Saturday, February 21, 2015

Don't Worry, There's Wine

It is one of the most human things we do, one of the most common things.
We assign meaning to the mundane and arbitrary minutia of our daily lives.  It's how we balance our sense of self importance with the reality that we are tiny specks of cosmic dust with no real role to play in the scope of history.  Every day the universe reminds us of this in small, crushing ways.  When we just barely miss our train or spill coffee on our shirt before a meeting, the universe tells us that our needs and wants are insignificant in the face of cosmic forces like gravity.
So we talk about luck or astrology or jinxing things, to try to assign meaning to the frustrations of life, so that we don't have to face the real reason why these things happen.  We are not important, we are not special, we are not the center of the universe and these things are happening to one thousand other people around the world all the time, and that our day is ruined is of absolutely no consequence to the cosmos.  Black holes and red-shifting light waves do not care about my missed train, your coffee stain, your brother's surgery, you aunt's 401k, hunger, political unrest, war.  None of it maters enough for the even the universe to shift its mighty gaze.
We are important only to ourselves, and the tiny circle of other carbon-based creatures we pull into a tight circle around us so that we don't notice how cold and unfeeling the cosmos is.  Space is a cold, dark place.

But, to paint a silver lining over the whole thing, this world has wine.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Sometimes, in life, it takes another person's perspective to get clarification. 
Which is of course a very broad and obtuse way of saying that today I got a fantastic, cut you to the bone, touch your heart and heat your blood compliment from a friend I'd lost touch with.  And it gave me a sense of rightness with the world.
Not because I have a giant ego and need that kind of vaildation regularly.  I hope...
No, because it speaks to the thinks that I hold on to personally in times of strife, conflict, and uncertainty.  Not being particularly religious or full of faith, I tend to hang my hat on the fairly flimsy hook of the nature of the universe in dark day.  Somewhat less comforting that some great omniscient paternal figure promising me goodies for following the rules, my ideas about the nature of the universe are ill formed and personally conceived.  So they are much  easier to dismantle in times of stress. 
I mean, if I mentally constructed a fragile world view using scraps from physics, statistics, and a smattering of other religious and spiritual ideologies, how reliable can it actually be?  Especially when I'm the joker that got me into whatever mess I happen to be in this minute.

So when a close friend I'd lost contact with for the last few years tells me that watching me love people helped her find the love in her heart that she wanted to give and receive, and how has with her significant other...well, shit.  No amount of iced coffee is going to keep this bitch from crying.

Fragile world view?  Validated. 

Which just serves as a reminder of the absolute necessity of perspective.  You cannot see everything when you're right on top of it. Whether you're talking about personal life, work problems, or paintings by Seurat, you occasionally need to back away, take another perspective, perceive things differently to truly see and solve them.

In my humble opinion.  But I rarely hear of epiphanies derived from endless hours of obsession.  And it is so dark up close.  Step away, get some light, some space, some laughter.  Take the opinion of someone farther than you can go, consider it in the sunlight, and decide how it suits you.  That's my personal advice, derived, like most of my philosophies, from smatterings of science, art, philosophy and old fashioned life experience.   I truly try not to wax philosophical in public, where people who have no interest in it can be unnecessarily exposed to my mental wanderings, but it was a really good compliment.  And she was a really good friend.  And, truth be told, it's been a pretty hard year.

open letter to my co-commuters

Dear People of the Metrolink train,
The following is generally considered unacceptable behavior on public transportation:
-clipping your finger nails
-putting your feet up in the seat so you can recline fully
-removing your shoes and putting your get up on the seat so you can recline fully
-arguing loudly about how you don't need a woman who won't pay your rent

Woman weeping and negotiating on the phone,  I'm going to give you a pass on the off chance you're going though some real shit.  But if I find out you did something basic or dumb you're going on my list,  too.


P.s. yes,  dear reader,  this was all on the same ride, just today in the last 15 minutes.
P.p.s. Woman on the phone,  the fact that you've stopped crying and are now demanding your phone friend tell you when and where makes me think this is some basic bullshit.   You're officially on notice.