I spent a glorious summer day yesterday ambling through a street fair in the Upper West Side. I stopped at Paper Source, bought myself a planner, soaked in the objectively perfect weather, and tried to stay off Facebook. It was an exercise in willful ignorance.
I want to write something honest. I want to uncork the bottle that Jeremy filled up. I want to stare out a window and do that legato slide from content to complex. I want to write something real, something major, something that doesn’t ice skate or dilly dally or dance across the surface of the stream.
If it hasn’t snowed (which, it hasn’t snowed), then December 3rd has a specific sort of smell. I think it’s the smell of frozen grass and crinkly leaves commingling. For some reason, I get the distinct whiff of cobblestones on December 3rd, and just so there can be a symphony of senses, there’s the sound of a shimmer of resilient leaves in the trees, and my chin starts to numb because it’s just barely too early for scarves.
I like the way December 3rd is.
I’m a “hopeful” blogger. A blogger that sends little opiates of hope to the masses in light of a tragedy, in light of a discomfort. I try to make people feel better, or if not better, at least understood. I tell human interest stories. Platitudes. Truisms.
I do not have time to write this blog post. Which means I’m writing it on the D line, and it’s rush hour, so I’m writing on my cell phone with just my right thumb while I cling onto the rail with my left. One never does her best writing on the subway. One-thumbed writing is hasty, filled with run on sentences and typos that people privately message me about after my blog is posted.
I like to start each new school year with a game. It’s called “Yes” and it involves students standing in a circle, asking for permission to move across the circle and take someone’s place. It’s a cycle of saying “yes” and my hope is that the idea of assent carries over to discussion. As the players improve at the game, I up the intensity. I have students toss a heavy, imaginary bowling ball across the circle. They practice saying yes by catching the imaginary bowling ball in a way that suggests that they’ve “yessed” its imaginary weight. Then we blow a feather across the circle while the bowling ball is circulating, and finally I pull a “lizard” from my pocket and send it scampering to a classmate.
This post has been sitting at the bottom of my brain basin for a long time, waiting to surface at the right moment. I actually wrote the majority of this post before the Mormon Facebook Apocalypse of 2015. Still, I’ve held onto this post. I think the time is finally right, as I confront the painful, vulnerable fact that I’ve been spiritually wounded. This is a loaded admission, one that opens up your soul to further misunderstanding, judgment, and (perhaps most terrifyingly and only in a few extreme cases) ire.
There is a dog dreaming next to me. Her muzzle is nuzzling my thigh. Her paws are intertwined and her back is hunched. She is not a small dog, but she’s made herself small so her presence on the couch is less assuming. As if somehow I won’t notice that she’s breaking the rules about being on the couch.
Dear Seniors of 2015,
I need to make a tiny confession. You were already winners before the contest began, and you’ll continue to be winners long after it’s over.
I need to make another confession: I’ve been manipulating you to think that I am “The Keeper of the Words.” And yet, I struggle too–just like you–when faced with a prompt. And today, the cursor blinks patronizingly as I try to answer the prompt instructing me that somehow I must “Say Goodbye.”
I’m older than you, and by extension “wiser,” and I’ve got your captive attention for probably eight more seconds, so allow me a moment to share the thesis that you, your wisdom, and the time we have shared together has helped me to articulate.