Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One of These Days, Alice, One of These Days.....

Ladies and Gentlemen, I implore you.

Think about all the people you know. Your parents, your siblings, your spouse. Your best friend, your best man, your best employee. The mailman you greet with a smile at the office. The barista or barkeep who knows your usual when you walk in the door. You.

Chances are quite high that one of you needs a Karmic Kick in the Ass.

The target is anyone who doesn't admit, or doesn't even realize, they are living in an interconnected world where one person's actions impact everyone else. Let me lay out a few examples.

First off, there's a woman we'll simply call Starr (you'll see why in a moment). The day before my vacation, I needed a java jolt to get me through work, so I decided to stop at the Starbuck (get it now?) at the mall. Plenty of parking, no lines at that hour, and I'm good to go. I pull into the parking lot, only to find an H2 bearing down straight at me! after a few quick evasive maneuvers, I'm in the clear, but the driver is shaking her fist at me. Road rage barely existing in my little town, I let it slide and grab the fourth parking space from the door (the first three being handicapped spaces.)

I get out of the car to see Miss Starr climbing out of her H2. Evidently parking beyond the handicapped spaces was beneath her, as her monstrous mode of transportation is in front of the door, blocking both a parked car and the mall entrance, flashers on full speed. She is about 35-40, petite, dressed completely in a black yoga outfit, her hair pullled back into a quite severe ponytail. As we entered the building, she RAN to make sure she was ahead of me in line. And as if this weren't enough, she proceeded to berate the barista because they had to go into hte back to get more vanilla soy milk.

Miss Starr needs a swift karmic kick in the ass.

So does a man we'll call Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith doesn't quite seem to realize that everyone must play by the rules of office politics. You see, our office is staffed day and night. Sometimes, if you want a day off and can't get it the conventional way, you're allowed to switch your shift or your day as long as you're both willing. As anyone who has ever worked in retail or food service or customer service knows...those kind of situations can sometimes come down to "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" and the scratches aren't always tit for tat. Mr Smith doesn't get it...he wanted a night off and asked to switch shifts with my co-worker....just HOURS after turning down a request of hers. Karmic kick in the ass.

Or what about the family I met in the airport. Come to think of it, "met" isn't quite the appropriate verb...how about - who inflicted their voices upon me in the Philadelphia airport! Three of us, stranded overnight because of weather, trying to catch some sleep. We were the only people in the entire three gate area, yet this family...first ones in for the morning....felt the need to ignore every empty bench in the place and sit down next to us. Their kids were cranky and crying, and they were screaming above the children's noise to talk about how they wanted to get on the plane and go back to sleep. And you can't tell me they "didn't see" three women stretched out on airport benches next to them. Kick, please.

I could go on for hours, and probably will come back with more that I've forgotten....but what about you? Who have you encountered who needs that karmic kick in the ass?

(Yes, I got back in, finally!)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Feeling small

I'm trying to email entries into my blog now, as I can't seem to access the page through blogger.  So if you never see this, it's just me whining anyway.  However, I have to vent to someone.
People have such easy ways to make you feel small and insignificant.  Aside from the constant criticism at work and the feeling that I can't do anything right in ANY of my social circles here lately, you know what became the icing on the cupcake?  I got my hair cut and virtually no one has noticed.  About five inches hacked off and three people noticed.  That's it.  A girl I work with who has been after me to cut it for years...a woman who works a shift opposite mine and never sees me...and a man I dance with.  That's it. 
I don't have to be in the spotlight at all times, but damn, talk about making a girl feel useless except when serving their purposes.

An Undesired Absence

Eek!  I can't get logged into my blog.  And I have this long post waiting to go up...full of chuckle-able material, but I can't get in to post it.  I admit, even this is a test message - I'll check tomorrow to see if it went up.  Until then, it's the playoffs, so I guess I'll have to overindulge on hockey when I should be blogging.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Troublesome Dreams

It's 4:30 in the morning and I can't get back to sleep. I've had two bizarre dreams - one strange and one troublesome - that pushed me to get out of bed and check my email. While I'm here, I figured I'd tell you about them.

