“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.” – Alfred Brendan
This is very good to know, especially if you play Scrabble®. If there is an open U on the board you can spell “utensil.” An open E gives you the option to play “tensile.” I doubt Brendel is offering Scrabble® advice.
The new career I am pursuing requires both “listen” and “silent.” The listening part I get. I have a lot to learn about silence. When people are together, I am not comfortable with silence. I like talking. I like listening to other people talk. I am all about the noisy communication. Subtle communication, like silence, makes me wonder why the other person is silent. What are they thinking? Before long I break the silence and ask them what they are thinking. I forget to listen to the silence to fully comprehend its meaning. If only it were as easy as shifting around a few letters.
“You should know that there is little you can seek in this world, that there is no need for you to be so greedy, in the end all you can achieve are memories, hazy, intangible, dreamlike memories which are impossible to articulate. When you try to relate them, there are only sentences, the dregs left from the filter of linguistic structures.” – Gao Xingjian
My memories are so properly filtered I don’t even have the dregs to sift through. Some I blocked because loving someone who doesn’t love himself is impossible if you recall even the tiniest portion of what he’s said or done at times. Other memories I’ve actively erased. Once he raged at me so irrationally over a voice message that I recorded it for posterity. It was some kind of personal therapy I’d conjured up to address the fact that I typically forget and forgive too quickly. My thought was that I needed a reminder of how he treated me. But, I never listened to it again. Because I am not the kind of vindictive person who holds hatred, one day I erased the tape thinking, “What kind of memory is that to hold on to?” Ten years later he was dead. Now I’d give anything for that recording. Greedy now for something tangible. To hear him rage just one more time. If only to remind me that no matter how much I miss him, he’s so much better off than stuck in his tragic life.
“When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. . . And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgment concerning whom, amongst the total chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the ‘real soul-mate’ is the one you are actually married to.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I spend more time wondering than knowing. I would like to think Tolkien is right. A psychic once told me that Superman and I have been together in some way or another for 27 lifetimes. Yet, I’ve often thought, “Please let us miss one another next time around. I need to be free of you once and for all.” Those thoughts are fed by the fact the same psychic who also declared that Superman and I are not soul mates. This information came early in our marriage. It’s strange how we let ourselves be marked by others. How we allow them to cloud what we believe because they touch a nerve. I don’t recall anything else about her, just what she said. At the time it completely devastated me. I had promised myself that I would be careful. I would only marry once, and it would be to the right person, like my soul mate, for a lifetime. I thought I had done that; we were blissfully in love then – just like every one else who is newly married. Then suddenly, a perfect stranger declares I am wrong. Her words zing back every time we have a hiccup or the gulf widens between us. My first thought is always, “Well, of course, I’m not happy with you. You’re not my soul mate!” But, if she is correct that he isn’t my soul mate and that we have been together for 27 lifetimes, then what the hell are we doing lifetime after lifetime? We must be terribly dense. So, soul mates or not, we are stuck with one another for another lifetime. We have another opportunity to get it right. Currently, we don’t have it right. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we may never get it right. Is that settling? Or realism that humans are complicated beings and the longer you know them, the harder they are to deal with?
I am not sure I even believe in soul mates in human form. Superman and I have each found our soul mates not in one another but in our cats. My soul mate cat is currently on his second reincarnation with me in my lifetime. He even responds as readily to the name he had the first time around as he does to his name now. I honestly feel a spiritual connection with him, as does Superman with his cat. They are hopelessly devoted to one another. I get jealous of their relationship at times. Why doesn’t he ever look at me like he looks at her? What is she doing right that I am doing wrong? The answer is quite simple. When you only have a spiritual language in common, there is little chance of saying the wrong thing and screwing everything up. Basically, soul mates thrive on the inability to communicate the mundane and profane.
“I emerged from the black oil pools in the forgotten house of dreams in the wild backcountry of the heart. I am heir to the sun, child of Mother Earth and the Mayan galaxy. All the mountain cures and healing waters and winds and junipers run deep in my bloodstream.” – Jimmy Santiago Baca
My hells have been relatively minor. A few puffs of smoke compared to Jimmy Santiago Baca’s early life. If I had lived on the streets as a child, sat in solitary confinement or amidst the convicts on death row, would I be able to embroider words as he does? His every turn of phrase undulates through me, refreshing my mind with possibility. We speak the same language. We access the same dictionary and thesaurus. Yet, I am unable to weave tapestries from words as he does. Or perhaps it is because I emerged from the freshly mown lawns of the suburban homes of delusion in the pseudo-estates of the mind. I am scion of the mall, spawn of wasted time and the manufactured, white middle class universe. All the Mountain Dew and Cheetos and gossip mongering and manicured shrubbery bleed out of me. I am fill in the blank.
