Growing is hard work, and out of your control a lot of times. It happens whether you think you’re ready or not.
I truly want to grow and think I have a pretty great attitude about it, but I don’t. Not completely: I want to be in charge of WHAT changes, HOW MUCH … WHEN and towards what (perfect) ends.
The good news: I might be past the worst of my midlife crisis, and am embracing good changes. Want to read about them? This month (National Bike Month, coincidentally) I’ll post more here about a significant lifestyle change we made at the end of March right as my grandma died (which was harder for me because of other family issues it brought up than actually losing my grandma) and this crazy overheated early spring unfolded … AND as the person I’ve been spending the most time with other than my wife decided to move out of state for a new job.
AND PRINCE DIED! Maybe that has nothing to do with me and I shouldn’t take that loss so personally, but his passing has been a touchstone of grief and strengthening wellspring of affirmation and inspiration at the same time.
It’s Friday night, and I have myself all to myself.
When the weekend starts I get to feel invisible, the way I do when I’m up all night. Independent of other people’s expectations and standardized routines. Normal people go their way, and I untether myself from any semblance of connection to the majority, drifting into a continuity of creative solitary work that makes me glad nobody cares what I’m doing tonight, or if they do care, they know that I want to be left alone.
Like our friends who left a message about a party invitation for tomorrow. That I’m glad I didn’t hear until tonight when it’s too late, even though they already acknowledged on the message that they know I’m not too big on gatherings. I will tell them that if I were going to go to any holiday party this year, it would be that one. And it’s true. Just being invited is good enough for me, and being invited too late to actually go is the cherry-of-relief on top.
I don’t know. Maybe I’d go just for a few hugs and a couple of tamales if I could somehow look pretty without washing my hair. Or if I knew I’d meet somebody with a big dick there who’d take me into the woods and fuck me. But I do have to wash my hair and even if I did, there wouldn’t be some big-dick no-problems stranger there, and even if there were, I’d come back from the woods with my clean hair all fucked up and everybody would feel sorry for me for being such a slut.
Everybody always feels sorry for me for the wrong fucking reasons. I’m so fucking bored by normal-people interactions I want to rip my dirty-clean hair out and my clothes off just so we all have something to talk about.
The phone rings with a name I don’t recognize. So I pick it up. If it was somebody I actually knew, I wouldn’t want to talk and would have just sat there, cringing and guilty, waiting for the ringing to stop.
A man’s voice demands to know who I am.
Dude, you called me … who are YOU?
He’s frustrated and insists that *I* called *him*, but I didn’t. I didn’t call anyone. But I’m compelled to help him get to the bottom of it. A woman’s voice breaks in every so often to balance out the guy’s tension; she’s really sorry to bother me. She thanks me for my time.
YOU CALLED ME! I MISSED YOUR CALL! I’M JUST CALLING YOU BACK! AT NUMBER (not my area code) (not my phone number at all). I tell them my area code (not the one he said called him at all) and we’re all flummoxed. How could this be? So I suggest they try calling “me” back again to see if the same thing happens. AND IT DOES! They call a number that’s not mine at all, and my phone rings!
We’re united in this intrusive, totally mundane mystery.
She apologizes again. I say it’s fine and that I’m totally bored anyway. And it’s true. Whatever normal conversations I could be having with people I actually know sound like boring torture compared to this meaningless interruption (that would bore most normal people) that’s like random chat roulette, trying to untangle some absurd crossed wires that we’ll never make sense of. I roll out hypotheses about google voice and call forwarding, I ask who his carrier is … I think in my head of someone who might be fucking with me because he likes fucking with people from a distance. But it’s probably none of these things. We’ll never know who each other is and why we wound up talking to each other.
Those were the only people I felt excited to be verbally engaged with today. On Friday. When normal people get off work and do normal “fun” things.
