Monthly Archives: November 2020

The Opposite of Ideal

Embrace it.

I strive and strive for an ideal state of being. But what would I accept if it was all taken from me and I could only have a tiny fraction back for the briefest of moments? I imagine I would see everything that bothers me as the greatest of gifts. Can I learn to do that now, when it could be of use?

This is the imaginary scenario I set up for myself after a day of bitter complaining due to a total stress tsunami. Husband was served earful after earful of despair. Was he fortified by these revelations? Facial expressions indicate a firm no. He served a few back and I slid into panic. We can’t both tank.

What caused it? Just all of it, the overwhelming daily grind to the national nightmare to the international impenetrability to the galactic nonchalance. Something is going wrong in every arena. There is no respite. I cannot have what I want. I wake up with 48 hour’s worth of to do’s. No matter how efficient and productive I whip myself into being, it’s not enough. No matter how much I relax, it all comes back. I can’t find equilibrium. Give me a new goal, please!, I beg of myself while stirring the onions.

Myself looks at my son who is standing in the kitchen needing a role model, not a narcissist. He is asking me questions about something. I could go ballistic because his need is ONE MORE THING, or I could just be here now and do it different.

Okay myself says, here’s the new story: it’s never ever ever getting better so let go of that. But!….don’t freak out, to help you adjust to this new radically and permanently imperfect situation, humor us with quick mind game. We think it will change your perspective.

Imagine if in five minutes, all of it, every last problem, was gone. Gone because really gone. Dead, disappeared, dried up, abandoned, betrayed. All gone. You’d be on your knees begging for crumbs of return. Give me anything! Okay! Stop blubbering and you can have crumbs.

It’s all back! Sweet relief! But there are dirty dishes everywhere. You can make soup, but you’ll be making it next to last night’s crusted over skillet.

I am going to test drive this experiment. I see my favorite orange glazed Le Creuset cast iron skillet. It’s crusty with last night’s stir fry. I can barely see the orange under the decade’s layers of burnt on grime. Who cares, we are re-united! So much better to have you next to me dirty then cracked in two and thrown in the garbage. Lucky me! Instead of feeling cheated out of cooking space, I will focus on that nearness of your being. Having a dirty dish is better than having no dish. Okay, I can work with that. I’m feeling that. This game will get me through one more night.

I was nice and funny and kind and slow to anger. For one more night. Every day is a battle. Every trick in the book helps. I really am glad to be here. Thank you life. Thank you imagination. Gratitude bests grievance. Knockout punch.

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Do It Now – Foil the Inner Critic

There’s been a lot of road work in the neighborhood; lots of large metal sheets covering the plumbing underneath. I pass by one with a turquoise paint splotch and the color catches my attention. I stop and stare. There’s already an obvious eye, that’s promising. It would need another one, something kind of big, the little seeds in my purse aren’t going to get the job done. I glance around but don’t see anything useful. I’m in a hurry to get to work. It doesn’t matter. I don’t need this face.

A few feet later I come across a chain and hook, probably used to lift and move those slabs. Not this again. I don’t have time to monkey around with a cumbersome object and I already learned my lesson about taking stuff like this home. I’m not assuming responsibility for the next two years. I walk on.

Wait! It hits me. The hook could be the eye and the chain could be the nose for that splotch. Okay. You win, imagination. I’m turning around and doing this.

The lesson from the two year bike chain saga (chronicled in the Bags of Crap Series which you can find on my home page) is that you need to act on opportunity right when it first walks through the door. What you do, gets done, what you don’t do fades like fog on a hot day or becomes a big headache. I’ve trained myself to get to it and get to it quickly. No over thinking, just get her done.

Besides the lack of nagging dissatisfaction that missed opportunity often creates, I usually get something really unexpected from acting quickly. I most certainly didn’t pre-visualize this anxious fellow. The hustle forces me to bench my inner critic. No time to consult him. He’s such a drag anyway. He only approves of things the world has already vetted, meaning, he only likes what other people like. Too much originality makes him nervous and then he starts chattering away in my ear, blowing my confidence. For example, he might say, that hook doesn’t look like an eye to me. What’s going on with the bottom of the nose, there’s no shape there. Too bad you don’t have any darker sticks. A shame you threw them all away when you were cleaning out your bags.

Stop! This is not helpful!

Is this a portrait of him? I think it is! He doesn’t seem to like it. Too bad. Go away if you don’t want your picture taken. No one invited you on this walk anyway.

That’s mean. I am sorry. Let’s be friends. Why don’t you enjoy the stroll and help me out when I get home and we’re trying to select the best picture to post. You’ll be good at that.

Why is that critical people are always the first ones to get there feelings hurt? I could ask myself if I really cared to hear the answer. Moving on! Gotta get to work.

I didn’t leave this face in place, not good for car tires. I put the chain on some road work related stuff so it could be retrieved. You’re welcome LADWP and thanks so much for keeping everything in good working order!

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