Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One of those days...

Hold on, I am waiting for "Clair De Lune" to download off iTunes. I've had it in my head for over a week, and I decided that I cannot write this blog without listening to Debussy on repeat. So I am stalling the kick-off of actual, official blog writing until this song finishes downloading. It's kind of like not being able to go on your run until your iPod is fixed just right. I don't run anymore, but I do remember that whole workout + music necessity.

AND, we are ready.

(...cue the music in headphones...Ah, yes, this is perfect...)

So, friends. 

Normally I begin my writing at the beginning. I give the appetizer, then the first course, then the soup, (or salad? - I don't know, the French seem to eat one of those last. Crazy artists.) And after I have fed you a hearty meal, I lead our feast up to some conclusion statement in centered bold letters that makes it sound like I knew what I was going to write before I sat down. But not today.

Today, we shall start with the dessert.

It was a hell of a day. A day of how can I be so young and already so tired of this shitty life day. I will tell you the details later when I work my way backwards, but, the point of the story, the moral, if you will, is that it was one of those days where for 18 hours everything just looks ugly and in the 19th hour it still looks ugly, but somehow, through some divine strange chemistry of the right movie, the right moment, the right random, celestially inspired unexpected insight, 

Everything is shitty, but in the end, it still looks lovelyThis must be one of those moments when God, or Buddha, or whatever faith flavor of the week I believe in looks down at me and smiles a proud smile.

Because I am a human being. So, ever so imperfect. And it amazes me how caught up I get in finding every little self-imperfection to the point of invisible sparks flying out my ears. We all do this. And by doing this, we miss the entire fucking point. Let me explain...

Life. Imperfect, stinky, broke, overweight, divorced, pining-for-the-unrequired-not-gonna-get-it, rotten best-laid-plans produce in the refridgerator life is so perfectly imperfect that it is just ab-so-fricken-lutely stunningly beautiful.

Do you get it? Probably not. Because most of us never do. At least not on a regular basis. It is only times like this, (times that I believe I bullshittedly called "Portholes of Reason" in my college entrance essay) where something enlivens us. Something reminds us. It calls us back to our innate nature as these incredible beings and we REMEMBER. We remember wherever it was we were before the clutter happened. And when each of us is blessed with these moments, we suddenly feel light. We feel invincable. We are able to look at the farce that is each of our insignificant earthly lives and just...


I took this picture tonight (see above) sitting outside the LAX Westin and I laughed so hard at myself. There I was, half clad in pajama top and jeans bottoms, no bra or make-up on, trying to take an ironic picture for you, my lovely reader, just to capture the hilarity of this sad little palm tree in the middle of a smoggy airport layover hotel where pilots cheat on their wives and little children worsen their daddy's ulcer at the concrete pool.

As I sat there, practically falling off the bench, and smoking a deliciously naughty-but-I-don't-care-right-now cigarette, a shuttle bus dropped off a bunch of stressed travelers coming from the airport. It's midnight and they have just flown into LA. They are tired and dirty. A man walks by and I feel so cleanly empty and Buddha-buoyant. I look at him and I am delighted to be able to give him a small simple gift.

I smile at him.

He tentatively smiles back while righting his suitcase. He looks unsure, because, who smiles?... Who genuinely smiles at a complete unsolicited stranger for no reason these days?

I am not ashamed to admit to the superficial inspiration for my unexpected enlightenment this evening. So simple, really. After a really bad day, I watched a Hollywood movie in my lone hotel room. I'll tell you what it was - you've probably seen it - it was the movie It's Complicated with Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep. 

That was all it took. I watched one random movie and it was like a lightbulb had gone off. All of a sudden tonight, it was:

  • Be nice to the roomservice operator just for fun
  • Tip the guy at the door
  • Hey, taking showers is kind of relaxing, like a waterpark
  • Actually get your work done before playing – it's not that hard!
Just all these basic insights that just started flowing in because I was able to think clearly and see beyond the normal chaotic bullshit.

It had nothing to do with this particular movie. (However, it is an entertaining flick and you should watch it.) The catalyst could have been anything. The point is, I want to remind you that your very own shit-pot could turn upside-down into a silly raining dirt parade if you are lucky enough to get a chance moment like I did tonight. Some people (not me, but some people) can create these elated moments at will via meditation, yoga, philanthropy or climbing a mountain. Lofty shit like that. But I am not that advanced yet. I am only human. So for me, I watched a movie tonight and my brain got enough of a window to see the light for one night. 

Don't get me wrong, the feeling will fade. It always does. These insights we human beings get are fleeting and far between. I think that is why people write books and create art. They are inspired to capture whatever divine knowledge that has been momentarily bestowed upon them and they want to capture it before slipping into another comatic love affair with quiet tense dinners at family chain restaurants and taking the dog to the vet to get tube socks removed from his intestinal tract. I mean, truly, the hilarity of the things we humans think up to pass the time of our 80 odd years on this earth. It is just too funny sometimes.

And I am totally included! I am a hilarious mess, I tell you. You want me to prove it, ok, I will. That's why I wrote this thing backward. So that you could see how fleeting the divine everything-is-gonna-be-alright inspiration truly is. 

Here we go.


