Six Degrees of Abbie’s Tree House

I shook hands with a man who shook hands with Jimi Hendrix. (He said it was a very limp handshake. Guitar players try to protect their hands.)

So, everyone who has shaken hands with me is now part of that chain, too; they’ve shaken hands with a man who shook hands with a man who shook hands with Jimi Hendrix.

And I was thinking, over coffee this morning, how we’re all connected to each other through a chain of touches. We could conceivably construct a chain connecting ourselves to anyone, living or dead, from Mozart to the Queen of England.

All of us part of a huge web of touches.

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And ended

Kurt Cobain’s problems began with chronic stomach pain and ended in suicide. Michael Jackson’s problems began with chronic back pain and ended in overdose. Prince’s problems began with chronic knee pain and ended in overdose. Tom Petty’s problems began with chronic hip pain and ended in overdose.

I can’t blame them.  I understand not wanting to hurt.

I wish I had an answer.

Juicy Fruit

I worked with a woman once who had gone to prison as a teenager and not released until her early thirties.

She told me that the first thing she did when she got out was go to the grocery store to buy a pack of gum. Gum wasn’t allowed in prison, and it had become very significant to her.

While there, she had a panic attack in the toothpaste aisle. She found the number of choices overwhelming. For most of her life, there had been only one choice– a generic white tube with black lettering.

I think it’s good to remind ourselves sometimes of all the simple things we take for granted.

Slice of Life

I was standing against the wall, waiting for someone. Two old friends were sitting side by side on a bench nearby.

The first said, “I’m seventy-three now. I feel like once you’re past sixty-five, you’re into overtime.”

The other one considered this for a moment, then added, “Sudden death.”

And they both laughed.

I’m not okay, you’re not okay, but that’s okay.

“About yesterday, no tears. About tomorrow, no fears.” ~Byrl Rather’s advice to her son, Dan

Personally, I am the Master of Distraction. I have no tears or fears because I mentally change the channel whenever a memory or premonition pops into my head.

I grew up in an era when we were advised to work through things, deal with things, confront things; I can’t do that. I don’t know what the process is, I don’t know what the goal would be.

I do sometimes wonder if my way is the healthiest way. We were always told that avoiding our feelings is a Bad Thing. But truthfully, this works for me, and seems to be working well.

I suppose it’s that old hippie mantra, “Live for today,” or those old Buddhist teachings about living in the present moment.

I don’t know if Mrs. Rather would approve or not.

I’m off now to cultivate my garden.

There is joy

There’s a line in a song, I forget which one, where Prince sings, “There is joy in repetition.” Singing that line made him happy, so he sang it about thirty more times.

And he’s right, there is a singular joy that comes from repetition. Catholics have their rosary, Eastern religions have mantra meditation. Techno is based on repeated notes, and everybody enjoys the part of the song where the chorus comes back around again. Poems and paintings are sometimes just patterns and variations on patterns.

Life is pretty unpredictable, and it seems like surprises are always of the unpleasant kind. I think the joy that comes from repetition is the comfort of knowing, at least in a limited way, what comes next.