My Photo
Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Perfect Day

Last week, Alex and I were talking about times in our life when we had managed somehow to achieve perfect unity with the universe, feeling completely at peace and relaxed. It's the goal of yoga, yet I never attained it during the year I did yoga at Duke. Instead, my first real experience with becoming one with all around me was a perfect moment in time when I was 16 yrs old. Like one of the messages I heard loud and clear in Slaughterhouse-Five, life is best enjoyed and savored when we relive the best moments over and over again instead of focusing on that horribleness which we cannot control. Sometimes, when the world falls apart, I travel back in time to this one, simple slice of a day that had me emotionally settled and calm.

You see, nothing momentous happened. Nothing great fell out of the sky. No alcohol was involved. No male and that first flush of love came anywhere near this glorious time. In fact, I doubt I can explain to you what made it so awesome, so amazing, so fabulous. All I know is that when I think back upon it, I smile and feel....well, good.

My friend Tasia had a beachhouse on the Florida coast. Well, her family owned the beachhouse at any rate. They bought the house in need of repair, but nothing intense. Instead, it was mostly minor touchups here and there that it needed, and it also needed a lot of paint. I had no handywoman skills, but I COULD paint. So, Tasia and I went with her family to the place for a week with the knowledge that the first two days would involve slave labor; after that, we'd have the time to do what we wanted and hang out on the beach.

The second day of painting was our last day, and after finishing up the outside porch before the midday heat overcame us, we scampered inside to eat a simple lunch of sandwiches, fruit, and chips. There was joking and teasing with her two brothers, and then we all went out for a swim. Afterwards, we each grabbed a coke from the refrigerator and headed back outside to the two hammocks that swung lazily between a bunch of palm trees, a nicely shaded and slightly breezy area.

At first we talked--a smattering of words here and there meant to reassure the other that company was appreciated, but slowly the sounds and syllables broke down to silence as language became inadequate to express the experience of that afternoon. Slurping noisily that last swig of coke, I then hung a foot out over my hammock, tossing the can on the sand and crushing it with my back heel. I giggled, feeling the sticky coolness of a few of the last drops of the soda smacking against my skin. Tasia looked over to me slowly, a half-smile on her face as she then turned back to sling a well-tanned arm over her eyes. My leg remained, dangling, over the rope as I swung back and forth, the coke can hanging from my foot like a high-heeled shoe. I felt that gentle breeze, just enough air caressing my skin to lessen the heat of the sun which stabbed through the palm leaves in shards of light. In our companionable silence, nothing needed to be said because neither one of us wanted to break the moment. Whoever spoke first would shatter it into the void, a new moment starting that could not possibly be as perfect as that one we experienced together yet apart, our hammocks showing their grogginess about the midday heat by swaying ever so slowly. I could feel some sand between my toes, the sun heating up my skin, my muscles tingling from all the painting I had done, the salt water drying my hair in clumps.

I can't imagine a more perfect moment.

Since that moment, I can point out flashes in time I treasure too, but for different reasons. This was the one moment when my happiness and peace was not connected to children, a lover, my siblings, my parents, my friends. It was me, blending in with all that was around me, feeling a part of everything and not separate or different at all. I can never forget it. And if I don't forget it, I think that even in my darkest times, I'll be able to find joy through the smallest details: a Godiva chocolate, a child's laugh, a good slice of cheese, a cat to pet. People define success in a myriad of ways, but for me, success is the capability of being happy. It's a rare gift, and I'm grateful to possess it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cell Phone Manners

I'm sorry, but it just pisses me off to be talking to somebody who is trying to text at the same time. When I was a teen, I used to get all pissy if I were on the phone (believe me, that's a big enough deal since I hate the phone) and the person I was talking to focused on the TV or something else.

I think we're becoming like Wall-E showed the future on that stupid ship. Everybody there was staring at a screen and talking to folks through a screen instead of face to face. I've seen so many of my students--and also my nieces in particular, but not my nephews so much--just sit there with lots of good company and text all of their friends intently on their cell phones. I should have the legal right to toss the phone out of the window at that point.

Or toss it to the ground and smash on it if a person uses his or her cell phone while paying for groceries. What, is that cashier your slave? Ring it up, bitch, and I'll take my bags, since you are nothing! And in a restaurant? When a companion is sitting across the table from you? Sorry, unless the phone call is, "The babysitter just kidnapped your children. Come home immediately," don't talk!

I love technology of various sorts, but cell phones really leave a lot of room for rudeness. And that's why I tend to not give out my cell phone number. It's for emergencies to me. If others want to use it as their main phone, fine! But please be considerate of those around you. Who ever wants to set aside time for somebody only to have them text and talk to somebody else off and on the whole time? Only somebody with no self-esteem.

In short, phones suck. Thank you.