Contrived

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A person swimming in the pool of her own life, constantly crashing against the concrete edges of said pool, is more likely than anyone else to insist that her own life is “really fucking weird” even if it is, by all objective accounts, mundane and boring as fuck. Some people need to live – or wallow – in the belief that their life is “weird” or surreal to feel that it has some meaning or isn’t just a day-in, day-out account of nothingness. Such people can elevate their boring marital infidelities to soap-operatic, shrill drama; such people can imagine that their semi-imagined illnesses/hypochondria make them special, interesting, persecuted, or even unique.

No, in fact, they don’t. They do, in fact, make one just like everyone else, albeit slightly more histrionic and liable to whip every perceived slight into something it isn’t, to take every comment personally, to misinterpret every possible thing – ranging from the “rudeness” or “disrespect” someone supposedly showed (they didn’t) to truly believing someone’s hollow words, said to keep her pacified, not because they were truly felt/meant. And, most of all, never letting go. Everything has to turn into a years-long, lifelong grudge – as if holding on to that much anger and hatred isn’t in itself toxic and stressful. Witnessing this, one sees how the American world is awash in frivolous litigiousness, bolstered by each individual’s sense of inflated importance.

When a person’s life becomes, for example, a s(l)ide-show of authorities phoning them at all hours of the night to come and rescue wildcats from a dilapidated, abandoned trailer in a rundown trailer park – yeah, then I will agree that that person’s life is “weird”.

When a person’s life becomes filled with manic people from decades in the past, who refuse to let go, making that person central to their present-day lives – yeah, that’s pretty “weird”, too. Especially when the brazenness and grip of the obsession spills over again and again. One compulsive person raping another person’s mind, mining their brain and history for evidence to use against them later. All to maintain this inflated self-importance and immediacy, threatening to (and not in the least caring if it does) disrupt and destroy that person’s life, yes, that’s weird, and a bit tragic and unfortunate. (Kawabata’s Beauty and Sadness touched on this kind of disturbed obsession/revenge/sexual jealousy to the degree that I barely wanted to finish reading, seeing as how similar themes have played out before my eyes.)

How much of life and identity is contrived this way – all designed to elicit reactions from others and feed the bloated, hungry or jealous ego?

Photo by Klaas on Unsplash

Weird but in a Good Way: The Road Not Taken

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It’s Getting Light Outside” – Clearlake

It’s good to notice all the ways we’ve changed, and even better, how we’ve stayed the same. I’d love to know – tell me everything – I want to know exactly how you’ve been before you know, we’ll forget the time and turn around and find we’ve talked all night – it’s getting light outside.

Poetry was brought up in a team meeting when new colleagues had to introduce themselves. One said she has, as the Robert Frost poem describes, preferred to take the road less traveled by (“The Road Not Taken”) and mentioned Robert Frost (my favorites of his are less known but no less rich – see below)… while another colleague (the unique, snus-enthusiast character who is urging me to get chickens, has proffered chicken eggs to prod this process along) announced quite proudly that she is “weird”. (This reminded me that I stated in my own interview for this particular job that I am “weird but in a good way” – my manager must like to hire unusual but competent people.)

Perhaps I have thus become a poetry-spouting, budding but incremental farmer of sorts – contemplating the chickens my colleague is so fond of while actually liking the look of ducks, which are apparently also an option, albeit a less popular one. I am still in doubt – without a house husband or some similar figure who cares for these creatures and nurtures them (which hired help would not do) – as one friend said today, he would talk to them a great deal – I can’t take even such a small step toward “farming”. Farming is, after all, a “labor of love” that very few people take on because it will provide them a living. Rather it brings joy and purpose into daily life as well as a kind of routine, as evidenced by the popularity of raising chickens in one’s backyard and the rise of a magazine like Modern Farmer in an era when publishing is actually declining.

(An unrelated story except for chicken involvement – but one which put a smile on my face – here’s a headline and article about someone’s apparent “cocking around”: “Guilty of “cocking around””.)

Meanwhile, other Frost favorites – absolutely beautiful.

To Earthward

“Forgive O Lord” by Robert Frost

“Forgive O Lord” by Robert Frost