4:00 AM

When I awoke yesterday morning – (this gets complicated if it was this morning or yesterday morning because I am already hitting another AM while working a 14-hour day, watching a movie, and writing a blog post, but, oh well, small detail) –

4:00 AM

I awoke from a fake sleep on my couch. It was fake because truly I was just waking and sleeping waking and sleeping waking and sleeping to the sound of my iPhone alarm that was set to go off at 2:45 AM and I just kept hitting that simple touch-screen snooze button until I was no longer sure of whether it was sleep or just junk-napping, where the dreams are perverse in their confusing interuptedness. Where I was dreaming I was sleeping, like a dream within a dream, and the only defining feature was that I was (in my junky sleep) laying in a lawn chair dozing while staring up at a hilltop where a middle-aged woman was peering down at me. She stared at me with this intensity that was scary, as though a stare alone could be the entire subject of an Alfred Hitchock movie.

"The Stare"

I don't know, it probably is a real movie somewhere out there but I am too fatigued to Google it up like I normally do in efforts for diligent writing 

(I will Google Hitchock's name to make sure I spelled it correctly and, just for kicks, I will keep the original spelled where it was because I am almost certain it is wrong. Let's see... – ah, yes, Hitchcock, – of course, and it's even phonetic, but of course my sloppy spelling gets the letters mixed up. And now you get a glimpse into my rough draft Bad Speller World. SO HONEST this writer is. I also love to begin sentences with "And" and I know that this is wrong, so leave me alone, Mom.)

Scene Two:
We have left 4:00 AM, we have made it through the intensely angry morning in which thoughts about my job just eat me up inside to the point where I thought about the phrase "voices in her head" and wondered if the way it really feels for schizophrenics (yes, of course I had to spell check that) is not to actually hear voices but just to think very hard about things until they seem like real dialogs in the mind. Or to feel so unfathomably down about oneself that the inner voice in all of us that says, "You are wrong. You are bad. You have failed" becomes too great to bear. Hence, "hearing" voices.

I don't know. I am not schizophrenic.

And that feels good to declare one malformation that I do not possess. 

So, we have passed the waking 4:00 AM, we have introduced the angry mindset, and in Scene Three I pull myself together and shower, pack, and work on my PowerPoint like such a diligent and calm adult that my anger starts to reside.

I drive early to the airport. I make it through the flight to the West Coast and I make it all the way to driving the buzzing bee highways of Los Angeles in a large white Chrystler mini van (what was Hertz thinking?) and I start to unravel again but this time, instead of anger, it is bone crushing fatigue. 

It's not the physical tired kind of fatigue. (You know me. Look at these post times, I write like a bat in a cave.) No, this was an inner I-feel-so-goddamn-sorry-for-myself fatigue.

This was a...

  • My quadriplegic dad just moved home and still isn't OK
  • Errr!, more newborn baby pics and "Other People's Weddings" photo albums on Facebook...
  • I am probably 30 (maybe 40?) pounds over-weight. And I don't ever care too much...
  • Why do I have to find my own directions? (somebody HELP ME?) I can barely stay on the road!
  • It's hard to interview people who are broke when I'M BROKE TOO  
  • POOR ME  

... Type of Fatigue.

Now. We all have our own levels of self-pity. You might look at my self-pity and say that's nothing I just had a lion bite my leg off and there's no tourniquet in sight, or, you might say Wow, and I was mad about that episode of The Bachlorette last night, but –

The point is, it doesn't matter. All of our POOR ME moments are all relative and there is no need to compete, people. No one really trumps my dad who has been cataclysmically wracked by a year of cancer, and that is a private joke between me and my dad. We WIN in the Pity Department. I guess the philosophy behind this is that if you are laughing at yourself, it is not the same as when people are laughing at you. No, I don't go around saying, "Well, you only had three months of chemo and now you are fine" or "You only lost ONE boob. Common."

No. I don't do that. Your tragedy counts just as much as mine does, so don't belittle your own struggles in life. Every "cancer" in life counts, be it spilled hot coffee, the break-up of you and your girlfriend (from five years ago!), or the death of your too-young-to-die mother.

It all counts. And it all stings. But, the tail-end of the giddiness in me tonight just wants you to be able to be happy. If not on a regular basis, then in spurts from time to time. You are only human. You are doing the best that you can do.

And now I am catching up with myself. I am making my way to the beginning to tie it back to the end. 


It's love, People.

It's love for our stupid plight. 

It's love and laughter at the banality and the hellish daily grind.

Yes, Sartre was right. Hell is other people.

But perhaps the ultimate 'other people hell' is actually our own psyches, just tripping our weary souls day in, day out, just muckin' it all up.


Stand up. Stretch your arms above your head. Give yourself one of those awkward self-help hugs. You might be too fat or too arthritic to actually do this, but that is even better.

Just laugh it off. It's perfect. It's human.

Now, Go find some human tragedy to laugh at. Just try to find something. 

Don't be mad at me when I tell you this, but... Go sit on a bench alone and make up one private joke about this ridiculously disaterousl oil spill. You wanna stay MAD? Fine. But that's not helping yourself.

Or if you happen to get rear-ended in a traffic accident today, just be crazy and flash a genuinely empathetic grin to the bad driver. 

Just do it. Just for a few seconds. Then you can let the misty veil of human misery settle back into place.

But for this moment in time, just shurg it off while no one is looking. It's okay. I give you permission to interrupt the sermon and let off a Whoopee Cushion fart at the back of the funeral parlor of your life. 

It's all you can do. Life's a mess.

Start to find the beauty in the ugliness on the days when you have the energy 
and then you will begin to radiate love.


  1. Susan...I know people tell you this all the time but you have such a rare, rare gift. I feel incredibly lucky that you have given a small piece of the gift to me. When the time is right, you will share it with the world.

  2. i fucking heart you larry