Thursday, December 4, 2008

Breakfast E-piphanies

So I had a long holiday weekend, and I took full advantage.

Having wanted to go to the city, I made my way - by plane, train and automobile, save the plane part. I hate those. Thank God it doesn't take one of those to get there.

But everyone from this hellish frozen metropol-is-not goes there this time of year, the only really difference being when we choose to go, or where we spend our time, or which train we take. We go, if for nothing else, to see the people swarm in the streets, like some thousands of sperm on a festive petri dish, tails swishing from side to side, flitting as if flitting was all that mattered. I can't decide if the people are my favorite part, or if it's the form of the buildings and their outline against the sky. Maybe it's something entirely different - a combination of those things along with some hallucinogenic gas pumped up from the grates you step over every few feet.

The holidays seem to make people jolly. Remind them to love. To notice red and green with some seemingly new found appreciation. And they want to dance, and drink, and watch people take on the persona of someone else. Elphaba, or Fiona, or Sophie or some lanky leg-kicker. And the special thing about this place is the people. You somehow expect them to be too busy to be pleasant, to as a whole be too hardened with overexposure to extend common courtesies. And be sure, some of them smile and nod and speak only because it pays their bills, but others will share pieces of their personal stories if given the sign of interest. I think I could write a book were I given the time to hear enough of the nearly unlimited number of stories, told in accents of everywhere you can imagine.

Under the guise of going with friends, to not worry loved ones, I left for a moment of pure, unadulterated bliss, and walked the streets of another world, being careful to chalk up the vagrants, begging through their own cloud of $7 cigarette smoke for money and nothing more. It was once suggested they might actually stand and make money offering to take cutsie little photographs for the tourists standing in awe with their shiny new pink coolpix cameras, wishing some of their jpeg memories included them. I always wonder why they are where they are, and why they cannot change it.

In fact - that's part of the city you can barely drown out - the disparity between the lush park side condoites, the fashionable ritzy store patrons, and the others....those who comb the street for meagre opportunity. It's like having cancer along with an everlasting orgasm, you don't know which is more deserving of your attention, and which will notice your inability to cure either.

In any case - I was - if only for a moment - completely left to be me. To explore, enjoy, and to a certain extent, exploit my individuality. I had no plan, though I brought directions, if only to expedite my freedom from the confines of navigational unawares. I soaked in the glamour of the uptown windows and the quaintness of the faded paint on the signs of walls covered in brightly, sometimes artistic graffiti. Everywhere was old so ingenuisly blended with new, it was obvious there was no grand sceme to screw it up.

It was purely ingratiating, being there. I walked and walked, devouring the scent of life above the stench of a city with so many people that it must thrust them upwards to make room. I sat on the stone steps of a circular monument, soaking in the sun in one of the few places it hit directly, knowing I could be here forever, as long as forever wasn't too long. I paid my $16 for a glass of Cabernet I could drink a jumbo bottle of at home for under $20. I took chances with signals to walk, and dodged the drivers that wanted to play chicken, even though they had the advantage. Its possible I should get some life insurance before I go again.

And I came home drunk with the me I want to be. As I drove through the picturesque Norman Rockwell towns near home, I could feel the weight of normalcy laying itself back across my shoulders where it resides. A cat curled on a clanky, worn radiator in the middle of winter. But the streets were familiar. They didn't take thought, but they brought no surprises to demand a genuine smile.

I had been filled with the city. And still today I am tired with knowing it so well. I am sore from it bringing me so high, pumping me full of new feeling. I am thankful, even all these days later, that I can go again. I am reminded that life is full of possibilities, and that some of them should be recognized before they have passed in a cloud of smog, smug and Starbucks lattes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Bigger - Albeit Uncomprehensible - Picture

I have a thing for history, and if you want to know the truth - I think maybe I, and people like me, may just have a closer connection with past lives. In this regard, I think this is the main point in which my Catholic upbringing is in direct contradiction to what I actually believe. How can souls not be recycled when space is definitive? Heaven being, in reality, climbing a latter in subsequent lives, and hell being forced to endure the same trials again, or trials even worse than before. And besides the fact that certain traits I know I possess must've come from somewhere other than genetics, I choose to consider my past lives in a simplistic, but romantic way. After all - if I am Christian at all, and I think I am, I must acknowledge free will. I know that I fought for the rights of women, and in fact, that I always have been a woman - and in that -I consider I have not been so bad in one life, as to be forced into anything less.

By the way - I am watching Pride & Prejudice for at least the umpteenth time while I write this. I love Jane Austen, though I refuse to read the "Jane Austen Book Club", and I doubt that Kira Knightly is part of a past life - though it would explain her lack of breasts - she is nonetheless younger than me. She would've stolen part of my soul - and so would not be able to act so well as Elizabeth Bennett. I still get lost in the rhetoric, mannerisms, and ribbons. I still wonder why society "et al" does not appreciate the rituals that once governed all interactions of substance.

There are certain time periods that draw me more than others, and I know there is some correlation between those, and who I am now. Or maybe - who I should be. I have always felt I was confused about things I couldn't explain. Flailing around in today's world with traits that don't fit - don't make me old fashioned, don't make me modern. Whatever the case, I don't always feel at home in the world in which I live.

I am an utter romantic.

But I don't believe love exists in it's purest form anymore.

I believe in propriety.

But I don't believe sin has anything to do with how people should interact (except that they should not kill one another).

I believe in looking at the past errors of humans to know what should be done today.

But I don't believe you can be dogmatic in anything. Our financial crisis of today may not end the way it did with the Great Depression, though I hope we have an equally fit leader, and no World War.

Maybe there are no answers in the past, and all I long for when reading old books, or watching The History Channel, or day dreaming of pinafores and butter churns - are honest and simple ways to cope. Back when people were more in tune with nature - at it's mercy even. The eloquence of the written word moved people to change. The harangue of a crowd, who could not read, told leaders of unjustness that required attention. The respect people had for things they could not be sure of. Ghosts. Saints. Love.

I think - as I sit here typing away on a laptop - conveniently expressing myself to anyone who cares to listen with the click of a button - I know we have lost much more than we've gained.

And if not - at least we'd do well to recognize where we are.

Some tiny dot in a larger matrix.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can't Write On Fridays

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that I have the strangest, most perverted friends on the planet.

Birds of a feather, I know.

