Archive for dimpy

Black and Blue Angels

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2012 by javedbabar

Dimpy (Dimples) had created a vicious cycle. Desperate for extra work, she had invented a course, Spatial Studies, and presented it to the Lucerne Valley College administrator as “a multi-disciplinary approach to the element that surrounds and defines all material objects.” He was keen to take advantage of current grants and had signed her up for three ten-week courses.

Her meaningless homework assignment the first week had caught the students’ attention, but had inadvertently set a pattern. Now nobody did any of the homework she set; they only presented excuses.

This morning she didn’t even want to ask the question, knowing what the answer would be. The last two answers – about a fat cousin, and repo men – had been good stories, but hardly counted as homework. She wanted this to be a special course for the students – maybe she should rename it Special Studies, as one student had suggested. She had no fixed subject matter, only a desire to fill in the gaps in their thoughts. She chose a good girl wearing a white dress, and asked, “Did you do homework, Asma?”

She said, “No, Miss Kashi, I didn’t.”

This was no longer a course, it was a game. “Why didn’t you do it?” Were those bruises on her arms? wondered Dimpy. There were patches of black and blue.

“Because I died, Miss Kashi.” Other students were impressed. That was a good one, they thought, and nodded in appreciation. Low whistles were heard and low fives shared at the back of the class. “It was only for an hour, but I really think I died.”

Dimpy was tempted to tell her not to be silly, but felt it would go against the spirit of the class-game. “Okay, go ahead and explain your death to us.”

“I was tired when I got home from college so I lay down for a while, but forgot to take my allergy tablets. I have severe mixed allergies. The doctors have never pinpointed anything specific, so I take everything to be safe.

“I dreamt that I was walking through a desert gorge. On either side there were towering cliffs of multi-coloured stone. They were mainly pink, but with swirls of white, blue, yellow, red, green, black, and flashes of silver and gold. A light wind ran through the gorge in little gusts that tickled my skin, and a small red river was running beside me, its water reflecting the rock.

“I recalled from geography class that gorges can be dangerous, as deserts have flash floods. I decided to get out of the gorge quickly, but didn’t know how. The walls were hundreds of feet high, with no way up or out. I began to panic and sweat.

“Suddenly the river stopped flowing and the wind died down. A cold shadow filled the gorge and before me appeared two angels, one black and one blue. They each held one of my arms and made me nervous, and asked many questions about the good and bad things I’d done in my life, Then a tall green man, so handsome called out, ‘Let her go. She’s got more time yet.’ He led me out of the gorge into a field, and said, ‘Go home now.’

“My mum and dad were crying when I woke up. They said that I was cold and wasn’t breathing, and my heart wasn’t beating. They’d thought I was dead.

“To celebrate my resurrection they took me for a Guru Baba Burger, it’s made with organic lentils, and they let me have pakora chips. That’s why I couldn’t do my homework. I was dead, and then feasting on karma-free food.”

There was a brief pause, then the class burst into applause. Dimpy joined in.

Repo Men

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by javedbabar

It was Dimpy’s third Spatial Studies class. She’d made up the title in a burst of inspiration, or maybe desperation, when her Museum Director’s job was cut from five days to three days a week; she’d needed a way to feed herself and her one-year-old daughter.

She’d heard that Lucerne Valley College had received an Authority grant and was keen to start new courses. They’d accepted her proposal for a course in Spatial Studies, which she’d said was “a multi-disciplinary approach to the element that surrounds and defines material objects.” In truth it was a made up course hoping to fill student’s gaps in knowledge.

Two weeks ago she’d set them a trick question saying only “Your homework is to remember your homework”. Last week however she’d set them a real task.

“Right,” she said, “Who’s done homework?” No hands went up. Oh dear, she thought, they think I’ve set them another conundrum; I’ve created a habit that may be hard to break. Still, I had better continue.

She pointed to a girl who was loud among her peers, but quiet when it came to teacher. “What’s your name? Okay, Simone, where’s your homework?”

