…a window into our past selves.
Temptation, circa 2003?
The rain is falling. The melody of his decent permeates everything around. He pours down hard, with urgency, spilling into the earth, diving towards the ground, as if the two of them were epic lovers reunited after long separation. Long it has been. The desert has not seen her rain all summer, but there was another suitor. The sun has courted her without relief. At first he brought her light, then warmth, at last he gave her heat, then only grief, for he was not the one she yearned for. Scorned was the sun and scorching was his fury. Deaf to her pleas, he burned her flesh and did not spare her beauty. His final gift to her was death. Critters, birds, frogs scattered across her plains, all dead, bitter reminders of all that is unrequited in this world, all that we dread.
When earlier tonight the air grew still and thick, I knew rain had come back to her and readied for a flood. For hours nothing stirred. There was no wind or movement in the night, even the stars had hushed their glow while all the rest laid low in quiet anticipation.
At last he had arrived. He swept her up into his arms, as if no time had passed between them. He spilled across her body with abandon, covering every inch of her and leaving none exposed.
He told her of his love and of his sadness, b egged she forgive his absence, eased her pain, then pulled her back to life and clear of madness. He kissed her face, caressed her skin, nourished her wounds and wiped away the death, then he made promises again he would not keep and hushed her with the sweetness of his breath.
This most recent trip was one for the books for sure, regrettably not only for good reasons. It all started rather well, the 300 mile drive was unexpectedly nice with the route being scenic and weather sunny. The sky was blue and covered throughout in a tread of white cotton ball clouds. I found myself driving mostly along the desert while weaving through and past small towns the rest of the time. Eyes rested comfortably on open desert terrains, expansive, grand and, in their own way, kind of magical. There were strange vertical assemblages of stones, peculiarly stacked as if to mock the laws of gravity. They stood crooked and hunched over like ancient arthritics but still somehow defiantly erect. The incredibly perfect geometric earth formations limned themselves in the horizon further boggling sight and imagination. I wondered how such flawless symmetry and straightness was even possible. The only plausible explanation was that under cover of night, when no one was looking, a meticulous giant laid an enormous ruler to the land, attempting to landscape the world as if it were but a sandbox. The cacti presented as far as the the eye could see like an obdurate army of sentinels scattered across desert planes. When I drove by them, they seemed to salute me with their prickly upstretched arms & in my mind I saluted back. Hopefully you get the picture, it was beautiful, a kind of wondrous drive perfectly suited for road (or acid) trips.
I stopped in one area for gas and, of course, candy, but really felt like much of the candy there was incredibly expensive, at least 100% the usual markup. I griped about it to the store attendant who enlightened me as to the reasons for this literal highway candy robbery. The “town” is called Wikieup and it is home to 307 residents across 22 square miles, he informed me rather professorially. “Mail doesn’t even come here” he raised his finger in front of my face “Amazon…. won’t even deliver here!” the finger was now angrily waving through the air. For this reasons and others, they have to buy some of the candy from other gas stations up the road at retail price and mark it up in their own shop. I asked if they all knew each other in this town, since the population was so very small. “Know each other?” He said laughing. “Why we are mostly related one way or another!’ Then he pointed to some buildings and structures within our view and rattled of the ways in which he was related, sometimes doubly or even triply, to the people associated with those businesses and lodgings. I asked him where they go for entertainment like movies etc, he laughed again, “Movies? Darling, we dig a hole, light a bonfire, drink some Vodka, who needs movies, we got Vodka!”. The whole thing was amazing, particularly because a variance in lifestyle this stark shouldn’t, it seems, be found only 200 miles out of the major metropolis where I dwell, yet there it was, in all of its charming enviable simplicity. These people don’t have much, and I don’t imagine myself capable of measuring their level of satisfaction with life or anything like that, but I wager they count themselves quite happy out there in their tiny candyless town of Wikieup.
Anyways, I’ll skip over much of the other boring details, except to say that it turned out my car gets 400 miles on the highway out of her 40$ gas tank, downright amazing! Anyways, SLS is a cool hotel, it has a real contemporary flavor and is very technologically modern. Yoohoo and I prefer edgy boutique hotels with an emphasis on design much more than large, opulent center strip hotels,
so it suited us perfectly. As is his usual custom,Yoohoo insisted we take this selfy. He is so vain. —————————————->>>
I got coffee in the lobby cafe and it was GOOD. Good coffee makes for half of my happiness equation, the other half varies significantly but usually boils down to chocolate. I wandered over to the very chill, well laid out pool space and found a massive white husky sprawled out on one of the loungers with a woman and a man languidly draped over it and each othee. My wondering, frozen stare was met with an invitation to pet the dog, so I did, at which point I realized that its human companions were bothvery beautiful and quite high. While I made small talk with one of them, the other slipped off of the recliner and floated herself to the back of the cabana. Once there she crouched down and, quite in full view, took a hit of something or other before returning to us and mellowly weaving her body back into the lounger and its occupants. Welcome to Las Vegas, I thought, I have definitely arrived.
