Friday, January 29, 2010

Ant Life

Ant society is highly organized: They travel for miles away from their home to find food, but instead of eating it immediately themselves, they bring it all the way back to feed everyone in the colony. When an ant dies, the others lift it up and carry it back to a designated area for the dead, an ant graveyard of sorts. My seventh grade history teacher always said respect for the dead was a fundamental principle for any civilization. Ants even have pets; they’ve “domesticated” aphids, who help with plant growth.

Smush. Oops, we’ve stepped on a few. But some other ants are going to lift the dead guys up and carry them home.

It’s interesting how we consider ourselves so superior to animals, when we act very much like animals most of the time. Sure, we’ve got the whole evolution thing down, but think about it. We are born, we search for basic needs (food and shelter), we mate and procreate, we defend our young, we vie for our territory, and then we die. And we’re pretty violent during the cycle. We are no different than the squirrels, who hoard acorns and live defending their notch in the tree.

I could learn some things from the ants, and the squirrels. To share my earnings of the day instead of keeping such trinkets all to myself. To simply consider my fellow species. Sitting, breathing the trees’ exhalations, feeling the sunray’s wavelengths permeate my cells, I feel very much connected to the other living creatures we share this space with. A fire ant crosses my bare foot. It’s a beautiful day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Conceited & Deceitful

When the ankles flex after many hours perched on heels. When, after many good beers, you eat whatever the heck you want because your heart speaks louder than your hips. When all the words you ever thought you deserved to write completely fall away to broken slabs of syllables along the highway. Vocabulary roadkill under mac truck tires. When you are nothing but a happy fuck up, looking for that person to show the exponential value of how much you can love and be loved in return. Then wait a year.

Cultivate the garden of quiet footsteps. Tend to the acres of madness. You’ll see me there in passing, like a ghost or the shadow of a birch tree. Maybe I’ll offer you my last blood orange, freshly plucked, or maybe I’ll be selfish and eat it for myself.

When everything seems so suddenly inconsequential. When the apostrophe’s juxtaposition is the nexus of your orbit. When you know how little you really are. And how much that hurts your simple eager pride. When you try to remind yourself how we are all brittle bones just waiting to be uncovered by some other responding person. Why does it always go back to another person? In the meantime, you strengthen yourself with proverbs and hypotheses, listening to the listless debate of eons unresolved, and you question, and you fire many gunshots, and you wound yourself, and those dearest to you. For me, it might be my parents. Angels, so to speak. With as many flaws as angels should have, if we are all to be called angels then. He waits for me, whoever he is, and he doesn’t even know it. Whoever he is, and damn the fairytales for instilling this sense of princely salvation, he will have a number on his hands. But she will be worth it, I assure you that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meditating on Beer

7 beers, 3.5 cigarettes, 4 hits, it’s 10:10 on the spot and I’m lying in bed surrounded by a wet bikini, a Yankees spring training ticket, a stolen jacket and a dying cell phone.

Thing is, I was supposed to go to meditation class tonight. If you don’t meditate, and you probably don’t since you’d rather spend your precious time reading shitty blogs, then you wouldn’t understand how amazing meditation really is. So let me try to explain it.

Meditation is like the perfect buzz without imbibing, inhaling or snorting anything. In actuality, it’s the opposite of being buzzed because instead of furthering the mental distraction, meditation purifies our normally frenetic minds. All it takes is some stillness. Thing is, stillness is really difficult to uncover, what with iPhones and Gossip Girl and billboards and bills to pay (or, ahem, facebook or blogs). But if you can set aside 5 or 10 minutes to just chill, to just shut the fuck up for 5 or 10 minutes, it can be a baptism.

It can be a “whoa, I don’t have to react to every stimulus that skitters across my path. I can breathe instead.” Just. Breathe. Ah.

It can be a new space within you that you didn’t even know existed. It can be that stream of clear, crisp, rushing water where the salmon swim, in those few pristine moments right before the grizzly bears chomp them up.

That’s my long way of saying I need meditation class, which allows me 90 minutes to sit, be still, breathe deeply, reconnect and feel like the person I want to be. As the Tao says, where the rough edges soften.

But not today, friends. No, today fate and Anheuser

Busch (or should I say InBev? Oh you fickle Capitalism, biting us Americans in the ass.) had other plans for my zen soul. Here’s how it played out:

It’s Monday morning. I’m at work in my awesome gray cubicle. Super yay fun.

