The Ex e’d me perfunctory birthday wishes this morning, and once again I debated with myself whether we could ‘talk,’ whether we could ‘be friends,’ whether we could at least ‘get closure.’ It’s been years now since the breakup and am still not sure what our relationship had been all about. I feel like we were victims of alien abduction, experiencers of ‘missing time.’ What happened to us during those 7 years we were together? Neither of us has any idea. Either we were shown the wonders of the universe, or we both got anal probes (lol, lol).
East is West, West is no other than East
Here’s the latest link in my chain of cranky blog posts: I am sick to death of going to yoga / meditation / dharma / Buddhist gatherings and having the leader tell us how materialistic THE WEST is. I’ve heard that Westerners / Americans are also neurotic, insecure, and hate their mothers. That Tibetans have no word for “self-doubt.”
By default, everyone in THE EAST is spiritual.
I have personally met people from all over the world, mainly in my own crowded house (I’m the one who lives with a gaggle of international grad students). I can tell you a story or two about young women studying in the US and their very difficult relationships with Indian-born mothers. Young men from the new class of Chinese millionaires.
We chant the Heart Sutra in my Buddhist study group, we say “form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is no other than emptiness.” We strive to “go beyond duality,” the illusion that the world is anything other than “one.”
But we still trot out that old …
(Not practicing gratitude)
Those of you who have known me for a while are I’m sure sick of hearing my never-ending tale(s) of woe. Divorce, deaths, fire / loss of home, multiple lay-offs, medical crap, cancer, chemo — all in the last 5 action-packed years.
And here I am today! NOT counting my blessings like a glurgey internet meme, not “practicing gratitude” for my crappy minimum wage job, 16-year-old car, and house shared with a horde of graduate students. I just feel too depleted.
Then on Friday my best friend of almost 20 years said she’d had it with me snapping at her, she “needs a break” and wished me the best for 2016.
Having said that, I think our friendship has a deep bond underneath how different our lives and personalities are. I expect that bond to remain intact even if we do take a break for a while, and to flourish again at a time when I’m more steady on my feet.
Hoping my relationship to daily life has a similar revitalization at some future point in time.
All is reruns: The boring last few days of the year
This is the time of the year with no new TV show episodes or podcasts, so am bored to death. My usual activities suspended for the holidays, my pals with kids/partners like normal people have are all busy with kid/partner-related stuff.
People rarely admit to watching TV. It’s funny how coworkers will say they watch Netflix or HBO to avoid using the T-word and seeming common. I also freely admit that reading Facebook posts usually cheers me up, even when others have ‘the best husband in the world,’ a miraculous pet, a newly-remodeled room, yet another vacation in paradise.
But at the end of December even my Facebook feed is boring. Can’t believe how many of my friends are broken up by the death of Lemmy from Motorhead.
And I’m resisting writing snarky rebuttals to this sort of thing: Aren’t you glad you grew up in the pre-tech days? with a b/w photo of four kids on bikes, actually looking like three of them are about to beat up the fourth. No, I’m not. I was born in 1956 and actually WISH I grew up when there was an internet to stimulate my mind, answer all the questions I had, and strangers to befriend b/c I was kind of the oddball in class. I could have found a community of like-minded nerds online, you know?
So: looking forward to the return on How To Get Away with Murder,
Tom Mison Sleepy Hollow, of course The Walking Dead, Black-ish, Downton Abbey, SVU, Bones …
Just put new wiper fluid into my car, threw out the old bottle from the trunk. Noticed the trunk still has a few duffel bags that I have nowhere else to stash, and those bags contain remnants of my life from before the fire. That wonderful house full of mementos from a decade’s worth of residence, all up in smoke, or damaged by the fire team’s hose. But I need to get a grip. I can’t let the holes in my life widen enough to swallow me up completely.
Also as part of the New Me initiative, I deleted my online dating accounts, which kind of makes me feel like an unemployed person who isn’t even bothering to look for a job. Guess I’m going to wing it, just go bareback for a while. Guess I’m still not over Mr X, who despite our compatibility, was freaked out by our age difference after all. Who stupidly waited too long in the bardo to be born.
But yesterday was a beautiful day. Went to the art museum to “visit” the Ancient Greek artifacts like one visits the grave of a family member. The wine jugs and oil pots and cosmetics trays, I can hear the voices of my ancestors reverberating from out of them, singing off-key, laughing, yelling at each other the way we still do. These objects now primly sitting behind glass with little label cards were once used during parties, or were precious heirlooms tended by matrons warning frisky grandchildren away. They were part of a particular family’s daily life.
It would be like going to Jupiter in 2,500 years and finding a gallery that contains Halloween lawn-ghosts and Spode Christmas platters, maybe the mug you use to leave cocoa for Santa every year until the kids get older, maybe a collection of Maybelline eye shadows, or plastic flowers meant for graves. A 2-cup coffeemaker from a dorm room, an empty bottle of wiper fluid. Hey hello there, to any future descendant (or me) who visits.
Oh Art Bell
Oh Art Bell, you did it to us again. Though knowing your history, I assumed it wouldn’t be long before you disappeared, maybe hiding in the desert or hopping aboard the mothership for a trip back home to the stars.