Although everyone in my group agreed to start the night by meeting in the lobby at 10:30 pm sharp, two of the girls (the two I had only just met) were very late, keeping me and my other friends waiting for them at the hotel bar for well over a ridiculous hour. Now throughout my social life I have to regularly (constantly) interface with these women-friends who for some reason feel that lateness is a special female entitlement. They shortly learn that I take great, huge, major issue with this and, as per my custom, do not attempt to in any way quell my irritation. Does my strong negative, vocal and verbal reaction usually make for an awkward, uncomfortable transition into evening festivities, it surely does, do I care? No. Why should I care when I take only two things from rampant lateness: 1) either the offending parties have no respect whatsoever for my person or 2) are too stupid to manage their time and thusly too stupid for the likes of me. It is simple, and I know I am being a little redundant here, either a person doesn’t attempt to make it to places on time and there is a clear issue of respect and consideration for those others involved. On the other hand, if an adult woman truly cannot manage her time, then I must consider her an idiot and my regard for her plummets accordingly, making a sincerely amiable relationship between us a virtual impossibility. In conclusion, let me say, that all those chronically late, no matter how otherwise wonderful, quickly find themselves quite dead to me and beyond resurrection.
My friends poured some drinks down me while we waited which did to some extent mellow out my ire. Still, to my mind, the night had a bit of rough start…and it only got rougher from there.
I haven’t undergone any major epiphanies lately, sorry. Life’s been much of the same, nothing to gripe about really, but I’ll try anyways. Somewhat isolated out here in the gentrified desert, bouts of self loathing, a little road rage here and there, some brooding and wallowing, lots of coffee, rereading of Byron’s letters volume 3, an occasional Xanax to calm my idling nerves, lots of television (regrettably?), the cooking (amazingly well as usual),
hiking with dogs a lot, riding of horse less than is my custom….etc.Sounds quite nice though doesn’t it, I work hard to remind myself of how nice it is, harder than I should sometimes.
I hadn’t played tennis in a couple of weeks because I broke my strings on all rackets and it took me forever to get them back, also there is a hole in my tennis shoe :(, also because my hitting partner is ignoring me and I haven’t a suitable substitute. It’s hard to be very good at something where an equally good partner is required. Poor me.
Someone asked me why my blog is so sort of “me centric”, asked why I don’t share more of my strong opinions about things that matter. The tone was markedly disdainful but somewhat masked by a compliment towards my “whimsical” writing style. As I am presently endeavoring to be more tolerant all around, I contained my knee jerk eye-roll and indulged, to some extent, the obnoxious querist. Firstly, I am not publishing a gazette here, it’s a “public diary of personal reflections”, it says so in the subtitle. As such, its primary function is to be all about me. Why? Is justification or cause needed for being somewhat self-involved? Ok. I am keeping record of my innermost thoughts so that in some far off future my brain can be reconstituted as a computer, with robotic reanimation and eternal life being the ultimate end goal of course. Also I don’t write a lot of opinion pieces about current events etc. because I mostly don’t give a shit, or don’t want to have to educate myself thoroughly enough on any meaningful subject in order to be able to critically write about it. A daily cocktail of ennui, apathy and sloth informs my creative efforts and outputs. Plus I wouldn’t want to make an enemy of The Atlantic, I don’t have a death wish. Additionally, Mark Twain said to write about what you know. Well all I really know is myself and my life, so I write about it. Is it indulgent to incessantly rant and rail as I do, sure, but is there a place better suited for this activity than a WordPress site, fashioned like a blog and read only by the hapless few who Google-search the word “slap” and are erroneously guided to my humble internet cubbyhole. Nope.
I spent Saturday at the Maricopa dog pound going through a two and a half hour volunteer orientation. I don’t know why I hadn’t gotten started with this years ago, I’ve thought about it plenty ever since I got my dogs from that very same pound. Wait I do know, being at the pound makes me very very sad, but I think I’ve wasted enough time choosing my peace of mind over whatever relief I can offer these dispossessed animals. I have chosen the necessary job of cleaning cages and tending to the needs of the animals on the Euthanasia list. I think I can do most good there, as my people skills are unpredictable at best. Adoption counseling and picture taking would go over easier on my nerves no doubt, but not on my conscience.
My infamous intolerance though did flare up during this “orientation”. As I sat there for a miserable 2.5 hours, all I could think about was the utter inefficiency of their process content wise. The two women leading the orientation talked and talked and talked, spinning endless, irrelevant tales and anecdotes about their personal experiences, their dogs, families and their shelter related career paths, with an occasional, seldom bit of pertinent information sprinkled in. It was so tedious and pointless, that I had to completely tune them out half way into the presentation. Additionally, although I know they are just eccentric, well-meaning sort of folks, I became deeply irritated with having my time thusly wasted by them. People, like myself, who drive up to 1 hour one way with the singular purpose of acquiring practical knowledge necessary for a specific task, needn’t be held hostage in hard plastic chairs for over two hours by two women who just want to talk about themselves. Amidst the blather I started composing on my phone a biting but constructive anonymous email, addressed to the two of them, about the virtues of time management, efficiency and conciseness. Writing out my frustration in this way helped stifle my ire and I found the willpower not to send it just then. This is probably for the better, since they both were/are, I am sure, lovely, warmhearted people, better in fact than most for having devoted their lives to helping the world’s four legged orphans. I had to center myself, remember my newly minted tolerance mantra, recite it and just sit there like a fidgety statue flipping through Koala memes on my phone.