Anyway, I was looking for a certain reference, whilst blowing off large amounts of extremely dull work-related stuff, and went searching through my emails, texts and chats. I came to the above conclusion after noticing certain trends in communications with all of them, except the few who know so little about electronic devices that the most they manage is forwarding crap that’s been forwarded 10,000 times in the last minute.

In order to illustrate why I love the pool of genuinely amusing people I consort with (and also to continue blowing off work) I have compiled my favorite one-liners, or snippets for your reading pleasure. This isn’t exactly my idea, as a friend of mine used to do this on his MySapce profile, and they can be extremely hilarious when taken out of context.

I swear to you – I will correct no spelling.

“He said he broke his penis BTW. You might want to make note of that.”

“I read typoese quite fluently.”

Line 1: “my stil wrist hurts.”
Line 2: “proof that you haven’t been doing the hand technique correctly :P”

Line 1: “am i interrupting?”
Line 2: “interrupting me trying to cajole you into chatting?”

“its really a shame were not lesbians”

Line 2: "you have a third nipple?"

"asshats dont deserve my brainpower."

"there are worse men. hes not in prison after all".

"the click was NOT in my head."

"I am SO not going to muff dive for him."

"that would be impossible. but it would still be anal."

Line 1: okay...I PROMISE we'll talk at least briefly
Line 2: i hope that's a tightey-whitey reference ;)

"I kille brain cells by drowning them in Coors light."

Line 1: i know youre probably busy, and im bout to go to bed anyway, i just wanted to tell you i love you :)
Line 2: Awwww.... are yous drunk?

"good. now tell me why your avatar here looks like a diaphragm"

" wait - facebook? why? Are you going back to high school?"

"youre just thinking about my keychain, arent you?"

Line1: which end?
Line 2: the big pokey end

Line 1: i have nothing against strippers
Line 2: me neither, unless they have no ass

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things That Go BUMP in the Night

I think my original decision to have a family bed may have been selfish, and now I can fully understand why pediatricians urge parents to tuck their little angels into their very own comfy little cement-truck-princess-plum-fairy adorned beds.

Sanity, and children who are not afraid to be alone. In the dark. At night.

Two nights ago I babysat for one of the doctors I work for, who has a 12-year old stepson, 3-year old daughter, 2-year old son, and 8-month old foster son. Oh, and one slightly crazy wife, who I “get” completely. My own toddler came with me, as she is extremely impressed with 3YO’s collection of princess-wear, mini kitchen appliances, books, and the full-sized bounce house in the basement – and because no one else will watch her while I babysit. The three youngest of their kids basically went to bed an hour apart, starting with the little one at 6:15, and they each went into their own rooms, and their own respective beds. (The 12YO basically put himself to bed, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t need me to check his pull-up). There was only a slight glitch in this, as my daughter and the 3YO, when left to their own devices in a small section of the house, cordoned off my multiple baby-gate barricades while I put 2YO down at 7:15 – decided to make a beach/castle out of all the bedding from the parents room, along with a couple sections of the newspaper for blankets, and Mom’s 10 pound hand weights for beverages. (I later tried to convince them their sippy cups would work too and that 10 pound tropical umbrella-ed drinks may hurt when dropped. I listened from 2YO’s room as they screamed and giggled with delight, obviously buzzing from the weights, and oblivious to the fact that sleeping was going on elsewhere in the house.

Not the point. I get home from an evening meeting last night, grab some dinner, slump my exhausted self onto the couch and immediately begin the Shower-war with my 11 –year old son, who for whatever reason, thinks being dirty and stinky constitutes some new “grunge” look. He balks, and starts looking for clothes in the downstairs bathroom, thinking again he’d wear whatever he took off this morning and left crumpled on the floor.

“Those clothes are in the washing machine A, go upstairs get some from your room.”

He walks out of the bathroom, and turns as if he’s going to the laundry room.

“No A, go upstairs! There’s nothing clean down here”, I said, a little more firmly this time.

“I don’t need to. I have some clothes down here”, he says, going to retrieve the backpack he brought to sleep over at his cousins over the weekend. He sees the bag has been emptied, and comes back to the living room.

“A, just GO get some clothes and get your BUTT in the SHOWER.”

“Mommy, can you just go get me some underwear.”

“No. YOU go get you some underwear. And get moving because if I have to tell you again, you will NOT go to practice tomorrow.” There was a small gasp as he processed this threat, aware that I am 75% likely to follow through, even with that most heinous of punishments. But he is obviously more nervous about going into the dark abyss of the 2nd storey than he is about not starting a game because he missed a practice.

He turns to his 2YO sister, who sits in her recently dumped toy bin watching Dora. “C, will you go get Bubba some underwear?”

“Okay, Bubba”. And she climbs out of the bucket, and heads upstairs.

“A, GO WITH HER! She can’t even turn the lights on by herself!”

He takes her hand and heads up the stairs with her. To get his underwear.

I called after him, “What in the world kind of boogeymen is SHE going to protect you from?”

He yells back, “She’s not, but if they eat her first, maybe they’ll be too full for me!”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pinata of Nada

I’m sitting here. Just waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Break the monotony of the day, brighten my outlook, maybe even make me laugh. It’s been hectic at work lately, and the halls and faces and emails whiz by in a hurry for diagnosis and completed follow ups. I can safely say, I’ve done much, and absorbed very little of it. Some days just go unnoticed.

I wish I were on a plane. A plane to anywhere or nowhere at all – just loving the anticipation of the destination. There’s something intrinsically exciting about travelling. The hubbub of the airport, the beer before boarding, the detailed checklist of what to bring. Do I bring my hair dryer – or hope that the hotel has an ionizing (or whatever the hell it is) one like mine? Do I attempt to smuggle in my toothpaste, or just bring a lot of Trident? Do I smoke 6 cigs before going into the airport in hopes that I can make it through the connection without walking 10 miles to the nearest designated smoking area?

It’s been a boring day in reality. Reality being where I live begrudgingly. Luckily I can drag my camping-tent sized umbrella outside every now and then to chat and puff - not in that order. Today at least I had a couple amusing stories come across my path to keep me from puking up tedium.

They’re not my stories, but I’ll share them anyway.

A doctor, who is insanely good at his job and does it with a passion, has no time for the small details of his life, and can be called ditzy at times. He’s good natured, so he doesn’t mind that we call him that. He flies home to see his parent’s last weekend, and accidentily leaves his keys there. It’s not the first time he’s done this, so he has an extra set. He calls his dad when he gets home and requests he overnight the keys. His father runs to the post office and sends them Express Priority. The package is delivered into the large metal box that houses the mail for all of his posh neighborhood’s residents. The doctor realizes then, standing in front of the large, fortified receptacle that the only key he never made a copy of was the one he needed to access his mail. No key. No package. No clue.

