Peculiarities …

A compilation of several peculiarities as of late …

Started a small campfire in a friend’s indoor kitchen oven the other day. Was toasting coconut under the broiler and learned that apparently their oven cooks a heck of a lot faster than mine does. A horrific smell of charred tropical remains accosted my nostrils and I slid (sock feet on hardwood) over to the oven door only to open it to a small, but raging bonfire of the sort found on beaches for campfire marshmallow toasting. Yikes! Closed the oven. One beat, two. Swallowed panic and – “Debwah, watcha doooin’?” My friend’s four-year-old daughter was standing thisclose to me, hands clasped behind her back as she rocked to and fro up onto her toes and back down. “Uh, bakin’, sweetie, how ’bout you run on over to the couch, I’ll be right over, k?” I said, trying to impart serenity and assuredness as visions of mighty firefighters tromping through mounds of burnt ashes loomed in the back of my mind. Her younger sister quickly bounded over to join her, though, thankfully, my request was quickly taken up and one grabbed the other’s hand and they convened on the couch, so that I could gravely face the fire flaring angrily in the oven window. Deeeep breath. Reopened the door, grasped the baking sheet with a nearby pot holder, and gingerly pulled it out so as not to have the fire slide off onto the floor. Began blowing on the fire. That only made the flames jump higher! Couldn’t remember if one is supposed to throw flour or salt or something altogether different on kitchen fires in order to squelch them. It occurred to me that the fire wasn’t going anywhere, it was content to burn brightly in one perfectly centered spot, so with my back to the couched girls (a vain attempt to deflect attention in hopes of alluding an explain of my little mishap to my friend who’d left me, um, the responsible adult, in charge while she showered), I traveled slowly and steadily to the sink. I was never so happy to see running water in my life as it drowned out the last stubborn bit of flame. Not content to have learned my lesson the first time, and hoping to cover the foul stench of too toasty coconut, I put in a new batch, that time, with great success. Think I may be in the clear as I’ve heard not a peep from the friend …

I reached for the knob to shut off the evil, having rid myself, at least my hair, of suds.

Now, as happy as I was to see running water on that particular day, soon after, it was the very last thing I wanted to see. Funny how that happens, huh? Recently, Bean had the knack of starting a shower within minutes before me just about every day in a long stretch of week. In over two years living in our current digs, this hasn’t been a problem, so I don’t know if probability ganged up on me, saved up all its occasions to hit me all at once, or what, but this resulted in one too many cold showers. I’m talking ICE cold. Where you’ve turned the knob in increments ever closer to the HOT side chasing what’s left to be had of anything remotely warm, only to reach that point where the knob will no longer turn and you’re faced with the realization that evil, only PURE evil is gonna come outta that showerhead anytime soon. ICE, frickin’ cold, water! As the showers were often sandwiched between a crazy, sweaty workout and a hectic work schedule, there was no luxury of waiting for warmer water to accumulate. By, oh, maybe the fourth or fifth shower that week, I’d reached a majorly peeved level, standing there still soapy from head to toe thoroughly cussing my sister out under my breath as though it was all her fault and not that of probability’s. Repeatedly gasping from the continuous chill brought by the death pellets assaulting my tender flesh (a little over the top, you say, try joining me for one such shower, and you, too, will cry “foul pellets of death!”), I reached for the knob to shut off the evil, having rid myself, at least my hair, of suds. Pushed the knob in to shut off the flow. The water continued to pour. Repeatedly pushed, shoving the knob, but to no avail. Flashbacks to the 2006 kitchen sink episode began. Turned it back to the left and then to the right again, all the while breathless, jittery and jumpy from the continuous downpour of cold. Finally, abandoned ship/shower, perplexed. And slightly blue. Ish. A call to the apartment office manager brought a sympathetic maintenance man within minutes who promptly turned off the roar of rushing water and replaced the old cracked knob with a shiny, fully-functioning, new one. God bless that maintenance man! With toasty warm showers for life.

Horton cakes. Yay! Hooray for Horton. Who heard a Who. You know who. With the release of the latest charming Seuss theatrical offering, Horton Hears a Who, came a promotional tie-in at the IHOP restaurants. Including what? No, Who. Horton! Cakes. Kooky! FUN! And kinda grody, truth be told.

IHOP Horton Pancakes

There we were. The movie theatre all to ourselves except for some guy in the very back aisle splayed out laid on his side across four seats, the armrests pushed up and out of the way. A little odd, but to each his own as long as it’s not intruding on me or anyone else, right? Charlie Bartlett began to play out in all its Ferris Bueller meets Pump Up the Volume glory. Fifteen to twenty minutes in, something’s … off. *Snif*, *snif-snif*. Wha … turning my head towards Bean, about to ask “What’s that sme – “It smells like FEET,” states Shane, Bean’s newish and British (ooh, la-la!) boyfriend. A wafting, a filling, consuming, all encompassing, permeating odor. Rank. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! Seriously. Le pew! It’s like it ambushed us, sure to have reached every corner of the room before – haha!- attack. Total annihilation of nose cavities! El stinko, McStinky. Something had to be done. Bean has inherited my former temper and ruthless tactic of straight up confrontation of any said offender, so I knew not to send her. Poor Shane, the only, and therefore, alpha male, seemed to slouch in his seat as he krinkled and covered his nose all the more. That left ME. I’ve grown greatly in my skills of diplomacy over the years concerning the need to deal with such culprits, but a quick half-stand and twist around to assess his exact whereabouts left me with the irrational fear that he’d maybe removed more than just his shoes. Flopped back down and after a few more minutes with all three of our noses covered off and on, Shane dutifully offered to venture out in search of the manager. Upon his return, a manager followed by a slew of fellow workers peaked their heads around the corner, noses also covered. Shane later shared that they’d all immediately smelled feet once opening the theatre door. The manager climbed the stairs and strode over to the culprit for a pow-wow, and then left. The man left soon after, too, staring at us as he passed by, only to return minutes later, this time shoes firmly in place for the remainder of the movie. God bless that theatre manager! With toasty warm socks for life. Stinky-free …

There are those things one gives up on in life, as they seem just not meant to be.