“I haven’t done it, Miss Kashi, because my father doesn’t have work, and I don’t have a home. That’s why I can’t do homework.”

Nice wordplay, thought Dimpy, but hardly believable. She stared at Simone and raised her eyebrows. Simone felt pressured, and said, “It’s true, Miss. There’s nowhere quiet to do it.”

Dimpy was embarrassed by her oversensitivity to Tom last week – thinking he was the victim of child abuse, when the cause of his aching arm was dragging around his fat cousin. She wouldn’t be so gullible this time. “Why not?” she said.

“Because we live in one room at the Valley Motel. The television is always on, and my mum and dad are shouting.” Other children were sniggering; it must be a joke. “Why do you live there?” said Dimpy.

Simone became serious and said, “Miss, I’m sure you’re aware of the economic downturn. I know that you have a job at the Museum too; I’ve seen you there. So you have two jobs, that’s great, but lots of people don’t even have one job…”

Dimpy was feeling bad; she’d been wrong about the girl, but she didn’t want to stop her now. Simone continued, “My folks had a tire shop in town. They’d struggled for years, building up debts, and whatever money came in was drunk away by my dad. They lost the tire shop and the bank took our house. The repo men took everything, even my computer. We can only live in the motel because my dad knows the guy there. We’re all looking for work, including me. But while I’m looking I thought I’d do an extra course. I got a grant for it. That’s a good thing isn’t it, Miss, even if I can’t do my homework?”

Dimpy was teaching the Spatial Studies course, but realized that some of her students knew more about spaces than she did. The gaps in their lives were bigger.

Fat Cousin

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , on July 17, 2012 by javedbabar

Dimpy (Dimples) said, “Okay, who’s remembered homework?” Everybody in her Spatial Studies class raised a hand. That’s a good response, she thought, seeing that at the first class they hadn’t even understood the subject. They’d imagined it was cosmology, Special Studies, or some form of Physical Ed.

Her instruction to the class had been “Your homework is to remember your homework.” Even she hadn’t understood the real meaning of the sentence, but it had caught their attention. The next question was a trick one; let’s see how they dealt with it.

She said, “Who’s done homework?”

Everybody looked at each other, and half of them raised their hands, and some put them down again, and some put them up again. Dimpy smiled and thought, if the purpose of my class is to find the space between thoughts, we may be getting somewhere.

She noticed that Tom – the only student whose name she remembered – hadn’t put up his hand. “Why haven’t you done it, Tom?”

He looked incredibly pained and said, “I have a very difficult situation at home, Miss Kashi. It makes it very hard to do homework.” He was about to say more, but stopped. Others began whispering around him. Dimpy felt sorry she’d asked, and was about to ask someone else, but he started up again.

He said, “My parents both work at a logging camp.” Both of them? thought Dimpy. They’d be isolated for weeks at a time with limited facilities and friends. They must really like each other, or hate and put up with each other, something she hadn’t managed with her one-year-old Tasha’s father. He continued, “So I live with my uncle and aunty in Lucerne.” There was such hurt in his eyes; his lips moving barely; this was a child in trouble.

Tasha had only one parent but at least she was present. Tom had two absent ones. Then she thought, hang on – two parents at logging camp? Were his parents both guys? Was he getting teased about this? Was that the “very difficult situation”? Or was it something much worse – that his uncle or aunty was abusing him?

She said, “Do you want to talk about his alone? We could go outside.” She walked nearer to him and said quietly, “Shall I call the college counsellor?”

“No need for that, Miss. Everyone in the class knows. They’ve seen her. That’s the price I pay for living with my uncle and aunty. They want to rest when they come home from work, and they tell me to take her out for a walk, and they say I have to hold her hand so she doesn’t fall down or run off. I keep swapping sides but it does no good. She’s so heavy, miss, my fat cousin. After the walk my arms are always aching. I can’t hold a pen, Miss Kashi, let alone write. That’s why I can’t do my homework.”

