HAVE MYSTERIOUSLY INJURED WRIST STOP
HAVE MANAGED TO SHATTER DISHES STOP
HAVE REMOVED GLASS SHARDS FROM HANDS STOP
MUST GO DRINK POSTHASTE STOP
SEND CHEESE STOP
sometimes i dream of dying.
sometimes i dream of the gray guitar that would light me up, propel me forward, move time like lightning.
sometimes my daydreams are more real than my reality.
sometimes you slip in and out of fantasy for me.
sometimes my lemon water tastes like champagne from grapes you picked yourself, stomped with me, when we fell together into the big bucket, squishy and stained with wine.
sometimes i see the shape of your kidney in that swimming pool. i’d give you mine if you needed it.
sometimes i smell the ghost of childhood honeysuckle and see our home with my eyes closed.
sometimes sweat drips down from my scalp to my neck to my collarbone between my breasts and i remember your next touch.
sometimes the spots in my eyes are the planets of my life.
sometimes the beep of my phone is the shape of your thumb and the taste of salt.
sometimes my hands spin bread from flour, pie from cherry, love from tears.
sometimes the windowsill is the doorway i draw into my next life, three stories down in the smell of the earth.
sometimes the weight of the coverlet matches the heat of you with breeze on my neck like daisies.
sometimes your music keeps me awake.
sometimes it lets me dream.
sometimes i dream of living.
Once upon a time, after a dark and stormy night, when Atlanta and its suburbs were blanketed with snow, ice and whiny residents, it came to pass that my street was filled with emergency vehicles.
Now, as the favorite honorary girlchild to more than one elderly neighbor, this set my heart athumpin’. I love these people — from their invocation of the name of their savior to their suggestions for what I should do to change my career path from professionally ill — there are ladies on my street who have helped fill the void my grandparents have made with their inconvenient natural deaths.
As luck would have it, however, there was not a single old-lady-hip-breaking-ice-slipping incident. Oh, no. we save those for the young here.
Indeed, a minor house fire at a lovely family’s home down the street left everyone shaken but unstirred and safe.
Still, there were flashing lights, men in uniform and many walkie-talkies. I was worried.
So I did what I do: I cooked. I cleaned out the freezer and made winter bean & barley soup with pesto, pureed cream of spinach soup and stone soup — the best of its kind.
This is an advantageous predilection of mine. Not only does it calm my nerves and give me something to do, but it endears me even more to the lovely neighbors who, in turn, think I’m really fucking fabulous.
God, I love me.
Anyway. So. I made soup. Oohhhh, I made soup. I probably made around four gallons of soup, a Tupperware each for my ladies and one for the family of the garage fire. Oh, and for us. Lots of soup.
Around six that evening, I poured the cooling soups into their Tupperwares and set out to drive the hundred yards to the first neighbor’s house, as the roads were still very icy.
Safety first, people.
I stepped out of the car; I picked up the soup; I took my first step onto the driveway.
And I went down.
I landed on the tailbone bruised this fall with a tumble down the stairs.
I landed on the wrist and hand I use for writing. Which, you know, I do.
I smacked the back of my head on the car door.
And I spilled the soup.
But I didn’t just “spill.” I got soup on the roof of the car. On the back windshield. On the front windshield. In the wheel well. In the foot well. Down the side of the car. On the inside passenger door. In the groove of the window between the door and the glass.
I spilled, spectacularly.
And so, once I got over the shock of the fall and the tears of the pain — I am professionally ill, after all — I laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
And convinced some dogs to help me clean up.
I’m nothing if not practical.
Most of the problems I see in the world are caused by one thing – believing your own shit.
Think of the people you know of whose worlds have collapsed – Lindsay Lohan, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Saddam Hussein, Richard Nixon are a few famous ones. I know of many others among my friends and acquaintances — they shall remain nameless, of course. They have, each and every one of them, believed their own shit.
Ordinary people who become elevated above the general throng — through celebrity, political success, acquisition of wealth, for example — find themselves surrounded by people whose primary objective is to reinforce their elevation.
“Ms. Lopez must have only white things in her dressing room.”
“The doctor cannot be disturbed.”
If they’re lucky, life gives them a mate or best friend early on who is not impressed by success. That mate or friend does not hesitate to call them out. If the successful one is smart enough to keep that friend close at hand and listen to them, they may avoid calamity.
“You still put your pants on one leg at a time.”
No matter how inflated the public praise becomes, you still see your plain old self in the mirror. Your public persona and your private one can stay synchronized, but they are NOT the same thing.
If they do merge, you’re going to start believing that you are larger than life, and that will be your downfall. Poor Lindsay Lohan doesn’t have a chance as long as Mama Dina is there, propping her up and telling her she’s not subject to the same rules as everyone else. Who else would go to court with “fuck you” painted on her fingernails?
Richard Nixon believed that he could do anything he wanted and penalties would not apply. Michael Jackson could indulge his fantasies with little boys and not worry about the impacts on the boys or his public image. Seldom have I seen such pain as I saw on Pat Nixon’s face when “Tricky Dick” gave his resignation speech. What impact will Michael’s children suffer when they find out about their dad?
An acquaintance of mine, head of his religious congregation, was disparaging of other faiths – his was inarguably superior. Publicly, he was a professional success, with a devoted wife and children and quite convinced of his superiority. Publicity surrounding his accidental death revealed his sexual deviance and destroyed the lives of his family. He believed himself insulated by his success and wealth against societal judgment. Problem was that his family had to pay the price.
Bottom line – don’t start believing your own hype. You may be the best criminal defense lawyer in your district or the valedictorian of your graduating class, or more. Enjoy your success; pat yourself on the back for your hard work. Just don’t start believing your own publicity. You’ll regret it. Or your family will.
 I generally disapprove of profanity (see my comments on my daughter’s blog) – it is a sign of laziness and limited vocabulary. However, this is an exception – I know no better or more succinct way of expressing this sentiment.