She was absolutely eating too many of those greasy fried Chinese noodles dipped in a messy mix of sweet and sour sauces. But they went really well with her anxiety so she kept devouring them.
Around her, dull colleagues shared stories in excruciating detail until she thought her ears might bleed. When she felt herself sinking into middle aged monotony, she panicked and made up a sudden reason to leave. She did not want to see this happening to her, this sludgy crystallization into habitual boredom.
She needed an escape plan from ritualized mediocrity. And as long as they offered greasy fried Chinese noodles there, she felt it was going to be okay.
Life is not a Petrie dish,
A self-contained experiment
In which we wait
For the right conditions
Before we live.
Life is a bacteria
Sprawling beyond the bounds,
With which we become
Enmeshed, infected by its
A sign that spring must be coming: the last of the buttons on her winter coat fell off today and she was completely exposed to the arctic air howling down the alleyway near her workplace.
She rarely just stuck her toes in to gauge the water. She usually simply plunged in headlong — oh, and she didn’t know how to swim.
It was an unfortunate combination.
There were these two little people
And someone had left her in charge
Which seemed like a bad idea –
Possibly even dangerous on certain days
When she had trouble just locating her house key.
So exactly how was she supposed to
Nurture the souls of these two little people
When all her houseplants died,
She wanted to know.
By the way, the books are not instructive
And all the other allegedly responsible adults seem
She thought maybe she would never stand up straight again. The severe winter had pushed her ears deep down into her shoulders and bent her spine into a curved shiver.
One day she woke up and failed to see herself in the future at all. Her mind could not produce a picture of her that occurred in time still waiting to happen. It didn’t seem as cosmically funny as she thought it might and she knew she was going to have to make some serious changes in her existence.
I do not want to know
But imagine it anyway,
Color outside the lines
With craziness maybe…
Bright vibrant flourishes,
Patterns of pain
Big with hurt and worry,
Then pinch myself
Remember : those dreams,
They died and left
Nothing to fear now.
She was the kind of person who did something random and then forgot about it…. so that later, she could be surprised – or possibly annoyed – by her own randomness.
Last week, it was the 25 pork loins she put in her online grocery cart, which arrived last night. She remembered testing to see if the cart could get “too full” like a real cart ……
The dog was more than a little neurotic about peeing, even on the best of days. She needed to sniff and paw for exactly the right spot and then circle it several times before finally relieving herself. If she heard a noise, even at the very last moment before she tinkled, then she would have to start again. If there was a sudden movement or a bright light – same story – and an errant clump of dirt or a slight unseen tilt to the land might cause her to begin the circle cycle again.
Inclement weather made it all worse and the endless snow and freezing temperatures had massively exacerbated her neuroses. It was taking longer and longer each time for her to find the right place and then to flatten it down enough for a comfortable squat. I was more than dismayed – really, completely beside myself with frustration. After all, I had relaxing to do inside – where it was warm – and the dog was keeping me from it, dammit. I stood through each of these painful sessions with her, first softly coaxing her to pee in a friendly falsetto tone and then later impatiently muttering and growling obscenities at the poor thing in increasing volume until I was shouting.
Still, the dog could not be prodded to hurry up with her OCD and merely looked up at me in floppy eared annoyance. And to my annoyance, she usually had a cute smudge of snow on her snout. When I was nearly ready to abandon her, she would finally magically pee.
Today when I was witnessing the entire tortured scene again and she was looking up at me with her gentle face and snowy nose, it occurred to me that she matched me well. My neurotic tendencies were not about peeing but I certainly had my own compulsions and faults that often drove others to madness.
So today, I stood quietly waiting for her to prepare herself for the inevitable.