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.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Not About the Weather

You stayed to long
Though you never intended to linger
‘Til the hand of fate
One day gave you the finger.
            -           Anonymous

For the purposes of this conversation, an Optimist and a Pessimist are discussing the rocky transition I made through December, 2014 when TSG died and December, 2015 which I moved 1,200 north on Interstate 5 where I life alone in a different latitude with my surviving cat. Both ends of the conversation are mostly inside my head.

P:         It’s raining, as usual.
O:        Can we please talk about something else?

P:         It’s downhill to get to the new house. How symbolical, and shit.
O:        You had to go uphill to the old house. You can coast home now.

O and P:         In an effort to process and benefit from the lessons of the past year, let’s review. Let’s review the stages of our life changes in the past year or so.

P:         The bad news is it still sucks after the stress of moving ends. The stages of moving begin with disbelief. Then, the stress of deciding what to leave and what to pack; the stress of disposing of what to leave; of packing what to take.  Then, the stress of logistics of renting POD and later truck, hiring POD/truck loaders, scheduling truck driver, hiring truck unloaders three different times.  And including missed deliveries, inadequate room in trucks, rooms, and my brain.  Then, the health effects including depression, insomnia, hives – again with details too depressing to detail, and with the whisper inside my head saying Don’t pick the scabs. The hilarious health insurance carrier switch-over fubar too depressing and expensive to detail aside from that fact that nobody prescribes antidepressants anymore for reasons having to do with the fascist state’s depressing decisions to prioritize anti-addiction over treating depression. Thanks. Obama. Then, the disruption in blood-thinner medication schedule and resulting spike in rat poison-to-blood ratio resulting in bruising and bleeding. Which isn’t so much fun when combined with hives, as it is un-seeable sight in the already unflattering buzzing fluorescent light in the overheated cramped master bath. Finally, there is acceptance, followed immediately by second thoughts, regrets and unfocused anger. Finally, acceptance?

O:        Interspersed with a sunny afternoon here and there and a smell outdoors of fresh life awakening. There is the (no longer rushed) intermittent unpacking and commensurate feelings of satisfaction at putting shit away. There is the inevitable making and revising a mental short list of what’s still missing – perhaps in some misplaced Mystery Box that might also include stuff I knew I didn’t have room to pack and regret leaving behind. There is the fun of buying replacements for mysteriously missing things like power cords, cat vitamins, a single brand new sock, a vial of medicine, paprika. Because, shopping is always fun. I’ve never seen dwarf iris with such a beautiful deep blue that I would have chosen myself and that are coming up in several places by my front door.

P:         Shopping isn’t the answer. Because, finding stuff that wasn’t actually lost so much as it was found huddled shivering in a dark corner with its fists in its mouth and a dead stare out the dripping window offsets any shopping-induced joy. Then there are the early twilight afternoons spend ruing poor life decisions as they accumulate behind me like duck chicks after their mama duck only not so much cute as heavy. Endless recursive ducks behind me, all in a dripping wet row.

O and P: Acceptance with the melancholy realization that it all has to be accepted over again tomorrow. Knowing – most of the time - that we can do this because what other choice do we have.

O:        Noticing with unaccountable gratitude that the days are slowly getting longer and counting the minutes that sunset is deferred each day.

P:         Refining and revision definitions of justifiable suicide. Why should such a stigma be associated with deciding to quit before being fired?

O:        Carefully defining the distinctions between suicide and merely wanting not to wake up tomorrow, and then making it through another dark night. A single long sunny therapeutic afternoon online shopping spree of nice new clothes more suitable for this foreign clime, including new boiled wool slippers with backs instead of the Grandpa Simpson scuffettes that worked before.  Shopping is too the answer.

P:         Self-pity, followed immediately by guilt and shame at being weak. Shit, I can’t even enjoy a pity party without a judgey hangover of self-loathing.

O and P:         The fortune cookie in last night’s dinner, “This year is your year.”