What is Drastic + Dramatic

Friday, July 25, 2014

Positive Pioneer Post

This evening I missed the southbound train by one minute. It really pissed me off at first. For the first 30 minutes I grumbled inwardly and mourned all the things I wouldn’t get to do because of the wasted hour. Then I allowed a touch of humility to reach within and I gave up the struggle to be mad.

See, here in Utah it’s Pioneer Day. A day for a little humility. A day we celebrate our state’s “founding fathers” as it were. Those trusty Mormon pioneers gave this sorry desert a chance and made it something incredibly beautiful. A day like today reminds you how far this land has advanced and how swiftly now our world can chase its visions and dreams.
A day like today we eat a lot of food. Waiting for the train, I thought perhaps I could go walk somewhere not too far from the station to get some dinner, but there’s really no point as I wasn’t hungry. My work provided some delicious R&R BBQ catering for lunch. That thought made me remember a train of thought I had at lunch as I conquered the heap of food on my paper plate:
This chicken isn’t my favorite. / So what . . . you’re going to throw it away? / Of course not, I won’t waste anything. / Good. / It’s just not my favorite. / You know, some people are so starving they would consider that chicken wing a delicacy straight from heaven. / Yeah, I know. / Some pioneers starved to death and then surviving pioneers ate the dead pioneers so they wouldn’t starve to death too. / I’m eating here. / Some people alive right now would gladly, nay, desperately eat the skin, fat, AND bones you’re throwing away. / I know, okay! I’m a spoiled first-world woman who had so much to eat she won’t even be hungry for dinner. / Well I didn’t say that, but you should be more grateful.
And I am grateful. But it’s good to really get a minute to sit and sit and sit to reflect about just how many things you have to be grateful for.

So in honor of the 24th of July, here’s a list of 24 things I am grateful I got to do just today, 24 things in only 24 hours not every pioneer got to enjoy in...almost ever.

1. I woke up
2. in a bed in an apartment in a safe neighborhood in good health.
3. I got a hot shower and the drain is no longer clogged so I don’t have to wade in sudsy shower-body juice as I wash.
4. I dressed in clean clothes. And didn’t have to wear a hundred pounds of quilted skirt. Plus I wore some really cute earrings that are probably fancy pirate ship steering wheels but alternatively work as fancy wagon wheels.
5. I ate breakfast.
6. I put on sunglasses to protect my eyes from sunrays.
7. I drove a functioning, comfortable car to an efficient, comfortable train, then switched to a Trax ride direct to downtown, and walked a short jaunt along a cheerful manmade creek meandering through an air-conditioned mall to my work building.
8. I took an elevator 13 floors up. (I know . . . I didn’t take the stairs today since I was running a bit behind. For shame.)
9. I enjoyed a busy day of work at my full-time job in a comfortable chair surrounded by climate-controlled air.
10. I helped myself to a free buffet of barbecue goodness, followed by some delicious pioneer-theme desserts. Peach cobbler. I’m forever grateful for peach cobbler.
11. I communicated instantaneously with distant friends through a handheld slab of incredible technology.
12. I found out a new human I get to call cousin has joined Earth today! Welcome, Juliann. There’s a lot of good things going on, doll; grow your hair long, your feet steady, your soul wide, your heart deep.
13. I drank stays-cold-for-hours water from my insulated water bottle whenever I wanted.
14. I listened to music I enjoy and skipped the songs I didn’t feel like listening to.
15. I sent documents to a printing device that spits out paper materials that exactly match digital materials I produce in an astonishing desktop somehow connected to all the knowable things on the planet.
16. I got to productively earn my daily bread.
17. I played a little Sudoku on my phone.
18. I wrote a blog post on a lap top computer.
19. Writing words letter by letter in a word processor that lets me erase my errors and change my document at will, effortlessly.
20. The train came before my lap top computer battery died and I got to plug in to onboard electricity and keep writing.
21. That one girl stopped me from leaving my wallet behind at the train station platform. (Oh, the special hell that would’ve been. I’m so grateful for so many things that don’t happen in a day.)
22. I sit comfortably as I chug-a-chug smoothly across miles of land at high speeds, beautiful Wasatch mountains by my side the whole way.
23. I didn’t have to eat a family member, friend, pet, or anything usually considered inedible to make it through the day.
24. I took a picture of the sunset.
Well, I’m officially degrumpified. What an amazing world we live in. It seems unlikely that the pioneers could have pictured just how far they would take humanity with every step they walked and walked and walked those many years ago. But a deserved and reverenced thanks to you, faithful pioneers. When the next generation looks back on the trail my generation trod, may they marvel at our steps and find in ours a same hope and inspiration prepared through yours.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Flipping Dating Game