On a better note, I am going to Vegas next weekend, this is mostly exciting because I get to see my most adored friend Anna from whom I am otherwise separated by 400 unbearably long miles! I am driving myself, which is a loathsome development, but the trip is so spur of the moment that I can’t justify the criminally inflated rate of flying. It is a robust 5 hour drive, which with my tiny bladder makes an 8 hour drive, and I am dreading it already. I am counting though on an exceptionally fun time there to counterbalance the 5 hour volunteer training session at the dog pound that is scheduled for the day after my return. Most certainly handling dogs on the Euthanasia list will turn me inside out and upside down, but I have to say I really look forward to helping and being of general use to them. I have been feeling more and more as of late, that the meaning of life has fallen outside my purview, I’d like to urgently restore it to its usual place inside my shiftless soul.
And, as always, I’d like to say that I miss my childhood and my grandma…and those pink pants. But mostly my amazing, beautiful, brilliant grandma, from whom I got all that is good in me.
I am a very curious, horridly direct, incisive sort of person, afflicted with uncontrollable truthfulness, which means that I find most people obtuse, insecure, boring and kind of namby-pamby. It also means that I frequently make these same people quite bothered or at the least uncomfortable. Being, as I am, in the minority, I realize that I am perhaps more the problem than they are. It’s a miracle really that I managed to get married, and happily, and early on, even my mother thought I would end up as a bit of a feral thing living deep in the woods up in some tree surrounded by wet man-eating koalas.
The qualities that I respond to in people are universally hailed as well as claimed by most, while being in fact possessed by almost none. Earnestness, good nature, true inner confidence, directness, decisiveness, insightfulness, self awareness, consideration of others and an agile mind are just some of the things that are necessary for me to form connections with other people or simply to find them likable. I am not just rattling off a catalog of positive human qualifications either, I take careful inventory and fastidiously measure every one of the items mentioned in all whom I meet. The list is absurdly long too, but it has organically grown inside me like a weed, regrettably I am not its gardener and haven’t the power to redact it. Trust me, I would if I could, life would be plenty easier.
If I had to sum it all up I’d say integrity is what I find to be most lacking in my species, and I mean the daily kind, the integrity of little things, small decisions, ordinary moments, minute conversations. I think this is a legitimate gripe against western peoples and something that amply justifies my burgeoning misanthropy-ism. The trouble is though, that it’s the other, much less weighty, much more superficial stuff that often informs my feelings about my fellow humans. Sometimes, before I even have the chance to examine their deeper, more substantive aptitudes, I find myself either painfully disinterested or worse, not being able to stand them at all. Therein lies what I’ve discerned to be my central (and only actually) character flaw. Intolerance.
I am intolerant. Sometimes it means that I’m short, sharp and dismissive. It also means that inside my head I am unkind, judgmental and even unjust. The side effect of my, lets call it “persnickety”, mental conformation is that I have throughout my life been sort of socially lacking, more so than my communicative, lively nature would ideally have it.
One of my resolutions for this new year, which marks the beginning of the fourth decade of my time on earth, is to better myself (where betterment still can be attained). There aren’t a lot of areas for improvement here, cus I am obviously awesome, but this intolerant thing, well I’ve started working on it. It’s time to do some changing. I’ve realized that not all friends have to be great or close or real even, some can just be friends “lite”, like the free version of the app you want with the ads and the limited functional scope. A connection does not have to be absolute and exact to warrant some level of friendship or social engagement. I don’t know if this is progress or regress, because it certainly smacks a bit of a kind of disillusionment and settling. I am hoping though, that it’s not so much an abandonment of my exalted ideals, as it is their necessary modification and softening. Bonding being achieved not through an instant congress of souls or minds but rather through repeated physical proximity and shared social experiences? Seems like reasonable recourse.
It has not been easy. These new friends might look good, but they are trying the hell out of my patience and resolve. I do find myself having bits of legitimate fun here and there, and whereas my mental health is sometimes stretched to its limit I opt for hugging, rather than kicking or biting. I am testing the theory that negative thinking can be remedied by positive body language. I realize this might seem utterly ridiculous, but I am actually a very physically affectionate person by nature, and hugging or touching those I love is very natural to me, so I’m hoping it works similarly in reverse with those I am trying to love. Also, going out has given me a reason to color coordinate again and that’s like totally like EVERYTHING.
Mmmm that’s all I care to say on this subject right now…but it will be a multi-part post, detailing my experience as a newly minted social person with friends and things to do on a Saturday night.