The Cockblocked Orange

The Cockblocked Orange

The following is a dramatization of virtually every social media interaction I’ve had in the past year.  Some details have been changed to protect the innocent…or the guilty…depending on what you think of red and yellow and maybe skin cancer.  And apricots.  Please never give me a *hugs*

Original poster (me):  I absolutely love the color orange.  There’s something about it that really seems to tickle the nether reaches of the soul.  Any other orange lovers?  Holla yo!

Person A:  I hate everything about orange.  How could you possibly find any value in it?

Me (in response):  Sometimes when I’m having a really hard day (the kind that takes a potato peeler to your hope and self worth and sense of belonging), I watch the sunset.  On those days, it’s usually orange and somehow it rights the ship, plugs the holes, and realigns myself with my Self again and I make peace with the world around me.

Person B:  The sun kills millions of people.  Have you ever seen the statistics on skin cancer?  Not to mention that sunblock is tested on animals so you have to add those deaths to the equation.  Plus, no offense, your face is looking wrinkled.  *hugs*

Me (in response):  well typically the amount of radiation when the sun is going down is minimal so the risk of cancer is virtually nonexistent but thank you for sharing.  My face is more wrinkled from the bad days than it is from the sun.

Me (new mainline post…part of the original thread but I’m tech challenged so I don’t know the proper terminology):  Even the soft sweet smell and feel of a freshly picked apricot.  Like baby fuzz perfection wrapped in a tiny orange orb.  Regardless of any religious or spiritual affiliation, the first bite of a perfectly ripe apricot is absolutely heavenly.

Person C:  Orange is a combination of red and yellow.  Red makes me think of all the people who are needlessly dying all over the world today because they couldn’t afford an apricot.  Yellow makes me think of bananas, whose growing and harvesting are completely decimating the rainforests.

Person B (joins the thread):  the sun is yellow too.  It’s funny you chose to combine the two colors of destruction.  I’m sorry you’re so dark these days.  *hugs*

Me:  I see what you’re saying, but colors are really just wavelengths of light that the brain registers at a certain point in the color spectrum.  I hope you don’t have any issues with lemons because life has thrown all of us plenty of those (where my shuggah at?)…lol.  As for the sun, it’s technically UV light that our eyes and brain don’t recognize so in the scrambling to make sense of the experience our brain calls it yellow.  In regards to being “dark”, ironically it’s the orange that pulls me out.  All I’m saying is give carrots a chance!  Lol

(person B never responds and unfriends me…then two hours later friends person C)

Person D (randomly two days later) copies and pastes an article from WaPo about a study that found a small percentage of people who like orange are social deviants and possibly defective.  There is no context so I’m not entirely sure if I am effective or defective.

Then A, B, C, and D all click ‘like’ on each other’s comments and have a conversation about the awfulness of the color orange.  They mutually agree that they hope I’m doing ok and that I’m able to move through my struggles.

Me:  Deletes the original post.  Once again signs off and deactivates my social media presence.  Goes outside to watch the sunset.

*whispers to the glorious celestial event above* :

 

I fucking love you Orange.

 

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Bowling with Tom

Bowling with Tom

Dear Future Self:

Should you happen to find Tom Waits bowling in the next lane again, I implore you…lay off the beer.  Give yourself time to come up with a witty but politely non-intrusive ‘hey there Tom’ and sing a riff of 16 Shells from a Ten-ought Ball.  Or maybe ask him if bowlers in Minneapolis send Christmas cards too.

Be creative.

Whatever you do or however it is phrased, please refrain from telling him you use his music for cooking ambience…and, should the urge strike to give him a simultaneous bro pat on the shoulder, just keep eating your cheese sticks.

Uff da

Why Grown Folk Shouldn’t Do Math

Why Grown Folk Shouldn’t Do Math

I wish daylight savings would come, if it must, on Saturdays.  Only (selfishly) because I work on Sundays and the tricky magician origami folding of time and sunbeams is very confusing in a half asleep state.  I don’t have an alarm clock anymore…because I can never seem to remember to buy batteries for it…so I rely on my phone to keep on top of the arbitrary transformation and reassignment of light.