A coworker talks about the Paula Abdul workout video she found, and is very into. It has dance moves that make it much more engaging than plain old aerobics or tai-bo, and she swears she’s firming the gut, toning the butt and losing a couple pounds. She loves this video so much, she convinces her fiancé to do it with her. Because their living room is so small, she stands in front of him, and a little to the left, so he can still see the TV, but they won’t collide while sweating to Straight Up. She’s into the movements when his shirt flies by, landing in front of the TV. No big deal, he’s getting hot. A few minutes later, his athletic break-away pants drop onto the pile that is his shirt. Okay, this really IS good exercise. But when his boxes join the heap of clothes, she finally turns to find him still moving in unison with the figure on the screen. Butt. Ass. Naked. I told her I understood completely why she was marrying him, and that if she took his lead, they really wouldn’t need to watch the video at all.

Moral of the stories? You can fly to California and back for a butt-naked man in your living room but you’d better have a key to get to his package.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Top Floor Please: Revisiting SBT

I was nervous, or excited, almost impossible to tell which now. Maybe a little of both. So I crossed and re-crossed my legs a dozen times, the sweat from my half-full glass of beer raining tiny droplets onto my bare legs that stretched out from beneath the thick wool of my coat. It was crazy to wear a dress in the throes of winter, but the bar was warm with the body heat of out-of-towners who filled the room with clamor of holiday shopping, tonight's football favorites and diminishing gas prices. The waiting was almost too much, and made it almost impossible to sit, still and serene, leaning with one elbow on the sleek wood of the bar, as if it would keep me in my skin.

Sitting with a head-dotted view of the door, I saw the moment he came in. My belly stirred, but I didn’t get up. Watching as he walked, his eyes smiling, looking for me among the faces, I held my breath when he finally met my gaze. Anyone watching would’ve blushed, not at the expression, but because the room became noticeably warmer. Like someone had finally got the fireplace lit, after dumping in wadded newspaper page after page. Maybe it was just me.

I continued where I was, unmoving, like an Italian marble statue in a museum, afraid of what I’d betray if I rose to meet him. Or that my knees would buckle.

He didn’t speak, only reaching me and taking my hand in his, motioning to the bartender, a cute girl with a blonde ponytail, for one of the same. He winked at me, not missing that I’d ordered his favorite. And then he pressed into me, wrapping his arms around me, brushing his lips against my neck. He obliterated everyone in the room, and I pulled him closer, spreading my knees just enough to accept one of his legs, bringing his body to me, cheek against the soft cotton of his shirt, arms under his cost, around his waist. His leg, my leg, his leg, mine.

No one saw, or even attempted to see what his hands did. No one even turned as we continued the embrace just a little too long. The trembling of my bottom lip as his hand moved swiftly from just above my knee to just between my thighs, the cold from outdoors still on his fingertips. I could feel the pounding in his chest, and his face showed nothing but happiness to see me.

He turned suddenly. Flipping a bill on the counter, we left the glasses as they were to make rings on the surface for the girl to wipe up after we’d gone, the only sign we’d even been there. His hand in mine, we made our way through the quiet of the nighttime lobby to the elevator, and gave the impression of complete calm as we watched the numbers light one by one.



As the doors slid closed, what seemed an eternity, I listened as the regifting-quarterback-3-dollar-a-gallon chatter became a whisper and then nothing. And when his hands slid firmly around my waist, I was glad for once to be going to the top floor.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keep Your Ass Next Door

I’ve written before about my religious beliefs, briefly, and that if anything – while I believe in God, I can be considered more an agnostic, or existentialist than anything. I am jaded on the subject of organized religion, and sadly disappointed in the Catholic Church in which I was raised, possibly because I am offended that priests don’t like girls – and they always seemed to stick us with the Nuns, who had no urge to touch unless using a large paddle.

Yes, I was a Catholic school girl at one point. Go figure.

Anyway – for those who will choose to be offended by the sacrilege I am about to spew forth, go quietly, or rant – whichever you choose. Either way – I am going to thoroughly discuss the last, and my favorite, of the ten commandments.

10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Let’s start with thy neighbor’s house, shall we? Let me see – if we want to get into that, we’d have to thoroughly pick apart property values, quality of lawn care, and age of the roof of the house next door. And since I know little about value, and cant see mine neighbors lawn or roof, what with all the crap they sell at continuous weekend tag sales piled everywhere, let’s just say this is not a problem for me personally. I’m not even sure why you would want to own your neighbor’s house unless they have a really big yard and an equally hot lawn boy.

I’m thinking this applied more back when homes were made of mud and thatch and the guy next door had better mud. Or a good wheel barrow with which to haul it.

The next part is important.

If you’d seen my neighbor's wife, who is a slovenly, ill-educated young woman that seems to own an endless number of sweat pants, you’d realize why I cannot force myself to covet her. Standing outside smoking one day, I heard her, from across both yards, hock a loogie and spit it into the street with an audible “splat”. Besides, since her name is apparently “You Stupid Bitch”, I have to assume even her husband doesn’t covet her all that much.

My neighbor’s male calls his wife “Stupid Bitch”. Need I say more?

As for my neighbor’s female slave, I believe he calls her “Mom”, and likes her more than Stupid Bitch. I don’t envy her, and certainly don’t want her for my own. She walks past a couple times a day, apparently in a mad dash for her understandable smoke fix, and I wonder at the fact that her family drives up and down the street like Earnhardt at Talladega and no one can give her a ride. She's very scrawny, and I wonder sometimes if they even let her eat.

So far, I think I am less of a sinner.

As for the ox and the ass, well – let’s just say that seems to be redundant - as mentioned under "wife" and "male". Even if they really had these beasts of burden, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least given the full set of living room furniture in their driveway – I am almost certain I would want them more than anything else my neighbor has to offer. I wonder sometimes, if they did have an ass, if I could obtain it fair and square for a case of Bud and carton of Lucky Strikes.
When it comes right down to it - if I did want anything that rightly belongs to my neighbor, I'm quite sure I could buy it for $1.50 this Saturday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chitlins and Caviar

I grew up in middle-class suburbia, the child of working-class parents who did well enough, and not more. I had everything I needed, and have very fond childhood memories, replete with bikes, a boom box, and the essential collection of Garbage Pail Kids. I have not improved my lot any, but do not regret the lack of rise to a more enviable social status. Needless to say, the black tie events were nil, and I needed less grace and etiquette than energy, and good old American know-how. However, I pride myself in being decently able to carry off a semi-classy moment when I need to.