Dimpy was about to berate him for being silly. A college kid traumatized by having a fat cousin – how ridiculous! Then she remembered how crazy her own family was. Who would believe she had an invisible uncle?

Spatial Studies

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by javedbabar

Lucerne Valley College accepted Dimpy’s proposal to teach a course in Spatial Studies, whose title had come to her during a meditation. They agreed in principle to three ten-week terms, teaching two different classes weekly. These two days a week would fill the ones she was losing as a result of The Authority’s new accounting system, making her a cost rather than an asset to the museum. She couldn’t help feeling that there was also a vendetta at play between herself and the Board of Trustees. They wanted her out.

Having to support her one-year-old daughter Tasha by herself meant there was no time to feel sorry for herself. She had to take action. She had committed to presenting the Spatial Studies course and had better now think of a lesson plan.

“It’s the study of space,” she’d told the college administrator. “A multi-sensory approach to the element that surrounds and defines all material objects. I’m sure you know that the universe’s building blocks are 99.9% empty space.”

“Of course,” he’d said. “Yes, it sounds like a wonderful course.”

Teaching the course though was a different matter. She would have to convince the students.

She had a bright idea – maybe that was the answer: to ask the students. See what they wanted to learn; explore gaps in their knowledge. There was plenty of information out there on the internet, on TV, in book stores, and on cell phones. What was lacking was cohesion and integration. Maybe that was the space she should explore with students. What they had right now was a ladder with missing rungs, through which to fall, and possibly even missing rails, meaning never climbing at all.

The turnout for the first class was good: thirty students. She only needed fifteen to make it viable for the college. The administrator introduced her. “This is Miss Dimples Kashi who will be teaching this course in Spatial Studies. It will cover a wide range of disciplines and set you thinking, and may sometimes give you a headache. So keep your thinking caps on! Miss Kashi, they’re all yours.”

“Okay, class, who can define space for me?”

No hand went up. She pointed to a boy at the back. “Hello, what’s your name? Tom? Okay, Tom, what’s your understanding of space?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Excuse me? This is a class in Spatial Studies, the study of space.”

“The study of space? Like outer space?”

“No, it’s broader than that.”

Another boy said, “I thought it was Special Studies. I thought it would be easy; that’s why I came.”

There was a chorus of “Me too.”

A girl said, “I thought it was something like Physical Ed.”

More calls of “Me too.”

Oh dear, thought Dimpy. Maybe her lesson plan of limited dimensions, infinite extents, and linguistic and mathematical gaps must wait; as for theories and practice, objective and subjective views, symbols and archetypes, and the concept of a room in which to do all these things – those must wait too.

The bell rang, and shoes shuffled immediately. Bags were snatched and students arose. She called out, “Your homework is to remember your homework.”

They stopped and looked at her. She’d created a small space.

No Knowledge Without College

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2012 by javedbabar

Since being appointed Museum Director, Dimpy (Dimples) had really brought the place to life. There were no more dull exhibits and long-winded labels, strange opening hours, and bans on food and drink.

Lucerne Valley Museum had become a destination! Young people now came here and brought their friends. Old Fashioned Friday was a monthly dance night that drew people from the City and beyond. A few things had been broken, and others had disappeared, but that was the cost of doing business. You gotta break some free-range eggs to make an organic Western omelette.

The annual Debaters night was also a hit. Last year’s debate between the horny old world god Cernunnos and lovely St Lucy, both wanting to be named “Founder of Lucerne”, and Dimpy’s going into labour and giving birth to her daughter Tasha right there, had become local history itself.

Dimpy had also made peace with the trustees, though they would not forgive her for discovering Lucerne’s great secret. The Old Families still kept it locked in the museum safe.

