Holy hell, my Kindle just started knocking at me. I’m sitting here writing in the quiet and solitude of 6:00 a.m., and all of a sudden I hear a “knock, knock, knocking at my door”…only it was from INSIDE my closed Kindle. Is my Kindle about to come alive and make me its first meal?
I’m not opening it. Nope. It can sit RIGHT there…still and ominous and threatening. It’s probably just some software update or something, right? No need to think it’s the end of the world as we know it. (This is the end of the world as we know it, and I feeeeellll FIIIIIINE.)
Oop…it stopped knocking. Now it sits in silence, waiting. It knows that eventually I will convince myself it was just a figment of my imagination. Then I’ll unplug it and take it with me to the park and THAT is when it will get me. After all, if it tries to eat me here, someone might notice the noise and come save me before it’s finished its breakfast.
Why Isn’t Walking in the Park Called Parking?
My Kindle is planning on getting me at the park. It knows that no one there will notice me fighting for my life against my now sentient and murderous Kindle. If they do notice, they’ll dismiss it, because that’s what people do at parks. They dismiss things. They ignore one another, or make uncomfortable eye contact and then quickly look past you like they never saw you but noticed something just over your shoulder that is very interesting; or maybe the ground in front of them became treacherous terrain that requires careful attention.
OR they’ll do that weird smile and nod thing that says “I see you, but I have no idea what to DO with you”…so they nod and keep moving before something more significant happens, like my Kindle starts to eat me and because we made eye contact now they have to choose between letting me die or, *gasp*, engaging with the situation.
Hurry along, now, nothing to see here but the fantastical death of another human at the hands (pages?) of a Kindle possessed by the spirit of a dead seagull.
Speaking of Parks and Dead Seagulls
I took a walk at a park yesterday and was being very careful to avoid piles of poop because I was walking on the grass where the ground is softer because the sidewalk was too hard and made my knees hurt. I was trying very hard to not be too annoyed at people who let their dogs poop in the grass but don’t clean it up because…why, exactly?
I mean, I get it if it is truly an accident and you weren’t prepared and don’t want to pick up poop with your bare hands. But really, dog owners, how can you NOT be prepared, so I rescind my “I get it”, and formally charge you with EWWWW – pick up your dog’s poop, already! I LOVE dogs, but I don’t want to walk in their poop!
I DO want to be able to walk out in nature or in the park without having to be so careful about dog poop because you know what happens when I am so concerned about stepping in dog poop? I almost step on a DEAD SEAGULL because you’re too mean and evil to pick up your god’s damn poop and now I’m traumatized for friggin’ LIFE. (And yes, I DID notice that “dog” had become “god”, but I chose to leave it because who am I to decide whether god is dog or dog is god? Also – I would not want to walk in god’s poop, either and also again – I’ve met some dogs that may very well have been gods incarnate…so if dog chose to make me type god then so mote it be!)
That Time When the Dead Seagull Tried to Fly Into My Face
There I am, walking in the park on a sunny, windy, brisk day, avoiding the god poop. The water from the river is sparkling and the seagulls are speaking their quirky, dorky language that I love. My eyes are glued to the ground just ahead of me, searching for poop, glancing up every few feet to at least TRY and enjoy the nature around me.
I look down, take a few more steps, and as I’m glancing up again I see the flapping of a seagull’s wing…and for a split second, I feel pure joy because a bird is landing RIGHT in front of me and I’m about to have a magical experience and become one with nature, who is blessing me for avoiding god’s poop…only to realize the bird is dead. The wing is flapping in the wind as if Jonathon Livingston Seagull’s spirit is waving to me from beyond the grave.
I almost puked. I DID panic and do an about face so fast that my knee screamed in protest. Then I walked (ok, limped) away really fast despite my screaming knee. I spent several moments intensely studying the ice in the river and the sparkle of the water and the pattern of the branches on a tree and trying to just breathe and convince myself that the seagull is no longer IN there, so it’s OK…just think of it like the skin that a snake sheds when it grows.
I finally stopped walking and took deep breaths and vigorously observed the living seagulls skating on the ice in an attempt to fill my brain with those images and force the image of the dead seagull out. My strategy kind of worked, but the rest of my time at the park had a dark and sinister tone.
There was a feeling in my body that marked where that seagull’s corpse lay crumpled on the concrete wall at the edge of the river. I can still feel and see it in my mind. My brain made a mental holograph of the surrounding area, with that part of the park now blocked off by crime scene tape, dark and gloomy, devoid of color and reeking of death.
Visions of Dead Things Dance in my Head
Dead things creep me out. As time passes, anxiety overshadows reality more and more, and dead things have taken on a staggering power. If I let myself I can probably remember every dead animal I’ve seen for the last 10 years.
It’s happening now as I write this, without my permission. Scenes zooming past as if seen from the window of a moving car, one after another…deer, raccoons, skunks, cats, birds, even a few bugs. I can mark the area, the weather, even the time of day.
Roadkill: Is it Art? …or the Horrific Portent of a Hell Beyond Our Imagining!