So, now that I’m working for a group of people, that especially for this area, make more money than the President, I come across times here and there where I am not exactly in my element. For instance, every month we have an evening meeting that ends with a dinner at some posh-ish restaurant or another, where I watch in amazement as they order a couple $200 bottles of wine, just to make sure everyone knows they can. And while deep down this squandering of money for show hurts my sense of altruistic social responsibility, I ride their coat tails to a good buzz, and enjoy the extreme superiority of the flavor. I'm like their little charity case. Poor Jessica, can't even afford something better than Kendall Jackson. Poor thing.

Because of this, I am now in the midst of planning the group’s private holiday dinner, which is to be held at one of the loveliest, fanciest “mini-mansion turned hotel/restaurants” in the area. You see, back in the late 19th century, this area was popular with jet set (like the Rockefeller family), who built splendid “cottages” to rival the greatest homes in America. We still cater to a large NYC second home-owner population, and if you can ignore the overwhelmingly large number of poor people and drug dealers, give plenty of basking in culture opportunities in the summer. Anyway – so I’m talking to the catering manager for this hotel, and she instructs me to choose the allocated number of selections for each course, or to give her specific instructions for the chef and sommelier.

“You’ll need to choose several canapé’s, and alert me to any vegetarians, or other dietary constraints”, she says, moving on to the entrees, which are apparently prix fixe – which I assume means they are endorsed by NASCAR.

I want to say, “Lady, it’s going to be the middle of December in New England, I don’t think we’ll be outside under a canopy, no matter what it looks like.” But, assuming by context she meant something more like appetizers, I just make note that chips and salsa are not an option. Then I google it. Why the hell isn’t horsdourves good enough? Its hard enough to spell to make it sound all special and stuff. No matter, I just murmured my assent, and assured her I’d have our selections to her well in advance, and that I was sure we’d want plenty of goat cheese and whatnot.

It’s possible that this planning will be good for me. Even with the plethora of events I’ve planned in the past, including various company Christmas Parties, cookouts and team building days –this will be by far the most elegant event. But given my knowledge consists more of barbeque's, clam bakes, and tailgating - I'm not sure I'm prepared to face this challenge without severe Internet usage, and over-googling. I feel obligated to take out a small loan to get a mani-pedi and a sleek new hair-do. I may even need to accessorize just to avoid looking like Elli May Clampet in a Beverly Hills Boutique.

In fact, I am considering skipping TJ Maxx and getting my dress from JC Penny.

Now that’s class.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lamentations of Boredom

I love the big city.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the bustling outskirts of Atlanta, and being the largest growing city in the US during the 80’s, there was no end to the vastness of the place and the beauty of the rising skyline.

And I miss the city. I long for the height and breadth of it. The flowing of people on the sidewalks like the quickening of a pulse….hot blood in your veins. Feeling alive.

So I am planning to go to the only place one can go to quench a thirst like this.

The Big Apple.

I don’t know how exactly I’ll make it happen, but in my mind – I am already there. My desire to be there swirls around in my head, making me giddy, depriving me of oxygen, and I want to stand on Broadway, peel off my clothes and feel the movement of the city against my skin. Melt into it.

And if I don’t get arrested for that – I’ll dance down through Central Park, oblivious to the danger, rebelling against constraints, and find a place on the grass to lay, looking up at the stars, drunk with the freedom that is the night sky, walled in by the steel and glass and noise. I want to wake wrapped solely in the ribbons of exhaust, energy and the sweat of the place. Watch the sunrise over Manhattan, and pause again to breathe in the vivacity of the city that never sleeps.

I don’t think I should even need to stop at one of the many exotic little restaurants, gorging myself with the fare of other cultures, or sipping the deep red wine I love. I want intoxication from the place itself. Pure, unadulterated life. I don’t want to shop, or waste a quarter in the viewing machines atop the Empire State Building. I want to take it in whole, instead of bit by bit.

If you’ve never been there – the place is like Gulliver in Lilliput – a body of living, breathing flesh laying itself in the harbor, cells darting from here to there to work or play or paint the world with graffiti. It is personified, and doesn’t hold itself to the rules of inanimateness – but flaunts itself in its virility. It makes me want to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

If I can’t get there soon, I think I should die of craving for its splendor.

Anyone want a postcard?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Way Streets

I think I’ll write a book.

101 Mistakes People Make in Marriage

It sounds kind of silly coming from someone who thinks so little of the whole institution - and has never even tried it, but hear me out. I ask questions, I take notes. I delve into the married lives of my friends, family and strangers who find it irresistible to tell me everything about their private lives over a glass of wine.

It happens.

I think about this topic often, and mull it over like some cow’s cud of a subject - swallow it, regurgitate it, and consider it again. But for blog’s sake – I’ll just summarize one of the scenarios some couples use as a reason to take the plunge..........

Society’s Norms
Let’s say relationships are a road – a journey of some sorts. You begin the way you should, with dinner and movies and a cute little peck on the cheek in your doorway. Things are new and fresh, and get to know each others’ friends and relatives. Time passes; you move in together, you get a dog. And one day you look up and realize this road is a dead-end alley with only one option ahead. Marriage. Since you also picked up a house and a set of matching snowmobiles, and the journey has been a long one, you take the plunge – because it’s what everyone else does. It’s what your parents did. It’s what the Cleavers did. You have kids, refinance the house so you can buy a big-screen plasma, and you become each others’ beneficiaries for your 401ks. Turning back and starting the journey over isn’t an option because it’s impossible to break up a good pair of snowmobiles.

So even though you were happy when you turned the corner and started down the road, you can’t really remember what that feels like because your adjustable mortgage rate just went up and the pinch has made you a bit forgetful. You’re not even sure you know as much about this person anymore, because they’ve changed. They become domesticated, and can’t seem to laugh like they used to. But heck, you’ve got kids with braces.

You did everything you were supposed to do. Everything everyone else on the block did, only half of those people have filed for divorce. You jumped off a bridge because Dad did, and Billy did, and so did Pete.

