|Sylvia Fein, Lady with her baby|
I went to a party last night. I love the woman who gave it. I ate good food and drank two party drinks made with gin and fruit juice, garnished with a cranberry. I mingled with people I didn't know, and I laughed uproariously with those I did know. I tried not to be a hater, especially when people talked about their holiday travel plans and where their children were going to college, how stressed they were, how difficult it is and all that jazz. I stifled my impulse to interject with sharp-tongued comments like tomorrow I'm attending a conference about medical marijuana and will be talking with people who hope their kids don't die before they get it. I restrained myself from both being a hater and being impulsive. I embraced my inner Bodhisattva and felt compassion for all people, even the smug. The I that is me disappeared. I thought about this poem.
The Art of Disappearing
When they say, Don't I know you?
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
If they say We should get together
It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.
When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
Naomi Shihab Nye