[I do FINALLY talk about the book about 1500 words in. Marked in red, down the page.]
DEAR MR. YOU, Mary-Louise Parker, Hardcover, 240 pages, Scribner
I’ve cobbled together a complex and recondite personal cosmology, imagined into being during decades of this autodidactic wayfaring, any(every?)-port-in-a-storm wandering (wondering?) and rambling I call “My Life” with its digressions and deviations and diversions and driftings; all of which is prologue to this: I consider time to be largely an illusory crutch required by those who need lines, labels, and margins to keep things like reality and emotions safely-sized and manageable, easy to digest. If I’ve any goal other than be here, going, in every moment, with as much Love and Light as possible, it is to eschew lines, labels, and margins and the world requiring them as much as I can, to see to the essence of all that is behind and beyond and beneath all those measures we use to try to tame it.
(I am not unaware the above makes me sound a patchouli wearing, weed-smoking, hippie throwback, but, there I go with the labels again. P.S. I am none of those things. Not that I’ve anything against any of those things.)
So, New Year traditions — they mean little to me. I don’t do resolutions. And as far as the Bacchanalia and orgies of drunken foolery on its Eve; fireworks, balls dropping and crowds, oh my! Thus, on December 31, I returned to my home base from two weeks of house/pet sitting and planned on spending a quiet evening with my sister — well, not with exactly, as she is having an intimate relationship with The Walking Dead, and so was enraptured by its marathon, while I meant to enjoy Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin from Times Square, so — with me in my batcave and she in her living room recliner, 2016 would plod right in, mostly un-remarked save for one glass (for me) of cheap champagne. However, despite the humdrum, torpid, hibernating life I live, and the speeding, drunken, criminally boisterous fools terrorizing the land that night (and in the presidential election process), turned out I had managed to Tweet in a way warranting a visit from local law enforcement types. Here I thought a pizza was being delivered, opened the door in glee at the speed with which my large-Italian meat-special had arrived, and standing before me was a medium-sized-Scottish-meat special of an entirely different kind.
Anyway, I already described in my Twitter TL my visit from the Scottish-accented gendarme I briefly thought was a stripper sent by friends [I’m MIRACLECHARLIE on Twitter, click here] and won’t go through it again except to say I’m not sure six days later how I feel about it: Abashed. Abused. Affronted. Agitated. Alarmed. Amused. Angry. Annoyed. Ashamed. And that’s just some of the A-words. All of which have been conflagrating in my consciousness ever since, blazing and searing alongside holiday-feels, family behavior-feels, back-pain, odd explosions of intense loneliness, many dream-visits from the dead, and many of my buttons being pushed, including those I thought no longer pushable, result being a combustion of moody-existential questioning and even more weepiness than is usual for me.
All of this because a word I used in a Tweet about the entitled-asshat Whole Foods but with less crunchy granola and patchouli vibe shoppers who terrorize its aisles, pissed off Wegman’s.
A word. By which I was judged. A word. For which I was hunted down on New Year’s Eve and lectured and threatened and reproached. One word from a Twitter timeline which is generally full of Love and Light and Peace. Which I said to the very sexy Scottish flasher (alas, of badge only):
“If you can waste time enough to locate me from a Tweet, surely you’ve looked into me enough to know I never have and never would own or use a weapon of any kind and am one of the least likely persons on the face of the earth to harm another human being.”
Answer from ScottyHottie:
“Well, obviously. If I thought you were a real danger this would be a very different conversation.”
At which point I said:
“Unless you intend to arrest me, get out. You’ve irritated me by being a tool of a huge corporation trying to intimidate me out of speaking my mind. I didn’t threaten anyone. Read the Tweet. And this is a huge waste of time and money in a world full of awful, heinous people, most of them running for the Republican Presidential nomination, and especially on a night when the roads and bars are full of people who are actually dangerous. I’m insulted and annoyed and you don’t get to call me irresponsible.”
He huffed and puffed, Scottishly, which was cute-ish, and went on his way.
