Sunday, August 30, 2015

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, A Mystery

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, A Mystery
            I’ve been accused more than once of being Polly Perfect or Goody Gertie Two-Shoes. “It’s your smile. You always see the bright side. You think life is always wonderful.” (Accusation often accompanied with spit.) Not guilty.  

Take this morning. I woke up on the down-in-the-dumps side, unaware of any obvious cause. A case of poor, poor pitiful me. My outlook black and bleak.

Poet Dylan Thomas, urges that “old age should burn and rage at close of day.” This ol’ gal barely managed a smoldering yawn at dawn. Sighed. Rolled out of bed. Into shower. Into clothes. Studied clouds. Listened to distant thunder. Decided sky was bluffing. Cancelled morning walk anyway. No reason. General malaise.

A long-time friend insists that to have a genuine bad day, one must seize the moment and stage it. His formula: Stay in bed till noon. Don’t shower. Don ratty old bathrobe, preferably gravy stained. Close the curtains. Wallow in it. “It” being whatever threw you down in the dumps in the first place. Cry, scream, throw coffee cups against the wall. Give it your all.

Set a time limit—a day, two days. He claims it works every time. I could never get beyond four hours. First I found it boring and then I’d get the giggles. Giggles are not conducive to maintaining self pity.   

My friend’s advice is good. I acknowledged his idea, thanked it for participating, discarded it and got on with my day. I never was good at following directions.

When we say we don’t know what’s bothering us, that’s a sure sign we do know but prefer to keep the cause buried in our favorite national pastime of self delusion. So while Dylan Thomas recommends I rage, rage into the night and my friend says to wallow in the muck, I cling to my own self-therapy.

I got on with my day. Slowly. Little things. I stitched the final details onto a sundress I started last week. I wallowed in muck and dirt in the courtyard and transplanted a rosary plant, a burro’s tail and a wad of coleus. Little things. I raged, can of poison in hand against an invasion of nearly invisible ants, each the size of a hard-lead pencil dot hosting a bulldog bite.

Along the way I crawled out of Denial and admitted that I feel “Alone”. Not lonely. The past couple years I have courted and benefited from long periods of solitude. I feel like I have aligned my soul, be there such a thing, on a righteous path for me. So I ask myself, why do I feel alone today? Alone. Isolated. Abandoned. Poor me, solita, alone. Ha! (Or in Espanol, Ja!)  Woe is me; I know the answer. I have fallen in love.

Typical to my pattern, I have chosen a man far, far from my own sensibilities. Emotionally unavailable. Correction. Unavailable in any way, shape or form.

The object of my affections is a Pacific Northwest mystery writer, whom I shall never meet. That is the good news—hey—self protection. Heaven knows why I fell in love with this manly man. While love is blind, I’m not. I’ve been no closer to him than a blurb at the end of his book.

So since his body is unavailable, I must love him for his mind, right? The guy is a good writer. He makes me laugh unexpectedly. But, mysteries? Blood and guts and twists of narrative fate beyond my mind’s ability to anticipate the solution. (One of my girls always follows the clues and solves the mystery by chapter 13. I’m the perfect reader, in the dark until the final pages.)

My love affair shall remain an unrequited mystery. Reminds me of my first love in fifth grade, for whom I sighed from afar. This man of my dreams will never know he touched my heart. I’ll get on with life, unfold my days like pages in a novel. Shucks, I don’t even know if my hero is among the living. After all, I’m still able to entertain vestiges of a high school crush on the woman-hater, Hemingway, for writing “The Old Man and The Sea”, his only book worth reading in my opinion. Like I said, when it comes to men, I don’t have good judgment. Beyond that, I don’t want to know.

I’ll avoid muddying my feet in the muck of pity parties which are vastly over-rated.  And, I love you Dylan, but Rage takes too much energy with temperatures in the 90’s.

I’ll stick with my overactive imagination and forlorn dreams of love. Did I tell you about that good mystery I’m reading?

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

July 23, 2015

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