Powers of Observation

November 6, 2011

The next time I go into a crowded coffee shop, I plan to splash some water on the floor, fall on my face, and lie there, counting the hours until someone speaks to me.
And while I’m lying there, I will ponder life’s great obstacles.
Life’s hard. I get it.
Many days, there are absolutely no reasons to smile. Yeah, I’m aware.
But why does that give anyone the license to ignore, body check, and reveal total unconsciousness when a fellow human being is talking?
I used to avoid children. I could tolerate them for about an hour—tops—but after that, get me out of there. I never liked the pressure that I felt from them to be entertaining. Kids just want adults to play games and make them laugh.
I can’t take the expectations. I’m not that kind of girl!
But my stance is changing as my adult interactions increase with the passing years.
Children possess a love of life and innocence that pretty much disappears by age 16, and, for most, it does not return.
And that’s not surprising. As we age, we deal with health problems, economic pressures, and failed relationships; disillusionment with life replaces our starry-eyed youthful hopes.
Even if we manage to maintain a level of sunny-ness into adulthood, it is constantly under attack by everyone who resides permanently under a dark, thunder-y raincloud.
It’s a wonder the whole world hasn’t already imploded.
Maybe that’s because we have not bothered to notice that everyone else is as miserable as we are.
I think Gaga has it right. She has obviously cracked the secret code that dressing loudly brings the same effect as yelling, but with more respect. Her outfits mirror childlike tantrums in department stores. Try as you might, ignoring is not an option.
I am still working on attaining the level of personal esteem it requires to don a meat dress or a bubble bodysuit.
So, until I do, Grumpy Man hovering in front of the napkin dispenser, oblivious to the 20 people with spilled coffee desirous of a linen, and Entitled 10-year-old Cheerleader in booty shorts and Uggs in desperate need of a healthy parental figure, I know you know I’m here. But until you gain the maturity to acknowledge me, I will continue my personal pep talks. And remind myself that with my powers of intuitiveness comes increased knowledge of human failings.
Just call me Observergirl.
I’ll work on the name.


Fear and other ramblings

November 3, 2011

The helmet pressed down on my head, feeling as cold as my insides. My fingers fumbled with the harness’ unfamiliar latches.
I’ve put on a harness before, I grumbled self-consciously—my eyes darting back and forth at my daredevil group members, expecting to be the last one to decipher the tangle of straps that dangle from my body.
I listen as couples on both sides of me excitedly chatter about the upcoming thrill and discuss the rest of their day, their children and other small nuances of their lives that only the other person shares.
And I desperately wish that I weren’t alone.
Longing for companionship is not something I’m used to feeling. Aloneness allows me to carry on a quiet, subdued, and orderly existence, yet, exciting when I choose it to be.
No listening to and nodding in sympathy at the empty conversations about shopping, dead-end jobs and small talk. Never having to put up with another person’s indistinguishable moods or wondering if he/she is having a good time.
Being alone, I’ve always felt, is far less exhausting.
But the reason for this, I have discovered, is because that premise is based on the assumption that I would be accompanied by people I don’t want to be with. Of course I am unconcerned with the woman in the grocery aisle complaining about the bad pedicure she received last week, and of course I roll my eyes when I hear two girls talking about their recent one-night stands. I don’t know them, and, frankly, the last thing I want to hear about is their stereotypical and oh-so-unimportant problems.
But, when it comes to someone I love, those feelings change. And suddenly, I’m interested.
Oh, if only I could be back in the 17th century with Jane Austen. She would know how I feel.
After all, she created Elizabeth, from Pride & Prejudice, who lamented, There are only a few people I care for and a far less of whom I actually respect.
Finding those special individuals is my constant quest.
So far, that group includes my small family and handful of friends—that handful being about the size of a toddler’s.
Such as my ever-supportive best friend who is getting married. And my selfless childhood friend halfway across the country who longs for a child.
My thoughts jolt abruptly to the slam of the door in the open-back jeep and the exhaust fumes settling in my nose complimented by a hint of evergreen. Leaves rain down in heavy bursts as I hobble from the vehicle under the weight of my life-saving gear, urging my flip-flopping stomach to calm itself.
I have done things far scarier than this. This is nothin’, I repeat silently.
But as I stare below, while being hoisted onto a barely-distinguishable wire, I shut my eyes and urgently search within myself for serenity.
I breathe in the rustic wood and fresh fall breeze that chills my nose and throat, and I jump.