even the squirrels were suicidal

Here’s a bit of nonsense narrative I wrote today.


It was a non-day, the kind of day that didn’t know what kind of day it was. The blame lay squarely with the weather which couldn’t make up its mind so it tried resting somewhere in the middle.

There were white cloud-like wisps hovering in the sky but they could hardly qualify as clouds nor could you say the sky was clear. There was light from the sun but no real evidence of a sun in the sky. The sound of howling winds filled the air but only the faintest breeze could be felt.

animal pet cute fur
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Indecisiveness spread like a disease into every aspect of existence. It short-circuited electricity. Rocks disintegrated, then pulled themselves back together. Questions settled into bones, driving almost every living creature mad.

You’d think people would be happy in a world that didn’t exist in extremes but they weren’t. It made them nervous and unsettled. They had gotten used to subsisting on resolute certainty at the outer edges of possibility. Without the most fanatic options available, their identity vanished. They became unhinged.

Grown men flopped about nude on their driveways like beached whales. Women walked in circles around themselves gnashing their teeth until they were nubs and their hamburger gums dripped blood down their chins. The spectacle left the rare middle-of-the-roader cowering in basement corners.

The combination of unhinged humans and universal indecision proved too much for animals. They could barely tolerate humans on the best of days. Mainly they became suicidal.

Birds dive-bombed cars and houses, shattering their beaks and brains into shingles, glass and metal.  Even squirrels, those playful teasers that normally just dash across the path of moving vehicles, ran head-on into oncoming traffic. The only creatures left unaffected were cats. They didn’t give a shit. They curled up and slept through the day.

at the crossroads

I really want to believe that benevolent celestial beings look out for us. It’s a comforting thought in an increasingly bizarre world. But the idea seems so irrational that I’m embarrassed to admit this longing, even to myself. It’s like holding out hope that I’ll hear flying reindeer land on the roof at the close of December 24th. But something happened today that fanned the flame of hopeful belief.

It happened at the intersection of a divided road–technically a boulevard–and the northbound service drive for a freeway. We were waiting for the light to turn green so that we could continue on our way.

aerial photo of city street and buildings
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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched vehicles wander from the second into the third lane while crossing the intersection at that particular spot. I blame it on a bend in the road that tricks the eye into thinking the third lane is a continuation of the second lane. I have no doubt that wandering drivers think they’re maintaining their lane.

My sister was driving and was somewhat familiar with the intersection so I assumed she was aware of this tricky aspect.

I was wrong.

When the light turned green, we inched our way toward the intersection. She complained that the huge vehicle next to us began encroaching on her car. We were mere inches away from hearing the sound of crunching metal.

That’s when it happened.

The traffic lights that had only been green for one second began flashing red inexplicably. Traffic stopped once again.

This was the first time we witnessed traffic lights exhibit this behavior. Sure, there are intersections with lights that switch over to flashing lights in the evening but this was not one of them. It all contributed to the weird factor.

art asian butterfly color
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The reprieve gave me enough time to explain the optical illusion to my sister and show her that she was actually the one encroaching on the other driver.

After a few seconds, the flashing red light returned to a steady green and we crossed the intersection. This time, staying in the correct lane.

I looked for some reason why the lights would exhibit such weird behavior at that precise moment but found nothing to explain it. Of course, I also found no evidence of angels or other benevolent being keeping us all safe at the exact, perfect time but I welcomed the possibility of such magic in the absence of all other evidence.

a look in the mirror

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I ran late to my dance troupe rehearsal this evening and was impatient to get to the studio because of it. So, while the car in front of me was traveling at a perfectly reasonable rate, I decided to pass. While passing, the vehicle began matching my speed, accelerating right along with me. “What a dick!” I said to myself. I wondered what kind of game he thought he was playing. He slowly returned to his previous rate of travel after I ratcheted up the acceleration. (Don’t be a bonehead like me, ok?)

Shortly after that, a driver maneuvered to pass me. When his vehicle seemed to hover next to me instead of advancing, I wondered what the hell kind of game he thought he was playing. “What a weirdo!” I thought to myself.

But then I looked down at the speedometer and saw that my rate of travel had increased significantly. Without realizing it or meaning to do it, I was matching this driver’s speed.