At midnight (or whatever time is designated by the powers that be for the transfer) my phone didn’t subtract the hour as I slept. For some unknown reason, deus ex machina decided to flex its muscles at 9am.  Which wasn’t helpful.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect anarchy in just about any form, but since I’d already spent half the night doing math problems in my head about how much sleep was left, it switched the denominator and left me wandering about the world in a haze.  I can’t remember which clocks I’ve changed so every room I walk into is a potential time warp.

Once my brain starts going with math problems, it’s all but impossible to stop the random number crunching.  I calculate seconds until an anticipated red light, the steps it will take to get to the corner, how many red cars I’ve passed on the last couple of blocks, the change due to the person in front of me, etc.  Kind of like playing solitary for hours until you finally win, there is always one problem solved in a way that satisfies my brain so it can move onto other things.

Today it was a population problem.  I should back up a few steps (not counting them thankfully anymore at this point) and say that I recently watched the first season of True Detective.  There were a handful of lines in it that still have me processing and deconstructing and trying to spit out a little calculator spiral of paper that says ‘solved’.  One of the quotes was about human consciousness being a tragic misstep in evolution, essentially making self awareness an aberration in nature.  The cure that the character proposes is to stop reproducing.  Let nature get back to being nature.

I started thinking about human population this morning and its rate of growth.  Most couples I know have two children so I used that as my starting point.  I’ve heard a handful of times from people that they stopped at two just to replace themselves.  So then the math kicked in.  One couple has two children.  Each of those two children also has two children.  And so on and so forth.  1,024 children would be the product of the tenth generation (a span of more or less 250 years…only just slightly older than the United States according to a 1976 quarter I have saved to use for scratchers because it’s the lucky one).  Going a little deeper, if you add up every life, including the original couple, there are 2,038 people total.

Good lord.  That’s depressing math yo.  Sorry.

Basically, I guess my brain is trying to say that there are a whole lot of footprints coming down the chute on this planet in the next eye blink.  Imagine beaming all of those people here all at once right now and think about how long it would take for the world to flip the bird and phoenix burn itself into ash.  I don’t think very long…and I wouldn’t blame her.  It’s high time we really really (really) start bumping environmental issues up in the queue of importance if we plan on the tenth generation having anything resembling an inhabitable planet.   Although I opted not to have children, I’m no less responsible for the welfare of those that have.  It’s part of being human. It’s time we get our proverbial shit together.  I don’t know that Mama Earth can give anymore of herself without our help.  And we shouldn’t expect her to forever give more than we take.

 

Shedding Skin

Shedding Skin

Now the starting over

after the erasing of all finite things

we are reduced to simple and necessary

but surviving and living aren’t the same

I’d leave the dying part to those with more time.

When one foot is in the air,

we’re coming and going at the same time.

Is there a difference anymore?

Might as well find a rhythm and just start moving again

without going through motions.

What lasts will linger

even when lingering has breathed its last.

My wings are taped on backwards

so the only answer was to switch shoes

shift to a higher gear

where F sharp is always F sharp

and E’s and G’s come and go.

Melancholy dissolves like sugar in time,

infinitely like breath and song.

Mostly because dissonance is its own analogy

one better left for the choir to solve.

So let’s dance then!

Laugh our way through love

turn everything on end

so our tiptoes touch the stars

leave the rest for beggars and thieves to call their own.

Shedding skin doesn’t mean losing.

In a sky full of twinkling holes

there’s no way of knowing

what waits on the other side

 

Nietzsche and the Earthworms

Nietzsche and the Earthworms

I thought we’d broken up permanently after the angsty tickle me Emo years.  In the tilt-a-whirl meanderings of my early twenties, Nietzsche was gravity.  The bummer friend always waiting in the corner.  He helped explain the world in a way that I could understand.  The absurdity.  The lack of God.  The will to power in the people I never quite found a way of understanding.

We were an unlikely pair. He came with me everywhere in various paperback forms.  I attended a few meetings of his fan group, the Nietzsche Society.  Everyone was so serious and thoughtful and respectful of each other’s time to speak.  I don’t know that (before or since), I’ve ever been part of a group that paid more mind to what they were saying and how they were listening.

As the notches of life crept towards thirty, my anger subsided and we drifted apart.  He faded back into the recesses of a dusty bookshelf and I wandered on towards Hesse and words that came from the east.  I really never looked back and life just went on in its usual fits and starts for years.

