Sunday, October 13, 2013

At the 45 Mark

Things I've learned and try to remember, although my memory ain't what it used to be...

The staunch refusal to learn never serves a prevailing end. (Read that as: your parents are always right.)

The dishes simply don't do themselves no matter how you may beg and pray. The regular, the mundane, the tedious ~ they tend the in-field of a life that cannot enjoy an over-the-wall ride without them. If it's a bother it's likely a must. Smile and step to the plate with intention.

You will be humbled. Know it early and receive it willingly. Humility in lifetime doses changes you for the better so you arrive in the next life worthy.

Then, too, know your arrogance and accept that others are not fooled by your trickery. They see it. Wear that with your humility. These are your shades and they make you rich and interesting.

Your circumstances do not, and must not, dictate your dreams. Dream as immensely as your imagination allows, and then some. This fuels you on the dullest days.

When you are convinced of your brother's error step away and look again. He is your mother's son. Find love for him first and always before your interference.

We all fail. That will never change. Find triumph inside, over and around. It is there and it can lend you great courage, even and sound.

You can change; you cannot change others.

Closed eyes see things they cannot discern when pre-disposed to look. The closed mind serves no purpose at all.

Sometimes it is too late. Unless everything happens for a reason. It does. Trust doesn't carry the walking man.

If it is your job to be the peacemaker in that place where not one soul seeks peace, be the peaceful soul.

Favor your faults as you would a small child; always there is room to grow.

Marry well, if you feel you must, not based on gender or politic or religion, but on connection and honesty. These survive.

Touch, taste, revel and rebel all with equal reverence for their consequences.

Know, yes. But never fail in knowing that you know nothing at all. That is how you live.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Decided to Run for Congress

I was driving east on Devon today when I decided to run for Congress.  There I was, heading Eastbound in full-throttle traffic toward a congested intersection. The Westbound lane was jammed behind a woman trying to turn left into a driveway just past the intersection.

I was in a hurry. I needed to make the light. The guy next to me was probably going to block her anyway. I looked over. A big blue pickup, maybe a quarter car-length behind me to my right, was approaching. He looked like he wanted to make that light, too.

I had already talked myself into passing her up and letting someone behind me deal with her left-turn dilemma when I felt myself step on the brake. A few minutes wasn't going to ruin anything for me. That poor lady waiting in the other lane was looking so weary. Everyone behind her was getting so frustrated. I think my right foot knew before I realized it, that I had the power to ease some of that stress off of all those people. So I just did.

And, amazingly, miraculously, joyously, so did he.

My blue pick-up friend, at just about the same time I did, eased his
truck to a stop and allowed our beleaguered Westbound friend safe passage into the Walgreen's parking lot.

I looked over at him to see if we'd exchange some kind of knowing glance. He was looking straight ahead and never caught my eye. But I did manage to capture the faintest smile on his face. When his car pulled just ahead of mine I noticed that he and are opposites on the political spectrum. Or at the very least, our bumpers are.

But for a moment today, we were just regular people in a position of power doing the right thing, working together to make life better for one of our fellow Americans. It felt absolutely delicious.

So that's when I decided to run for Congress.

I got over it about a block and a half later when I came to my senses, but it was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Observations on the Obvious

Like too-red lipstick bleeding along the edges of a garish, homeless smile.

The attack of more-than-enough perfume on a smoker fooling her vanity with dime-store remedies.

Still and stoic, the bittersweet vapor of cheap detergent puttering in patches along the edges of a building teeming with poverty.

Ugly is hard to hide.

There are no suits and ties fit to polish insincere words and truth is a misfit in this coalition of proposals and counters.

When did they dither to this place and why do they remain?

A tight pair of shoes, those must be, that crimp and pinch so fiercely she can no longer step out of them to feel the grass beneath her fair feet.

Why does he bother to smile or to frown? His expression has lost its irony. He is blank.

Armed with my promises, anchored with my trust, they flail, they fail. Who says? I do.

I should like to give them my shoulder, but only if they find me.

Instead, they chose to be lost. They prattle and pout in my name. They disappoint.

And I owe them no honor.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Love That Word

The man who walked me down the aisle at my wedding was married to the woman who cared for me while my mother worked. Absent a father, he was most present in my day-to-day life and his is the outline that shadows the doorway when my mind wanders to thoughts of a dad.

Whenever he'd see something he liked, or when he wanted to exclaim pride over something I'd done, he'd smile broadly, "Eso!". It means "that" in Spanish. That's how you do it! or That's what I was looking for!

I went to see my son play soccer with his school team yesterday. It was a tough game, aggressively played and we were losing. Our team was too many times on the receiving end of some borderline tactics. I found myself reaching for some word of comfort or encouragement but couldn't figure out quite what to say.

At one point, my son squared himself against one of the other team's players, taking and then returning (politely, but firmly) a good shove. A few moments later, as they passed one another, my son put out his hand and acknowledged the other player with a grin.


I love that word.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Aim a Little

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. ~ Herbert Spencer

I've always felt that education should lead to something and that knowing where you want to go is essential to satisfying the question of how to get there. If you never move from where you are, you'll never arrive anywhere. The cellared knowledge does nothing to heal a child or build a bridge. The closed book neither thrills nor bores. How do we live, if not through and because of change?

So in all of learning I believe there must be the goal and the reality of both collective and individual movement, preferably forward, although one could argue that in some instances, a step or two back provides critical perspective; I won't disagree.

And in any case we must have a sense of direction, lest we blindly bat about in the same space endlessly moving but never traveling. What a tire that would be! We must aim for something, perhaps a series of things, and work all our lives to arrive. In fact, that is foundational to the American experience, remembered among the affected, and even moreso among the aspiring, as the great document's assured 'pursuit of happiness'. We are hunters, doggedly after what Socrates delivered to us as the great and unconditional goal of life.

So why aren't we moving? What terrible paralysis has plagued us?

Ah, Congress.

It seems too few of our representatives have learned that knowing how to maneuver through the labyrinth of rules and procedures of our democratic bodies to effect one's personal or a party's narrow agenda is not, in and of itself, an end. Rather, using that knowledge to effect some change, acting on the knowledge that a constituency has some need or weakness to fill it or cure it - that is the purpose of their position.

I fear we've collected the most educated among us in a pool from which they cannot escape and charged them with leading us out of the water. They bump foolishly against the heavy
glass of their confines, charging towards reflections of their own ignorance, attracted to their own trapped visages instead of seeking a way out. We cannot follow or we shall drown.

My greater fear, however, is not that they are unwittingly imprisoned, tragically lost but sincere in their desire to serve the public's charge. What blackens my thoughts is that those among us are not among us, but outside the glass, agitating the waters to make us feel that we are moving, when in fact we are the ones constrained.