don't.
David A. McIntee
tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice. It would be subversive of every human interest that the cry of one-half the human family be stifled. ... The world has had to limp along with the wobbling gait and one-sided hesitancy of a man with one eye. Suddenly the bandage is removed from the other eye and the whole body is filled with light. It sees a circle where before it saw a segment. The darkened eye restored, every member rejoices with it.
Anna Julia Cooper
Does it stand, but not straight enough? Is there a bend in the tool? Leaning left like the Marxist-Leninist Party? To the right, like the Jan Sangh fascists? Or wobbling mindlessly in the middle, like the Congress Party? Fear not, for it can be straightened! Does it refuse to harden even with rubbing and massage? Then try my ointment, and it will become hard as the government's heart! All your troubles will vanish with this amazing ointment made from the organs of these wild animals! Capable of turning all men into engine-drivers! Punctual as the trains in the Emergency! Back and forth you will shunt with piston power every night! The railways will want to harness your energy! Apply this ointment once a day, and your wife will be proud of you! Apply it twice a day, and she will have to share you with the whole block!
Stale beer sticks to wobbling tables. The cigarette machine flashes in the corner, mocking smokers who never have any change on them. There's no natural light in this pub, so it's dark and gloomy. The pain on the face of the staff tells its own story: overworked, underpaid, exploited and treated as expendable. I feel at home with them. They're so scared they will be fired from their terrible jobs, every time I order a beer they ask me if I want any peanuts or crisps, in case between drinks I've turned into the dreaded mystery shopper. The air is chewy and weighs heavy on the skin. The fruit machines in the corners don't make a sound, aware this is the last stop saloon for the drunk few who can't afford to gamble properly. Everyone here is down to their last pint and pound.
At some point, to counter the list of the dead, I had begun keeping my own list of the living. It was something I noticed Len Fenerman did too. When he was off duty he would note the young girls and elderly women and every other female in the rainbow in between and count them among the things that sustained him. The young girl in the mall whose pale legs had grown too long for her now too-young dress and who had an aching vulnerability that went straight to both Len's and my own heart. Elderly women, wobbling with walkers, who insisted on dyeing their hair unnatural versions of the colors they had in youth. Middle-aged single mothers racing around in grocery stores while their children pulled bags of candy off the shelves. When I saw them, I took count. Living, breathing women. Sometimes I saw the wounded- those who had been beaten by husbands or raped by strangers, children raped by their fathers- and I would wish to intervene somehow. Len saw these wounded women all the time. They were regulars at the station, but even when he went somewhere outside his jurisdiction he could sense them when they came near. The wife in that bait-'n'-tackle shop had no bruises on her face but cowered like a dog and spoke in apologetic whispers. The girl he saw walk the road each time he went upstate to visit his sisters. As the years passed she'd grown leaner, the fat from her cheeks had drained, and sorrow had loaded her eyes in a way that made them hang heavy and hopeless inside her mallowed skin. When she was not there it worried him. When she was there it both depressed and revived him. ~Len Fenerman on stepping back/letting go/giving up pgs 271-272
Four times during the first six days they were assembled and briefed and then sent back. Once, they took off and were flying in formation when the control tower summoned them down. The more it rained, the worse they suffered. The worse they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue raining. All through the night, men looked at the sky and were saddened by the stars. All through the day, they looked at the bomb line on the big, wobbling easel map of Italy that blew over in the wind and was dragged in under the awning of the intelligence tent every time the rain began. The bomb line was a scarlet band of narrow satin ribbon that delineated the forward most position of the Allied ground forces in every sector of the Italian mainland. For hours they stared relentlessly at the scarlet ribbon on the map and hated it because it would not move up high enough to encompass the city. When night fell, they congregated in the darkness with flashlights, continuing their macabre vigil at the bomb line in brooding entreaty as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the collective weight of their sullen prayers. "I really can't believe it, " Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. "It's a complete reversion to primitive superstition. They're confusing cause and effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your fingers. They really believe that we wouldn't have to fly that mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of the night and move the bomb line over Bologna. Can you imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left." In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over Bologna.