Modern Inconveniences


Last year, I worked on a novel so I lost time blogging. Also, I got married and went to Italy so there is that xo Ah well, here's a little something that seeped through the cracks this morning. Thanks for reading!

Modern Inconveniences

In January, I met a vibrant woman wearing a mink coat at a deli in New York. She was busy subscribing to a lot of Publisher’s Clearinghouse magazines. “It’s a system, a real numbers’ game,” she explained to me. “I got a gut feeling, I’m going to win the Sweepstakes!” I was thrilled. Delighted at my good fortune. How often does one meet a person living a unique plan with gusto, especially in the days post-Ed McMahon?

Thursday you said you would call. By Sunday, I figured you’d changed your mind. People disappear all the time, and rarely is it to join the Circus.

Fifteen years ago, I was a receptionist at an acupuncture clinic in Santa Monica. I was flat broke and sad. With the exception of discovering famous clients' phobias and addictions divulged on their intake sheets (don’t ask, it’s confidential), it was a really boring job. I checked my voicemail for auditions every two minutes. I know because my boss highlighted the number in yellow highlighter on the office phone bill. And then deducted the total amount from my measly paycheck. The next day, she stood apologetic beside the receptionist chair and stroked my ponytail until it was so awkward I had to quit.

I used to be a person who waited to be saved. It was exhausting. And expensive. I should have just gone back to college.

Two weeks ago at a dinner party in Denver, I knelt beside a drunken crying stranger and rubbed my hand in a circular motion on her back because alcohol does not close a broken heart. I am a person compelled to dive into emotionally dangerous situations. My heart is a fire extinguisher at a five alarm.

Aren’t we all the same?

Sunday afternoon, we looked at a house on the beach. We’re not buying, but the looking makes us feel like our relationship is moving forward, aligned with societal expectations. Driftwood, sloped A-Frame, moldy scent, with glorious slated open stairs - well above our price range. Built in the mid-50s, just like my new and only husband.

The playroom was on the first floor. One wall featured a chalkboard, numbers still sketched in pink and yellows, another a map of the world when the world still had the USSR. There were quite a few small desk chairs spread about. The kind of chairs you sat in in kindergarten behind duck and tuck desks. School drills of the Cold War. Aren't we at war now? Across the room, an expanse of windows boasted an ocean view with oil stations, tankers, and Chinese cargo ships floating to port carrying crates of Barbies, shovels, and odd parts that Americans must have until later they wash back up on our shore. I’d hate having to look at that brown cloud over Catalina, I thought. Turns out, my number one priority in a new home is a view without pollution.

Is that even possible anymore?

“Nothing has been altered,” boasted the real estate agent whose glasses looked like goggles. “Same mid-century modern furniture, same everything,” name dropping the name of the famous architect as a last-ditch effort against age. A black and white picture of an attractive woman wearing a one-piece bathing suit holding a can of Schlitz smiled back at us from the mantle over the rock fireplace. My kids put the house on the market, she explained. I'm dead. So, something had changed.

Some days, I’m too sad to open the internet an elderly stranger told me after a workout class. Yes, I agreed staring at her smooth Botox’d forehead. It’s like we’re supposed to live inside there instead of outside here. As if something better were happening in cyberspace, a virtual reality, more miraculous than tectonic plates shifting to make a Northern Hemisphere or say, taking one breath.

I googled how many molecules were in a breath and fell down a rabbit hole. Now, it’s time for dinner and I didn’t even smell the rain today.

Tuesday morning, at the Farmer’s Market, I ran into a friend counting his chickens who said he’d be happy when all of his ducks were finally in a row. That confused me.

Last night, we watched the documentary, California Typewriter. There weren’t any women writers featured, but Sam Shepard was still alive and talking human. I woke up with words in my chest. So, my Underwood and I are taking a road trip. I am crawling back like lint into my grandfather’s pocket, just like the poet what’s her name wrote about her husband. To Berkeley we are bound. To learn to write better. To disappear inside the real world for a while.

Did you know that with each inhale, you breathe in six molecules of Beyonce’s last exhale?

Tell me that everything in the end isn’t wonderful.


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staci@thewritemuse.biz (c) Staci Greason 2016