Friday, November 9, 2012

My Terrifying Experience

Perhaps my story isn’t nearly as horrible as what’s happened recently to . . . well, anyone who isn’t me, but it was horrible for me, and really, I’m not sure what else matters.

Of course, I love you all and hope that whatever’s going on is quickly resolved.

But back to me.

I was in my office yesterday, which is what I do when I’m at work (I’m in there RIGHT NOW!) and I had Pandora on, because who can work without music? For some reason it was on shuffle, so it was playing random music from my playlists. This is fine with me. I don’t need to be stuck on one type of music all day. One minute it was playing show tunes, then The Offspring, then Queen, then Christmas music, then Tom Petty. I was doing my thing, it was doing its thing, and then . . .

(This would have been a great Halloween story, that’s how scary this is . . .)

I heard some sort of musical attempt that sent a sliver of icy hot pain right through my skull. Sort of like the feeling you get when someone that you’ve mortally offended stabs you in the eye with a pickax.

I don’t know if that’s happened to you, but I sincerely hope not.

I clicked over to Pandora to see what sort of evil had happened, and the current window was showing something by some guy named Justin Bieber. What kind of name is that? And is he the anti-Christ?

There was no time for thinking, I had to stop it, so I searched feverishly for the thumbs down, though I’m not sure there are enough thumbs down for this, and so damaged was my brain already that I could barely find the pause button.

By the time I got it stopped my hands were shaking, and I’d broken out in a cold sweat. Up till this point, I had avoided hearing anything of Justin Bieber’s music and my life was pretty damn good. But now – now I have this image in my head of a sound that should be banned.

Before going to bed last night I took a lot of narcotics so I wouldn’t have nightmares.

I’m certainly not any kind of musical expert. Right now, for example, Train’s playing. In some circles, this would get me mocked. I like to play the 1812 Overture just because I like loud booming cannons. I like to imagine Foo Fighters doing a rendition of The Nutcracker. I have no musical ability myself at all.

But this . . . this is the sort of thing that could lead to me being more selective about what’s going on around me. Or it could teach me to be ready for any adversity, and give me the opportunity to hone my already cat-like reflexes until I could turn it off within a second.

I’ll have to think about which way to go on that. My reflexes could certainly use some upgrading. Last night I was driving and the gangnam song came on and my reflexes whipped into shape and I froze, in absolute terror.

Once the zombie apocalypse comes I’m dead meat.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Better Than Trees

We traveled first to the Redwoods, because it's on the way to Southern California. At least from here, and that's the only way we can travel -- from here.

While there I saw this:

This is a TREE. I know, without my handy explanation you'd have no clue. It's a big freakin' tree. Here's the sign that was next to the tree:

It's not just any tree. It's an IMMORTAL TREE. At least so far. People have tried to cut it down (loggers, who apparently do that sort of thing), it's been struck by lightning, survived a forest fire, and a flood. 

And I thought of a friend of mine who has had a particularly rough year. I have had those myself, and am nothing if not sympathetic. Sometimes everything, or a lot of things, can seem to conspire against us, as if there's someone in a back room pulling levers and laughing maniacally whenever something goes wrong for us. And maybe it's not levers, but pushing buttons. Whatever. I too have had bad years (or decades). 

And I thought:

1) This tree has withstood fire, floods, crazed loggers (or rational loggers, I don't know), lightning, and it's still here. It's still standing, and while it has some scars, it's still here.

2) My friend, who is way smarter than a tree, and has a much more engaging personality, and is much more fun to hang out with, is still here. For that matter, so am I. Even I am smarter than a tree. 

3) I'm not saying it takes smarts to outwit a tree, but let's be honest: it helps. Trees are not known for their intellectual abilities. This particular tree is known for still being there, no matter what life has thrown at it. It still stands, maybe because it doesn't know any better than to just continue doing what it's doing. Which is being a tree.

4) I'm using a numbering method just because I want to. 

5) Sometimes we continue being even with all the fires, floods, hurricanes, loggers, politicians, whatever. And we're better than trees! Even big ones like this:

(See where the ax is? That's where someone tried to chop it down. And the fish? Flood up to there.)

We may not live as long (most certainly not), but we're at least as strong as trees, even when it seems like life has it in for us, when it's all so overwhelming and . . . icky. My friend is strong, and way better than a tree. I can't put a sign up next to her saying everything she's withstood, but that's because she keeps moving and isn't a tree. 

But I saw this tree, and I thought of her, and I thought of all of us who are at least as strong as a tree, and how we keep going no matter what life throws at us. Sometimes things happen that we just have to get through, like a flood, and we do, we just keep going and we get through it, and then things get better. Sometimes there's a flood and a fire and a dozen other things all at once, but they stop, they're all finite, and we go on.

We're better than trees too, because we're more fun at parties.

Not me, personally, but some people.