She had salvaged an Upper Valley cabin about to be torn down – the owner was convinced he was a bear; he had been hospitalized and his property sold – and she had conceived the concept of the Future Museum celebrating technology. Artificial Intelligence, programmable matter, nanobots, cold fusion, and space solar power, would all one day affect Lucerne as much as any place.

Overall, visitor numbers had quadrupled. Dimpy was pleased with herself.

The Chair of Trustees, Mr Roseman, came by one day. He said, “Can I please see you in the boardroom?”

When she entered, she saw that the whole board was present. Mr Roseman said, “I’m afraid I have some bad news, Dimpy. We all agree that you are doing an excellent job. However, The Authority’s new accounting system requires us to look at the CPV: Cost Per Visitor, for every aspect of the museum. As you know, we are all volunteers. You however are very expensive, and don’t fall within acceptable parameters. We have no choice but to cut your pay or let you go. What do you wish to do?”

Dimpy had maintained regular contact with the trustees, and attended all scheduled board meetings. This was the first time that anything like this had ever been mentioned; it was a total shock. The scheming swines! She had to think quickly to keep her post.

“What if I remained on the same daily rate but reduced my days?”

Mr Roseman said, “Well that is another possibility. Is that your preferred option?”

Dimpy had heard that Lucerne Valley College had received a grant and was keen to start new courses. Maybe she could do something there – teach a course in Museum Studies or Basic Archaeology. Maybe World History or Cultural Anthropology. Or something crazy like The Evolution of Human Consciousness and Development of the Bicameral Mind. She would think of something. But she also needed to keep what she could of this job.

She said, “Yes, how about three days a week?” The trustees said that they’d discuss her proposal and respond tomorrow.

That night Dimpy meditated upon her favourite mantra – Be Here Now.

Two words appeared in her mind – Spatial Studies.

She didn’t quite know what to make of them, and fell asleep wondering. The next morning she opened a book of quotes she kept by her bedside. St Augustine said, “Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”

Dimpy realized that Lucerne was the space she occupied now. She could teach and study its living treasures.

Muldvarp

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , on May 1, 2012 by javedbabar

Was the mole always there? thought Dimpy, or had it appeared overnight? There was a black Knobby just above her top lip, to the right of her nose. It sat there quite well, like a dark jewel in a fine setting, but she knew she was no Madonna or Marilyn, just a plain-looking single mom living in a small town. The only Museum Director’s job going anywhere was in Lucerne Village so here she was, but she worried constantly about the Museum losing its funding and her losing her job.

The mole looked good though, and added interest to her face. In a world of models with unblemished skin, photoshopped to banality, here was her distinctive feature, like the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, or flawed beauty, where asymmetry is appreciated as the essence of natural change. This is derived from the Buddhist tradition of impermanence, revealing wisdom in natural simplicity.

“Little mole,” Dimpy said to herself, fingering her strange squashy tumour. “Where have you been hiding?” She’d had moles on her body since childhood but none on her face. Had this one appeared because of sun exposure, or age? Was it black, or dark brown? She moved closer to the mirror to see. It pushed out a few millimetres with an irregular border. She had a sudden horrible thought and held onto the sink with both hands. Could it be a melanoma? What if she had skin cancer?

Wabi originally implied the loneliness of living in nature. Over time its meaning mellowed to simplicity and freshness. Sabi meant chilled or lean, and evolved to mean the serenity that comes with age. So its meaning now was that of sad beauty.

What if it was cancer? She would die and her five year old daughter would become an orphan, and be sent for foster care, where she would suffer all kinds of abuse, and become mentally and emotionally unstable. It was unbearable.

There was scratching outside. Was it those jays nesting in her roof again? She was glad they’d found a home, like she had with her daughter Sasha, but did they have to get up so early? She didn’t like that their movements scared the hummingbirds away. She loved seeing their green and red flashes, little songs in the air.

The scratching wasn’t coming from the roof though; it was coming from the garden. It couldn’t be her landlord’s horses, as they’d been sold last month. Too much poo and too much trouble. Maybe a coyote? Dimpy peered outside. There was a molehill in the garden, right in the middle of the lawn. Damn that critter! There were plenty of areas that would benefit from digging, but the lawn wasn’t one of them!

