Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mood Swing Threat Level Scale

"In winter, I’m trying to get this Earth Mother vibe going, trying to find my way back to The Garden. Instead of fearing the oncoming darkness of age, I’m trying to go with the flow and wiggle out of some of those anger straitjackets, Try and stop being so pissed, for Crissakes! Embrace your mortality. Here too short and gone too long. So what?"
The Gardener

Here is it:
Red: ThelmaAndLouise Manuver, aka holding hands and jumping off a cliff
Orange: Hair on Fire
Yellow: Pants on Fire
Green: Get out the lawn chairs and watch the pretty lights hurling through the winter night sky.
Blue: Say ‘goodnight to Mr. Pillow…’

If that was the Threat Level Scale for Mood Swings, that’d be mine. And yes, I know. it’s not calibrated correctly. One week ago today, I went off the scale into threat level "Indigo".

Here's what happened. I thought it was today’s date. Since turning the page to February, I’d read the calendar wrong This day last week, I dragged Tech Support Guy up to Pasadena to the Huntington Gardens/Library for a lecture on the language of flowers. K skipped teaching his class so he and J could join us. Turns out, the lecture was next week, i.e. today. Worse: turns out we came on the first Thursday which is free day, and the place was mobbed. Did I mention it rained a lot? A Crap Trifecta.

So, we drove 2.5 hours to get there, grabbed a coffee and a bag of potato chips out of the pouring rain at the courtyard snack cart, and then drove back home, timing it just right to hit rush hour – in the rainstorm. In case you don’t know, rain is to people in Southern Cal, like ice is to Washington DC. It either terrifies drivers into slowing down to single digits on the freeway, or it makes drivers impatient with such slowpokes, causing them to drive too fast. The picture is heading south on Rt 15 between Riverside and San Diego, about 4 pm. Most of the traffic is heading north. I was peeking above the windshield trying to figure out what that wet stuff was that was coming down from the sky. The darker it got, the more drivers we encountered who were as befuddled as I.

So that happened.

Then later, we went to the home brew store and bought a bunch of fresh whole grains. I picked mostly hard winter white and chocolate malt. Then, I saw some lovely mysterious grains: long-rice shaped pale green rye, Dingman’s Special Red; and Vienna Blend - a lovely golden. The aromas alone from the grinding was a delight to the senses.

I use the small-quantity exotic grains to make pungent starters and levains. For example, I use it to add rustic color and crumb to dark spicy Eastern European loaves. Since I buy types and quantities that no sane home brewer would ever conceive of, the clerk (a twentysomething of non-specific gender with lots of tats) was confounded by my choices. Instead of providing reassurance by explaining I bake bread, I smiled, cocked my old gray head, and explained that I brew beer in nano-craft quantities. Wow, I just blew your mind, you young wipersnapper!

So, that happened later, and that made the calendar error ok. Maybe I am hitting the breaks better these days. Note to self, why do we keep using metaphors filled with suicidal precipices, small cars out of control, and no metaphorical driver at the wheel? Then again, who cares? At least I’ve got better airbags these days.


Cicero Sings said...

Those grains sound wonderful ... I wish we had such a store.

At least there was one redeeming feature to the day!

Frances said...

Hi WS, I wonder what the tat-it was really thinking. Or even thinking at all. Good for you, we all need an outlet for our anger and frustration. Might I offer consolation that age helps the swings? Of course accumulated age means you are that much closer to the exit ramp, but even that loses some of the sting.

CDP said...

I'm seriously going to develop my own Mood Swing Threat Level Scale. Excellent.

Les said...

Right after 9/11 when that whole color code put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye system was developed, we adopted it a work to report the mood of the boss. When we would pass each other we would just blurt out the color of the day and adjust our behaviors accordingly.

walk2write said...

Curses on that calendar. From the view through your windshield, it looks like Mount Ebal is having its way again. Blessings on that bread and pass the beer!