I had a clever plan for my knitting project, too. I was going to make the Silken Damask Jasmine sweater. Here’s the cleverness: I was supposed to have finished the Regal Orchid Jasmine sweater. So the Silken Damask would be a repeat, as the book also would be a repeat for me.
Nothing wrong with it, but it is clearly not finished.
I think it is the custom in KTC to go ahead and begin the next project on time, and leave the questioning of finishing for some later occasion. However, I am not doing this.
I have to take a kid to the dentist today, and then I am hoping to be a passenger for many hours this weekend (hoping, that is, that I will not be the driver very much), so I should be able to make some good progress this week.
Today, my physical-world book club meets to discuss Reading Lolita in Tehran. I am looking forward to hearing what the others have to say. The women of my book club are all a good bit older than I am, educated and intelligent, and they are always interesting.
Tuesday nights are when I hang out with the fundamentalists. I don’t know why I was put into a small group filled with right-wing Biblical literalists. KaliMama wrote about how she was apparently identified at a glance as not-Republican, and perhaps I should cultivate some of the characteristics she mentioned. On the other hand, I still think that it is good for me to spend some time with people who think differently from myself.
Last night, we were discussing the scene in Genesis where Joseph persuades (?) the Egyptians to sell themselves into slavery. The women in the group, apart from myself, were in favor of this. They were saying that this arrangement was like sharecropping, which — unlike welfare, which made people lazy and dependent — allowed hard workers to make something of themselves.
These women are not stupid or unkind. They are charitable, concerned people. They may not know much about the historical circumstances of sharecropping, but they were sincere.
I was keeping quiet, and keeping my eyes down so as not to be drawn into the discussion. So I was noticing all the painted toenails in the room. It is Nearly Summer here, and lots of us are in sandals already. Some of the ladies would not paint their toenails, for religious reasons, but they also will not expose their toes. All the visible toes were bright with polish. In Reading Lolita in Tehran, painted nails are a rebellious statement, a refusal to bow to the theocracy. For the ladies in my group — many of whom, I am sure, would thank God if the United States became a theocracy — painted toes are probably more a signal of conformity than of rebellion.
The group leader called on me. I would have preferred not to say anything, but if called on I will speak up. Perhaps it is good for the rest of the ladies to hear someone who disagrees with them. I said that I could not read the passage without remembering what we know of history from other sources, and that I was sure that none of us would choose to be slaves. “It is shocking to us nowadays,” I said, “but it would be out of character for Joseph to be rapacious or cruel. I have to assume that it was the best choice under the circumstances.”
Later, one of the women from the group said to me that she always enjoyed hearing me speak in class, because my voice is “so melodious.” I thought this was so kind of her. I am not shy about speaking up in that group, except when there is a particularly controversial topic involved, but I am always a different voice. The compliment allowed this woman to say something nice to me, something even that could show kind feelings toward me in spite of the horrifying things I say. After all, I say them melodiously. 😉
The section of Reading Lolita in Tehran which deals with Pride and Prejudice is about marriage in Iran more than about Austen’s book. But the discussion has to do with choice. I was about to write more on this, but it occurs to me that it would not make sense except to readers who have read both books, or if I went ahead and wrote an essay — in which case I would be way off schedule and there would be no hot breakfast for my kids this morning.