What’s worse is that you were probably young when you got married. She was hot and energetic, and he was full of optimism and had great abs. 10 years pass, and you can still see why you did this. It hasn’t been so long that you’ve forgotten what you wanted back then, but his naked ninja trick isn’t quite so funny, and her self-consciousness is at an all-time high since she noticed a gray hair growing from her areola. The most you can hope for is that the kids are in bed early so you can watch the game uninterrupted while she reads the latest Oprah’s book club novel in bed, rubbing Oil of Olay on her breasts.

Another 5 years, and the house is almost paid off. The kids are heading for college, and the dog is buried in the back yard with a cross made of ceiling trim, “Buddy” written in large letters with a Sharpie. She spends most of her time with her book club, and he works late with the excuse that he needs to put a little more into the 401k to make up what he lost. You remember each other’s names, but the rest is all routine. Like some mechanical iRobot man and wife, less the extra chick in black leather cat suit or Will Smith’s sense of humor. It’s bland, but you can’t complain. You never argue and your old neighbor Billy’s wife took half his paycheck when she left.

And above all – you’ve got his and her helmets for the snowmobiles.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Little Like Leap Year - For Dating

It’s not a secret around here that it’s a terrible place for young (and youngish) single people. It’s almost impossible to meet someone, especially someone with any sense, and there’s no where to go to try. Coming from a big city like Atlanta, it can be very discouraging, and the deadness of the social scene is downright depressing. For the past couple years, I’ve been sitting patiently, avoiding dating anyway - so what of it.

But this morning, much to my surprise (thank God I wore my cute pants) – I found out where all the smart, good looking guys hang out.

Apparently, every four years they all come together in some ceremonial rite, passed down from generation to generation – bright eyed, and glowing in their sense of togetherness. They trail in and out of their gathering place like its some highly-clothed male revue stage, and nod politely to each other, avoiding any sobering discussion, happy to be where they are. It’s mid blowing how appealing this is for a girl like me. Someone who didn’t realize the social importance of this day. Someone who was anxious for it without even knowing it could mean meeting the man of her dreams.

So, I saunter proudly up to the crowd – blushing in my womanly pride, and begin my very best mating rituals. Leaning up against the large window frame, crossing my ankles below, I set my eyes on a particularly juicy one, and give him that “come hither, you hottie” look.

“Well hello there handsome, I’m a Libra, and a liberal. Are you ready for change?” He looks away and, obviously rushed for time, proceeds to talk about dogs with the guy next to him.

Fine. He must own guns or something.

Spotting another even better candidate, I make my move. He’s handing out some sort of propaganda, probably advocating something really sexy. I take the proffered pamphlet, and bat my eyelashes just a bit - so as not to be all, stupid-hooker like.

“So, you come here often? I’m voting “yes” on question 3. I love dogs…….”, giving him a little wink.

Unfortunately, he’s feverishly trying to share his wares with the people still spilling in through the double doors.

Okay. Not as easy as I thought.

I make my way slowly through the line, scanning the faces in front of me and behind me, sure that I’ll find some new love. Some well-informed guy that spends just enough time gleaning information from all the best sources, but not so much that he forgets to build muscle, and drink a beer or two.

Feeling a little discouraged, I do my duty, and start towards the door. There’s always next time after all.

I feel a tap on my shoulder, and turn to find a tall man of good stature, the most beautiful puppy dogs eyes I’ve ever seen, and a neatly shaven swatch of hair on his chin that makes me wonder if it tickles when he kisses.

“Hello”, he says, “Your Woo-Hoo-Obama sticker seems to have fallen off. Here, let me put it back for you.”

I know at once he’s a closet Republican, but I say nothing, knowing damned well that sometimes opposites, and opposing parties, do attract.

ELECTION DAY! Don’t forget ladies – women and men have fought for our right to do it. (WOO-HOO!)

Monday, November 3, 2008


I have no idea how this happens so often, but once again – I am amazed at how school-yardish work can be. When you look carefully, or think about it even briefly, we don’t change much socially from pre-school into adulthood. And proof in point?


I remember as early as elementary school swapping chairs when no one was paying attention, because I preferred blue to orange, maybe one of the metal disc thingies on the feet were missing and it wobbled, or possibly a much more prestigious (and larger) 5th grader-chair had been secretly installed here to impart a manner of favoritism for one special, alert child – who would obviously take possession of the chair by knowing it was meant for him or her. Some chairs had initials, or bad words like “fart-face” or “dummy” carelessly carved into them, leaving little scrolls of barbed plastic that ripped the tender skin under your knees or caught your new fall tights and made them holey. And then of course – there was the chair that everyone avoided but Snot-faced Stevie – who was constantly picking boogers and then conveniently had to adjust his seat. There were chair arguments. Chair fights even. And no one looked forward to coming back from the holiday vacation to realize they’d all been rearranged.

It’s my stinkin chair Billy, now get your nasty scuzmitts off it before I show you how I get my saddle shoes so shiney.

So a few years ago, back in Atlanta – I walk out of my hole (office) into the large room of 100 or so cubicles on the collection floor – to find about half of the employees snarling at each other, while a dozen of the managers are pushing around black leather chairs in a procession to rival any reverent funeral. They were doing their best to ignore the raucous of the inferiors, and gathered the chairs in the conference room. The black chairs, with much higher backs, and comfier cushion, were originally meant for managers only, but through time had filtered into the room, being given to “favorites” of the managers, who would steal one here and there when someone else left. To make a long story short – the chair-fight had escalated to the point that the owners of the company deemed it necessary to remove them all, and have no one chair be better than another.

I laughed hysterically. One lady – I believe in her late 50’s - had even written her name in white out on the arm of her chair, and refused to go back to her desk until it was returned to her.

This morning, in a far different setting, the chair-fight was relived. The doctors I work for have gone through a myriad of chairs, trying to decide which model they would be willing to sit on to best perform their duties. The guy in charge of buying them has had loaners from various furniture stores for months now, and with no indication on which the doc’s feel most at home in. He has asked over and over, politely, and more urgently – with the sales people hounding him for the return of their chairs – or payment in any case. With a hint of defiance, he finally sent the group an email threatening to remove every chair, without so much as a milk crate in replacement, if they do not decide today.

Needless to say, the black leather one won again.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dust to Dust

I’ve mentioned my cycles before.

