On Being Pleased

December 25, 2011 | By

As is typical during the lead-up to Xmas, things pile up, the day job enforces more time, and when the weekend finally hits, there’s a modest list of Things Not Done, which include emails & replies & mailings that simply sat undone and untouched.

Put another way: Where the heck did last week go?

I’ve just managed to watch a number of flicks and write several decent reviews in decent time-frames, which isn’t often when the longer a review gets, the more time it takes to re-read, edit, re-edit, and fix stpd typs that cann occurrr. Good stuff will be up Monday, as I’m giving my fingers a rest from the mounting carpel tunnel syndrome and gradual nerve damage that’s surely been worsening this year.

Not to rain down on the holiday, but if there’s a single memorable event of 2011 for myself, it’s the obvious disintegration of one’s physical skills to the point of pain. Yes, we have a publicly funded health care system, but you don’t’ solve sore fingers by replacing them with titanium digits, muscle and nerve pangs by re-rooting nerves and tissue matter with polyscathine glycomeetote urathol strands (don’t bother looking it up: I’m being amusing), or fix pins & needles in the knees and assorted leg & feet pain by going fully bionic; I’d portentously opine that the transference from flesh to bionics would one day have you walking into the middle of a highway because someone’s app ran on the same Buzzkumber frequency (1080 umms) as the bionic legs.

The ability to recall whole film names has been replaced by the uncanny ability to recall poster art and the font of the title but not the title itself; and my eyes have gradually reverted to defective hybrids of individual defections courtesy of my parents.

Take your finger and hold it a half-foot away from both eyes: not in focus? Used to be. What the fuck?

Used to be able to consume a lot of bread and candy without heartburn; I figure in 2 years I’ll get acid reflux from drinking water, and cough up an intestine after eating a single rice wafer. Aging is not good, and anyone who believes there’s grace in the process is delusional. You’re falling apart, and soon you’ll be a puddle of human goo, housed in a beaker jar, kept in the fridge in the dark, and when mold grows on your gooey nose, they’ll know you’re done.

That is the Scrooge’s perspective of 2011, so let’s move to the something not Cratchity, not Ghosts of Xmas past-y, but a simple observance this week that made me feel really, really good.

Orchidious Fredius Wandilius Purpliosium

Tuesday I took the late train home, and watched an older lady step on with assorted bags, but swaying back & forth in her arms was an orchid plant. She had a frumpish, unsettled expression, as though she’d had to struggle through masses of annoying shoppers before finally beginning the trip home, to where peace and serenity exist in deep density.

Said lady shuffled her bags, repositioned the potted orchid, and kept glancing at it – not annoyed, but not content.

This alternating current of irritation went on for a few stops, and every few beats the lady would look at the rocking orchids blooms, as though she was thinking ‘You made me do this. You stupid fragile thing that can’t be petted or snuggled with. You rock like a drunk, and if I lose a single petal or your spine breaks, I’d have lost a $60+ purchase and wasted time and energy transporting you home intact. What in hell was I thinking?’

My stop was coming up, and she kept glancing away and back to the plant, away again, and back at the plant, trying to assess whether she liked the white & purple & green thing that had no business being transported through public places coursing with foolish, klutzy knuckleheads.

But when I stood up and waited for the train to reach my stop, I watched the lady in the window’s reflection, and I caught the end result of all her fussing, and re-adjusting of said plant on her lap and safe grasp: satisfaction.

Her face was still fairly rigid, and at one point may have been marinated in sourpuss juice, but her mouth loosened, relaxed, and her eyes receded into a calm state. I could very clearly discern she’d realized she made a good move that day, and whatever annoyances happened her way, once she got home, this blooming / blumin’ plant would bring colour, calm, and satisfaction to her home.

Perhaps it was a gift, but there seemed to be a clear, personal attachment between the lady and the plant; they’d become friends, and she’d now be its benefactor of light and water and temperature, and whenever things would get idiotic, all she had to do was look at the orchid flowers, and admire its uniqueness: uncompromising, undemanding, and a simple beautiful thing whose existence just happens to offer someone colour, shape, and a form that’s just plain lovely.

For the lady, she ended the day with a simple prize, but for myself, I think I came out just as good by catching that look of being pleased with her potted orchid.

It’s an example of focusing on simple things instead of big events, being anxious over masses of smiley happy people milling about seasonal iconography with glasses of heated glurg, and trying to be perfect because the guests are watching you very carefully (which they’re not, because they’re getting drunk on your booze cabinet).

If you can find that simple, pleasing relationship with a song, a drink, a poem, a candy, or a plant, do so. The resulting smile will cut through even the thickest of bullshit (except foot monsters).

Happy Holidays / Bah Humbug.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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