Dimpy forgot about the molehill and went to work. When she got home it was dark. She was tired and went to sleep early.

In the middle of the night she heard scratching again, except now it sounded more like shovelling. As if large chunks of earth were being moved. Dimpy put on her dressing gown and went outside. Oh My God! The hill in the middle of her lawn was now taller than she was!

The shovelling sound became louder, and the dirt on the hill trembled and slipped. Had an earthquake caused this strange upheaval? thought Dimpy. She suspended thought as huge pink paws with foot long claws thrust from the top of the hole, to be followed by a pink, sniffing snout, and tiny eyes and ears. The giant mole Muldvarp “mud tosser” sat up in his hole and stared at her, blinking. Was this because the light was too strong, or to clear mud from his eyes? Dimpy turned and ran, but a message caught her mind.

“Don’t go,” said Muldvarp. “We need to talk.”

Dimpy felt speechless but managed to say, “What about?”

“You worry too much,” said Muldvarp. “You shouldn’t. What’s the point? What do you think would happen to me if I worried constantly? I mean, because of my tiny ears and eyes I can hardly hear or see. That means I must remain underground to stay safe from predators. But there’s not much oxygen down there so I make do by re-using what I inhaled above ground. There also isn’t any good food down there so I eat earthworms. They fall into my tunnels and I run to catch them. What if I’m hungry and there’s no worms? Well, I paralyse them with saliva whenever I catch them, and store them in underground larders. And what if I get grit in my teeth that ruins my meal? Well, I hold the worms carefully between my paws and squeeze out their dirt before dining. What if my tunnels collapse? It’s my duty to keep them clear. They keep the energy of ley lines, chi, and kundalini flowing, not to mention soil aeration. So you see I have plenty to worry about, but instead I just get on with things and everything works out.”

From where Dimpy stood, the molehill looked bigger than distant Mt. Negra. She realized then that it was all about perspective. As an art historian she should have known better. Her mole wasn’t malignant, and she wouldn’t lose her job, and her daughter wouldn’t be orphaned and become emotionally scarred.

Muldvarp waved a giant pink paw and eased back into his hole. The next morning Dimpy saw that the mole on her face had disappeared.

Space Spuds

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming, Unknown with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by javedbabar

“What’s in the safe?” said Dimpy (Dimples) to Mrs. Roseman. “I’ve meant to ask you for ages but never got around to it.”

“Oh, nothing much,” said Mrs. Roseman, her white curls bobbing as she shook her head. “You’ve got enough on your plate with the little baby. Don’t you worry about it.”

It annoyed Dimpy when people told her not to worry about stuff that she wasn’t worried about. It was the same when people said “You’ll be ok” or “You’ll think of something.” Yes she would! She was a single mother fending for herself. Dimpy would always think of something and be ok, and had no time to worry, and even less time to listen to people who told her not to!

This Director’s job was the worst-paid job she’d ever had, but beggars can’t be choosers. She’d needed a job, and this was the only provincial museum recruiting. The local potato industry was booming, driven by their patented Space Spuds: blue Saturn Spuds and golden Solar Spuds. Great product differentiation had saved this otherwise struggling industry, this town, and importantly, this museum. She said, “I’m not worried Mrs. Roseman, just curious.”

“Oh, it’s just some old potatoes,” said Mrs. Roseman. She became rigid, but her white curls continued to bounce. “I mean some old machinery from Peru, where potatoes come from.”

“Really, that’s fascinating. From Peru? May I see it?”

Mrs. Roseman was still rigid, but her eyes were moving rapidly, and her white curls ending their motions. “Or maybe it’s from Pakistan, where you come from. So you already know what it looks like.”