And as much as I’d love to discuss my claim to womanhood, I do not refer to that cycle – I mean the death of contentedness, and rebirth of folly. Over the length of perhaps a year, or less, I go from an antisocial, gloomy constant – who focuses on what she should do rather than what she wants to do – to a severely ADD fanatic who would chose controlled vice and inspired madness over the nunnery that is my reality. It’s not so bad that I become dangerous to myself, or my family, but it tugs at the deep-rooted Catholic guilt I so love to stroke like a long-haired cat, curled up on my breast as I try to sleep. Sometimes there is an overwhelming desire to analyze right and wrong, and others I simply want to wallow in wrong and hide behind my mask of comfortable servitude.

I am currently in the latter stages of distracted ill-humor, and though I wear my happy-mask well – I go from one task to another without really noticing a thing. I work, cook dinner, and wait for the time when the kids are in bed, or watching whatever has replaced MLB, and I slip into bed with my book and my bottle of wine, not knowing which I want to escape to more. (I’ve made that easier lately, on my British Monarch kick, which involves so much debauchery and vice – I feel like I have everything I need and more). I wander though the day, seeming cheerful and energetic to most, even sometimes fooling myself, and then I think of him, or notice where I am – and I run hiding into the closet inside my head.

My God. It’s not really as bad as it seems. I am convinced I can rationalize almost anything, and do so adequately enough that I really am NOT a bad person. And besides, while I love drinking, smoking and having sex – at least I confine myself to only smoking regularly, drinking in spurts, and sex in my head. The way I see it, I could easily be sainted for less in today’s world. I’m like one of Henry VIII’s wives – but without someone to pull my sweatpants on for me or fetch my horse from the stables.

If I don’t make any sense, excuse me please. I am on the third day of a weird high-alcohol, low-sustenance diet – and have found the most expensive bottle of cheap wine for my daily ration.
Maybe I should go to mass in the morning.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Playing House

It is without doubt that I am stuck in the wrong era, and I’ve known this since I was very young. It’s apparent in my fondness for run-on sentences and heaps of commas, and the way I sit mesmerized in an 18th century school house at a local historical sight, fingering the smooth grooves of the long table-desks, alert to the spirit the room holds. The impression life leaves on places well-worn is palpable, and at times I think I have only to close my eyes to see through the eyes of the past. I am more and more certain that reincarnation is a possibility and my spirit has a shelf-life without expiration. That I know someone I’ve known, and loved, before. And with all this – comes being torn between some set of values I want to have, and those that make more sense for me in today’s world.

So I amuse myself by imagining (I play make-believe with myself often, for entertainment purposes only) that I am June Cleaver, in today’s world. It’s not my favorite decade, but it’s easily envisioned – thanks to TBS – and it was a time of rigid conservatives and perfect ladies.

My husband (those who know me know how funny that sounds) comes home from a long day at the office, where he sells life insurance, or some such dull and unglamorous thing. I greet him at the door with kiss on the cheek, and Mich Ultra – tugging on curl from my perfectly coiffed hair as he slips his hand around my aproned waist. It’s his favorite apron. The one with the ruffles.

“Where are the children, dear?”

“Why, Johnny is at the baseball field and I’ve given the little ones their supper early, and all are bathed and watching a Sponge Bob marathon in bed.” I flash a quick wink, and he knows I’ve once again forgotten my undergarments. “Would you like to have dessert before your dinner, darling?”

“I think that’s a splendid idea.”

“I’ve laid it out in your study.” It’s the one room in the house that is off limits to the offspring, and he saunters towards the sliding wooden doors, clicking on the iHome as he enters, filling the room with Julie London’s soft voice. I watch as he positions himself in the large, leather chair behind the desk, and begins fiddling with the crinoline under my skirt.

“So you received my text, then”, I say, watching for the smile I know is coming. He loves that about me – the way I refuse to go an entire day without rousing him before he even gets home.

“I did, and I’ll show you exactly my reaction, you naughty little kitten. And be glad my secretary is a man, or you might think better of making me think such things at the office.”


This is where my reverie is broken. The casserole is done.

I dole out a portion for the young kids and call the oldest to the table. And throughout dinner, its not the Ward at the head of the table I’m missing.

It’s dessert.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Skeletons and Ghosts

It makes no sense, but I do it just the same. Having been drawn to the window for no reason whatsoever, I stand there peering through the crack in the threadbare white curtains that let all the light through. From here, I can see the entry to our short, dead end street, and at times I imagine your head appears over the now lifeless goldenrod that hangs over the neighbors’ chain link fence. Why you’d be walking down my street is of no importance when in reality you’ll never even drive down it.

Swirling for a moment in this imaginary realm of bittersweet phantoms, my son pops into view, tossing his baseball up and catching it in the smooth brown mitt of his glove as he trots home from the field. Like the dusty wipe of a blackboard, you’re erased from sight, breathing in bits of the ephemeral picture and choking back sobs instead of sneezes. Reality sets in. It is once again an impossibility.

I stagger backwards until I feel the bed against the back of my calves, and I sit. The book I’ve been using to relieve my mind sits open next to me, turned over, binding strained into a ridged ravine. I was so involved in it earlier; I had a hard time hiding my irritation when demanded by the kids for lunch to be made. And now I have no idea where I left off. It’s as though my mind has become lava, which when heated and engaged flows quickly and warmly wherever it chooses to go. And with little less than a change in the wind, it has chilled to a congealed, almost solid mass of cold, hollow stone.

The comfort of the loneliness I lived with before you has been replaced by the misery of the loneliness after you. It’s not been the same. I’ve not been the same. I can work doggedly every day, barely slowing down to see the faces around me, or hear what they say when I stand against the fence, cigarette balanced between my fingers, lost in the break time chatter of weather and politics and loved ones. I wonder, as I nod my head in answer to some unheard question, if purgatory, and in that case heaven, are earthbound places, and have little to do with afterlife at all. Maybe we pay for sins and mistreatment and our wrongs in human suffering – and what happens to our souls afterwards is merely a matter of leftover debt, a palingenetic transaction.

It doesn’t matter really. I’ve become accustomed to looking for a word from you, where there are none. I’ve accepted that I can call to you as often and as loudly as I want – and nothing will bring you to me. Nothing I can do anyway. It is without hope that I go to the window knowing that the skeletons in my closet matter not at all compared to the ghosts in the street.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Beholder's Cataract

In this new, or if not new then expedited, cycle of my soul's Phoenix-like dying and rebirth - I am becoming more aware of myself and the way my mood plays on my appearance as children on a smouldering summer blacktop, leaving the remnants of footprints on the foul-smelling surface. This is nothing new. Some people hide their emotions, tucking them safely away in some cavernous inner pocket, only revealing them when they're sure they're alone - using the sounds of water beads spanking fiberglass to drown out the suffering. But I am not that person.

