Thursday, March 18, 2010

turn right at the next thunderstorm please...

It may be true that a good shower helps clean the air and wash things away, but as I sit on my porch after a season of snow, ice and rain I can’t help but wish for this moment to last forever.

If you're anything like me (and who is?), you have a job, somewhere to live, people you wave to and a few places you enjoy frequenting.

I also have a list of things that I want to do, visit and try not to forget. I enjoy afternoon naps, but rarely take them. The things I've lost along the way could fill a house twice this size and I'm getting to the age where I've forgotten about more people than I currently know.

It still amazes me that there is a complete lack of preparedness when it comes to navigating your life. There are no signposts or roadmaps, just lots of other people’s opinions and quite a bit of bad advice. Living is a real trial and error process that luckily has a pretty good mistake margin attached to it.

When I moved into my first apartment I had to steal pots, pans and plates from my mother to stock up a kitchen I rarely used. I would go shopping and buy things that I remembered were always part of her grocery cart, and ended up with enough cooking oil, powdered milk and pine scented cleaner to stock a fallout bunker in a nuclear winter.

I actually felt better prepared for an atomic bomb than I did for moving out into the real world. I could tell you all the capitals of every state in the union, but I didn't know I had to put a deposit down on my electricity so I could turn the lights on in my living room. For two months there was an extension cord plugged into my landlord’s laundry room until he saw the spike in his own bill.

I took my apartment life very serious and spent a lot of time rearranging furniture and wiping down the baseboards behind the bathtub in case anyone ever came by to take a peek.

My favorite part of the old house I lived in was a door that led to an unused porch on the side of the bedroom. I would open it up on rainy afternoons and lay in the bed while listening to the fat drops splatter on the old tin roof. Then I rearranged the bedroom and discovered a leak directly above my bed.

That first Thanksgiving I spent alone, cooking a chicken that I bought with a five dollar bill I found on the sidewalk outside my front door. I basted it with powdered soup mix, served it with canned vegetables and ended the meal with a chocolate candy bar.

I'm sure in that moment I thought that this was who I am and what I would always be as I listened to the water dripping outside after the storm.

If you look hard enough you will see that life does provide you with signposts. I believe that rain is a reminder of the impermanence of it all.

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