is Messy after
I was browsing in a
chi chi women’s clothing store in Pacific Grove the other day,
trying to find a birthday suit (no, really, it was for my
birthday party!) when a gaggle of women came in all atwitter
about the clothes.
“Ah-h just ha-a-ave to have this” said one of the women – all of
whom had serious Texan accents - as she tried on a ruffled pink
shirt with plunging neckline.
I continued to watch, in awe and disdain, as they paraded out
the skimpiest clothing and looked adorable in everything.
They wore: trendy haircuts with the perfect highlights,
impeccably lined and shadowed eyes, face makeup creamy and
unblemished, white-tipped salon nails and toenails, slinky
open-toed sandals, slinky bodies and form-fitted jeans faded to
I mistrust anything or anyone who is perfect.
Let’s face it, life is messy. When I see men or women perfectly
dressed, in perfect cars, with perfectly designed decorator
homes and perfectly behaved children, I am perfectly suspicious.
I like a few loose hairs around my head, as you can see on my
At any rate, they hogged the only two dressing rooms, oblivious
to a menopausal woman waiting outside to try on a very body
But I have ears, and this is what I want to share:
“What was the scariest pot for you?”
“Ah-h was scared to day-eth of bein put unduh.”
“Yea-ah, ah mean, remember the woman who went unduh for
liposuction and nevuh came out of the anesthesia?”
“Ah do. She left huh husband and children bee-hond. But ah am
really glay-ed ah did it. It makes me feel so much betta about
“Oh, ah agree.”
I may be making a big assumption here, but I it looked like they
were talking about breast augmentation.
Well, nothing I tried on looked good on my over-the-hill body,
so I decided to visit a more conservative shop. However, I
couldn’t help but wonder, “If my book StarWords makes it big,
and if I make some money, will I have some wrinkles removed?”
I’m tempted each time I look in the mirror. But I hate pain, I
don’t recover well from anesthesia or operations; and, like I
said, I don’t trust people who look too perfect.
And it’s important to keep trusting myself . . .
More Happy Trails
(along Ocean View Boulevard)
I gorge on the visual
feast of Pacific Grove’s magic carpet that drips over the rocks
like pink icing on a birthday cake. The sweet/musky smell is so
orgasmic that grown men and children extend their arms and fall
back upon it – a purple mattress to dream on while the
accidental tourist, the sun, burnishes their faces.
I am considering how my book, due in May but looks now like
August, is just like birthing a baby. One more big push and
it’ll be out. But, oh, the labor pains . . .
Do I really need to pay a lawyer $1,000 to research the title I
want to use for my publishing company? I’ve already Googled it
and checked every reference I know, and there is zip. I also
procured the domain with no trouble.
My problems diminish as I note that, curled up on a stone bench,
in the shadow of a small tree, is a man who looks as if he
hasn’t bathed himself or his clothes in a very long time.
His hair is matted, his unshaven face dark from wind and
weather. Beside him is a guitar case so frayed that the
cardboard shows through. I suspect it contains his belongings –
not a guitar.
I want to shove $20 in his hand but I have no money on me and
I move on . . . and at a turn-out I get a large laugh. A young
man is perched atop a shiny new truck, painted blue and lime
green, with the words: 1-800-GOT JUNK?
He is wearing a gigantic blue afro wig and shouting and waving a
sign to everyone who passes on foot or by car. His gyrations are
hysterical, and when I stop to talk to him he admits that he
loves his job. Apparently, the company will load, remove and
clean up anything you want to get rid of. And they are doing
quite a business in Pebble Beach.
I’ll leave it to you to decide what that means.
At any rate, this inspires thoughts of minimalism during the
next portion of my walk. I am reminded of a re-sale shop banner
that said, “If you can’t find it here, you don’t need it.”
The old maxim “less-is-better” keeps smacking me in the chops as
I age. I realize that the first part of our lives is about
acquiring, and the latter is about divesting.
If we’re amply enlightened, we know that owning a bunch of
“stuff” is a pain: you have to fear losing it, it clutters your
life, there are too many choices to make, etc.
After a million little deaths - of jobs, dreams, friends and
loved ones - we finally get it in the solar plexus that we
really can’t take it with us. That spiritual things, those which
can only be felt or intuited, are more real than the Chart of
Elements . . .
Further along the path, I meet an older couple walking their
pink-spotted Bassett hound, and its ears are so long and velvety
that I ask if I may stroke them. The woman says yes, and adds,
“Grace is 13 years old and her brown spots have faded to pink.
She has health problems. But every day she teaches us something
new.” . . .
I remember this later when I retire for the night. My cat,
Truffle, is fussy and demanding my attention. I’m frazzled from
missed work connections and sleep deprivation and I keep
He keeps turning up the volume.
Finally, I get a clue. I sit down, take him into my lap, stroke
him and coo, “You are the number one ratter in Monterey County.”
He purrs, hops off my lap, and winks at me when I say,
“Goodnight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
The inspirational lesson? It usually only takes a moment, a
small validation, a bit of reassurance to satisfy an animal or
How do I practice this? When a friend or loved one is
complaining – let’s say when I am complaining louder and louder
– please feel free at any time to interrupt me, give me a
scratch on the head, and say, “I hear you.”
I will drop that bone of contention faster than fat on fire and
start to purr.
Honest . . .