Sunday, September 26, 2010

When I was five

When I was five, I found my little sister in a frothy heap on the floor. Her eyes had wiped themselves blank. Her lips were emitting a steady stream of small bubbles. Her face was slick with wetness. She looked like she was keeping a secret from me, which I did not like.

An ambulance came and scooped up my sister’s nonresponsive body and deposited her at the local hospital, where my parents stood watch over her bed, day and night, like a pair of frozen gargoyles.

After that night, my parents sent me to live with the neighbors for a month. I ate marshmallow cereal for dinner almost every night, which I liked very much. I also ate macaroni and cheese, which I did not like at all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

emptiness, consumer goods, and what it means to me

Another thing that I've wanted to write about since yesterday and the week before and the months and years even before that is my quickening, hardening sense of "what matters to me" and how I felt/feel about minimalism, consumerism, materialism. All the "-isms". I was reminded of this a few weeks in a row when I went on small trips to Los Angeles and Las Vegas. What better way to drive home these lessons than visiting Shangri-LA and Sin City?

Which is this: somewhere along the line, I realized that material possessions only bought me a fleeting satisfaction and that after I had purchased and sullied the product by making it mine; after caps had been opened and tags cut off with fierce, impatient snips; after shoes had been worn in and the clothes had taken up residence in my closet, I ceased to notice any of it anymore. I wanted off the consumer hamster wheel – or, at the very least, I wanted to slow down the spin.

Somewhere along the way, instant gratification no longer felt gratifying.

Even now, when something shiny catches my eye, I am filled with a sudden rush of want, but on its heels, a practical voice dismisses the feeling. Because I really don’t need it. I don’t even really want it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

traffic and The Best Thing I've Seen All Day

Yesterday, I was driving to the gym after work and found myself caught in the usual parade of rush-hour traffic. I've noticed that many of my fellow drivers wear varying imitations of the same expression. They appear a little tired or frazzled or annoyed at something or someone. They look like they are planning the dinner menu or worrying over their children or plotting out the rest of their night. Sometimes they are fidgeting in their seats and their brows are furrowed and their arms spill over the windows.

Anyway, yesterday, I noticed that the driver behind me was sporting a gigantic, curling mustache and smoking from a pipe and looking very pleased with himself. For some unknown reason, it was all very sweet and silly and wonderful. The sight of him sent a grin straight into my heart. It really, really made my day.