The Bliss of Normal

When I was young and I watched a movie or a TV show, I often wished my life was more exciting, like the lives of the people in the story. I not-so-secretly longed for adventure. Mysteries to be solved, strange experiences to be had, pain to be endured and ultimately transformed into strength!

I admired the warrior’s commitment to a life bereft of comfort in exchange for extreme capability. I lusted after drama and high emotion and a life driven by some overriding passion or purpose. I chafed at the boundaries of my average existence, my normal relationships, as I waited for the moment when I could fall to my knees and scream “Nooooooo!” at the sky, in response to the event that would shape the course of my life. I exaggerate, of course, but only a bit. I was an excitable child.

I’m not a child anymore. I don’t know if that’s the reason I feel differently about life now, but I suspect it has something to do with it. I realize some people never stop chasing physical and emotional excitement and, conversely, there must be many children who wish for the kind of stability and peace I enjoyed when I was young. Nevertheless, for me, with age has come an appreciation of the normal.

When I watch movies and TV shows now, my reaction is more often than not, “Thank god I don’t have to deal with that!” When I go to work at my office, no one is trying to kill me because I know too much. When I come home in the evening, I have no terrible secret to hide from my loving husband. And he is exactly what he seems to be. Not an alien in disguise using me as a cover for his experiments on humanity. Not a demon or an angel ready to enlist me in the cosmic war in which we will both die gruesomely meaningful deaths. Our family dramas don’t involve drug cartels, blood feuds, or zombies. Our dreams don’t involve unlimited power or world domination (well, maybe my husband’s do).

I dream of the weekend afternoons I get to spend by the pool at our apartment complex, lazing in the sunshine. I dream of the occasional cinnamon dolce latte that replaces my morning cup of decaf. I dream of getting a new couch so that when my husband and I sit close and watch everyone else’s drama, we get proper lumbar support.

It’s obvious that when the apocalypse comes, I will be one of the weak people. I will have no spin kicks with which to defend myself. I will have only the magic of my words and my understanding to protect me. I will be meat for the beast. (Unless I can engage him in conversation.) And I am fine with that. If my death at monstrous hands becomes imminent, I hope I can meet it in a lounge chair, sipping on a gin martini.

Little pink petals rain down from the tree outside my office window. My husband and I are going to the Indian buffet for lunch. I close my eyes and give myself over to the delicate rhythm of predictability. This is it. Right here. The bliss of normal.

Prelude

I stood there in front of the mirror for ages, waiting, but when I finally noticed her, she was already all over me.

There is gold dust in my hair, on my face, drifting between my fingers as I hold up my hands in disbelief. She is here! Here in the air around me, no longer a vague potential. Formless, yes, but present and real. I am speechless with anticipation.

Is that a whisper? I have listened to her voice in my dreams, her voice made of light. Her voice, the singularity in my cosmos, compelling me with mad gravity. Sing, she says.

Am I already singing? Is that my voice or hers? My image in the mirror looks the same, pleasantly unglamorous, growing slowly older. Except that now there is gold dust on my lips. I smile. I can’t help it.

I am dreaming in the waking world. My carefully maintained lines and limits become strange and unseemly, here, now. I let them go.

The wind is blowing, star-filled and endless. She holds my hands and ripples like a banner. See? (she says). This is how we fly.

The Sweet Spot

Or How To Get Drunk & Why

The judicious enjoyment of drunkenness can be a wonderful thing. I realize there are people who can not enjoy drunkenness judiciously and I do not mean to offend them. I’m the same way with tobacco. I know what it’s like to be standing at a party, watching other people indulge casually in a habit that is way too serious for me. It’s not exactly the same thing, but the similarity lies in the fact that if I smoke a cigarette, I will slide inexorably into smoking a pack a day, get lung cancer, and die. Kind of like taking a drink, sliding inexorably into an entire bottle a day, getting liver disease, and dying. Anyway, please don’t misconstrue my promotion of drinking as a lack of sensitivity regarding a very serious problem. If alcohol is a tool you can not use, I feel for you. And you should probably stop reading here. Continue reading

Always With The Punching

If I could be a superhero, I wouldn’t be super strong so I could punch people harder. I wouldn’t be super angry so I could hurt criminals in the name of justice. I wouldn’t punish with my super powers, deciding who deserves protection and who deserves torture or death.

If I could be a superhero, I would defuse anger. I would bestow peace. I would create understanding. Continue reading

Blind Baseball

Trying to cover all my “shoulds” and “mights” is pointless. There’s only so much preparing I can do for the unknown. It’s kind of like catching pop flies blindfolded. I can run around, waving my glove after each crack of the bat, hoping to broaden my chances of catching the ball by some tiny percentage. Or I can pick a spot in the middle somewhere, put my glove in my lap, and write some poems. Or eat a pretzel.

My chances of getting hit in the head stay pretty much the same, so I’m opting for the pretzel.

Resentment

Resentment is and always has been the hardest teacher in my life. For the most part, I am not resentful. I tend to let most personal injustices slide, preferring the stability of peace to confrontation and anger. It’s not that I forgive easily. It’s that I usually don’t reach the point where I feel there is something to forgive.

But when I do feel I’ve been treated unfairly, my reaction makes up for all those times I was able to maintain my equilibrium. Resentment blossoms like an evil flower and takes over my garden. It consumes my mind. It plagues my body. I can no longer remember the little things that make up my joyful life and keep me sane. I am instead distinctly joyless, wandering through the day with my heart locked in a sourly obsessive loop, failing to experience whatever is offered, stuck in time like a massive stone in a river. Everything flows around me. Life goes on. But I am now an obstacle to it. Continue reading

Shadow Of The Toad Woman

The Toad Woman

I saw the toad woman yesterday. I would have said I met her, but I didn’t really. She didn’t talk. In a way I guess she presented herself to me. I had never seen her before. Something in me knew she existed, but either she was buried too deep to come out or I was avoiding her. Probably some of both. In any case, I can’t figure out what her appearance means. Hello or goodbye? She only faced me for a few moments. I was so startled by the charred skin and coal eyes that I almost turned away in that kind of instant forgetfulness one achieves when one chooses to ignore that which is suddenly clear. Then she briefly showed me her back before moving out of sight and I realized who she was. Continue reading

The Business

It’s hard to speak, here, with the business looking over my shoulder. I have so much to say, but unlocking it is difficult. I need space. I need time. I have both, but they are stolen, like sips of whiskey from my parents cupboard. I need space and time of my own. I own so little these days, or is it just that I feel poor? Continue reading