2018-ish resolutions progress

This will be quick. Writing a blog post every day is the only resolution I’ve come close to satisfying. I didn’t anticipate the enormous time suck of writing a blog. At least not the way I’ve gone about it. I’m not going to stop doing it but I do need to rethink my approach. As for the rest of the ginormous list:

alone bed bedroom blur
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short story writing: I haven’t completed anything but I’ve consistently tortured myself about not completing anything. I wonder if that should count…

sewing: This is actually not so bad. I’ve sewn two pairs of pants, three tops, a dress, and a kimono cardigan. Plus, I’m almost done with another top. Still have a mountain of sewing to conquer though.

learning instruments: Practiced banjo a few times and even started learning classical guitar but I did this so few times it’s hardly worth mentioning. But I won’t let that stop me from mentioning it. I also practiced the piano.

learning French: I worked on this few days. Must make this a higher priority!

better health decisions: Nope. I recently started juicing. Every time I get the internal push to quit the junk food cold turkey, I find myself buying a bag of Doritos. Not that my diet is total crap. I mostly eat fruits, vegetables and grains but I am a cola and potato chip addict. Exercise is worse. I dance with my dance troupe and do some flexibility exercises when I think about it but that’s it. No progress with running or strength training. This is really bad news for someone my age who struggles just to maintain muscle mass.

art stuff: Meh. I painted a large sign for my uncle. No sculpture, no dollmaking, no portrait paintings, no jewelry. So sad.

house stuff: set up a new recycling system in our home, reorganized dog supplies, working on reorganizing a closet in the kitchen. Hardly stellar progress but progress nonetheless.

meditation/spirituality: Read one book on spirituality. Meditated many days.

reading: Short of my goal but I’ve averaged one book every two or three weeks. At least one book every month. I have to document this stuff better. Oh, wait! That’s partly what this blog is supposed to help me do!

Some folks have told me I’m nuts to try to tackle so many things simultaneously. That’s not entirely accurate actually. Mostly I think they worry I’ll crash and burn so they encourage me to only focus on one of the items. I don’t blame them.

But as crazy as the list might seem, I’m not staking my life on accomplishing all these things. They’re more like goals that I’m working toward. I hoped I’d be able to incorporate everything into my routine right out of the gate but that didn’t happen. Now, I see it will be take a while to incorporate all of these things into my routine on a consistent basis. My gut tells me it’s doable and that it’s important that I try. So that’s what I’m doing. I should emphasize that I don’t feel stressed out about it.

you say tornado, i say get thee to the basement

It’s 1am and I’m hunkered down in the basement of my home. A few minutes ago, our mobile phone alarms sounded off before blasting out the news of a tornado warning in our area. This was quickly followed by another round of alarms and news of a flash flood warning in effect for our area.

This seems like a tricky situation, right? A catch-22. A cosmic joke, really. The basement is the first place we go to take cover for a tornado but the last place we’d go for a flood.

tornado on body of water during golden hour
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Nevertheless, here I am in the basement, waiting it out, writing my daily post.

Prior to this, the closest brush I had with a tornado was when I was a pre-teen. I lived with my parents in an upstairs flat. There was no basement to go to so we watched the skies turn green from the bedroom window. That’s all I remembered other than the aftermath of upended trees throughout the neighborhood.

While waiting in the basement this morning, my sister revealed that I had blocked out a crucial memory of the childhood event. Apparently, the tornado caused the massive tree in the front yard to topple onto the building we were living in. The tree blocked the stairwell, trapping us in the apartment. Dad had to climb over the downed tree to find help removing the obstacle.

Strangely enough, the knowledge of this lost memory disturbs me more than the threat of a tornado outside.

*    *    *

I’ve left the basement now that the storm has passed. All is safe here. I feel especially lucky but curious to know what else I might have forgotten.

reminder to myself

It’s so easy to fall into despair when watching the news. I don’t know if it’s the news’ propensity to focus on doom and gloom or my tendency to ruminate over negativity that plunges me into dark places. Probably an unfortunate combination of the two.

adult alone anxious black and white
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Either way, I end up scared, angry, or dispirited and diving into an emotional tailspin. (Because scared, angry, and dispirited are just the opening act.) Not that you’d know I’m in a tailspin by looking at me. On the surface, I’m as cool as a cucumber. It’s inside that I’m roiling in dark emotion.

I inevitably end up in a line of thinking/feeling that questions the purpose of life and people, including me. The emotional roads I travel in those moments take me into bleak places.

Then a strange thing happens. Out of nowhere that still inner voice takes hold, pulls me back from the abyss every time my brain dangles me over the precipice to hell. As corny as it sounds, that inner voice reminds me of the beauty people are capable of and that the planet is abundant in.

I remind myself that if I’m so dissatisfied with the world and myself, I need to find some way to make it a better place. To make myself a better person. Then, I remind myself that I need to spend at least as much time feeding my brain positivity as it does negativity.

Sometimes it’s as simple as just turning off the news and taking a walk outside.