Monday, September 19, 2011

Pardon our dust.

I moved to the desert in the middle of a drought.

The old-timers are saying this might be like the drought of the 1950s and it might not rain again for five more years. All I can think about is my friend Jim who told me he hadn't been out this way in years, "And of course, back then the desert was a rose garden."

Last night my friend Juliana noticed the light is changing. "It's got that golden tone to it now," she said. Summer's ending, today it was in the 80s all day, and that means the rainy season has passed.

"Oh yeah, that's it. That's all the rain we'll get," Juliana said. 

"What does that mean for us?" I asked.

"I means to pray we'll get snow."

Oh, I know this feeling.

Growing up in Dallas I was two classes ahead of my brother in school. When I went to elementary school, I remember road construction expanding lanes, adding bridges, causing headaches. It ended when I went to Junior High, where it began again in front of that school. Of course, the same thing happened in high school and in college. When I went to SMU, they tore up Central Expressway for all four years of my university experience. 

"God, Paige. Construction just seems to follow you," I remember my brother saying. 

My brother always seemed to catch the tail end of it, when things were beginning to come together, the plan was apparent and the whole thing was practically wrapped up in a bow. Not me. Potholes, traffic backups, the concrete clutter of all the debris; all the flotsam and jetsam that occurs from tearing up one road to build another right on top of it and all the delays those bring, they were always- have always been- right in my way.

The big news is, right on cue, they're tearing up the streets in Alpine. Steamrollers, tar trucks, flag men, gravel and dirt, it's sort of second nature to me now. I guess you could say I'm an early adopter-- most of the time against my will.

So, I don't know, the drought, the construction, this all seems second nature to me: Make due. Be resourceful. Wait a little longer to bloom. Conserve. Reserve. Protect. Proceed with caution.

What will it be like when the desert is a rose garden? God knows if I'll ever see it, even though my friends and family tell me to just believe it will. That seems like a bunch of hokey shit that is based on no empirical evidence to date. But what the hey! I'm a dreamer who loves pink and glitter, right? (Yes, but

I think part of the problem is this congested mindset keeps me from acting decisively, unless it's an act of defiance or desperation (like this little move of mine). I keep waiting for everything to line up just so. It seems that's when I've got it in my head that it'll be OK to pounce like a kitten on my prey. All this makes me a late bloomer. I don't jump in unless forced. I was never that tweener in the bikini at the pool party, plugging her nose and giggling, "You *better* not push me in, boys! You better not!"

I've always assumed, perhaps mistakenly, that if someone wants to push you in, they don't need encouragement from you to go on and do it.

You know, when I lived in New York, it was maybe a year after 9/11 and my sister had died and I was just not doing well. Just not at all. I was working for this horrible woman with a bad weave and a bipolar mood disorder who would scream at me constantly and my eyesight started to blur in my left eye. Then it just stopped working & I pretty much went blind on that side. So I went to the doctor and they immediately ordered me to get a CAT scan. "You have all the signs of a brain tumor," the doc told me.

"Yeah, I don't have a brain tumor. I'm just seriously stressed out."

"Well, still, you should prepare yourself."

"Sure I should," I said with a roll of my eyes (eye). "Whatever." (I was most likely hungover.)

It turned out I did not, in fact, have a brain tumor and I was just seriously stressed out. (Vindication!)  

And, by the way, the doctor told me, did I realize I lacked peripheral vision?

You know the phrase, "what are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?" This was the universe's engraved invitation.

Of course I lack peripheral vision! Anybody who's known me for 10 minutes can tell you that! 

But I gotta say, it was nice that it was being pointed out to be so literally because I was pretty confused and without direction at the time. You're my boy, universe! Fist bump!

Makes you wonder about those guys in the Bible who saw a hand writing on the wall. Old-Testament God wasn't exactly subtle (burning bush? tacky!), but the disembodied hand story is almost like he threw in the towel and was like, "JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH (WHOM YOU HAVE NOT MET YET), WHAT I'M TELLING YOU NOW IS THAT YOU ARE SERIOUSLY FUCKED. DO YOU GET IT OR NOT? CHRIST!" 

My strange diagnosis was a good reminder that I have a tendency not to take in the whole picture and just zoom in on the one option in front of me and if I can't have that, I go wonky (or, in some cases, blind). There's more than what I can see. There's more just to the side of me, just out of my reach, and it could be vast. I keep forgetting that.

A couple years ago, after watching this couple, who are friends of mine, weather a million storms and come out on top, I told the wife, "God, you know, you guys make me see that you don't really have to have your shit together to be in a good relationship." (In hindsight, that didn't come out as complementary as it sounded in my head.)

But my friend was a good sport and knew what I was trying to say. 

"God no, Paige! You've just got to jump right in and hope for the best!"

You know, just outside Alpine there are hours and hours of roads untouched still by construction. And luckily, out here, the vista views always surround me. From the tip tops of the clouds to 30 miles in every direction and not always in my sight lines, I am enveloped in the experience.

I don't necessarily need to see it to know that it's there. 

No comments:

Post a Comment