Thursday, December 29, 2011

She, Who Thinks Too Much

So, I'm thinking the other day - some would say: Don't go into that bad neighborhood or First Thought Wrong.

And yet, I am tempted to keep thinking. It goes something like this:

Life on Earth. My life on Earth. I am born. I live. Along the way, decisions. Shall I go this direction, or that? What will happen if I had headed for the job in Ft. Wayne, Ind. vs. heading toward Cleveland? Some 27 years later, I find myself thinking about this. Like I said, somewhat dangerous territory, that thinking....Still I press on, noodling this one out.

Chances are, I would have met and married someone - as I did in Northeast, OH. Chances are, we would have had children (as I did here, in Northeast, OH - three to be exact). The reality is those children would be totally different than the ones I had - certain sperm also being very different and the collision of that other sperm and my egg would produce totally different offspring.
Kevin, Patrick and Colleen would not exist.

Instead, some other beings would populate this earth. Even now, the thought of not having what I call "my children" makes me mourn the fact that for many odd twists and turns and decisions - every single one - they would not have joined me on this earth. Never to exist. They are here for the quirkiest of reasons, most finally, that on a particular second, on a particular day, a particular sperm united with one of my eggs and - voila! - a person begins. Three, in fact. Each known to me in very special ways: with seemingly innate personalities, those forged by genetics and environment, experiences and time. Mix all together and they grow into their own person. Themselves, though - like me - here for but a fleeting moment on Earth. Like us all.

Poised on the brink of a decision 27 years ago, had I moved Indiana way, totally different offspring would exist. "My" children would not exist and how possessive a thought that is, really, given the randomness of any of being here right now. Instead, "my" children are Buckeyes and not Hoosiers. And, who knows Indiana might have led to Montana, Novia Scotia, Poughkeepsie, New York. Perhaps even another continent. All this leads to many other unkowns and yet-to-be's.

And so I bizarre and odd that these children have come to me at this particular moment in time. Even now, I mourn how random it is they are here right now. For if,  if one second was altered - they might not. This thought scares me. I plummet into the inky depths of fate vs. free will. A pre-ordained plot that began eons ago and trails into some unknown. The ramifications of this quirky thought generates a whole new NOW. Of course, were that the case, I also would not exist to ponder these odd, yet intriguing, thoughts. Would someone else? Does it matter my words - these words - exist now (hold your comments for later, please).

And, for the other children who are not? Perhaps, not so curiously, they are phantoms only. And yet....had they been, they too would have completely unique personalities - once-in-a-lifetime snowflakes - each unique, forever. None ever to be replicated. Just like "my" children now. Each their own self. Uniquely. Snowflakes all.

I would not trade this life, "my" children for others. And, yet, sometimes, I find myself thinking....what if?

This post brought to you by: She, Who Thinks Too Much.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2 Falcon Road

We lived in the Country Clubber; 2 Falcon Rd., in the Forsythia Lane portion of the planned community known as Levittown, PA.

Across the street, our newspaper boy snacked on cat food. Next door, Donna Jean and her family had a chicken, who used our back porch as her chicken coop; she was aptly named, "Dirty Bird." We found the neighbors on the other side perplexing. When Randy Tidd's white canvas tennis shoes - sneakers out East - got dirty, he grabbed the white shoe polish and gave them the once-over. Sister Denise wowed us by curling her upper eyelids inside out so the pink underbelly laced with tiny veins fluttered at us as she blinked.

From 4 p.m on, ice cubes clinked in stubby glasses, some sporting frosted backgrounds imprinted with leaves and other designs. Cigarette smoke hovered at nearly every gathering. Women wore shifts. Men in sensible suits - brown seemed to be the color. Under the suit jackets, short-sleeved tailored shirts: yellow with a brown suit, blue with brown, white with brown.

That summer, re-upholstering had captured my mother's imagination. Chairs, shoes, couches, purses. Just about anything could be reupholstered with nubby, rugged fabrics. She toted a putty knife around, wedging it into her latest victim: most recently a high-heel shoe that would perfectly match the wool skirt, suit and hat - her spin on Jackie O. Add a few of her own finishing touches as she worked on the shoe: pedal pushers, white Keds, sleeveless cotton top and a head full of permanent hair rods. Eggy smells emanated from her head. A cigarette was usually nearby. Talk radio was on the air - maybe even KDKA from Pittsburgh. People kvetching. Mom kvetching about them kvetching.

As dusk neared, the thick, heavy, moist air was suffocating. Soon, the alert would be sounded: "Close the Windows!" We'd slam windows shut and jump onto our steeds: single speed bicycles - the lucky kids had Stingrays with banana seats. In unison, a stream of kids snaked behind the mosquito sprayer. The houses were safe from the fumes, though no one seemed to notice our cycling Conga line as we inhaled DDT. Ah, the 60s. That time of innocence and ignorance.

The pesticide-laced air blanketed Forsythia Lane as the bicyclists trailed to our respective homes. Returning to 2 Falcon Drive, the TV lit up the room. June bugs thunked against the screens. "Laugh-In" was socking it to us - psychedelic flowers, Go-Go boots, bad jokes and the Fickle Finger of Fate.

Outside, the sky twinkled with lightning bugs: On. Off. On. Off.

Mom sauntered in, hair newly permed; spiffy "new" high heels clacking on the floor, you could still smell the fresh glue.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Perspective

Awareness hits (at least) Seven Minutes Later. That's the amount of catch-up time required for this Minnesotan transplanted to Ohio.

Perspective and lack of it serve as guide for the misguided. (Me). One second blush: "I could have said, should have said, why didn't I - why did I?" Perspective - life from a distance - gives me pause. As I peer out from hazel eyes, this is my view: warped, distorted, quirky; it is only as good, or bad, as I see things. My perspective is based on family history, upbringing, genetics, Min-Na-Sooo-Ta and more than a tad of anxiety.

Seven Minutes Later and my Ah-Ha hits. Each minute can be years in the making. Thus, my current Seven Minutes Later arrives as I near 53 - though D.C. Gabe (my scientific-minded father) would be quick to point out that I will be entering my 54th year. That I have, after all, finished my 53rd year. Ah, this makes me feel so much better.

So finishing up 53rd year, soon to celebrate 53, but really entering my 54th year (are you following me??? Zzzzzzz. I hear crickets chirping...) it has taken me this long (or short from a universal perspective) to understand and find my right-size for right now. And this could all change at a moment's notice, tipping perspective on its head. Handstands are not my forte' handstand.

Yes, I can learn from these aquatic gymnasts. Here's to doing something different in 2012, my 54th year.