It’s 10 am and I’ve been there for an hour and a half and I don’t want to actually begin working, so I get some herbal tea (with hibiscus flowers, so you know it’s hippie-certif

ied) and walk over to Fotios and Jen’s desk.

“Are you going to the baseball game today?” Jen asks.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I reply coolly. I meditate, after all.

“The CEO has a bunch of tickets to the Yankees spring tr

aining game, for ‘company bonding.’ People are leaving today at 12. You should try and find a ticket.”

I feel like Charlie, the weirdo whose 18 grandparents all slept in the same nasty bed, waiting for my golden ticket. My Get Out of Wo

rk Free Card.

As soon as I return to my computer, I see the email from my boss: “Hey, team. I have a ticket to the baseball game today and can’t make it, let me know if any of you would like to go.Reply button, thankyouverymuch. Jen prances over to my desk, gleefully announcing my sealed fate as soon as I could frantically hit send.

Two hours and zero work accomplished later we’re at the game. But I don’t drink there. No no, I have principles, my dear friends. I still plan on attending meditation class, while my buds sip cool drafts under the oppressive heat near first base. Would I let you down? ME, the pinnacle of truth and justice in this chaotic blip of existence? So I sit, and I sweat, and I pretend to care about baseball.

But as you may have guessed by now, my

discipline is as steadfast and true as Tiger Woods' dick. (Yeah i said

it. Whatevs.) On the ride home, somehow Jen, Fotios and I decided that buying beer, drinking on the way back to Tampa and continuing to drink at my pool would be a marvelous idea. And it is. And so we drink. And we listen to the Arctic Monkeys, MGMT, Daft Punk, MIA and other musical geniuses. And we bop around, as white people often do when they’re drunk and happy. It is at the point when I crack open my second brew as we cross the bridge that I realize I’m not going to meditation class. And so we lie out in the glorious Florida late Monday afternoon Sunlight, soaking up our youth (or clinging to it, since we’re 25 and suffering a selfish brand of quarter-life crises).

Then we have the swell idea of going to Hula, the new waterfront bar right by my apartment, which is conveniently located in the middle of nowhere. Really. If Tampa were the world (and to us, it is), my apartment would be just north of Uzbekistan. No one really knows how to get there, no one really cares about it and there’s really nothing to do there. Except for this Hula place. I’ve heard good things about this establishment from my friend Megan, who has a propensity for hobnobbing with Bucs football players at uber-swanky venues. Well, we’re too intoxicated to drive, so I suggest we walk. How far? Who knows. Just down the street, I say. Not knowing will make it all the more exhilarating.

We’re like Lewis and Clark, only drunk and hapless. The journey continues…

…we walk. Jen’s munching on a bag of baseball stadium peanuts, stumbling along the street and occasionally screaming Turret’s-style phrases. I’m worried we’re not even on the right street. It's a lovely time. It’s sunset and a black oak tree’s silhouette scrapes the electric sky. “We should have brought a camera,” Foty says. But I wager the sun will do the same thing tomorrow, behind the same tree. I just have to be present enough to notice it. And smart enough to remember the camera.

Anyway, after walking for about a century we discover Hula. Yay, we’re there, food and beer and gorgeous scenery. Nope. Fucking closed. We see the desolate poolside, the empty waterfront cabanas. Uber-swank indeed, Megan. Just not on Mondays. Who doesn’t drink on Mondays? What the fuck, Tampa?

We venture onward, pretty defeated but further determined to find this illustrious beer and food.

To Hyde Park we go, the trendy young section of town where all the 20-somethings find nothing to do. Foty calls Wes Mantooth to come pick us up on the street and drive us.

Dubliner, yes, good Irish pub with a reputation for good pizza. It’s 9 pm, kitchen just closed. Of course. Zeus, you’ve cursed me for missing meditation class. Or is it Shiva? Buddha, most likely, but he’s not really into the whole smiting and damnation thing. Though he is all about karma, good or bad.

In essence, our desperate search for the finer things in life was a meditation. We eventually found some greasy, horrible nourishment and tasty drafts at the Tavern. But it didn’t matter in the long run. I am happy, floating along, being propelled by the forces of nature, the current of Budweiser. 25 indeed. And drunk on a Monday. And with two good friends. Tonight, we meditate without sitting still. But we find the stillness in the movement, the joy in the pace. It’s the awareness that makes all the difference.

After all, “Before enlightenment, chopping wood. After enlightenment, chopping wood.”

God, I hate using quotes. Especially to end shitty blog posts. It’s such a cheap trick. And yet, it works.

“Before enlightenment, drinking beer. After enlightenment, drinking beer.”