Thursday, May 15, 2014

Breaker, Breaker: Messages from the Universe?

There are times when I think that the universe is trying to teach me something. Not me, personally, but you know, I'm one of the human creatures and tend to do what many other humans do, which is to feel that something out there bigger than themselves might think they are the teensiest bit special, at least special enough that when challenging times come to us, we ask "what does God/Yahweh/Allah/The Universe want to teach me? What is it I am supposed to be learning here?" I do it probably for the same reason that you might do it: because we want to make some sense of the crap being flung our way. If there's lesson in it, it is a consolation prize of sorts, a silver lining. You don't get this, over here- but we do have a lovely parting gift of Wisdom for you. Sometimes, we get a specially-selected-just-for-us side helping of regret, and sometimes we really can use the wisdom to greater purpose.

And sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason, nothing one is able to control about the situation. The universe or your deity of choice really doesn't have a purpose for this situation, so they shrug their shoulders, Well, you've stumped me on this one. It does seem pretty pointless. Sorry 'bout that. Actually, being a secular humanist, the universe doesn't apologize because that would imply an anthropomorphic ability of intention which the universe doesn't have. But that's beside the point. The hard truth of the matter is that no matter what you do, some things in life are beyond our control.

This morning was a prime example of every sort of opportunity for learning.Ha. Unfortunately, sometimes one crappy thing seems to coalesce to another one and the next.... and since there's that rule of threes, at least the universe was playing fair.

We have had 90 degree days this week, which wears me out quick. We won't even factor the pre-menopausal heat fluctuations which originate from within, just assume that I'm a bit wilty when it gets too warm. So, getting dressed to volunteer at the library, shorts and a light dress seemed a reasonable choice. The morning was going well until I got into  the shower, began shaving my legs, and right there, on the inside mid-thigh... the razor slipped sideways, scratching a six-inch thin surface abrasion in my leg.  Drying off, I dabbed at it with tissue several times, but my leg was auditioning for a horror movie~ "Keep bleeding! The camera's rolling! More blood!"  I contemplated the contents of the medicine cabinet, chose the gauze and adhesive medical tape, and tried to affix a rectangle of gauze to my thigh. But for some reason, thighs move, and when I stood up, the tape came off. Okayyy.... new plan. Band-Aids. We have boxes of them and I was going to now cash in on the bounty. Pulling the lid off the garbage can, because I was going to be working in bulk here--and did I mention that we are pressed for time,even though we've done everything right? -- I drew a line with neosporin over the scratch and pasted myself with five of the fattest bandages I could find. Over that went some dreaded leggings which I knew would be swelteringly hot before the morning was over, but the shorts would have rubbed too much on the bandages for them to stay on.

While all of this was going on, Kiddo had been doing a great job of getting himself ready to go. As I flew around upstairs for the pants, downstairs to brush my teeth and powder my face, he'd put on his shoes and walked back to his room for a few more minutes of Lego play. Going out to the living room, I hollered for him to come on and join me, then noticed the small piles and chunks of dirt on the hardwoods. My stomach sank, because I knew what I would find when I went to turn off the light in Kiddo's bedroom... filthy dirt on the carpet in several places... the only places of carpet that weren't covered with Legos. Now this?! Really?  I told Kiddo that after school, he'd need to clean everything off his floor so we could vacuum. The exchange that followed... well, for the sake of both parties involved, I won't go into details, but neither of us were at our most lovely. I grabbed my purse, phone and keys and hurried out the door, creating a new edict: thou shalt leave thy shoes on the back porch before coming in, forever and ever, amen. We would learn from this.

Hitting the sidewalk, the trifecta was made complete: The Breaker had, once again, broken a branch of my witch hazel plant. To explain: The Breaker is an unknown mental defective who walks around at night, breaking plants along their path. They only did this occasionally, maybe once or twice a year our garden would be struck, but over the past month we've had about four or five visits, one the night before Mother's Day and one just last night. Some of the plants weren't as precious to me and they  could accommodate a hard pruning every now and then. But the witch hazel is one of the plants I have a relationship with. I've had it for 8 years now and only just this year have I been able to get some nice blooms on it. This plant had been in the wrong spot, then moved, then over-watered and only just this January did its pretty yellow flowers with those magenta centers come back. I was elated. At this point, though, the last year or so of growth and new buds are broken off some of the main branches.

And this last one, this utter lack of control of the situation with The Breaker-- it's caused me anxiety in the past few days. Seeing the poor hanging broken end of the witch hazel just lit a fire of fury in my belly. So, when Kiddo defiantly told me that "it's my room and I can do what I want", I rather tersely informed him that he was not an owner, he was under the rules and auspices of those who were gracious enough to give him a bedroom in the first place and if he didn't think he needed to follow them, he might try not having a room and just having the living room instead.

And then, because tenacity is usually a good thing, he tried to come up with a 'deal', if I would pick up his Legos for him, then... and I don't remember what the offer was because the blood apparently decided to move away from my leg and into my ears. The response was a stern "Be Quiet" and I found I was willing myself to do the same, literally biting my tongue to keep from talking and making us both feel any worse. We got to the school and I headed over to the library, sweating up a storm in my leggings. After nearly an hour there, I headed to Kiddo's classroom to help for a while. It's my usual gig, every other week, and I like being there, seeing what the children are learning, getting to know the different kids. Kiddo was unusually clingy when I left, and I realized that it was likely the fallout from the morning's stresses.We'll do better next time.

It's 1:42 in the afternoon now and I have the luxury of better objectivity. So many things happened today, some of which I could control in some way, one which I most certainly cannot. The Breaker makes me feel vulnerable in a way that causes adrenaline and fear. It's that helplessness, that you can't stop something you know is so adamant and destructive. Perhaps there is a lesson of compassion and a small start of empathy for all of the people in the world who live, daily, with situations which are dramatically out of control. I won't depress you or myself by making a laundry list of bad political and social situations around the globe, but all that to say that I have only experienced one iota, one tiny sliver, of what other may deal with on a daily basis. I am grateful that the biggest problem in my world right now, personally, is that some troll is breaking my plants. We are all in good health, (mostly) sound mind, and we have a place to live, rooms to dirty up, and I live in a culture which doesn't find it scandalous for a woman to wear shorts on a hot day. Life is pretty damn good. Yep, maybe that's what the universe was trying to whap me upside the head with. Life is good.

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