Mirrors become my enemy on a bad day. I don't need them to show me the fettered potty-mouth wretch I am at times, or the incandescence of cheek when I feel like giving the world a coke. I know whatever it is, it's there. Plastered on every follicle, pore and pound - liquid grouch oozing from the skin and forming a mask that's insoluble until washed clean with sunshine and puppy dog kisses. I see ugly, and it makes me feel worse. It's like PMS without the egg.

Imaging its all in my head is the easy part. Painting the smile on my face - I may notice my teeth have visibly yellowed overnight and swear-off coffee for the day, a swear that will be forgotten in the fifteen minutes it takes to get to work. A huge reddish mountain has formed on my chin and I wonder if Clearasil only works on teenagers, and why I never needed it when I was one. I slip a pilled sweater taut over a hideous belly, and pull back the ragged Medusa locks into a bun. There's no sexy anymore. Ick has replaced it in the form of wrinkles and grays. I utter a "F*#k it" and go. No one will notice.

Arriving at work is, in my head, akin to Moses in a sea of (non-red) people. The path is magically cleared for the fleet I walk on, and heads turn to avoid looking directly at such hideousness. I stay in my office all day, slinking out secretly for bathroom breaks and Skittles. By the time I get home, my head aches from worrying that I've nauseated my coworkers with my Ora, and that some of them may even experience disgust-induced bowel irritations which keep them up through the night causing them to wake up feeling emotionally ugly too. It spreads, you know.

So I run away for a while before bed, trying desperately to concentrate on my book and not my toddler's 30th request for more fishies. I click off the bedside lamp early, and know that the morning will be better. Sleep is what's wanted. 9 times out of ten, or enough to make the odds better than Biloxi blackjack, its true. I wake to a bird that hasn't noticed yet how cold the mornings are, and he sings to warm himself. The reflecting surfaces are more forgiving. The clothes aren't quite as ready for Goodwill.

And I wonder to they have pills for this?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Breathing in the Smoldering Crumbs of Us

There are days when reality seems more like a place where people I know live. I can see it from where I stand, but it exists for me only in the sense that I exist in the blurred lines of my own image on the shower-fogged mirror. I can almost convince myself I am sufficiently happy for small moments, if I can but shush the self-pitying lost-dog sniffles buried deeply enough they can almost be drowned out with a lullaby. And it works for me, this myopic life of dazzling sunrises spilling through threadbare curtains , or crippling glimpses of hellish shadows flickering on sleep-deprived ceilings. The highs are enough, barely, to get me through the ugly twists and treacherous curves that can lead just as easily to ruin as to prosperity, and that often carry off a fallacy of better days ahead.

I want to say is that it is possible to get by. To muddle through ones life without seeing or feeling much except small shocks of palpable reality that are sweet even if horrible, just because you can raise goosebumps when you run your fingertips along your own backside. It it possible to clank along as an automaton, outwardly functioning, raising children, earning a promotion, electing leaders and do so with very little true interaction with yourself, or anyone around you. You can maintain with little thought and even less feeling and what becomes of you at last does not change much.

But the difficulty is giving over to this charade completely. Acceptance does not come without a battle, and only if you are not victor, for no one wins acceptance. And laying inert on shores of Omaha Beach, clutching your last flag, thinking it would be easier to let it be what it will, you notice a glint of light spread across the offing and bleed upwards into the sky. You lay for a moment watching the colors fuse and become something altogether different. something with substance and heat and a pulse. You let your body warm, imaging you can feel the beads of nighttime tears dispersing from your clammy skin. The enemies of your soul retreat, and you are victorious against the aches that held you steadfast for an eternity of minutes and hours until you were ready to throw up your hands and in your towel.

Revived by this, you march back into the world with renewed, seemingly bona fide confidence, the sanguine arch upon your brow, and insist you will not surrender. Not now, not today. You dress yourself, pour your coffee, and wipe away the frost from your windshield. The mango-colored morning warms your half-full cup of hope. "Maybe it's not so bad", you say, quietly chiding yourself for being so pitiful. Laughing a little at your vulnerabilities and for acting so much like the people you despise who wallow in their I-Cant-Change-It worlds, holding out their hands for quarters.

And you will go on this way for as long as possible, recognising the holiday from reality for what it is. You laugh were you can, and take pictures in hopes they will jog your memory like peppermint and tobacco. Life seems back to normal, and relief can be read in headlines on your face. But in the back of your mind, you dread the moment that once again you will realize the stage you stand upon, feel the grooved wood pushing against your bare feet. You see again where you are and cringe at sight of the empty seats before you, collapsing once more and crying out for the lost shards of your soul.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Old Man (Lil Ditty Bout Jack n Diane)

He wasn't there today.

The man in the cemetery on the road I pass everyday at the same time was missing. Not missing as in “ we found his car idling on the side of the road and him no where in sight". He just wasn't there.

But I know his story.

I read it in his demeanor. The way he drooped as he leaned against his late-model Ford. The way his neck was cricked to the side, just so.

Jack had met Diane fifty or so years ago in a small café in Philly while there on business. She had slipped up to his table, youth swaying in her hips like an a cappella tango, and set the steaming cup of hours-old coffee on the table in front of him. The tiny white apron was snuggly tied at her waist, which was small for such a tall girl.

She looked down at him, hazel eyes meeting his with a smile, "Would you care to try the Shepherd's pie? It's the cook’s specialty, and we've got a little left."

"Yes. Yes, that sounds perfect, thank you", he smiled back, handing her the tattered paper menu.

That was all it took. Jack was married with three lovely kids, but the weekend he spent with Diane would change him forever. He hadn't had the courage to touch her, though her eyes invited him many times before he quit her, and one kiss as they parted ways left a taste on his lips sweeter than a ripened mango.

He left her with only his card, and the knowledge that they wouldn’t meet again.

One day months later when his secretary laid his mail amidst the piles on his worn mahogany desk, among it was a letter from her. He silently slit the envelope and pulled out the neatly-folded paper. It was the most moving and heartfelt letters he'd ever received.

They began to write and wrote back and forth for many years, rarely going more than a few months without some correspondence. Stories, poems, and rattlings of day-to-day events were shared with a flowering of words and thoughts that neither'd known they possessed. Jack saw her only once more, in a photograph she sent years later. Her hair had become dappled with gray, and the smile in her eyes had spread from their corners and down her cheeks. Though there was something romantically desolate about the picture, he found her lovelier than ever.