“Really, from Pakistan?” said Dimpy. “I had no idea.” Mrs. Roseman seemed very nervous. Dimpy wondered why. “Look I’m Museum Director, and should know the resources we have available. This could make a great exhibit, even anchor a show. We could get a feature in the City Sun.” Mrs. Roseman had moved between Dimpy and the safe. “Do you have the keys?”

“I’m not sure where they are right now,” said Mrs. Roseman.

“Well who would know where they are – another trustee?”

“Yes, yes, another trustee. I will ask them at the monthly meeting.”

The monthly meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, but nobody was there when Dimpy arrived. She called Mrs. Roseman. “Where is everybody? The meeting was planned for 7pm.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. We moved the meeting to Monday. Didn’t Mr. Roseman call you?”

“No, your husband did not call me. Why did you move the meeting?”

“Oh, it was unavoidable. The trustees had clashes.” Dimpy wondered what clashes these dinosaurs had. Their average age must be a hundred. Maybe their hip-replacements were double-booked with prize bingo, or polishing their walking frames impacted a retelling of the Great Flood of ‘45. “But I asked about the safe for you. I was mistaken. It’s not machinery from Peru or Pakistan. Its private items held for the Old Families. It’s not things to show or feature.”

“Private items like what?” said Dimpy. “Do you mean valuable items?”

“Yes, very valuable things. That’s why we keep them locked up.”

“Well, I need to see those things, Mrs. Roseman.” The line went quiet. “Mrs. Roseman, are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here. Sorry, my hearing’s not what it was. They are private things. Why do you need to see them?”

“I’m legally responsible for their safety,” said Dimpy. “I must ensure that insurance documents are in order. If anything were to happen to those items, we would not be covered for their loss.” So irresponsible, thought Dimpy. This wasn’t the Guggenheim, she knew, but come on! Keeping personal stuff in the museum safe!

“Nothing will happen to them here,” said Mrs. Roseman. “Don’t you worry about it.”

“Mrs. Roseman, I am worried about it! We need to discuss this matter further. Will you be in tomorrow as usual? Ok, good. Please come and see me at 10 am.”

Mrs. Roseman did not appear the next morning. She also didn’t answer her phone. She appeared the day after, looking unsettled. She couldn’t look Dimpy in the eye when speaking with her. “I spoke with the Old Families about the situation,” she said. “It seems the private items were returned by the previous trustees, for the reasons you mentioned.”

“But haven’t you been a trustee for twenty years?”

Mrs. Roseman looked down. “Oh, I was in hospital last summer. It must have been then.”

“But I was here,” said Dimpy. “Nobody told me.”

“I think you were on holiday. Anyway, there’s only museum cash in there now. The Treasurer accounts for it. So don’t worry about it!”

Mrs. Roseman!” shouted Dimpy. “Please stop telling me what not to worry about! You have made me very worried indeed! I am the Museum Director – top of the food chain – and the buck stops with me. Please ensure that keys to this safe are on my desk tomorrow morning at ten.”

Dimpy had a rare date that night. Single mothers with young children had their work cut out. He was pretty hot, and said he’d like to see her again. She smiled as she drove home… Hang on! There were lights on at the museum. Who was in there at this time?

She quietly entered the back office. Mr and Mrs Roseman had the safe door open. Mr Roseman walked towards her with a hammer but Mrs Roseman called him back. She said, “No love, it’s time she knew.” Then she said to Dimpy, “A hundred years ago we had some very special visitors. Only the Old Families know. They sought permission to extract pumice – vital for their wellbeing – from Mt. Negra. In return they gave us their seed potatoes. The old timers were not trained marketers like you. They simply named the Space Spuds by their provenance – Saturn Spuds and Solar Spuds. The original seeds are kept in this safe. The Old Families take cuttings from them yearly, using each scraping to create a new culture. This is Lucerne Museum’s secret, and now it is also yours. Assuming of course that you love your daughter. Who’s her babysitter tonight? Joanne Millman? That sounds like an Old Family name to me.”