Panorama of San Bernardino

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Me on the page

I am thinking about who I am on paper and who I am in person.  They are two vastly different things. I don't write much about work or my day to day as a deputy public defender handling incompetent clients who are the most mentally ill clients of all.  These are the clients who think they are Jesus or that they are being abducted by aliens.  I am there to protect them and their rights and talk to the doctors and hope the incompetency evaluations come out accurate.  But, I don't write about it because I have no space from it.  Every day is a new day yet the same day in a weird Groundhog Day kind of way and I just try to do my best.  I spend at least eight hours a day, five days a week doing this kind of work, but if you read my blog or my Facebook you would think my day is filled with renovating my house, traveling and going to concerts with my husband.   I don't write about the work not because it's not interesting, but because it is too interesting in the saddest kind of way.

Aside from my work, there are other things I leave off the page.  I try not to write about the squabbles with my husband.  They really are not anything anyone needs to hear.  Doesn't everyone fight about who does what chores, driving (my bad driving) and of course, money?  Occasionally, a fight will be so inane that I have to write about it (for instance, a huge fight we had in New York City over a piece of pizza).

What interests me more is what is in my head.  I think that is how I am so different on the page.  On the page, I am the person I wish I was at times and at other times, I show the person I wish I wasn't.  I look back at old blogs and think, wow, you were a mess.  And I still am a mess.  I have a tendency to wear a jacket with food on the collar or a shirt with a hole in it.  I just don't notice these kind of things.  But I do notice other things.  I notice the homeless guy on the corner and the people coming to court in tattered clothing and the families crying in the hallways.  If I ever fail to notice these things, it is time to retire.

I guess what I am trying to say is that writing for me is my relief, my escape and my haven.  I may not tell you everything dear reader, but I talk about the important stuff: how I still yearn for a child on a daily basis (who am I kidding, probably ten times a day), how I still struggle to moderate my drinking, how I wish my dad was still here so we could go to the casino together and how much I love music and writing.  That is who I am.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Just Stuff

I was lying on our new couch when I smelled a whiff. Ammonia. Damn shih-tzus, I thought to myself. A while later, I awoke with a migraine. I'm very sensitive to smells and I get an instant headache if I smell gas or pee.  I spent hours removing all the covers (thank goodness they were removable) and washing them on the delicate cycle (twice) and making sure the pad was clean and hang drying everything on our staircase.

The next day, my husband fashioned a gate out of a screen that keeps the darn dogs from accessing the upstairs (he's MacGyver like that) when we're at work and now we have our fresh smelling couch back.

What's the point? I know that's what you're thinking.  Why is the minutiae of my life important? It's important because when I started to get upset about the couch, before I knew it was salvageable, all I kept thinking to myself is, those damn dogs.  I got angrier and angrier the more I focused on it.  I couldn't even look at the dogs I was so upset.

But then, I had to ask myself, is this anger and anxiety the right reaction?  Is making yourself sick over a couch sane? I decided it wasn't and countered the negativity by thinking, but I love my dogs.  Then I said it aloud like a mantra. "I love my fucking mutts even though they almost ruined my brand new couch."  Then I dropped one more F bomb for good measure and the anxiousness and anger went away in a poof, like magic (but not).

Truth is, my dogs give me so much joy.  So much joy.  They take me outside of myself.  Every morning I feed them and I walk them (more like they walk me) and they kiss and snuggle me. When I get home from work, as soon as I open the door with my key I can hear them at the door jumping around, "Mom's home!".  Door opens and Chewbaca jumps into my arms and I hear his tiny heart beating fast as I hug him. And Frodo waits his turn, because he knows that Chewie always goes first, and then I pick Frodo up and he looks at me with his Mogawi looking face and black soulful eyes and he licks my nose.  At night, Frodo sleeps by my side and if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, I stroke his soft fur.

A couch can never do that. It's just stuff. And we fill our lives with it as if stuff is important. My Mercedes never gave me a hug or asked me how my day was. Ultimately, my Prius gives me much more joy than the Mercedes ever did, probably because of the Sirius radio. And, all the stuff I buy, everyone buys, it really means nothing.  Most of it will be recycled or lying in a dump somewhere long after we're gone.  Now that's not to say a nice dress or some new makeup doesn't lift my spirits, it does, but my point is that when the stuff means more than your family, your pets, your time, and your own self, then that's a problem.  When getting more stuff and paying for more stuff is your existence, then you are your stuff.  And I personally would never want to be a Living Spaces couch.  I would much rather be a shih-tzu.

When the loss of a stupid couch can ever outweigh, for even one second, for even an instant, the love of my furry best friends, then that is just ridiculous.

And it did, but only for an instant.  None of the stuff matters I know.  But this is just a reminder in case I ever forget.