When I carried a bag out to the garbage cans in the street tonight, I stopped and listened for a moment to the rain dropping. We so rarely hear that phrase -- rain dropping -- not technically a phrase but different than the noun raindrop. The rain has been dropping for a few hours, slowly and gently, pattering on the metal awning on my back door. I am filled with calm.
I have no idea why I am filled with calm. There has been no effort on my part. Today was partly unbloggable, not because it was bad but because it contained private things that I won't discuss here. There is a lot going on, and I feel a bit like the Cat in the Hat who not only can balance ridiculous things while standing on a ball, but also maintains a kind of sense of the absurdity of doing what he's doing. He is goofy in his confidence.
I began the morning feeling nauseous as I scanned Facebook and saw a thread on one of my old high school classmates' page that discussed the election results. There was talk of doom and destruction, of arming oneself. Those who voted for Obama were called idiots. Evidently, we have no idea what's coming. Debacles of the financial sort. A different America. Debacles of the social sort. Let's move to Texas, one said. There was a photo of a young daughter with a semi-automatic rifle in her hands, its ugly, black force a grotesque contrast to her young beauty. She was out, I guess, for a jolly day of hunting or learning how to shoot, she and her father, exercising their right to bear arms. Raising her up right, said one of my classmates. Way to go! another one said. Girls and guns! with a smile emoticon next to it, said another. Better stock up on ammunition, said another. I don't think I need to say that these are all very successful, well-to-do people who went to an exclusive private prep school in Atlanta, Georgia. Or maybe I need to point that out.
A friend of mine encouraged me tonight that I'm doing a good job, balancing on that ball with all that shit in my hands. I told her that I had a heroin habit and put a smiley emoticon next to it.
I know many people use November to express gratitude. Gratitude schmatitude is what I've thought for the last month, obstreperous, refusing the tyranny of the zeitgeist. A woman with a hairdo and small ballet shoes with kitten heels and a simple lined notepad let me talk today about Oliver. She leaned over a balcony as I walked away and said cheerily, Tell him that help is on the way! Don't despair! I could suddenly hold my troubles more securely. Tipping, I got my balance.
As I drove down Wilshire Blvd. to pick up the boys from school, I was filled with gratitude. With no effort on my part, I was calm.