In the first, I was on a boat - something with living quarters but smaller than a cruise ship - and we were adrift at sea. There were about 5 other people on board, and everyone was plotting some way to get off. The atmosphere was similar to that of Survivor...everyone trying to form alliances but no one getting anywhere with them. At every turn, something would happen that kept us stuck where we were.

Finally, the boat ran aground at a small resort. This was our chance! However, I was somehow indentured to this burly blonde man, and what he said was law. He sent me to this party to try and find a way to stay on at this resort, and when I arrived, I knew all the people inside. I told them my story of servitude, and they clucked and pshawed and said they'd love to help but really didn't have the time. At that point, a young girl from the boat walked up to me with my backpack on. I asked her to take it off, and she said, "No, I'm stealing it from you to trade for money on the black market."

"Okay, can I get my book out of it?" I asked.

"No," she said, "it's what you've put into it that makes it valuable. And now I'm taking it."

From that point, I remember her walking away, and hiding under a table from my acquaintances at the party. One of them saw me, however, and crawled under the table, put a pair of handcuffs on me, and returned me to my owner. He dragged me back to the boat, never letting me quite get my feet under me, and when we arrived, he threw me in a small, windowless cabin with a single bed and locked the door. That's when I woke up.

After a few fits and starts, I finally managed to get to sleep again...this time having a slightly more bizarre dream. I was with a woman I work with a a girl from high school I've not seen in years, and we were all in the waiting room at the gynecologist's office (No, this won't get too graphic for the men reading this). They called us back to the examination rooms, and there were no rooms...not even curtains...just beds in plain sight, and all the women working there were my friends. Friends who now knew every intimate detail... so I left. But when I walked out, I noticed the waiting room had a second level. I looked up, and a band started playing. People started pouring in...the place was turning into a night club. Very bizarre!

No telling what I'll "Dream up" next!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moon's so bright, like to light up the night

I have another stamp in my passport now...last weekend I went to Mexico, land of the margarita and beautiful beaches. As with all vacations, I left my life behind to learn a little about someone else, a little about somewhere else, and I picked up a little about myself along the way. What I learned this time is that for all my efforts to learn about other cultures and respect their practices and views, Mexico is not the place for me. I may not be an obnoxious American, but I am definitely an American.

The lesson began as soon as we hit the ground. "We" being myself and two girlfriends, one of whom having a birthday. It was a whirlwind trip taken at a snail's pace. We could only get a few days off, so we flew into our resort town on Thursday, ready to slather up with SPF, grab an umbrella drink and hit the sun. T'was not to be...we got off the plane and were greeted with a one hour wait to get through immigration. Not that the airport was overly busy, but because there were only two clerks working, and one went on lunch.

As the vacation progressed, we learned that time is of no essence in Mexico, and five minutes could easily mean a half hour or more - a concept we three queens of multitasking could not comprehend. But when in Rome....so we didn't raise a stink over anything, simply mused to ourselves that we would not fit in were we here more than a weekend.

In a place where time doesn't matter, everything takes longer. Perhaps that's why I was so bothered by the concept of constant bargaining for everything you need. We stopped at Super WalMart to get groceries for the condo, and that was the only time a price was fixed on anything. Everything else - food, drink, cab ride, you name it - could all be had at the price quoted you, but that price is always too high. The only way to gain respect and save money is to barter. Something that's hard for someone who does not speak Spanish!

So I readily admit, I am a proud member of a society that's going nowhere, but doing it at breakneck speed, while talking on the cell phone and checking email. I love taking my tap water for granted. I'm spoiled by the idea that some things cost what they cost and if it's too much, I can go elsewhere.

I also felt badly about my gringo status. The Condo we stayed in was not in the touristy part of town. Instead, it was in a separate village, surrounded by a fence. Traveling through the village gave us a look at a side of Mexico most people never see. We saw evening gatherings of people just sitting and chatting. Houses with holes in the roof. Houses with NO roof. Families sharing one meal between them. I'm not a rich person by American standards, but this made me feel downright opulent and almost embarrassed by it.

