Friday, December 9, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

The rain has stopped, but it stands in puddles on the ground, regrouping. The sparrows dart in, splash, laugh, pass. The fog and steam hanging over Mt. Diablo are neon with the rising sun. All around, there are creatures beginning their daily search for life, sustenance, gifts from the rain clouds, wrapped up in the dirt and transformed into green energy. The energy that starts the whip on the food chain. 

It all starts with the water. 

There was a time when all of this was magnified. There were more creatures then. Birds that were easy for hunters to kill. Fish that were too tasty and too dumb for their own good. Don't get me started on the Bison. The plains weep for their absence. 

It can be a hairshirt if you let it. It can be the catalyst for your insanity. It can leave you breathless. But you might as well hold onto your breath. The cards have been dealt. No point crying over spilt milk. Or extinction, I guess. 

Sometimes, I wish that my girls could go back forty years to when I was young. There were more insects then. More hatches for the trout. There were more birds of prey circling the sky. It wasn't hard to see a bobcat. A coyote. It wasn't hard to look at the water without thinking of microplastics. 

This is why old men seem crotchety. It's a defense mechanism. It's a way to protect the sensibilities that no longer make sense. You may say, "Get off my lawn!" But you may mean, "Go into the woods. Find a fallen tree. Collect the insects for bait, and witness the majesty of the brook trouts' spots. Quickly, there are fewer native brookies every year, and the stocked trout just aren't the same. They're raised on pellets, not hatches. They don't belong."  

I don't want to live in the dystopian novels I read under the covers in Middle School. I want the Amazon to stay a mysterious jungle instead of Amazon delivering clockwork oranges to me packaged in dead trees. I want to turn back the years. It's sad for a man of forty-four years to be able to see such changes. I guess that's the way it goes. 

I remember when a coke cost fifty cents. 

But you know what? Fuck it. Stare at the puddle. The puddle is life, and as long as it is there, something will remain. Once the earth sheds the oppressive humans who bend her to their will. Once the insects come back in full force. Once the earth begins to breathe again.


  1. Ain't no fiction here. None at all.

    1. Maybe the kids, your girls and others, will learn how to build the earth up instead of trying to bend it to their will until it breaks. Maybe they can do better than we and our parents did.

  2. "Look at that one," I heard the Frat boy two people ahead of me in the coffee line hoot. "Who does she think she's fooling? Not cut out to hang with the Delta Phi's. Sweat stains at her pits, and smeared lipstick. They will get her out of their sphere in the next ten minutes."

    Sad but true. I tried to covertly glance at the group of girls he was gesturing towards. Not sure why I was bothering trying to be stealthy. No one in this crowd was likely to give a fuck what I thought or looked at. Food workers didn't exist to these kids even when we were out among them instead of behind our counters where we were supposed to be. The gaggle of perfectly toned, perfectly turned out, perfectly boring girls giggled and whispered like they were in a movie. The young woman that the jerk had to be talking about was the only person in that group of future Stepford wives who appeared to have a brain or any individuality. She wasn't perfect like the rest. She did have sweat stains and her make-up looked inexpertly applied, but she had turned a basic white T-shirt and the most hideous tan skirt into an outfit that she totally rocked. The rest of the flock wearing the exact same thing looked exactly as ridiculous as they were supposed to.

    I couldn't help but think about the conversation I'd just had with my teenaged boy about his girlfriend. My boy, Justin, was horrified to find out that his new girlfriend was on her period. He knew this because she had the nerve to tell him straight out, and he'd stopped talking to her almost as soon as she'd told him.

    "Dad, that was just too much," Justin said. "I don't need to know that, that stuff."

    "Why wouldn't you need to know about something that is affecting your girlfriend?" Ever the clueless father, I didn't get why he seemed so horrified.

    "I don't want her to think she can tell me about cramps and stains and, and FEELINGS, like she's some, some real human being or something."

    "Justin," my daughter groaned. "She is a human being. You buy pads for me. You offer my friends back rubs and get them chocolate when they are on the rag. What's this shit?"

    "Language," my wife said. "Though that doesn't excuse you, young man. Answer the question."

    "You and your friends aren't my girl," my idiot son said. "I want some mystery in my relationship. I don't want to hear her complain. I don't want to know if she's in pain. I don't want to see her sweating and breathing heavy like you all do when you come in from laps. It's fine for you, but with her it would be so gross."

    "Oh my dear, sweet, dumb boy," my wife said. "Your girlfriend is still a person, and any girl you date will be. We have no goddesses here, and if we did, they would be too good for any of us mortals. Don't put someone on a pedestal. She will fall off way too soon."

    He put up a good fight, but in the end he accepted the reality that he was never going to find perfection in a girlfriend. It sounded like the idiot boy now buying all his buddies' coffees should have had his bubble burst by someone a while back. I wished I could do something to let the girl across the street how much better off she was than the ten other supposedly perfect candidates or little sisters or whatever they were called now. Instead I ordered my coffee and scurried back to my own little corner of the campus. Hopefully, someone in her life would help her see that she didn't need that crowd if they couldn't see how special she was. I did promise myself that I would give my own little girl a huge hug the next day.


Please leave comments. Good, bad or ugly. Especially ugly.