Strangers are the only ones you can say anything to. You don’t know each other so you can start from anywhere. Your entire reason for interacting is random, so whatever you say to each other can be random, too. You can pick the most important thing or share something real and observable happening right now. You’re not building on a relationship and have nothing to lose. You have no obligations to each other. Whatever and where and who you are RIGHT NOW at that moment is what you have in common, and RIGHT NOW is what I want to explore most closely. The observable things, the creation of connection starting from “zero” where there’s so much detail to explore without any memories of each other from any past time or any fear of we’ll break our friendship or future together. With strangers you get to be anybody, and still stay safely alone. You can teach each other magic and give each other keys you could never get from people you know. With people you know, you have to waste time asking about yesterday and planning tomorrow and wondering if they’re sick of you yet and how to manage yourself and your time together.
My spiritual advisor says “stay close” and “call anytime”. And he means it, but I don’t know how.
People say call somebody when you need to talk and “that’s what friends are for”. I don’t believe that. If you’re friends with somebody you know that they’re busy. You know they don’t have time. You know they’re going to worry and want to fix it all. You know you’re going to owe them afterwards, and you don’t want to owe anybody anything, especially not a harrowingly dull session listening to them tell you the whole entire plot of a movie you don’t fucking want to see LET ALONE HEAR SOMEONE DESCRIBE blow-by-blow, or shopping trip where they had to return something but then they forgot the receipt and then you won’t believe who they ran into. What’s worse for me is if the conversation is actually GOOD because I don’t know when the conversation should be over, or how I’m supposed to end it. So I just keep talking until my ear gets hot and my brain is jangled and nothing I say makes any sense and I just want to scream I LOVE YOU BYE BYE!!!!!! Instead you know the ending will be planning to see each other and I want to see each other but I don’t actually want to plan on it or commit to it and I don’t believe it anyway and just get off the phone and eat 3,000 calories because I don’t have xanax so I just have to eat my way into a tunnel of calm.
You can’t call people who care about you and just be as fucking weird or sad as you feel. It’s fucking unsettling, and I don’t want to unsettle people I love; that’s extremely counterproductive and I do enough of it already. I would rather call the prayer line of a televangelist or the sex toy infomercial line that has sex-specific numbers (I called the one that’s supposed to be for men because I figured they are used to hearing it all, but they insisted I call the line for women but it didn’t make sense because all of the operators were women).
What is the weird-feeling or sad-feeling equivalent for hitting the punching bag or pillow when you’re angry-feeling? For awhile it was the internet, but I think that internet is gone.
Sometimes you just want to hear somebody else’s weird voice in your ear, and that’s all. Somebody saying goodnight just to you and only you. And sometimes the only (or the best) way to get that is to pay a stranger for it.
Call for a cozy (not phone sex) recording I made late last night while it was raining
Note: all is well here, and Delia puts up with talking to me every day if I want, and makes it so I get to be alone a lot without every being really *alone* or having to stay that way. Which is so fucking awesome that I continue to feel self-conscious and guilty about it and am still learning how to embrace it.
It’s “Native Plant Appreciation Week“!
I’m not doing one for every day like I enjoyed doing in 2012, but we have a bunch of saskatoon in our yard and I didn’t do it before, so here you go:
Hard to see, but the saskatoon flowers are WHITE BEHIND ME! Hahaha.
Here’s a closer look:
They make berries.
Delia taught me to see this plant. I had only heard my mom refer to it as serviceberry and I didn’t retain any idea of what it looked like even though I’m sure she’d pointed it out.
Watering the plants in the August sun, I get more than the intrinsic rewards of extra green and flowers to come.
I get the heat penetrating my body. I get the scent of myself. I hear the water rushing through the hose and showering onto leaves and soil and am reminded what good fortune I have: plentiful water. Running water.
I get the unforeseen natural consequence of a tiny hummingbird’s loud vibration rushing up from behind me, attracted to the water. Eight inches from my elbow. Nine inches from my belly. Facing me, curious and frustrated. Iridescent green. Feinting left and right with a long, sharp weapon until another one sparkling with red zooms in and they speed in a whirling sphere around each other and fly straight towards my face then veer up and away into the sky.