After his youngest child married, and his wife passed, Jack decided to find her. He needed to see her again. Feel her breath on his cheek again. Read to her as she fell asleep, and name every nuance in her eyes. He hadn't heard from her in a few months, but since his retirement, the letters had been necessarily less frequent.

He traveled to where she lived, and imagined the surprise she would find to see him at her door. She'd never married, though against acceptance, had had children by a man long gone. Stepping up the stone stair to her front door, he wondered for a moment if the time for this had not already come and gone, if he was too late to come back for her. He forced a quick rap at the door before he lost his nerve.

A woman, mid thirties, answered the door. She was tall and thin, and in everyway familiar except for the blonde hair that fell neatly onto her shoulders.

"May I help you?"

"Yes, miss. I'm looking for Diane Johnson".

"Can I ask why?" she said, the features of her face hardening almost imperceptibly.

"Well….I am an old friend, and I've come to town hoping to visit her. Can you please tell her Jack is here?"

"Jack?" She stood staring. A tear trembled on her eyelid and then slowly rolled down her cheek. "You're him, aren't you? You're the one she waited for."

Jack smiled, "She talked about me? Well, I guess I'm one and the same."

"But……well…..I'm so sorry. My mother passed away a month and a half ago.”

Jack spent the rest of the afternoon with Emily, talking about Diane, looking at the photographs that illustrated the story of her life that'd she'd been sharing with him all along. They went to her grave together and he traced the words on her headstone with his fingers. He knelt and wept.

A few months later Jack moved to the town where Diane was buried. He'd spent his whole life wanting to be near her, and living to be what he was supposed to be. He spent every sunrise and sunset at her grave. They were her favorite times of the day. The times he'd only once spent with her in life, and only for two days. For a couple years he did little but read, write, trek the few hours to visit his grandkids, and visit Diane.

Until finally the sun waned, and its setting would last forever.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Little Blue Vessel's of Afternoon Delight

I read an article earlier this week on Viagra being used to treat a side effect of antidepressants in women. While the first thing that elicited a good guffaw was the use of one drug to alleviate side effects of another, the thought of going to CVS to pick up my Viagra made the entire piece a little moment of mirth over coffee. In fact, I sat for a moment and envisioned myself, toddler in tow, chucking my basket-full of sultry-scented body wash, Trident White, Marlboro Light’s, Red Bull and a box of condoms on the pharmacy counter and watching as the young 20-something girl behind the counter smirks as she peels the little labels off my Prozac and Viagra for me to initial.

I keep reading, and in my head, it only gets better.

"For women on antidepressants with orgasm problems, this may provide some wonderful relief," said psychologist Stanley Althof, director of the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida in West Palm Beach, who was not involved in the study. "But it will not improve their desire or arousal."

Does the part where Dr. Althof “was not involved in the study” mean that somewhere in Florida doctors were drugging depressed women with the little blue pills and attempting not only to arouse them, but to “scientifically” ensure they could achieve an orgasm? Are women in West Palm Beach really that accommodating to their physicians? Maybe the offer to participate in this “study” came complete with a Mercedes and a new pair of jugs?

Again I’m picturing myself in my last OB/GYN’s office, knees up, heels planted firmly in the holsters. The practice at which I was a patient had me frequently seeing a Dr. McDreamy-rival with no wedding band, which even motivated me to shave “down there” before driving to the hospital to have my youngest, just in case he was on-call. He strolls in, leans against the counter, and explains that he needs women to volunteer for a study, and that all I have to do is take these pills every day for two weeks, then come back in for a “physical test” that would basically involve a little timed manual stimulation, and if necessary, penetration by a medical professional.

So after laughing myself through the rest of the article, which culminates in a statement by the pharmaceutical company that it has no plans to market or seek license for this drug for female “sexual dysfunction”, I started to wonder…

If Viagra can be used to make women climax as easily as men, would birth control pills make men as sensitive, and thoughtful as women?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Up the Stairs of Concepts, Into the Pit of Wrong

Maybe the problem with the world today isn't just rising fuel prices, tainted tomatoes or the Bush Administration. Maybe drowning our daughters in images of malnourished models, wrinkless middle-aged women, and thousand dollar shoes isn't why things seem amiss. It may even be possible that our increasing time at work or commuting, and waning hours spent in the not-so-great-anymore-outdoors is not effecting our lives at all. After all, what's life really worth without a fat paycheck, low interest rate mortgage, and hefty retirement account?

I don't mean to say that 10 hours a day behind a desk kissing some fat, cranky rich guy's ass isn't hard work and totally worth it. Sure, you're not likely these days to end up running the company, and handing it off to your eldest son. And maybe you won't live to spend your golden years blissfully drinking brandy on the (hurricane-torn) beach, but that's really not what I'm getting at.

I've been working in the yard as of late, since the sun has finally decided to grace us with her presence. You know, getting my hands dirty….breaking a sweat…. And it reminded me of something I recently read.

"And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron it gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses." (John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath- 1939)

Maybe we've forgotten our place here. That we, though we have advanced, and innovated, and "broken-through" with science and medicine and mathematics; have lost our place on the earth.

There was a time when we grew what we ate, we built our own houses out of materials we gathered from our own land, and we prepared the food we put into the bellies of our children. We didn't worry about pesticides or preservatives or active cultures. We didn't need pills to get us to sleep, because we tired ourselves by living. We didn't suffer from anxiety because we knew that God, or Mother Nature, or the harvest ruled our lives. We depended on the riches of the earth for what we had, and the earth received our blood, sweat, tears and honor in return.

When was the last time you gave thought to the animal that gave its life for your meal, or wondered if it was treated humanly before it did so? When was the last time you slept deeply after laboring over something you made with your own hands? When have you grown life-giving nutrients with care and patience, just as you would grow your children?

Maybe something has been lost on the world that we cannot get back. Maybe, like the tender blossom of a naive teen, we have lost our innocence, and in the pursuit of Escalades, vacation homes, and Hedge Funds, we have lost what matters most. The union of living things has become extinct, like the arctic creatures that will soon lose their homes to Greenhouse. And our ingenious cures for illnesses and disorders that we surely caused when we chose greed over knowledge will pay off in the end. We will die in multimillion dollar hospitals, with six figure balances, and almost no concern over the divorce of man and nature that we've left in our wake. We will have forgotten the days when sunrise was the only alarm clock necessary, and fun was little more than a favorite uncle with a gift for telling stories.