I’ve taken to pouring milk for the morning coffee into this brightly colored little talavera cow I bought on Olvera Street last year. This morning I turned it over to look for artist’s name – quite often pieces of talavera, no matter how humble, are signed – and was disappointed to find none. I wondered who had made it, and where, and how their life was going, and said a little blessing for them – all of this in the space of about two seconds and almost reflexively, without explicit consciousness (it takes me a long time to wake up).


I read somewhere – and have never been able to find mention of this again – that in certain parts of Japan, there is ceremony to honor household objects – teapots, brooms, and the like – when they’re finally retired – a sort of thank you for years of faithful service. I found that irresistibly charming. I tend to get sentimentally attached to, well, most things, and I remember the mourning I felt when I had to discard the little alarm clock I’d had for fifteen years. Or the wastebasket I’d dragged along from house to house on my journeys. I always thank the little object for its service and feel like I’m walking away from a family member or something.


I often wonder about where things come from – who made them, what were they thinking about at the time, what were their worries, what they had to eat that morning, and so on – and I sometimes, though not often enough, offer up my little prayer to bless the person whose hands and/or labor made whatever it is I’m using at the time. In my idea of heaven, there is an ‘absolute knowledge,’ the gift of being almost-human, like walking through one’s day as a living person does, but looking at a window and asking, ‘Who lives in there? What country was her great-great-great grandmother from? Did that ancestor come on a ship? What’s her worst fear? When did she lose her virginity?’ and so on. It’s the ability to regard something and know about its entire net of existence.


I wonder if there are others who have these thoughts – there must be, somewhere, another person who thinks like me. Tree Guy calls this my ‘beautiful mind,’ and it’s a compliment in the following proportions: 99% ‘The way you think is stunning and amazing,’ and 1%, ‘You, my friend, are completely batshit crazy.’ I laugh. Maybe so. But I like the way I think – and I want to believe that those wide rings of thought and blessings reach out across the time, miles, oceans, and impossibility and find their intended target.


Hater Tuesdays: Some Days

Sometimes I get so tired.


Of rising above. Of turning the other cheek. Of being the bigger person. Making lemonade, doing the right thing, fighting the good fight.


When do I get to sink below? Be the smaller person? Do the wrong thing?


When do I get to be a flaccid or inept or ineffective or just plain mean employee, a walking tort who gets to take home a six figure paycheck no matter how poorly I treat others? When do I get to choose to not have to work and get to have someone else attend to all of my financial needs (and feel that I rightfully deserve it)? When do I get to walk around with a negative attitude, believing that the world revolves around me? When do I get to be acid, lazy, spoiled, ignorant, and unconscious? When do I get something for nothing?


Sometimes I think I’m just, as Henry Hill says in Goodfellas, a sucker. A gullible girl who bought the Horatio Alger myth and did all the right things – went to school, avoided scrapes with the law, never had children out of wedlock, patiently worked my way up the ladder – when I might as well have just blown off school and either parlayed my uterus into some sort of material security or become a criminal genius, traveled on borrowed money and declared bankruptcy and waited that out in a rent controlled apartment, stuck it to subletters and lived rent-free during the dotcom boom, backstabbed colleagues and subordinates, stolen their ideas, looked out always for #1?


What use is there, I sometimes wonder, in trying to be better than? Better than what? My parents, my relatives, my neighbors, my landlords, my colleagues and coworkers, my shadow side? Or, when do I get to stop being the example? Of the girl from the broken home who turned out just fine, considering. Of what focus and hard work and persistence can get you. Of how someone with moxie, grit, spunk, whatever you want to call it, can carve a life out of nothing and make it something?


Some days, days like today, I get tired of counting my blessings. Of remembering to be grateful for everything. Of taking the path of least resistance. Just for one day, one hour, I want to get away with being mean, ineffective, petty, pampered, and predatory. I want to fail to meet everyone’s needs: my boss, my work colleagues, my friends, even my dogs. I want to take the halo off and throw the gauntlet down. I want to complain, I want to show up late, I want to come unprepared, not return calls, let requests for information die a slow, quiet death. I want to have a baby without figuring out how to afford it, I want to blow off my bills, I want to rest easy at night knowing that if I don’t earn my own keep, someone else will pay my way. I want to get brutally honest and singe the psyche of others for years with well-chosen word bombs. I want to drive right over roadkill without feeling sad. Just for a minute, I want to see what it feels like to walk around cocooned in entitlement and unconsciousness………..just to see how it feels.