Here’s the thing: I love words. I believe in the power of words to move people, to change things, to influence and advocate and, yes, harm and destroy. But, back to that convoluted and complicated cosmology of mine, I also think words — like time — are merely the costumes in which we wrap reality to try to make sense of it, to shape it into smaller-bite-sized, digestible chunks. Words, our words and vocabularies, are the garb, the regalia, the costumes in which we dress our belief systems, our frames of reference, and, as such, they are unique and individual and shaped by experience and environment and exposure to others, to the world, to realities not our own.
So, the NEXT thing: it is so incredibly important to give energy to the intention BEHIND BEYOND BENEATH the words. When I said, “If I ever commit murder it would be at Wegman’s” – I meant;
“I wish people were nicer, smiled, said hello and excuse me, moved when I said ‘excuse me’, acknowledged me, could be polite, and, too, wish this didn’t bother me so much, wish I wasn’t so first-world I shop here for chocolate croissants and roasted-chicken salad I think I need, and how did I turn out to be so poor, shopping in a store so over-priced and why don’t I just leave? How did I get sucked into this consumerism and who are these awful people and am I one of them? What’s wrong with me that I put up with this? What’s wrong with the world that we are all shopping here in this nirvana of consumerism when people are dying of starvation every day and we will throw out half of what we buy to eat? And don’t these people get that? And how pretentious am I in my own way thinking of judging them – I should be judging me – or evolve dammit to a place where I don’t judge and am just going. But if I had, would I be going here?”
These are the kinds of conversations I have with myself, every day, all day long. These are the kinds of conversations everyone has. Life is about examining, even when we think we are not doing so. We are making sense of it — or, we are trying to make sense of it.
We are trying to shape the vastness of All That Is into something we can live.
And, here’s the hard part. I have guilt about the Tweet. A person who claims to have my cosmology — incomprehensible as it may be — but founded in a belief in going, being, living in the Love and the Light, ought not to have Tweeted so cavalierly about an act I’d never even consider. It was, indeed, a joke, and a snarky dig at the Wegman’s shoppers, but, who am I to judge them? They were all busy with their own private existential conversations, post-holiday, pre-New Year rush and blues and let-down and build-up and who knows what else?
I’ll tell you what else, because in the days between Christmas and New Year, people I know experienced felony, death of a parent, departure of a mate, loss of a job, sick pet, sick child, bill due without adequate funds to pay it, upcoming loss of home, rejection by a “date”, on and on and on and on … and asked to describe any of those things, we would all use very different words and have very different feelings about them.
A word: Empathy. I lacked it when I used that other word.
So, then, here I am, going into 2016, feeling the pressure of First Blog Post of 2016 and First Book Read of 2016. Well, they’re out of the way now.
What? Oh, right. The book! I am, or so I say, a book blogger. Well, darlings, I also say I’m in my early forties. Words. Time. I keep telling you, costumes we use to try to define the undefinable.
DEAR MR. YOU, Mary-Louise Parker Fantastic read. Don’t miss it. Also, don’t read it all at once. Ms. Parker writes thirty-four letters to men who have touched her life, influenced her personal cosmology, shaped her emotional language and reality. These are mostly gorgeous, often insightful, wonderfully funny, touching, terrifying, and so very generous in their honesty and sharing of her truth and experience. But, again, I read them one at a time. No more than one a day. Sometimes just one a week. Because they are personal letters, to be cherished, savored, and not, so much, lumped in a great mass because they then lose their impact and become just words. And as I’ve said, it is important to give energy to the intent and essence behind the words others use, to allow time and space for the meaning beyond symbols of symbols for symbols we call language to wash over you, to move you, to touch you.
Well, then, dear ones, I am off. Tomorrow is my first ever (and likely, last ever) colonoscopy (there’s a word and concept the meaning behind which I could do about ten thousand more words on) and I am mid-fast/cleanse and think it best I stop posting ANYTHING until this is over.
Love and light and happy to share this journey where we are here, going.