It’s just that downloading your Friday night show to listen to on Saturday morning while chopping vegetables for a few days’ worth of meals was to me an unparalleled delight. It was actually the highlight of my week. My foreign-born housemates would come in and hear this crazy radio guy with the sly but soothing voice talking to time travelers and demon lovers and your everyday reincarnated entities who wanted to say Hi to Art.
“It’s a radio show,” I’d say. “See these … people … call in to the show…”
Xie once asked if it were a religious show, lol.
To most of us fans the “stalker threatening my family” story sounds fake. Plus I’d hate to think radio legend Art Bell was so easily bullied off the air. Let’s just say he was haunted, literally, by demons of his own creation.
So from the Kingdom of Nye to time zones across the globe and beyond, good night.
Update: He might be coming back! Not getting into fanboy melodramas over the whys and wherefores, will just be glad if he’s back.
I dumped my father in a nursing home
Three weeks ago I had to put my dad in an Alzheimer’s assisted-living facility. Age 83, Harvard-educated (Physics), he’s been suffering from vascular dementia for about 8 years, and it has now advanced. My elderly mother couldn’t take care of him any longer, and even if one of us kids could quit our jobs and move closer to watch over him, he also requires 24-7 skilled nursing care that we cannot afford “in-home,” nor are we are trained to provide.
His new place is nice and we visit frequently, but I can’t help worrying about what the experience is like for him. Sometimes the fog lifts and he gets a glimmer of who I am. He then asks in an agitated way where he is and why, where his family is, where his parents are, when he’s going home.
Will he ever feel at peace? How can I help him? I’ve combed the internet for answers but find little more than upbeat blurbs from healthcare sites, plus screeds against Americans who “just throw their old people away.” No one tells me how I will know or what I can do if Dad wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn’t know where he is.
I feel like he and I entered a no-man’s land together, got separated, and no map, no good way to get home.
(Dad passed 2 years after I wrote this, in the middle of the night, while Older Sis and I were sleeping on the floor next to his bed.)
Sumus Scriptores / A Female Pronoun for God
Having coffee with Haiku Warrior and Jules Verne (aka “my writer pals”) was restorative. We decided the three of us had had a previous incarnation together as monks in a medieval scriptorium, where we would have toiled all day copying over pages from the Bible. I mean because we’re prone to sitting in one place all day writing, with no desire to exercise.
“You’d have been secretly inserting radical translations into the Christian texts,” said Haiku Warrior, laughing at me.
Heh heh. Like maybe an “accidental” female pronoun for God. Just to get subsequent generations of theologians thinking, though of course they’d put it down to “clerical error; NOT an error guided by God’s hand to test people’s faith.”
“You could have changed the course of religious history,” Jules Verne added.
Jules Verne sends us postcards from elsewhen, as he time-travels with his family instead of going on normal family vacations. Haiku Warrior was just elected Poet Supreme of our local “art reservation.” The only writing I’ve done since the three of us were laid off has been cover letters, and you can imagine where that’s gotten me.
Godrakpa was a 12th-century Tibetan mystic who practiced the dharma while living alone in a cave. From his stony solitude he wrote songs that expressed his understanding of Buddhism. He also at one time, to overcome his aversion to “old age, sickness, and death,” ate the brain of a dead leper.
Allegedly. (Or at least part of the brain.)
In those times people thought spiritual hermits were cool, and Godrakpa often had visitors who just wanted to be near him, just wanted to hear his songs.
But “these visitors are like shoppers browsing in the marketplace,” he wrote. [I paraphrase.] “I try to tell them that life is short, but no one listens … and singing to them hasn’t made any difference.”
So he killed the visitors and ate their brains. (No – but it seems like he would have. I notice that people on a spiritual path can be angry.)
Godrakpa actually went on to travel around Tibet teaching Buddhism and donating his inheritance to charity. After his death at age 80 he continued to try preaching by appearing to people in their dreams.
If you type “are” into Google and then one letter of the alphabet, the questions below are either the first, second, third or fourth query that auto-fills:
A: Are aliens real?
B: Are bigfoots real?
C: Are Comcast and Xfinity the same? [a fair question]
D: Are dragons real?
E: Are eggs dairy? [yes, if they are dragon eggs]
F: Are fairies real?
G: Are ghosts real? [SEEING A TREND HERE?]
H: Are hydrogen bonds an example of adhesion? [and Bam! followed by …]
I: Are Italians white?
J: Are Jews white?
K: Are koalas bears?
L: Are lentils beans?
M: Are mermaids real?
N: Are numbers adjectives? [actually, a good question]
O: Are Oreos vegan? [No, the the filling is made with dragon’s milk]
P: Are possessive pronouns adjectives?
Q: Are quantifiers adjectives? [wtf with all the questions about adjectives]
R: Are rational numbers closed under division? [I’ve always wondered that myself]
S: Are seasons capitalized? [what, no one is wondering if the Sandman is real?]
T: Are there aliens? [see “A”]
U: Are unicorns real?
V: Are vampires real?
W: Are witches real?
X: Are Xfinity and Comcast the same?
Y: Are you the one?
Z: Are zombies real?