City Mice and the Country Mouse
Last Sunday we took a field trip up to Garland, Utah–Bonnie Friend’s hometown.
She grew up on a farm, with horses, sheep, farm cats and apple trees.
We dreamed of petting barnyard animals.
Senseless and Full of Meaning
Also on Thanksgiving I took a cab ride, after saying “So am I just not allowed to drive drunk anymore?”
And in the cab we played ukelele
Also on Thanksgiving I drank too much and got sick, after saying “I’m so drunk right now!” with a big big grin
And in the bathroom there were stairs up to the toilet
Also on Thanksgiving I appreciated the small things, the ridiculous and nonsensical, after spending years terrified of absurdity
As though a lack of order and sense precluded the presence of beauty and wonder
Or as though all the pieces needed to fit neatly into place for me to see the whole picture
When, really, things go out of order, but they go on
And in the meantime, there is laughter, and love, and whatever purpose we ascribe to the task at hand
In the meantime, there is life to be lead, ridiculous though it may seem at times
Pilgrims, Indians, and Knuckle Tatts
I am grateful for last minute plan changes and a positive, roll-with the punches attitude
For sister secrets and a partner in crime
For sweet treats and sweeter words, left on my doorstep
For arts, crafts, silliness and sparkles
For an overabundance of home-made and hand-crafted goodies, mugs of hot cider and jam jars of whiskey, endless laughter and smiles, apartments filled with dancing, and a feeling that I am exactly where I belong.
* * *
That is to say: I am grateful for my friends. They are the very best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Do I drink too much? Very well then, I drink too much. I am large, I contain multitudes of reasons for drinking.
Tuesday. I love that the liquor store is still open when I get off work. (All the way ’til 7pm! Way to be, Utah!). I like feeling grown-up for buying Bulleit instead of Jack Daniel’s. I like cradling my brown paper wrapped bourbon in the crook of my arm like a baby on the walk home walk home. I like putting on my PJs as soon as I get home and drinking bourbon with water. I love a long bath with a stiff drink to keep me company and Tibetan take-out. I love closing the blinds, pushing back all the furniture and turning up my sweet new speakers for maximum danceability.
I don’t like working from 6am to 6pm with an hour-and-a-half lunch break that I use to run errands and bike home, where I arrive sweating and immediately begin to dread returning to work.
I don’t like puking in my mouth a little bit on the way to Second Job, because I have stress-induced acid reflux and spit up like a damned baby. Because I ate too fast and then drank water (breaking all the reflux rules!), and because I have developed a Pavlovian response to Second Job that causes stomach cramping and increased bile.
I don’t like feeling that my boss could not be happier to see me go, or rid of me soon enough.
I don’t like crying on desk, having to dry my eyes with tissues and pretend it’s allergies (in November? Really?). Because I’m never sure that I’ve made the right decision. Because breaking up is hard to do, after 5 long years of service. Because I just want a familiar face, a friend, a warm tight hug…but instead there are children screaming and crying, and it pierces my thin skin, and it grates my nerves, and it doesn’t stop.
I don’t like that at all, Friends.
But I do like drinking. And the liquor store is still open.
There is a certain quality of afternoon light this time of year. A warm, mellow, golden autumnal glow.
There is a way the light filters down through the trees, like all the energy and activity of a whole year stored in branches and roots and bark, suddenly burst forth in sunshine yellow brightness.
There is an excitement to this season of slow death. A vibrancy of newness and transformation.
* * *
Or hadn’t you noticed? Had you been too anxious, caught between a heavy past and an ambiguous future, limbs shaking and guts stripped bare? Had you been so nervously casting your wide net, trying to catch that glimmering, shimmering thing off in the distance, that you failed to see the gentle ripples you’d been making had turned to violent waves, arms thrashing, and you about to go under?
Me too, Friends. Me too.
Monday morning I rode my bike to work, like I do, 6am and black as night. I took a spill in the employee parking lot at work, my first in nearly a year, thrown off by Tom the Roaster in his big van. Knocked my basket loose and everything. Scraped my knee, hurt my wrist, bruised my elbow, but not a big deal. Honestly, I was kind of looking forward to telling the story. I definitely thought it was the worst bike-related incident that would happen to me that day.
I was so wrong, Friends!
Because when I walked back out the kitchen door 6 hours later, my black milk crate basket was on the ground. I thought it had fallen off my bike, but then raised my eyes some centimeters to see that there was no bike. Bike gone. Bike stolen. Bike n’est pas.
Oh, Friends, oh Friends. Just the biggest bummer ever, and I had the same inappropriate response that people sometimes have when grieving–a big, shit-eating grin on my face as I told my coworkers “Somebody stole my bike.” Then I had to carry home my coffee smelling possessions in that little milk crate clutched tight to my chest, like somebody who’s just cleaned out their cubicle.
I felt like maybe there was an actual raincloud above my head.
Sometimes I heal myself through art, Friends. Well…art and a steady stream of To-Do lists. That is life. For me, at least.
This smattering of memorabilia counts as both–something I’ve been wanting to tackle for a long time and something that I thought would bring a better sense of self to my living space and my life.
I call it my “Anti-Anxiety Mural,” and–much like its predecessor–it works like a charm. Like some form of spiritual nesting.
In other news: my very favorite person went out of town, and I’ve spent the weekend at home, making crafts and drinking, or baking and catching up with old friends, or drinking cocoa and watching movies in bed.
Or, you know, reading myself bedtime stories. Because I can. Because I want to. Because this is what being good to myself and living the life I want to looks like right now.
Just don’t ask me what that may look like in the future. I have no idea, and the mural’s only good for so much.
Sometimes I have too many feelings, Friends. Just all of the fucking feelings, like a bowl full of volatile liquid lodged behind my sternum, bumping up against my bruised and beating heart.
Dramatic, I know, but it really feels like that. And I really am that dramatic, too, so…