When the thought of marriage intrudes my mind, I usually shrug the idea off with, “eh, that only happens to other people.” So far, in my case, such has been the case. But sometimes a brief blast of clarity makes me stop and ponder what marriage must really be like. 

Sometimes when I pay a bill or wash the dishes or floss my teeth or pick out an outfit for the day or look at my pillow, it hits me what it might be like to have another person always in the mix. How much one person’s presence can change everything!

Sometimes it’s when I see couples riding silently in a car, no smiles, no apparent interaction. I get really curious about what their separate thoughts might be and if they’re truly happy together.

This morning it hit me when I caught my naked reflection in my full body mirror and stopped to consider it for a second. I thought, “Man. That’s the sight he’d be free to see any time. Miles of limbs covered in fair, sun-shunned skin."

It’s in these moments I realize that marriage would change everything in my life and yet so little would change about me. If I married tomorrow I’d have all the same bills, the same dishes to wash, teeth to floss, clothes to wear—but a pillow to share.

photo credit.
Sometimes I look at people who are married and I wonder. I sit in awe that anyone finds anyone else available and willing to pair up with another for life. 

It’s not just beautiful women who marry; I’ve seen rather “unattractive” people enter matrimony.

It’s not just talented artists or great cooks that marry; I’ve heard from the lips of many a married woman that she believes herself void of talent, unless it’s wielding a can opener. 

It’s not just the long-legged or thin-waisted or dainty-handed that get to wed; every sort of shape has found herself left-finger ringed.

If those qualifications were all it took, I’d so be hitched.

(And shoot, it’s not even the married who enjoy marriage, since half end up divorced.)

I haven’t given up yet for my own chance to enter the statistics, but so far marriage only happens to other people. But what all those people have in common is that they found out how to complematch another human and make a lasting partnership.

Complematch is a word I just made up. Let me demonstrate its definition.

Remember Memory, that Milton Bradley matching game we played as kids? Oh, it was one of my faves. It came in every variety of versions, including my preferred “Fronts and Backs” edition. I don’t boast any terrific memory, but I’m incredibly visually observant, so I owned this game.

Why I like using this version of the game as example rather than the original is because Fronts and Backs required matching on a deeper, more interpretive level. There weren’t two of the same; there were two corresponding halves that together completed the whole match.

Easy enough to see where this is going, right? Dating is a matching game. We flip over a lot of opportunities, but ultimately we’re going to find one match that really complements the half of life we’re able to bring to marriage.

Errrk. Stop. Nope, I don’t believe in “the one.” So let’s dive deeper.

magic school bus sub.jpg
Dating is a matching game with no true matches and no exact “one, true other-half” matches. The real life dating game offers a lot more options and interpretation when searching for a complematch (yep, it’s a noun too).

Let’s say the card I flip over shows a strawberry. Okay, I’m a strawberry. I embrace my strawberriness. I go great with tons of things! In all the flipping dating I then proceed to do (dang, flipping dating), I can find a lot of relationships that will utilize what I have to offer and complement me well. I could flip over the “cream” card or the “jam and peanut butter sandwich” card or the “short cake” card or the “pie” card or the “Pop-Tarts” card and all of these would offer me a fine complematch in the end.

