Lesson Not Taught

Lesson Not Taught

Reoccurring problem. My husband sees an empty space and fills it. For him, domestic space is like a supermarket parking lot. If you don’t see a car there, feel free to drive into the spot. To me, our domestic space is a like an apartment building with leased parking spaces. Only one item has legitimate claim to any given area. You cannot be where you don’t belong, or you will be towed away at your own expense.

At the end of our hallway is large desk size built in shelf. This space has been doing triple duty for more than two and half years. One third is where I store my two purses, next to that is overflow food storage, and next to that are hard drives. Don’t worry, the sugar does not comingle with the technology. They are separated by bins and baskets. As I write it out, this arrangement sounds strange. I wish it were differernt but who has the time and space to make things not weird.

So yesterday, both purses are lolling around in chairs making it hard to sit down. Tidying up, I gather them, walk them over to the purse basket and find a five-pound bag of whole wheat flour sitting in their spot! UGH! I am instantly annoyed. My kid wanders by, and I ask in a rather surly tone,

Did you put this here?!

No!

Just as I suspected, it’s dad! I am going to teach him a lesson.

My kid looks at me skeptically. Maybe even disapprovingly. I probably should heed the message in their body language, but the rush of frustration is already in full gallop, and I march the big bag of flour to his desk and deposit it in his chair. Now he will know what it is like to find a place you intend to use blocked by a ridiculous culinary obstacle.

I bide my time, waiting for him to need his computer. I am waiting for some type of outburst. Disappointed, nothing happens.

I check his chair and the flour is gone. It’s back on the shelf next to the purses where it belongs. I retrieve it and march it back to him.

Did you notice this on your chair? I demand.

I was wondering how that got there, he says totally nonchalant. It’s like it doesn’t matter one way or another. What’s so mysterious about a five-pound bag of flour showing up in your office? It doesn’t faze him. In his world, bags of flour being accidently deposited on office chairs is just a thing that can happen that needs no explanation, that jumpstarts no line of questioning, it forces no interrogation of fellow family members. This man cannot be taught a lesson!

I attempt to explain the outlandish violation and he says he has no idea that my purses go in a purse basket. He says he thought the whole thing was grocery storage.

What?!?

Well, here’s what. What I think of as our systems are really only my systems. He says now he knows and will not do it again.

That should make me happy, and it’s probably true as who wouldn’t want to avoid another run in with me in this state. But I am not satisfied. I wanted to make him be like me and he is not like me.

He is not like me.

This is a good thing. He doesn’t explode out of the blue. He doesn’t need organizational integrity to be ok. And it’s okay that I do create systems. I just need to understand that I am the person responsible for their maintenance. I am best suited for that, and he is best suited for not being a critical jerk.

I am the one who keeps not learning the lesson. I need to learn the lesson.

Sidewalk Face 1230 and 1231.

Hard

Hard

I feel better after a period of not feeling better. Hurray!

Of course, I am looking around to see how I can preserve this feeling. If I don’t’ use it all can I have a doggie bag?

What I would like to say to myself is, we don’t have doggie bags but good job getting back here. I watched you and I know it wasn’t easy. Can you try to remember next time that you will get it back and not fret so much that the length of time equals permanence. A long time does not equal forever. A short time does not mean it’s all over. Time ebbs and flows and good feelings ebb and flow. It’s all coming and going. The very best thing is to give love to others. And even better is to receive it when it’s given.

I am not so good at that, but I am practicing so I can get better.

Save These

Save These

These Burning Man polaroids from 2002 made me smile, I look so carefree and cool. I’m glad someone took them because coolness is as elusive as a breeze on a summer night. Lovely but so fleeting. No sooner do you notice it then it’s gone.

The Story Behind the Photos

Imagine what you want is just outside the thickness of a camping tent wall. You are laying on top of a nylon sleeping bag that’s cozy in the cold but sticky in a greenhouse, which is your tent in the noonday sun, especially if you have a fever which you do. Everyone you know is outside having the most amazing fun that can be had, a fun so rare you can only get it right now, in this exact moment and location, but you are imprisoned by ill-timed ill health. The amount of pity you are wallowing in can be seen from outer space.

That was me a day before this photo. I think it was the flu. A fast acting one that cleared up as quickly as it came. I was only out of commission for a few days and still had enough time to have a blast. So grateful! It’s crazy how much one’s perception can shift in 24 hours depending on outer circumstances and the inner narrative response.

The Story Behind Finding the Photos

I found these while cleaning out an old storage cabinet. That’s number one on my list of things to accomplish this year, look at everything in the cabinet and eliminate two thirds of it to create space for Sidewalk Face Prints and mailing supplies. Does it seem like a no brainer? One cabinet, one year? It’s not. I think it’s more likely someone will crown me queen of England than I will be able to claim I have solved the riddle of too many physical artifacts from the past. But I am going to try and slay the dragon.

At least one outcome is seeing myself looking cool from a long ass time ago. That’s how the dragon gets you, you wouldn’t want to through away any spare coolness laying around. My first impulse was to appreciate my youth but as I remembered the actual events, I realize the real joy is in acceptance. Everything is coming and going and coming and going again. So, if it’s good right now, definitely take time to feel it. If it’s bad right now, it won’t last, don’t mistake it for reality. Be a good friend to yourself, tell yourself you’ve handled worse and you got this. In a few days you might even get a cool photo out of it.