All that said, it was still a wonderful vacation, and I still have the sunburn to prove it. Hours on end spent by the pool, on the beach, doing at the same time nothing important and perhaps the most important thing of all...preserving our collective sanity. Now I'm back to the rat race, but I have the memories of calm blue waters, palm trees in the moonlight, and an intriguing night at a local dance club after one of my girlfriends decided to give me a makeover. Ah, memories...

Monday, April 10, 2006

I'm Baa-aack!

Nothing like a vacation to clear the mind and offer a new perspective. After four days in Mexico, I've come to realize a few things about myself....among them that I can hold my liquor better than I thought (as long as it doesn't involve tequila straight) and my overt appreciation for multitasking. I've always considered myself a thoughtful, aware and accepting American...but this trip really underlined the word "American"for me. Not in a good way or a bad way, but in a way that again forces me to look at myself and realize things that will make me a better citizen of this society (I think, I hope).

It also made me realize that the southern Mexican sun is no match for some Coppertone SPF 50 on my pale white skin. Religious application every hour and a half, more often when swimming, which is twice as often as I would here, still didn't keep the burn away.

For now, I'll go smear some more aloe on my aching skin and go to bed, but I just wanted to say "hi."


Thursday, April 06, 2006


An awesome song, isn't it? Sarah McLachlan's an amazing singer, and she makes the whole concept of not being able to live without someone else sound so beautiful. Think about it...

Through this world I've stumbled
So many times betrayed
Trying to find an honest word
To find the truth enslaved
Oh you speak to me in riddles and
You speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath
Your words keep me alive

Rumor is, those words came from a letter from an obsessed fan...and she turned something of potential fear into something of great impact and import. But even if taken at face value, the tale of the lovelorn stumbling through this life can appeal to us all at times.

So why am I writing about a song that was released in the 90s? Because I was reading another blog in which the author asked if it were possible to love someone without possessing them. I started to respond in her comments, but rather than pen an expansive diatribe there, I decided to bring it here instead, and the first thing that popped into my head was that song, so it's the first element in my blog entry as well.

It's a rhetorical question with so many aspects to its answer, it's not even funny. Some would say that the ultimate love is one in which you posses no one. Others would say the ultimate end is one in which you are married, and therefore each possesses the other in every aspect imaginable. I believe that the ultimate love for me is one in which I am in possession of my own values and desires and can therefore choose to love someone freely and without restraint on them or on me.

In my opinion, love without possession is an acquired ability. When lovers are young (not love, for love can be young when those who feel it are not), love is all about laying claim to your emotional state, owning a feeling or an experience and adding it to your limited pool of experience you call life - that thing that people have told you about, but you're so young you feel you haven't experienced for yourself yet. That's why people say "my boyfriend" or "my fiancee" instead of using names. In doing so, they lay claim to the feeling, the state, and the person. For some, that is enough. That is all they want and all they need, and as long as they find someone who feels the same, then that is good.

Others pursue a different goal that is a step beyond. These are people who know that you get only what you give, but are not willing to give it all. This is the category where I place "starter marriages" - people who are willing to give all in the good times, but only part in the bad, and eventually pull apart.

Finally, there are thosepeoplee who know themselves, and who know that love without possession is more than just the pure love written of in poetry and novels. It's not the courtly love of the medieval times, or thecourtesans of Japan (the term for which escapes me at the moment). The story books and poems and literature all say that to achieve the perfect love you must give all of yourself. Those who pursue an unpossessive love know that this is dangerous - that by giving all of yourself, there is nothing left of you, leaving you to develop into little more than a mirror of the person you love. If your amour is a narcissist, then that's fine. But if (S)he fell in love with you because of who you are, that person will disappear if you attempt to sublimate yourself to their wants, needs, and desires. A precarious position to start with that can tip completely out of control if the other person is determined to do the same. Soon, both are throwing their "selves" out the window to reflect the other, who has done the same so there is little there to reflect.

