We live in a densely populated beach town in southern California. There are thousands cloistered together with one common goal…a small glimpse of the sea. All of us clawing over one another for an ocean peek. It is that single goal which drives us to pay exorbitant rents, share World War II washers, and fumble with dryers plugged in communal lint.
But I ask you…who can resist the many sights and sounds of life at the coast? For instance, at this very moment I am watching a spider painstakingly navigate his way across my new, improperly assembled IKEA “Bjorn” desk. It makes me think of the monumental evolutionary trek this little speck of life has ahead…and frankly, the journey is exhausting me.
The spider narrowly escapes death while scurrying over my Day Planner. Fortunately I catch sight of him before a page turn from May to June flattens him. Hedging my karma bet, I was able to airlift him to safety with my ballpoint pen…although one of his legs appears to be dragging behind as a result of the rescue mission. Pray for the little fella! May all your dreams come true, Hopalong!
Actually, I have no idea why I automatically assume this spider is male. I once read that you can determine the sex of a daddy long legs by licking one of its back legs. Supposedly if it tastes minty, it’s a male. I am scared to ask what a female tastes like, or how and where this test even originated…(my guess is an out take of Fear Factor.)
At the same time, not far from my window a small child is screaming in a full-throated protest of a parental demand. I think it has something to do with wearing a hat, but the kid is obviously under duress, damn near delirious, and drowning in his own slobber over the fact that an authoritative figure wishes to cover the fryable soft spot of his noggin. I have given up trying to understand the child’s cryptic cry, having resorted instead to earplugs and a few glasses of wine.
To top it off, my dog wanders in with his whiskers shellacked in puppy chow.
Supposedly this particular brand of lamb and rice slop does not go bad until January 1, 2015.
That fact alone should disturb me, but I still managed to fill his bowl, adding a thin layer of processed cheddar cheese to the mutton mix.
I am hopeful that a dairy product might minimize the effect of hash heartburn, which I can only assume will explode from his irritable bowels like a flock of starlings.
I don’t mean to dwell on this but I cannot help ponder the notion that a rather noteworthy company made an unpredictable promise to keep the contents edible for damn near a thousand days.
In a time of political, economic and social unrest, how the hell can anyone stand by anything, let alone be vigilant over an aging tin of chemically radiated ingredients and mystery meat byproducts?
Still, there it is on the label for all dog owners to see. A pledge to keep their canine grub protected and preserved in a perilous universe.
Heaven knows I wouldn’t mind those assurances when it comes to my own expiration date.
Alright…so if I had to guess…Maybe I’m fixated on this because of an article I recently read on dying.
Supposedly if you view every single human being as a person moving one step closer to the grave, it immediately transports the viewer to a place of compassion for the whole human race. After all, aren’t we just hoofing it through…doing the best we can under limited supervision and the inevitability of death?
So I began the day thinking of that can of dog food as 994 days closer to its demise, and the compassion rolled off me like a cool morning prayer. Especially since I was one day closer to expiring myself.
No question my brain works in mysterious ways. Just the sight of my dog’s crusty whiskers prompted me to think of a friend who I haven’t seen in years. She used to date this REI survivalist dude.
He had a long beard and an annoying habit of incessantly twisting it into a corkscrew, then pigtails, and eventually fanning it out to allow the whole tangled mess to air (my least favorite position.)
Every time my friend and this guy did the horizontal hula he refused to shower until he had sufficiently relished the bouquet of their lovemaking. I can’t seem to shake the visual of him diving into the delta, preserving love canal fluids on his scrub brush like a doggie-bag leftover.
From that moment on I could no longer look at the guy without wondering whose DNA sample was occupying his Paul Bunyon beard.
There was just something creepy about knowing he was savoring the catch of the day from the night before… while teaching his biology students how to dissect a carp.
And that…my dear friends, is what I’m thinking about today. Alright already! I’ll go back to writing fiction.