Eight Million Stories
The following is a list of seemingly unrelated things that have happened to me in the last week or so
1.For about the one-hundred twentieth time in the past twenty years I’ve become inexplicably addicted to A Tribe Called Quest. This time it is their fourth album, Beats, Rhymes and Life, particularly Phife’s verse on The Pressure which I have run back incessantly for days, thinking about every word, every turn of phrase, listening to how his voice is engineered, the feeling of luminescent sandpaper in his breath, the snapped-to cadence of his verses, the fact that he somehow treats talking shit as a metaphysical activity. Thus spawned the title of this piece.
2. I was naked in the rain among the trees, hot water from a natural spring pouring over me, watching as a falcon mounted on an electrical wire no more than fifteen feet from me took a ginormous shit into the leaves.
3. I bought mistletoe for my apartment and my seventeen year old son kept asking, who is that for who is that for? you live alone? who did you buy that for? And I tried to remember a time when the concept of loving yourself because there are moments where you need love so badly and there is no one else to do it was so foreign to me that I couldn’t even imagine the existence of it.
4. Me and my kids and our family friend went to buy a Christmas Tree in a year where there is apparently a Christmas Tree shortage and the place we drove to was closing down for the season at the end of the day and the only trees left were small and sad and my daughter was troubled, deeply troubled and stressed about this year not being as perfect as it should be, and I found myself reminding her that the point of A Charlie Brown Christmas is that it’s the love that makes the tree beautiful and she relented and allowed us to get the ugly tree and later she climbed to the top of it and placed a dove on its highest branch.
5. Before we left the Christmas Tree Farm there was a full rainbow. End to end. Underneath it, several alpacas and something called a miniature cow.
6. I hurt someone I love deeply in the act of trying not to hurt other people I also love deeply.
7. I bought a new mattress for the first time in my life (instead of finding one on the street or whatever) and I spent so much money on it that it gave me an actual headache and now on day three of having it I deeply hate the new mattress and miss the one I found the street 10 years ago which has been hauled away. But I’m legally obligated to sleep on the new mattress for 21 days before returning it and even then it’s at a significant cost. I later realized that the headache was not from the money spent, but from the horrific chemical fumes that apparently come from new mattresses. And the entire situation, literally every aspect of it, makes me want to cry.
8. I got offered a lot of money by a very prestigious publication to write a profile of a very problematic person who was a childhood hero and my gut told me probably not, but I asked three women who I trust if I should do it just to get some other perspectives. The first said under no circumstances and the second said well, maybe if you could do it a certain way, and the third said run, don’t walk to interview this man.
9. My son was being difficult and the next day he apologized for being difficult and told me he would work on it. I can’t help feeling that this is to do with the fact that for once I didn’t fight with him about being difficult.
10. My daughter told me that the reason we jokingly call her a control freak is actually sexism because everyone in our family is a control freak. My first thought was that she was only about 84.6% right but my second thought was that she deserves 100% of the listening and apologies.
11. My apartment has no running water for some reason. It will be fixed probably even by the time I publish this, but the feeling of turning on the faucet and having nothing come out is a feeling none of us should ever forget.
12. A nearby friend got robbed at gunpoint at one in the afternoon while she was sitting on a stoop smoking a cigarette and when I called her to see if she was ok she laughed and cried and cracked jokes and relayed the story all at a high volume for about twelve minutes and I remembered that sometimes the best thing you can do for a person having a difficult time is to let them talk.
13. I became so obsessed with cioppino that I ordered a cioppino from a restaurant, ate it and then immediately made a brand new cioppino from scratch which I also ate. While eating the new cioppino, I came across a movie from 1933 that was so racist that I actually just laughed alone in apartment with my bowl of cioppino.
14. The next day on the same channel I came across Cabin In The Sky which I’ve heard about my whole life and never seen. It melted within me and images from it have been haunting my dreams.
15. I visited a friend who lives in an isolated cabin off the grid and because it had rained all day they were not able to gather enough sunlight to run electricity at night. The lights went off while we were cooking dinner and we made lamb riblets from a nearby farm and kale by candle and flashlight. For desert, black raisins and brie. The fire was roaring. We had to clean up thoroughly because there is a wood rat who has been visiting the kitchen at night.
16. I was nodding off to sleep and it occurred to me that given the nature of consciousness, it is entirely possible to travel through space and time. No sooner had the thought come to me than I startled awake and completely forgot what any of it meant.
17. When I woke up this morning my first thought was that my off-the-grid friend needs rain to fill the water tanks but needs sun to store electricity. Therefore, whether it is rainy or sunny they experience both delight and anxiety. This is not so much a metaphor for life as it is life itself.