Resolution. Write. I have more resolutions that I won’t achieve, so I won’t waste words putting them down. The focus is on this one. For a while I’ve considered merging my Facebook quotes project to my much-neglected blog. Part of accomplishing nothing well is spending hours trolling for a quote for the day and an image to accompany it. I don’t look for the quotes for anyone but me. I don’t care if anyone likes them or not. This quote seems like a good starting point because ego is what drove me to start the quote project on Facebook. It is a way of being present while not exposing my life. Nor was starting the blog was ego driven. It was supposed to be a place to encourage me to write daily about something, anything. I honestly don’t care if anyone ever reads what I write. So, why not start with Salinger?
“I’m just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else’s. I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It’s disgusting.” – J. D. Salinger from Franny and Zooey
Early on I tired of the Facebook platform for bragging and cultivating envy. Look at what I’ve eaten. What I made for dinner. At my clever children. At my adorable pets. At my vacation. At my amazing relationship. At how my life is so much more fabulous and worth living than yours. Look at all my selfies. Me. Me. Me. The post that ultimately pushed me into my blog this year was a list of every book one friend read in 2016. I didn’t mind the top six, which he recommended. That seems like a worthy share, but listing the 49 others read along with which book awards each won seemed excessive and obnoxious. I know this person has more depth, but one would never be able to ascertain that from his Facebook posts.
I’ve been guilty of braggart posts as well. When I make a post that seems ego driven, I always suffer from posting remorse later. For as extroverted as I can be, I actually despise public recognition in most every fashion. Too many people now are looking for the trophies, which are now dished out to just about every participant. What happened to being satisfied to do things for personal growth and reward? I even dislike it when people clap at the end of anything other than a theatrical or musical performance. Do what you do and be pleased with the work you’ve done. If you can’t do that, then at least spare the rest of us from having to pile on the accolades.
My real estate broker doesn’t take me seriously. Somehow the fact that I am planning a move to a new city and state and have allotted only three and half days to find a new residence and to seal the deal produces no urgency or concern on his part. I suspect the stellar weather since I arrived and that he did mention he often “works by the pool” might be factors in his lack of motivation. While he deepens his tan, I scour the listings and email them to him. Many hours later he responds, “Please prioritize.” Minutes later, done. He scheduled showings for some of my options, ignored others, and made arrangements to show me places I’d already told him are of no interest. He keeps forgetting my top priorities when he suggests new listings. Questions that require simple answers seem to take him an eternity to answer.
I don’t know the city well. We drive to all the places. It seems to take a long time to get from one place to another. It wasn’t until later when I headed out on my own to walk the neighborhoods of the possibilities that I realized how silly it was to drive from one to another since they are all about 10 minutes walking distance from one another. No wonder he’s driving the same car he used to move to the city ten years ago after he graduated from college. Yeah, he still lists his parents’ house for his license and registration. Yeah, you’re not surprised.
We walked out of one house and were ten paces from the front door when I asked a question about the property. I’d forgotten to check out something. As I headed back in, he stopped me. He’s got this one covered. He called the owner’s real estate agent, who was inside the house, for the answer. Question asked. Question answered. Just that easy.
I should fire him. Unintentionally, I may have done so. While he was sunning himself I located a property on Craigslist and went to see it. I think it may be “the one.” I feel a twinge of guilt that this guy who has made little to no effort may not get paid for his feeble attempt. Then again, maybe such scenarios are why he’s perfected accomplishing so little. I could never be a real estate broker.
I often feel helpless, especially of late – navigating a judicial system that offers deals instead of justice. A slap on the wrist for the cost of a life. Afterwards I felt flayed. Ripped of every ounce of skin and left to die. As if the punishment not fitting the crime wasn’t enough and just when I thought that maybe I could put that all behind me, a new foe emerged. One even more formidable. It doesn’t attack me, it eats away at what I love. I am powerless in its wake.
Superman’s twin turned evil and became his kryptonite. What’s a mere mortal girl to do when superheroes go at it? Superman faces a difficult decision. He can’t kill the Evil Twin because the twin is part of him. He tries to reason with him. To no avail. He tries to dominate his will. To no avail. The decimation creeps in, sucking the life forces out of Superman. Making him angry. Wearing him away. Leaving me yearning for a solution where there is none. Ultimately, someone will die. And I fear it will be Superman because he is not evil. And if recent events are any indication. evil always prevails in the end.
And the mere mortal girl will have to watch another trauma unfold. In books and movies, justice prevails. If only it could be that way in real life. Then maybe we’d all be a little more hopeful. But it doesn’t. In the meantime, I will continue to hope for a solution. Or least draw upon the forces of the universe to help Superman succeed. Even if the Evil Twin has to die.