Saturday, May 23, 2015

Safety and Banality

Sandy, the waitress I was seein' lost her desire for me. I spoke with her last night, she said she won't set herself on fire for me anymore. She worked that joint under the boardwalk, she was always the girl you saw boppin' down the beach with the radio.

-Bruce Springsteen

Yesterday my fortune cookie said "Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome". This is a tidbit I have known my entire life. I have been mischievous from birth. Once I accidentally broke a cookie jar through a botched attempt at monkey barring my way up the kitchen cabinets to gain access to said cookie jar (I was supposed to be napping). My brother and I brought a turtle in the house and kept it in a shoe box without telling my mom. I "borrowed" my sisters platforms to wear to school without her knowing when I was far too young to be wearing platforms. Mischief makes for good stories. Mischief is far more interesting than "I did everything just right my whole life and now I have this nice tract home in the suburbs. The End". Mischief lights up life.

As I scan my life for this story, I think of the many, many mischievous and enlightening and endearing people I have the pleasure of knowing. I am surrounded and nourished by searching souls. I have a friend who flew to Romania on a whim, fell in love, quit his job and is learning to be a jeweler. I have friends who race their bikes in monstrous conditions . . . and win because they are also bad asses. I have a friend who quit his good job as an engineer to join Americorp, and he has now taken that about 18 steps further and lives almost entirely off the grid . . . I am not kidding, he makes his own shoes for heavens sake. (I heart you Beej!) I am privileged to know some of the most incredible people God has chosen to put on this planet. I know people who start their own businesses, people who snowboard down some of the steepest terrain you can imagine, people who have climbed Kilimanjaro, and people who feed the homeless in soup kitchens. And even in my own family; my uncle was a big deal in the tiny little town where he lived his entire adult life. He didn't go to Africa, he didn't race bicycles or snowboards, he didn't quit his job and go somewhere exciting, but he had the sense of mischief it takes to become a teacher and a coach. He was a great influence in Mansfield, LA, such that there is a little park named for him. His loss was felt by many and I am so proud to call him my uncle.

We, the mischievous, are birds of feather; and often as well have bright plumage, loud caws, beautiful songs, and wings to fly away.

The title of this entry is Safety And Banality and that is, indeed, where I am going with this thread. Safety is important. We wear seat belts, we wear helmets, we wear life jackets, and we even dip our toes in the pool before jumping in. All good things, these. But you know that's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about taking life by the horns, kissing it square on the face and shouting "I LOVE YOU LIFE"! I have a very dear friend, Sara Jane. Sara Jane has played such an important role in my life, probably more than she knows. Sara Jane taught me the joy of spontaneity. Sara Jane taught me to use all my vacation days and all my sick days, why save them? Sara Jane taught me to say yes to not knowing what lay beyond the next hill. Sara Jane taught me to take the road less traveled and not be afraid, or be afraid but do it anyway. Sara Jane taught me to let go of old fashioned ideas of what should be and embrace what is. Sara Jane taught me there are 24 hours in each day, all to be used, and I can sleep when I'm dead. And then there is Shib, my very dear friend and bright light in my life, my Shib. Shib once reminded me that, like Ferris Bueller, sometimes you just have to say "What the f**k", and I remember this often. Why not drive to Dillon at 10:00 pm? Why not go camping on a whim with no plan? What's there to stop you? So what if the laundry doesn't get done today? Don't worry about it, it'll still be there tomorrow. Why let laundry or a clean house or grocery shopping rule your precious time off? People do though, people do.

I was at a friends house once and I saw a postcard from his girlfriend. She was out of the county and sent him a postcard that was as safe and banal as they come. Yes, I am judging. But if my partner in life were on a trip and sent me a postcard that said "Hi, doing this today and that tomorrow", I would throw up a little in my mouth. Wow, super interesting. I'll tell you something else, he never gets excited about his girlfriend. They have been together a while and I would bet much that he marries her, but he is not on fire for her. I have asked him about it and he said "it's easy and it's safe". Blah blah blah. Shoot me, just shoot me. But he's right, she's as mundane and mild mannered as milk toast. Safe and banal. No.Thank.You.

Oh my friends, my many interesting, exciting, adventurous, and beautiful friends, wild horses couldn't drag you all away . . . because every one of you would grab the mane, hoist yourselves up, and ride off in the distance to the next adventure on the horizon . . . and with you all in my life I am never lonesome, just as my fortune cookie espoused. I love you all . . . and