Like a daydream, or a fever

My head is filled with words today, and half-formed thoughts, all jockeying for prime position so that I might latch onto them and investigate them further: lost, found, aphorism, Schadenfreude, the nature (and limits) of forgiveness, poetry as solace, recovery, guilt.

But I can't focus. I need to let myself be all over the place, because this seems like some bizarre treasure hunt of sorts, and I'm not sure where I'll find the next clue.

In no way is it easy to watch a friend suffer, even (or perhaps *especially*) if she's brought the suffering on herself. My instinct, countless hours of empathic listening training aside, is to make things better. But of course I can't do that here, because I'm neither the cause of nor the solution to the problem. So I do what I can--listen (and hear), take her out for wine, try not to let my own opinions and neuroses come too much into play.

There's a saying, often attributed to the Dalai Lama (although really, who knows) that when you lose, you should not lose the lesson. I don't think Val is in any danger of losing the lesson here. And although I'm not the one who has lost (knock on wood), I'd still like to believe there's something for me to learn from all of this as well.

I guess when the walls that have been surrounding your life as you know it start to crack and crumble, you can do one of two things: either stand there in the midst of the rubble and rue what you've lost, or step beyond the mess for a while, over those broken walls, and see what's there.


Public ablutions

Add to the list of Things I'll Never Understand the insistence on grooming oneself on public transportation. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I've filed a nail once or twice while on (or waiting for, or cursing) Muni, but I try to do it as subtly and quickly as possible.

Subtlety and speed clearly did not interest the man performing a serious cleaning of his ears this morning on the inbound train I had the misfortune to board at the same time he did. This cleaning process--stick index finger in ear; move finger around to gather whatever substance is in ear; remove finger to investigate substance before wiping it off on shoulder bag; repeat ad infin-fucking-itum-- lasted from Van Ness to Embarcadero, which is a seven- or eight-minute ride in the best of times, and significantly longer when your train is subject to mysterious waits, as ours was.

I tried to bury my eyes in my magazine, but such is the curse of peripheral vision that the process of emptying this man's aural cavities kept seeping into the corners of my sight. I eventually wised up and turned my back to him, but I still felt queasy and creepingly annoyed.

This begs the question, do people who groom (clean ears, cut nails, empty sinus cavities in an unending series of nose blowings, etc.) in public places (especially enclosed, relatively inescapable public places) do it because they have no idea how unpleasant it is for everyone around them, or precisely because they do know, and are making some sort of statement? Further, if it's the latter, are their lives so devoid of other meaning that they're reduced to making faux political/cultural statements simply by being disgusting? This has put me in high dudgeon.

I hope Squeaky Clean Ear Man is benefiting from his newly-emptied ear canals, and I further hope that the next time he finds himself in need of such grooming, he happens to be somewhere other than on Muni.


Cancer, something or other rising

Damn my Yahooroscope (shouldn't that be Yahoo!roscope?) for being more or less accurate today:

Rid yourself of all regrets about the past, dear Cancer. Guilt is a useless emotion. It doesn't do any good for anyone. Your emotions are quite volatile and they are apt to emerge in sudden, unexpected bursts. Feel free to let it all out. Today is not the best day to ask for sympathy, but that shouldn't be your goal anyway. Only you can clean out the negative issues that are floating around in your own heart and mind.

Growing up, I used to read the horoscope in our local newspaper (the illustrious New London Day) religiously, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it was never, ever even remotely close to being either relevant or correct. (I think the idea was to make the predictions vague enough that, statistically, they'd have to apply to someone, somewhere, but that someone was never me.)

Then again, I also used to read the comics every day, and with the exception of Doonesbury and the long-departed Bloom County, they were models of humorlessness. Force of habit is a funny thing (unlike, say, Family Circus).



Sometimes, when you don't expect it and most likely don't deserve it--say, after thinking that the appearance of some random boy in your life is reason enough to rather unceremoniously dump the man who's been very good to you, and who, it turns out, you're wildly in love with--you get a second chance.

And sometimes that second chance changes the shape and pitch of your life so radically that you can't quite fathom what the parameters of your world might have been if you hadn't been granted said chance.

And when, in the wake of that chance, you see and feel things fall into place such that you know what you're heading into may not be easy but definitely seems right, and meant to be, you had damn well better be thankful. And I am.