In fact, I have already dated the pb sandwich, the cream (it soured after a while), a few Pop Tarts, and I kissed a short cake once. They all taught me valuable things, we had some great times mixing flavors, but I’m still looking for my pie.

em strawberry pie.jpg
I’ve seen complematchary (adjective. boom.) couples in some unexpected pairings, but they’ve interpreted each other so well that I can’t help but stick up my thumbs at a fine match made. With other couples it just seems obvious. Duh—if you’re fries, flip a burger.

Then other couples just did it wrong. First card they flipped they took their chips and cashed in. Or they didn’t even pay attention to the card in their own hands to begin with and just got flip-happy until they found whatever prettiest card they could keep and made the match. That’s a no-no. Can’t play the game until you know the card you were dealt.

But, if you know pretty much what you’re bringing to the table but you aren’t quite sure how to interpret a good complematch for yourself, you just have to just start flipping and find out. Don’t slobber all over the cards or no one will want to play with you. Don’t flip more than one card at a time. Don’t overturn the table in impulsive frustration when it takes a lot of time and effort.

As I’ve played this flipping dating matching game, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I understand and interpret as complematchary for me. I’ve been dating for 14 flipping years and there’s something very valuable that I’ve learned. When a relationship ends and you have convinced yourself that you’ll never find a match that will complete you in quite the same way that peanut butter sandwiched your strawberry spread, life has a way of convincing you of just how wrong you are—if you let it. There’s always crunchy peanut butter, raw ground peanuts, Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan, Reese’s—and don’t forget those surprising generic brands that often become the favorite. And finally, there is always ice cream after peanut butter, my friends.

Sometimes it'll even come with a cone. Bonus!
(That is not to say don’t stick with a good complematch in case there’s the possibility of a better match out there. The game ends eventually, don’t go out without a match.)

Because of this realization, I can look at others’ relationships and not experience jealousy. They made a complematch by being who they are, in the place where they were, and at a time when they were ready. I am not that girl which is why I am not married to that guy. Such logic is handy for quelling frivolous feelings.

I also don’t get offended or depressed when a guy ultimately flips me back over and goes for a better match. One thing I know for sure that I want in my complematch is someone who’s interested in being with me. (I know it’s a lot to ask. I’m getting so picky as the years advance.) We’ve all been on both sides of that coin toss; be patient and open for the next opportunity.

So, to all my single-card-carrying homies out there I say, the day of our complematchation will come. There may be moments when you’ll want to flip out, flip the bird, or just flip over and go back to bed—but hang in there and go at your own honest pace. Just keep flipping.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

If He Were to Ask My Feelings for Him

With smoke drifting from my mouth, I would tell him how thirsty I am.
I swallowed fire-breathing dragonflies when his lips opened mine.

Smiling under the weight of his frame I would tell him how he makes me breathless.
He has roped my body to the ground on every side with tiny disarming looks.

With music lifting from my laugh I would tell him how happy I am.
One touch of pixie dust and I could fly forever.

Tracing the veins on his arm with one finger I would tell him how he magic-tricked my heart.
Everyone else has disappeared.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

All These Poems about Stars

I’m wordsick of the poet's pen
collecting constellations.
The nightsky isn’t ink, a cloth, or swatch
of every dark degree.

Stars aren’t glitterbits spilling,
eyes winking or pinhole pierces.
Not loveletter ciphers from heaven's quill.
Our eyes squint obsessively to interpret 
endless pages of punctuation.

Stars are sidereal bodies
a stoneage throw away, reporting lightyears
of birthing, flexing, gloating, exploding,
launching theirmeggedons on distant planets
ripe with impious aliens.

We spend fortunes to bend 
lenses that maximize their mystery,
but they repay us no mind.
They don’t watch or wish when we fall.

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