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The Loudly Desperate

I’m rather jealous of Thoreau’s men of quiet desperation.  I generally experience my desperation loudly, obviously, flagrantly.

Yes.  I lead a life of loud, flagrant desperation.  Some days I wonder if others will smell it on me the way dogs supposedly smell fear. Perhaps I believe that keeping it quiet will be unhelpful; that sharing is purging.

I have not gotten many wrinkles in middle age, except for two deep creases between my eyebrows.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.  It’s like my face is trying to announce, “There are things to be concerned about, and I’ve been trying to address them by thinking really deeply about them.  And being loudly desperate.”

A Poem, of Sorts

a poem, of sorts, that was in my head this morning:

I try to be clever
but I exhale crumpled moth wings

A brain can ache
like a stomach can ache –
it’s when you can’t escape your own self

The other night I went to fold the laundry
and I didn’t want to do it
and I didn’t want to not do it –
how can this be?

my biggest fear is not death,
but being sent into outer space
alone
to a place where I discover bodies do not die.

You Better Not Pout

While driving in to work this morning I was realizing I’ve experienced several different phases of close surveillance.

As a youngster, it was Santa: he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, yadda yadda.  Earn valuable prizes yearly for obedience and self-control.

After that was busted open, I believed it was a Judeo-Christian God spying on me: watching me half-ass practicing piano; shaking his head as I talked back; possibly snorting at my lame church confessions (I couldn’t really keep track so I guessed based on what I figured most kids my age were doing wrong).  But then I grew into an agnostic who has a sense that it’s unlikely anyone is keeping such a close tally and if they are, I find I don’t much care what their opinion is.

But now….now,  it’s the scariest viewer of all.  My kid.  She doesn’t see everything, of course.  But she sees plenty and she’s watching closely.  For hypocrisy and discrepancy.  For lessons.  The biggest difference, and the scary bit, is that I didnt have to be held responsible for influencing Santa’s and God’s paths.  They would not potentially base poor decisions or family negotiations on my actions.

My Books, My Sirens

When I was younger, I tried to close the gap between desire and reality by planning to work hard, work harder, make lots of money.  I figured the only other option was to want things less and that didn’t seem feasible.  It turns out, I found the first method difficult and generally unsustainable, given the age discrimination most of us will face at some point – meaning, our earnings and earning potential could not incline upward for our entire working lives.

The decrease in wanting things was less tricky than I’d expected.  After a while, when you’re no longer in the habit of shopping for entertainment or expecting new stuff to tirelessly parade into your home, you have trouble remembering why you felt these twinges and pulls at all. Of many things, anyway. I’m no minimalist, for sure, but I suspect even minimalists are susceptible to the Siren song of some particular thing.  I can assess so many things with a practical eye and not buy.  Sometimes all I need is to walk around a store with the item and this cures me – turns out I just needed to spend a little time with that thermos or scarf, not to carry it home, and I put it back.

Books are my Sirens.  My practical side knows that the library has a treasure trove of books I can read for free and won’t get thru in three lifetimes.  Yet I still want stacks and stacks of my own at home. Partly b/c I won’t risk taking them in the tub.  Or on a trip, after leaving one at Logan airport (though, to my astonishment, a kind soul had found it and mailed it to the library, saved me from the cost of a replacement hardback.)  And don’t get me started on the yuckiness of what I find crusted on the pages of more popular YA novels.  But those lame excuses could suffice if I had just a few used books at home.  Instead, I have what may in some states constitute a small library branch.  Our local library just had its book sale; divine.  Each year I stack books for the coming winter like others stack cords of wood.

I so love it when someone’s visiting and asks if perhaps I have any good books I could lend them; I must stifle a laugh as we climb the stairs to my unwieldy stacks.

Agenda item: bee training

I dreamt I was at a meeting about a software implementation project.  It had many phases, which grew increasingly more complex.

Notably, the phase being discussed would require team members to jump on a trampoline while wearing a large beard of bees.  I had some concerns about this, but chose to embrace it for the time being. Even in dreams there can be pressure to be a team player, you know?

Nutty Games

I recently came across this diary entry from 2010 and wanted to share:

Yesterday on my lunch break I was at Rite Aid to buy some boring things like shampoo.

Cashier: “Do you have the Rite Aid Game of Life™ gameboard yet?”
Me: “No.”
Cashier: “Would you like a Game of Life™ gameboard?”
Me: “No, thank you.”
Cashier: “Would you like the game pieces anyway, in case you decide to get the Game of Life™ gameboard later?”
Me: (Polite, but firm).  “No, thank you.”
Cashier: “I’m just gonna go ahead and throw these game pieces in your bag and then you can use them later if you want!”

That night I’m emptying the bag o’ personal care items and see two game pieces.  Each has a coupon inside.
I open the first one: 50 cents off jar of Rite Aid peanuts.
I open the second one: 75 cents off Fiddle Faddle (the snack food with peanuts in it).

I, of course, have a deadly peanut allergy. I think they’ve been waiting for their chance to git me ever since I transferred our prescriptions elsewhere.  They know I rarely resist a bargain and they’re trying to tempt me into a deadly snackfest! The humanity! The humanity!!!!!!!!!

When it comes down to it, I’m a bit of of a rube.  Online articles keep reeling me in and then disappointing me.  Damp squibs, if you will.

They will say things like, “The Real Key to Happiness (Spoiler: it’s not more stuff!)” or “A Simple Way to Dial Your Anxiety Down”.  And the answer is always (drum roll please) . . . mindfulness and/or meditation.

Look.  I’m not saying mindfulness and meditation aren’t effective.  I might even be able to corroborate these claims if I could stick to a practice with the same diligence as seeking out Clefairies in Pokémon Go.  I’m just saying it would be refreshing if we could all hear a bit more about the OTHER things that help to make humans happy and let off steam.

I want to see the article whose answer is:  “Limoncello!”  Or, “Punching stuff!”  Or, “Exploring Awkward Family Photos!”

Or maybe I don’t need to see it.  Because maybe I just wrote it.

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