Peace and love,
Peace and love,
Prompt: Grow Up
No one grows up voluntarily.
Most of us are dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood— we resist and rebel, until we discover that it’s probably in our best interest to behave in a way that doesn’t completely alienate us, since we need jobs and roofs and sandwiches and fleece jackets and someone to warm our bed.
We learn to like power in whatever form we can wield it, the breathlessness of intimacy, and the indescribable joy when a challenge is met and overcome. We learn the contentment of ceding to biology and brushing our hair until it shines, throwing our body over our child to protect it, and lusting with purpose and deliberation.
Our young selves never disappear though, do they? They hang around inside us like a dinner guest that has outstayed their welcome, maybe wanting one more coffee or a glass of wine and another piece of cake. Needy, sometimes. Reckless, other times. And sometimes, our inner young self is the guest who brings up that humiliating moment we’d rather stayed hidden and suppressed.
While our young inner self lives in hope of having long unfulfilled needs met, our adult self lives in hope that everything will make sense someday; that insight slowly creeping into our consciousness like liquid spilling through floorboards, that the purpose of life is not success, children, power, love, god— but to somehow, sometime, make sense of it all.
Related to the theme of growing up, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?
Love, peace and bon temps,
Prompt: Comedy of Errors
Love and peace,
Prompt: Plot of Earth
On this plot of earth right here, I am sick, so may I present a few of my favourite cartoons without further preamble?
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
While “please” and “thank you” are magic words, “I should have”, “could have”, “would have” are words of doom and regret. Or anyway, of wistful longing or face-palming annoyance.
This past week my brother has been visiting, just as winter finally struck the valley. He managed to drive up during a break in the cold and snow— a weather window— and while he was here the winter temps and wind conditions grew more and more precipitous. He wasn’t able or prepared to stay for a month, so how to best judge the right moment to climb into his snow-tired vehicle and brave the mountain passes for six hours?
He could stay on an extra week no problem, but the forecasts for later in the month were for even colder, more wintery weather which might not break until March. So we collectively decided that today, Wednesday, February 13 was The Day, the weather window. No snow predicted, clearer skies, warmer temperatures.
As an aside, the snow here in our valley has been of the light, sparkly, twinkly, powder kind, not the heavy wet dump of mountain communities or the coast. So there was the element of leaving the safe, pretty snow for the dense, dangerous kind.
There is no surprise ending. Aside from navigating through the briefest of blizzards half an hour after his departure, brother had no problems and drove through the mountain passes and highways and byways without much problem, although he passed countless abandoned cars and trucks in the ditches, remnants of yesterday’s storms. This morning the drivers of those vehicles could be heard throughout the land, cursing: “I shoulda waited until Wednesday.”
Unrelated to winter driving conditions but to today’s prompt, “should”, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?
Wherever you are, enjoy your weather windows (even if they are only of the looking-through kind)!
They say growing older is an adventure, though who is “they”?
Today is my birthday and time to reflect blah blah blah… Nevermind, I had a great day and a fine feast and my brother drove up to surprise me— coming to the door just as I was cleaning the toilet. The roads were clear despite frigid weather, bitter winds, and a frozen lake. Only last week a dozen blindingly white swans were our companions, wondering whether to continue their journey south. This week they decided: yup.
But what was I doing cleaning the toilet on my birthday? That is a question for the ages and for aged, of which I am not; though someone tell my body.
Ursula Le Guin had this to say about old age:
I’ve lost faith in the saying “You’re only as old as you think you are,” ever since I got old.
I’ve known clear-headed, clear-hearted people in their nineties. They didn’t think they were young. The knew, with a patient, canny clarity, how old they were. If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.
I’ve never heard anybody over seventy say that you’re only as old as you think you are. Younger people say it to themselves or each other as an encouragement. When they say it to somebody who actually is old, they don’t realize how stupid it is, and how cruel it may be. At least there isn’t a poster of it.
But there is a poster of “Old age is not for sissies”.
Look at me, I snarl. I am a sissy. I always was. Who are you jocks to say old age isn’t for me?
Old age is for anybody who gets there. Warriors get old. Sissies get old. In fact it’s likely that more sissies than warriors get old. Old age is for the healthy, the strong, the tough, the intrepid, the sick, the weak, the cowardly, the incompetent. People who can run ten miles before breakfast and people who live in a wheelchair.
If you eat your sardines and leafy greens and SPF 150 and develop your abs and blabs or whatever they are in order to live a long life, that’s good, and maybe it will work. But the longer a life is, the more of it will be old age.
The compensations of getting old, such as they are, aren’t in the field of athletic prowess. I think that’s why the saying and the poster annoy me so much. They’re not only insulting to sissies, they’re beside the point.
I’d like a poster with two old people with stooped backs and time-worn faces sitting talking, deep, deep in conversation. And the slogan would be “Old Age Is Not for the Young.”
I thought of that passage from the book No Time to Spare today, on my birthday. I thought about how I treat old people, and how people may soon treat me. Then I got drunk. Happy birthday!
In keeping with Wednesday tradition, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which is loosely connected to today’s prompt, “adventure”?
Now I’m off for a ten mile run!
Love and peace,
Today I really wanted to talk about opposable thumbs.
That’s because my brand new mandoline— a kitchen device used for slicing and julienning— arrived yesterday and I simply couldn’t wait to try it out, so I made a big salad that included sliced baby cucumbers, radishes, and thumb.
Yes I foolishly made a wee slice in my right thumb. I thought I was smarter than all the reviewers on Amazon who warned that the blade was sharp and that they had foolishly sustained injuries. There was even a gross picture of blood. Yet I persisted, and the accident occurred.
I put a band-aid on it and went about my day, quickly learning that my day involved my right thumb. The bandage covered my thumbprint, which is how I log into my devices. I rely on my thumb for barely above-average typing. For holding awkward utensils and pencils. To properly hold a coffee mug. To open a jar or a bottle of wine. To hold a fork. To feel the pulse in my left wrist with my right thumb— admittedly not a crucial task nor the right way to do it but what if I wanted to?
The opposable thumb was an important element of human evolution because it allowed us to develop and use tools, which apparently led to great things, like Post-It notes.
The point is, the opposable thumb is a connection to our past, to our rising above our primitive origins, leading to the creation of spears, slaughterhouses, printing presses, computer chips, self-driving cars, Netflix, origami, Cowichan sweaters, the Hubble telescope, electricity, the Panama Canal, fishing nets, bird sanctuaries, safety pins, garter belts, and Post-It notes— yet by my foolish mandoline thumb-slicing mishap, I demonstrated that I was unfit to have an opposable thumb because I’m too damn stupid.
Another task requiring an opposable thumb is lighting a match and creating a little fire, which happens to be the prompt for today. So may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, loosely connected to the prompt, “fire”?
See you tomorrow for Throwback Thursday.
Love and peace,