Intimacy

Intimacy

What is intimacy? What is the best barometer to register whether or not you have it? I’ll tell ya straight up. It’s the presence of poop.

If you can tell who’s been in the bathroom just by the smell, congratulations, you have intimacy.

You also need to buy some Simple Truth Odor Eliminator room spray which they sell at Ralphs. Awesome stuff.

Please bear with me. Or leave while pinching your nose. I’m sorry in advance. But I really do have something to say about what nonromantic intimacy is, it’s value (very high) and it’s price (very high).

I am an observer of the mundane. I suppose we all are, but I tend to really mull it over. And I’ve noticed that that which is the most meaningful to me, is bound up in physical, animal biology. The more I value something, the closer I seem to be to its turds. Let’s start with the dogs. And disclaimer. I am not, repeat NOT, going to get graphic. I am not a third grader. I want to amuse you and maybe goose you into alternate perspective, I don’t want to disgust you.

I pick up approximately half the poops pooped by my pooches. My husband picks up the other half. I am pretty sure I am more intimate with my dogs than with any other living creatures. They sleep in bed with us. Decaf, the male dog prefers to sleep between me and my husband with just his head poking out of the sheets just like a human. It’s so freaking cute. I marvel at it almost every day. I know I can reach an arm over and give him a firm snuggle and he will not resist. He is totally there for me. That’s intimacy.

The wedding of availability and trust, he is there for me without fear and I am there for him without harm. I know I can count on him. The price for this great gift? Poop.

If we lived in the woods or on a large tract of land the price would be cheaper, but I would still be responsible for his basic needs. It’s not so much that I have to actually physically deal with it (though as a city dweller I do) it’s that I am responsible for him and I can’t casually come and go from that arrangement. That’s where intimacy comes in, it’s the fruit of unbroken tending.

With humans, we can mostly skip this arrangement except with very young children, very old kin and the unlucky. I am not going to tackle all that now as I live with my husband and a 16-year-old. If I could keep all my doings in this arena utterly private I gladly would. I assume those with multiple bathrooms take advantage to protect each other from total intimacy. We only have one and so unfortunately, we often know much more about each other’s animal activities than anyone desires. But there is a positive flip side to this annoying lack of privacy and that is humor of being known. Humor is perhaps the best way to demonstrate you know someone. We know each other over here and it’s not underrated.

We bypass this specific level of intimacy with friends, which is precisely what is so great about friends. But poop is just a metaphor. The friends we know best, we’ve metaphorically passed by their recently used bathroom. We’ve seen them in tears, we’ve heard them yell and scream, we’ve felt annoyed by them and yet we don’t leave. Intimacy is access to the full range. Intimacy is knowledge of the full range. Intimacy is measured in the width of the barrier. If you can smell it, the barrier is quite thin.

Black Hole Sun

Black Hole Sun

What else could I name this angry, rotting, agave stump with a decaying corona? He is very upset, and I am only nominally responsible for making him that way.

I was social distance hiking with one of my oldest, dearest and bestest friends. Kristina has known me since I was 18 when we bonded night after night at the Cornell University North Campus Dining facility. It was an all you could eat situation, so we were there for hours. Such magic, finally having the conversations I had longed to have but wasn’t sure were even possible while also sampling every entre on the specials board. We gained weight and we gained lifelong support.

We were huffing and puffing up Runyon Canyon’s outer trails, talking about impermanence, accepting change as a constant, trying to figure out the ideal lesson to learn from these difficult observations. Mostly we concluded that the lessons learned never change but still have to be learned anew every day. I don’t know why I can’t seem to retain the wisdom of yesterday for more than a few hours. Here’s a major one that I should know by heart given how many times I have “learned it”: Anger poisons everything. It’s an ineffective tool. Not like using a banana as a hammer which, while it wouldn’t work, also wouldn’t cause any damage, just a mess. It’s more like using a hammer to remove a splinter. The thinking, assuming there was any “thinking, would go like this: If I beat this thumb to a bloody pulp, the splinter will no longer have a place to be lodged.

I don’t have a terrible temper, but it could stand improvement. And improve away I do. Just like I exercise regularly but never get more fit, I practice keeping my temper in check and manage not to do real damage.

So that brings us to this very upset fellow. While hiking I spotted a few promising face making items but not wanting to interrupt our flow, I made a mental note to come back. But then Kristina pointed to this agave stump and asked if I saw the face in it and had I ever made a face here. No and no. Although the first no was easily turned to a yes by giving it my full attention. She started hunting for the needed elements and located the one that made her vision come to life, the bark tongue. Kristina is also the person who suggested the handlebar mustache for the bike chain desert face. I wonder if I could stuff her in my dog walk satchel. She’s really handy! Thanks Kristina!

When I read the first paragraph to her, she felt you needed some additional information. I called her because I couldn’t remember what we had talked about on the hike. I knew it was really meaningful, but what was it again….? She was making choux pastry. Isn’t that funny? Would you pick up the phone if you were making choux pastry? She’s so awesome. She wants you to know the dining hall also had a full desert bar. Let that sink in; an all you can eat desert bar. Thank goodness the next year we rented a small apartment and shed the freshman fifteen because there was no one to cook for us. Most often we ate something called fried potato sandwich. It’s two ingredients, maybe three if there was mayo. She wasn’t making choux pastry back then.

And now for the final thing that husband wants you to know. There are more covers of Black Hole Sun on Spotify than any other song in the known universe. You should sample a few of them. Here’s my current favorite.