Sky Is Green, Grass Is Blue
I find it both relieving and disheartening that the people who live in the residence I work at speak nothing of the World’s calamities and tragic disasters and potential world domination by human brutality, natural affliction or the perfectly timed merging of the two.
Sometimes, when taking a quick break, I’d like to talk about what I heard or saw on the news that morning while frantically searching for my work bag or fluffing the dog hair off of my scrubs, or downing coffee or shouting goodbye to whoever’s listening. Sometimes my side of the conversation’s already been established, to myself, while I’ve walked to work, worked, and then helped someone else work, and I’m practically exploding by the time I get out onto the upstairs balcony for a smoke and a beverage.
Most times however, conversation up there revolves around who beat who last night on WWF. I think it’s still called WWF, it might be something else now. Or how many minutes are left before lunch, or what’s for lunch, what’s for supper, who spent the night at the hospital, what ailment is most pressing of all the ailments suddenly pressing, though the same ailments have pressed their way into conversation 50 times a day for the last 5 dozen days.
So I bite back my opinion on the latest tsunami, the possible statistics swimming around in my head. I layer away the emotion; anger, compassion, progressively boiling up inside throughout the snippets of information I’ve gathered in throughout the days gone by about national gain and political nuance.
I exhale, and ask, wide eyed, as though it matters to me (because it matters so very much to them) how The Rock took it when his opponent belittled him in front of a national audience. No way! I say when I hear that he threw his mic on the ground and stomped away. “Wow! Good for you!” I say when Marlene tells me she just walked away after Henry yelled obscenities at her, and I pat her on the back, like I did a few hours prior when she told me the first time.
And my brain is running circles all the while. So much death out there in Japan right now, so much here in North America, half of it man-made and held over our heads like punishment held over an unruly child’s should they not listen! Obey! Practice! Get your flu shot! Trust us! Don’t ask! But watch - watch the news! Hear the news! Not their news! Our news!
So many unsuspecting victims, born and raised - like cattle - to be victims. And they haven’t a clue. They couldn’t define ‘victim’ if they tried, and that’s why they’re so blessedly good at it. Like fainting goats, they’re as cute and cuddly as the next, but have developed this amazing way to literally block out the potentially bad. They just... drop. Only for a few moments, mind you, and when they recover, they’re good as new, like nothing scary or exciting enough happened to just cause the sudden, panicky, ‘head buried in the sand’ kind of reaction.
Then I start thinking, how long before I become one of them, like this? With all of the half–finished conversations about current celebrity happenings and whatnot, how long before I begin that gradual slip down the mountainous slope of mindfulness?
How long before I’m pacing the halls? Wait, have I already begun that little quirk? Has my little red flag already gone up? I am wandering up and down the hallways, figuratively albeit (though quite literally on occasion), looking for something that isn’t about to present itself anytime soon.
At this point, I quietly look up and out from behind my shades, shake my head slowly and non-committal like (so as to respond to all of them singularly) and realize that these people aren’t me nor are they like fainting goats. They’re mentally ill, all of them in some respect or another and regardless of time or circumstance, they just can’t or don’t fathom the earth’s annihilation let alone any large scale catastrophe that might make it so.
Like children; 3 or 9 or 14 year olds, they live within this little structure of self made warmth and occasional outside interference. And though I put out my cigarette, somewhat more tense than when I lighted it, I go back to work somewhat calmer for the rest of my shift.
I think to myself, you know what? World domination can wait. If it’s not hitting us, it can wait. If the three people I live with are safe and sound and my connective loved ones are the same, it can wait. My family is safe, the sun is shining, I get water when I need it and love when I need it. I get praise, support, and touch when I need it. My pen and notepad are right where I left them (in my shirt pocket for easy access), my kids are smiling, my husband’s understanding, my dogs are still retarded but not clinically enough for me to get a government grant, and that’s ok.
My Dad’s coming around this year and just might have pulled his head out of his ass for good this time, my brother’s beat the ‘cancer odds’ for another year, I’m gainfully employed (whatever that means) and every time I look outside, I can see the sky and hear the traffic and hell - sex, drugs and rock and rock & roll still win.
Life’s good, even upside down.
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