Saturday, February 20, 2016

Expect Surprise

But I'm here to tell you this

That the sky is yours to kiss

So go and lift your lips and raise your eyes 

And expect surprise
And know thy place, and know thy part 

Know it by name, know it by face, and know it by heart 

And don't look down, cause that's all been seen 

Step by step and breath by breath 

It's a trail of dreams
-       Danny Schmidt, Know Thy Place

You don’t have to pretend to be one thing when you’re another. Even if they ask, nobody hears what you really say. Me too. Hell, I often don’t hear what I say to myself, so how can I listen to you?

“I couldn’t be sorrier, I can’t tell you how sorry I am” can mean I can’t tell you this but I’m not sorry at all. “It doesn’t get any better than this” can mean it only gets worse from here. “Never better” in response to how are you can mean never any better. When talking about how much you care about your lover, “Every breath you take” imparts the sour whiff of a stalker.

I know someone who died of colon cancer – never able to get rid of poison that was killing her, keeping it locked tight inside. I knew somebody who died of heart failure – from a broken heart. I knew someone who died of kidney cancer – he was able to piss his poison out on his loved ones until he wasn’t. The last year of his life his poison had no place to go. He spent a year emptying a catheter until he couldn’t. His loved one had to empty his bloody catheter for him. I have decided that dying of anger is a total pain in the neck.

So, while telling someone to expect surprise may be intended as an affirmation, a hope of better things to come unexpectedly, don’t forget the dark shadow of unpleasant surprise that has nothing pleasant about it. You might as well say expect disappointment, betrayal, and a slow, painful and undignified death because they are at least as likely as winning the lottery.

Fortunately, platitudes suffice in most of our dealings with each other. Which is just as well when or if you think of it because we are each so wrapped up in our own place following the trail of our own private dreams. A wise woman recently told me, “Fucking renarration, man. It messes us all up.” A.E. Houseman, that poetic pessimist, wrote:

The thoughts of others
Were light and fleeting
Like lovers meeting
Or luck or fame.
My thoughts were of trouble
And mine were steady
So I was ready
When trouble came.

Expect surprise, everyone. If you don’t like it, just re-pave the trail of your dreams.

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