Yesterday, only a few days into the new spring season, I looked outside to see snow falling! Snow, SNOW! If I could hug snow, I certainly would. It’s magical stuff. This past winter went so fast, I swear I’m just asleep and it’s all a dream and really it’s still December. All season, I awaited an accumulation of snow which never came. Sure, a few false starts here and there, but it’s been a year and a half since it’s snowed right and proper, enough to suit my desire. So, as each half hour rolled by and snow began to build and cover the earth, every nook and cranny to be found, the fence posts, each tiny branch on every tree, I grew increasingly giddy with delight. Soon, the sidewalks and roads were covered as well, a true sign of a GREAT snowfall. For hours, I was filled with immense joy, thrilled at the unexpected happy surprise, so out of tune with the warming weather as of late. Outside, I looked up to the largest flakes I’ve ever seen. They were like feathers floating down, thousands of pillow feathers drifting in the air, landing on my tongue, melting with my breath. I couldn’t shake the sense that it was a little bit of the miraculous, it speaking to possibilities. There are those things one gives up on in life, as they seem just not meant to be. I’d resigned myself to the wait of a good dose of snow later this year, or next even. And yet, to my wonder, the beauty of much snow swirled all around, my little winter wish fulfilled exceedingly. It bolstered my faith, that when there seems no possible way, there, in the end, after it’s all seemingly played out, it can still happen. A parallel to the dreams I hold for my own life. I knew snow was magic! ♦

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What Andy Said

I love to go to the movies by myself on occasion with a large coffee loaded with copious amounts of creamer. Mind you, I’m often a tea girl everywhere else, at least that’s what I still like to tell myself, though, a welcome wave of Starbuckian need frequently takes hold. Last February, on a grey and blustering day, Factory Girl was calling my name. A film telling the story of Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol’s “it” girl, his friend of all friends, and the closest to love as fascination will allow for a man of the homosexual persuasion. As an artist and personality he’s a bit over exposed, but I still manage to enjoy him immensely due to the rousing stories told in class by a former teacher who claims to have regularly hung with him in NYC back in the day. In an interview with Andy looking back on his life, he’s asked questions concerning that of love and his friendship with Edie. His response:

” … I just think people forget what emotions are supposed to be, I mean, it’s too hard to care. I mean, you know, I still care, but it would be just so much nicer not to care. It’s just easier being detached.”

Interviewer: “What about Edie?
Andy: “You know, I mean, it was just so long ago, I mean, I hardly knew her at all …”

Back in school, I spent many an hour with my fellow designerly friends.

Being in the public eye, Andy’s answers could very well have been a cover or brush off to deflect the nosy barrage of questions so often posed by the media. Still, such answers speak to a problem I’ve begun to encounter over the last several years. That of what has been deemed the “emotionally unavailable male.” This is a phrase I’ve heard uttered quite often on TV, in movies, and occasionally from a disgruntled female friend here and there. I scoffed at the phrase at first having never met one, presuming it was just another stereotype. But now I’m beginning to wonder. Back in school, I spent many an hour with my fellow designerly friends. Concerning the guys, having taken in account their tendencies to be talkers vs. listeners, outgoing vs. a wallflower, a good day/mood vs. a bad one and such, it appeared that the younger the guy, the more open, friendly, receptive and generally tuned in they were. The older the guy (observations apply to singles only), the more inward, closed off, and inexpressive they were.

They may be on to something. “… easier being detached,” Andy said.

Words I’m tempted to revisit in practice. Nowadays, I live my life connected on many levels. I stuffed one particular level down so very, very far, though, long ago. Self-medicated it into a quiet little corner. I know better. Stopped the unnamed ( this is called building “intrigue” ;) ) self-medicating last August and it opened up a torrent of pain. Raw. RAAAAAW. Ouch. I suspect there’s more to come. Layers yet to fall away in this waking from a fog. I walked myself into this mess and undoing it leaves me bare, feeling exposed, vulnerable, longing for a moment to cease feeling, be numb. “Easier being detached.” Then, I remember, I’m not about easy. If by chance, ease is part of it, count me blessed. I’m gonna feel every hellish moment as a reminder to not go down this way again. Will not retreat. The only way is through, no more skirting around it in avoidance pretending it’s not there or that it’ll remedy itself if enough time passes. It won’t. It will not dissipate, it will only lurk, festering, deepening its roots if anything, becoming entrenched, never loosening its hold.

Ultimately, this “emotionally unavailable” business must be flung out the second story window versus my even entertaining the idea. It would only serve as yet another way of escape from potential pain. A swapping of vice (AKA the self-medicating.) It’s such a waste! Of a risk. Of a heart. Any seeming protection from pain it does offer is a lie, as it’s gonna be hard at times in life no matter what, detached or not. So, if that’s true, why not live being present, tuned in, connected, available at every capacity, on every level, emotionally and otherwise, as the joy to be had that balances out any accompanying pain is certainly worth it! Acknowledging this is one thing, having the strength to follow through and keep at it is another, yes? Still, I ask myself “If I don’t take action now, what will it someday cost me?” The answer is enough to keep me moving in the right direction. ♦

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