After my father passed, I began to see echoes of the absurd.  People were more confusing again and I withdrew into silence, the greatest weapon of the sensitive.  I’d lie awake at night and through the moonlight I could hear a faint knocking.  Almost like an unbearable fragile rose branch tapping on the far side of myself.  I ignored it.  Turned up the fan I use for white noise and watched as my thoughts spun out and out of control.  So many months of trying to reach out and clasp the version of myself that floated just beyond reach, but she couldn’t be caught anymore.  Mostly because she wasn’t there.

Nietzsche returned one night uninvited.  He wanted to rehash the old issue of eternal recurrence (to be brief…it’s namely that time is a flat circle and the same life is lived over and over again in the same sequence end over end forever without any chance of escape).  In my twenties I thought when God died, the singular most awful and creative sentence as repayment would be damning us to repeat everything.  I think that’s why I ran to words of the East.  We could reincarnate and atone and change our fates forever.  Honestly though.  Who knows?  Both, neither, one or the other: all equally possible.  Those who solve the problem don’t tell secrets.

I think retrospect is a way more useful way of marking one’s progress through time than a calendar.  I sat up from bed and decided that I didn’t want my thoughts to spin out of control forever.  I thought about the moments in my story that were good.  The ones that still make me catch my breath when I revisit them.  There were so many I’d forgotten! Somehow I drifted off into sleep and finally slept until morning.  The next day I decided to try to make new good moments to add to the collection for sleepless nights.  It wasn’t easy.  Sometimes we find ourselves unwillingly and unwittingly playing a supporting role in our own life and a more active role in stories that aren’t our own.  It takes a lot of presence to step out of the story line.  I signed off of social media (facebook namely) because I realized I had been spending so much time and energy staring at a screen filled with voices and noises that were affecting my well being and I wasn’t a part of any of them.  I had to make good forever moments on my own, by myself, and in real time.  I don’t think that can be done on a phone with emojis and thumbs.

Every day I’m trying to add more of the good forever type moments.  The ones I spend by myself seem to have the biggest effect on my heart.  Most of them are outside because that’s where I prefer to be as much and as often as I can.  The greatest ones are secrets, but I’ll throw out a few.  I curled up with my cat and listened to the rhythm of her purring for an hour.  I freed a ladybug from a spider web (sorry about that lil arachnid friend…I owe you a fly).  I am memorizing the whorls and swirls of my dog’s fur (he has cancer and they told me two months ago he would probably have 3 months left). Those are just a silly handful in my growing collection of things I’d love to do over and over again.  When people or situations are stressful or uncomfortable, I find myself asking whether they are worth stewing over not only once, but again and again and again.  I haven’t found a single one yet that is.  The foods I eat are better and healthier.  I’m finding myself more patient with people I would typically want to flip off or curse in whispered Vietnamese.  It’s making my skin fit better.

I’ve read a lot of books and teachings that were supposed to reveal the secret of how to live a good life, filled with all sorts of step by step plans and schematics.  I’m learning that they are just books, not without merit of course, but just somebody’s words.  Living a good life, one worth repeating, means participating and writing and directing your own story.  Not to say that there won’t be downs and swamps and snares and snakes and Scorpios and trenches.  I know when my pup passes, the thought of living that moment forever will level me.  Real power comes from making good moments in spite of those times.  I’m hoping I’ll scrape myself off the ground eventually and keep adding to the stash of beauty.  The alternative would be sitting in it forever.  And that would mean Nietzsche would leave me for good.  And I’d have to start wearing all black again which means dry cleaning expenses and more frown lines.

That leaves the worm connection.  This last rainstorm left quite a few puddles on our dirt driveway that ended up filled with earthworms. I took a stick and moved as many as I could out into the field so we didn’t run over them.  I’d always thought that rain flooded them up and out of the ground.  I just learned yesterday that they actually breathe through their skin and they suffocate if they dry out which is why their rich soil gifts to us are so deep underground.  Rainstorms allow them to surface and migrate faster and safely to another wormy home.  The rains give them freedom to journey. Maybe they look forward to winter and the good worm memories of the open road?

I hope that Nietzsche finds his way to anyone reading this.  If only to help you really live your very best life on your very own terms and in your own secret ways.  It’s nobody’s business what memories you pack to keep you warm but I do really hope you keep the best ones hidden safely in your own hearts for days when the rains come.