Love without possession is a survival skill. It is respect, both for your partner and for yourself. You must love without possessing if you do not want to find yourself possessed in turn. Again, if you don't mind being kept, then that's fine, but it is imperative you find a partner with similar desires. However, I believe that the only way a relationship of any form can survive is through healthy exchange of ideas and dialogue and personalities between two participating people. Remove the participation, and it is not the kind of love I seek, and for me, being someone else's property - physical emotional or otherwise - removes me from being able to grow as a human being. It does the same to someone else. Therefore, I owe it to them to learn to love without possessing...to express the jealous twinges without going over board...to provide input into their decisions, and them into mine, without MAKING the decision for them. Only then can love flourish.

And on that note, I leave you for a five day vacation. Ponder...discuss...comment (even though I may not get back to you until next week)...and have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Tonight, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.


 This won't ever happen again in our lifetimes.  (somebody has too much time on their hands)


Now you too can impress your friends


Monday, April 03, 2006


I've had two days to think about this, and I'm still at a loss for words - a situation that made me, on the surface, consider not even writing this entry. However, when I took a step back from the keyboard, that's exactly why it needs to be written. No matter how clumsily, how lackluster, the fact that her loss can leave me in this condition deserves recognition.

I won't keep you in suspense - we had to put down my dog on Friday. It was a sudden thing - she was 13 and everything apparently gave out all at once. Within a span of a month she went from "elderly yet healthy" to having a list of medical problems so lengthy, there was no doubt in our minds what must be done. She lived a long and happy life, even a charmed one as far as dogs go. Never a surgery except getting fixed, and not even the hip displaysia that troubles many labs.

She wasn't always my dog - I met her when she was 3, and she's been "my girl" ever since. I would protect her from her crazy brother and his littermate....I was the reassuring voice and calming hand when she was getting her nails clipped...I was the one who could get her to eat or take treats when no one else could. I was the only one allowed to groom her - and for years until I discovered the shedding blade, it had to be done with my hair brush!

In return, she held onto her youthful ways with me as long as she physically could. She long ago quit sleeping at the head of the bed when her daddy was home, but when I'd stay over, she'd come up and join me like she did for much of her younger years - head on pillow, body parallel to mine. With him, the routine changed as she aged...with me, it was as though she tapped into a font of memory sprung forth from her youth. She would sit on the couch next to me until her legs would make the jump anymore, then I would join her on the blanket on the floor. She quit coming to see me because she couldn't keep her footing on my hardwood floors....so I went to see her, no matter how busy I got.

She knew on which side her bread was buttered - when her daddy and I were around, I was chopped tofu (because a dog would be all over chopped liver in a heartbeat!), but when she had settled down, there were always tail wags and kisses before she went to sleep. I may not butter the bread, but I'd slip her a nibble of it from time to time :) In fact, that's exactly what I did the night before she fell ill - fed her some of my French fries from dinner. The next morning she collapsed. It wasn't the food that did it - which was my first worry. So many things were wrong with her - internal bleeding that began that morning, tumors growing large enough to impact systems, heart problems, enlarged organs - that the vet said it was just a matter of time before it all started to give out.

Now, she's gone. In the grand scheme, she went in nearly the best way possible - sick for less than a day, resting peacefully in her own home. I've spent the greater part of the last two days looking at pictures and trying to remember the good times, of which there were plenty. I've smiled, I've laughed, and I've been very happy that she is in a better place. But I've also felt empty, knowing that the only companion left who loved me unconditionally...is gone. That with her death I was robbed of the one true and sure source of joy and smiles and kindness and care in my life. She never cared if I said the wrong thing or couldn't get that dance step just right or screwed up the project at work or any of the millions of pitfalls that dot modern society like potholes after a winter storm. I loved her. She knew it. She loved me back. Simple, eloquent, perfect. And now, no more.

I don't see myself getting another dog anytime soon - I know it wouldn't replace my girl, but even so, my schedule just won't allow it. Until it does, I'll have to hope the memories of my yellow girl will sustain me when I need to feel loved.

Rest in peace, my love. You gave me so much peace in the decade I knew you, I pray the same for your eternal rest.

Good-night, sweet princess,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!