I have a friend that stops and picks up roadkill and puts it in her freezer and preserves feathers and skins and skulls, etc. Not only do dead things NOT bother her, but she can see the connection to life and meaning that the pieces and parts signify. She can still see beauty in the fur and feathers and bones. These things have a spiritual quality for her – a connection to the energy that used to animate the body.
Me…I feel the last moments of that life…and I can’t unfeel or UNSEE that. I was walking with said friend on a beach one day and up ahead we saw the body of a dead seal. I startled and turned and almost ran in the other direction, trying to save myself from the sight before it was too late.
While she went closer, inspecting the carcass and trying to figure out if I would divorce her for life if she tried to put it in our trunk…I quivered in the distance, trying unsuccessfully to unsee the gashes along the side of the body and stop the movie that was playing in my head. A boat’s propeller flashes and pain and panic permeate my/the seal’s body…these are the things my brain serves up because it hates me.
Pieces and Parts and…Food?
My friend values the pieces and parts of dead things and sees them in an entirely different light, and I get that – I really do. I just can’t celebrate those things with her, no matter how completely I understand.
And before you ask – yes, this goes in an even more deleterious direction because I also have a hard time handling meat while cooking. The more meat looks like the living being that it used to be, the less able I am to stifle my gut’s reaction and keep using/eating meat. For instance, hamburger and steak – I can sort of bypass my reaction by forcibly keeping myself from acknowledging the animal it used to be, but if I lose control of my thoughts and it occurs to me that this used to be a cow, I’m doomed.
Chicken breasts – a little harder to lie to myself, but not impossible. Actually touching the meat is tough, though, because it’s slimy and gross. It’s much better if I can use the package to dump the meat into a pan or pot while I’m not looking…but you have to rinse chicken, so I have to force my bile to stay in my stomach EVERY single time. Fish and seafood though – nope. Can’t.
Down By the Sea
Most fish and seafood just looks TOO much like it did when it was alive. Scallops…I can kinda get there. Popcorn shrimp that someone else prepared, still sort of an option. Fish fillets that someone else skinned and deboned and turned into fish steaks…maybe. But make my own (or, *gag*, CATCH my own and then cook it), or even order lobster out at a restaurant? Nope.
And just as a side note, the texture of all meat and seafood bother’s me a lot, and I have to distract myself in order to eat it. So eating is TV watching time – which I’m told is not a healthy habit, but when you’re choking down your food you gotta do what you gotta do!
I remember going to a fancy restaurant when I was a kid. My brother loved lobster, and they had one of those tanks where the poor lobsters are stored, still alive, with their little claws in handcuffs. My brother pointed at the one he wanted, who I named Henry before I could stop myself, and the executioner reached in and pulled it out and headed back to the kitchen.
Later, Henry’s carcass arrived on a plate which was placed with ceremony in front of my brother, who proceeded to devour HENRY with all of the grace and finesse of the 10 year old barbarian that he was. Lobster blood dripped down his forearms and off his elbows onto the table, napkin…floor…his face covered in the oily, buttery juices while bits of Henry stuck to his teeth and lips and chin.
He was even worse with crab legs, because he got to gleefully obliterate the claws to get at the meat inside, and everyone was OK with this.
Please Don’t Eat Me!
I totally get the hypocrisy of my issues, by the way. If I have to deceive myself about eating something that used to be alive; if I can’t catch it and kill it; then I shouldn’t eat it…right? Except, I have no moral objection to eating meat (although I do have a moral objection to how those living beings that are grown to be meat are often treated).
Here’s my problem: If I let myself stop eating meat I’m afraid that I open the door to an even bigger issue because I view plants with almost as much value on “being alive” as I do animals. I get really, really upset, for instance, when someone cuts down a tree or tramples a flower or parks their car on the grass (REALLY, people, parking on grass???).
Soooo…slippery slope, there, if I really give in and let myself go vegetarian. Soon I won’t even be able to eat vegetables (which, quite frankly, I don’t like to eat very much anyway), and then I’m stuck eating stuff that was never really food in the first place and I either die a horrible death by starvation, or live forever because all I’m eating is preservatives. Also, I tried to go vegetarian many years ago, and got REALLY sick…so there’s that.
Which brings me RIGHT back around (not at all, actually, but I have to end somewhere so I’m gonna SAY it brings me back, and then try to force a connection) to my Kindle trying to eat me. Does it not recognize that I am a living, breathing being?
Look – I’m dancing a silly dance and REALLY cute! You don’t want to eat me, do you Mr. Kindle Monster? Let’s be friends instead. Later, at the park, when I talk myself out of thinking you might kill me…just look the other way, find something else with which to entertain yourself. Look – over there – that seagull is waving at you – I think it wants to play!
Wait…has the ghost of the dead seagull taken over my Kindle? Does it blame ME for its untimely demise? Did god/dog tell it to torture me because I refused to walk in it’s holy poop??? Release my Kindle, seagull spirit! Go fly to the great beyond, Jonathon Livingston! Be free! Leave me in peace, not pieces!