Accidental

My drive home from work normally takes me twenty-five minutes. Today, it took me seventy-five.

I tried not to be frustrated by this.

I reminded myself I wasn’t in the accident that lay ahead.

I was forced to stop. To wait. To breathe.

And I watched. I watched as our long line of jammed cars, awkwardly created a path for an ambulance who would tend to strangers.

Because humanity.

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NaBloPoMo

Or something like it is happening right here, right now.

But life.

Which is great, because LIFE!

But also just life.

I’m not complaining only that I’m not expecting much from my posts this month.

Anything is better than it was and for now, as my first post for NaBlo, this’ll have to do.

Go well, my friends.

Be your best.

You got this.

*group hug*

 

Dad’s Coat

“I don’t understand,” I said, “Nothing has changed, except we now know.”

“Yeah, “Mum said, “It’s like we’ve put on an extra coat.”

 

We have. It’s cumbersome and lacks warmth. It’s a weight of knowledge

We’ve slipped into this coat as it was handed to us and we can’t take off.

 

We have many coats.

We all do.

Some make us lighter, some warmer.

Some we grow into. Some we grow out of.

Some are in storage.

Some we didn’t know we had.

The coats we love wear thin.

 

We all have this coat. The coat of mortality – the knowledge that life is finite.

The longer you live, the more you wear it.

It’s not a coat we like to air.

 

We put on the fighting coat.

 

And we have love.

We have now.

This coat fits best.

Love and Hugs

After a long, complicated day at work, my husband opened up his arms for a hug and suggested I change into my pyjamas and get cosy.

The hug was well received. And somewhat muffled by his jacket I asked a question that led to this conversation:

Me: If you could do any job and make a living off it, what would you do?

Husband: Hug you.

Me: You’d make a killing! Except I’d have to pay you which would be counter-productive.

Husband: Be a good job.

Me: Seriously though, what job would you do?

Husband: Hug you.

Me: I think I need to rephrase the question.

Buying our World

Occasionally, you read things that resonate.

Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want – Anna Lappé

I feel like I’m at school again, and I’m staring at this quote on a large piece of paper with only one word after it.

Discuss.

Okay, so I’m crap at essays. I’ll skip that, but really, how does this make you feel? How are you buying into the world?  Is it a healthy choice?

The first thing I feel is denial. Denial and guilt. Guilt and denial. Denial and guilt.

Shut up.

Not you.

Never mind.

Denial is a form of optimism. I’ve discussed this self-preservation mechanism before but at times we’re in denial to save ourselves from our choices. Like how catching a plane is bad for the environment,  but it’s okay because when you booked your ticket you clicked a button to plant a tree. Or you convince yourself you don’t travel much because Soandso travels much more. Or soon there will be fusion energy so what you do now is irrelevant.

I exaggerate somewhat. I have ‘planted a tree’ to counter my air-travel and while that is better than nothing, I have no way of verifying that said planting took place. It’s a guilt button for travellers to make us feel better about our choices.

I buy sushi for lunch sometimes and it comes in a crinkly plastic container. I look at this packaging and feel guilty everytime. I’d bring my own container but I’m told that in the unlikely event of food poisoning, the business could argue it was my container and not their food that made me sick.

So really, I should take my own lunch to work to avoid all this. I DO sometimes but otherwise I have no excuse – I’m just lazy.

Take away coffee cups are another poor choice I make. I believe I don’t have the time to wash a KeepCup but I really should try harder. Make time.

What world do you buy?

Tourist Eyes

Travel is a curious thing.

We returned two weeks ago, and the first thing people ask is “What were the highlights?” or “What was your favourite part?” or “What were your top five places?”

It’s a difficult thing to measure. I loved meeting up with my international friends and family which is a whole different kind of wonderful to seeing megalithic monuments, and a different again to visiting a castle. These things can’t be compared. Why can’t it all be amazing?

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Castle Howard, Yorkshire, UK

Even things that one might consider to be poor experiences had nothing poor about them. Not serious stuff, but conversations with unusual strangers, or odd service at a pub or a quirk with your accommodation. These things add humour and texture to your experience. It’s makes your experience more meaningful, more memorable.

More amazing.

Similarly, every place has its sadness. People who were homeless, the odd filthy, graffitted street, places you wouldn’t wander alone at night, abandoned houses falling into ruin.  They are small observations between all the wonder of travel.

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This house at Ballyvaughan, Ireland had a brand new letter box on its gate.

Returning home, its like your ‘normal world’ has been highlighted. The local birdsong, the smell of eucalyptus, the blue mountains – everything is amplified.

This does not make or imply that one is better than the other. Only that, when separated from home, you’re able to view it more objectively.

With tourist eyes.

nanopoblano1

 

Extra Ordinary

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Find the ‘extra’…

I don’t own a single album of David Bowie, so the devastation I felt upon his passing seemed disproportional. A similar dichotomy happened only days later, with Alan Rickman.

Extraordinary strangers. People who I’ve glimpsed through the world’s eye with their extraordinary talents, while they undoubtedly continued with their ordinary lives, viewing themselves as unremarkable and simply creating, working and living.

I’m drawn to this humbleness. Not those who bask in their success but wonder at it, are confused by it and possibly curse the attention it brings.

I follow The Bloggess. I cannot claim to know her but she gives so much of herself on her blog and in her books that it is difficult to not feel connected. She wrote this post about David Bowie and Alan Rickman (among others) which I marvelled at not simply because I felt exactly the same but because she does not see herself among them. She is among them. She is extraordinary.

She’ll never read this.

Wil Wheaton and Anne Wheaton are extraordinary. They are good people and I would happily say I adore them. I feel delighted that they share their lives on social media because they make me laugh but they’ve dealt with enough nonsense for Wil (at one time or other) to post instructions on how to be respectful, and for Anne to quit twitter. Just before she quit, I sent her a direct message.

Twitter comment

She didn’t read it.

If she did, it didn’t make any difference – I didn’t expect it would. I am one of hundreds upon thousands of people waving my arms around her.

She’ll never read this either.

These are five people who have touched my life without their knowledge, be it by their humour or sensibilities or genius or grace, or they’ve simply shared a part of their life. There are many others. Writers, artists, creators, comedians – people I’ve found on Twitter or Instagram or WordPress or TED talks. Often not famous. There’s a part of me that believes if the world were smaller, we’d be friends. With some, I already am.

I am thankful for these connections – however large and worldly, or small and obscure.

Extraordinary strangers. Those who are likely think of themselves as quite ordinary but are remarkable. Not necessarily in a Bowie way, or a Rickman way, but in their own way.

And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking I’m not talking about you. Why not? Life is extraordinary . The mechanics of a purring cat. The brain. An opening flower.

Ordinary and extraordinary are not mutually exclusive.

The only thing that limits us is our perception.