There’s so much content running through my brain as well as content already contained. I’d like to invite you, dear reader, into my world of Busted Flip Flops. We’ll explore observations of life, musings about becoming Mom, Cherry Pearl the snorting pug, weird dreams, recipes, movies, ’80’s nostalgia, picking up strays (the furry and the non), and unfeigned poetry. Watch for weekly upcoming posts as these beach reads begin to build and form like, well, a castle in the sand...
They say you can’t go back. Or perhaps you shouldn’t. But sometimes it’s inevitable.
Steely Dan Radio on Pandora. That’ll do it for me. A tinge of past immediately starts flowing through the neurons and blood stream. Back to childhood days in my dad’s mustard El Camino or hunched over the Fischer-Price record player with my brother. Back to teenage days, cycling through songs on random play from the new CD player. Back to college days, blasting out the sub woofers in my ’87 Nissan Sentra. And about a hundred other memories involving a Steely Dan song.
Whether you want it to or not, music will take you back.
There are those songs you can’t bear to hear. Either they bring back a dark memory or someone you’d rather not keep in your consciousness. Those we turn off as soon as we can, if possible. Or perhaps we need a good cry out and we let it rip.
Then there are those songs that fire up our frontal lobe like fourth of July sparklers and we are transported to a time and place no longer existing. Even if our childhood homes are still intact, or the city in which we grew up, it is never the same.
I guess that’s why they say you can never go back. Because no matter how bad we may want it to be there, it is gone.
And that is one of the many beauties of music– enabling us to hold onto a moment as if we were right there. Right there in our dad’s old car. Right there on the front porch with the Walk-man. Right there in the school parking lot with our quirky friends. Right there dancing with Grandma. Or and old friend. Or an old flame. Those that have moved on or passed away. In this moment they are alive.
And this is why I play Steely Dan on Sunday morning. So I won’t forget.
Trudging knee-high in leaves
discarded shelter now food for soil
The passing of time long arduous
and fleeting all at once
We wish for high winds
to carry all away
And when they do come
blow our hearts out of our chests
Maddening deafness except
the blind chatter of our minds
and the crunch swish crunch
of fallen foliage at our feet
Trek on still
with our eyes set forward
Lest we cackle like mad men
in the unforgiving forest of
Seventh grade. Mr. Helton’s homeroom. He was the class clown and one of the most popular kids in school. I sat in the back row next to my Laotian friend and a girl who lived in a trailer park and once showed me a vile of some kind of powder (I winced at it and tried to ignore her the rest of the school year).
Even with my perm and freckles I was prettier than I ever gave myself credit for. The class clown sometimes acknowledged me but was more interested in the hottest girl in school with her long, shiny black hair, developed perky breasts, and cool mismatched socks.
I don’t know if I had a crush on the class clown or I just wanted to be the class clown. I think it was a bit of both.
He was confident. Kids giggled at his shenanigans. Even Mr. Helton found him amusing. He didn’t have the worry of covering up legs needing to be shaved, the inevitable arrival of a leaky menstrual cycle, or the proper way to curl unruly bangs into the perfect pouf.
I longed for his self-assured attitude and his fearlessness and talent for making people laugh. His tousled blond locks and casual, non-committal clothing required little to no maintenance yet he was gorgeous all the same. His wide, bright smile would surely take him far in life with minimal struggle.
When I look back at that time and the decades afterwards I think I was always jealous of boys. They were good at sports, didn’t have to wear make-up or an outfit that covered up the wobbly bits, didn’t spend hours pining over crushes that would never come into fruition.
For years I said if given the chance to come back in another life I would be Jeff Spicoli of Fast Times at Ridgemont High fame. His laid-back attitude and passion for surfing leaves little time to mull over the monstrosities of the world or the pressure of fitting into some perfect mold.
Now that I’m older and have a boy of my own I realize some of these prejudgements are just that. Not all boys get a free pass to blissfully ignorant-ville.
No, my son doesn’t have to worry about shaving his legs or getting a period. I don’t think he ever brushes his hair. But like me he worries about the world. He doesn’t always have that revered sky-high self confidence, especially when it comes to sports. But he’s miles beyond where I was at his age in seventh grade. He doesn’t seem to care so much what others think of him. He doesn’t slink away shyly in the corners of the classroom. For that I am thankful.
And in all honesty if I were a boy I would not have the experience of everything that goes with the unique ability to grow a human being in my body. That is some pretty fantastical and ever-bonding stuff. I wouldn’t trade that for any of the classroom joke-telling confidence in the world.
It would be really cool to be Spicoli for a day.
“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine…”
All relationships need kindling
It’s too easy to become wrapped up
in the monotony of daily life
and think things will fix themselves
with the drying of the plastic dishes on the counter
But sometimes gotta get out of the kitchen
go to a place where there are no dishes to wash
no routines to keep
a different perspective and air to breathe
We played in the field after dinner
and it was not planned
I saw you smile in the dunes
and make jokes while pedaling the surrey
It wasn’t you and I arguing
or me wishing you were 8 again
We were just ourselves
and there was no animosity
or harsh words or sadness
There are new memories on the beach now
a twinkle in my eye when I look southward
and see the city where we spent a weekend
A much-needed weekend
spontaneous and free
The you and me that always has been
and hopefully always will be.
A bird call
a meditation song
words spoken to the sea
spinning in the high winter’s sky
where the pelicans fly
and the hawk and dove and osprey
singing their tune
which I cannot translate
yet reminding me to breathe and let be
Uttered forth among ocean waves
these affirmations floating to you
and cascading back to me.
I need to bathe in the music of the soul
That which is beautiful and free
I don’t want to bathe in the bloated belly
of discontentment and sorrow
There is a light out there
that shines brighter than any
chasm is dark
And it doesn’t blind
but leads and fulfills and carries
when the void does come
Bathe with me in this
Engulf in the sweet luminous sound
of all that is good in this world.
Where has all this communication at the tips of our fingers brought us?
I’ve always been a proponent of texting. I’ve had six conversations at once doing this. Texting and instant messaging has kept many of my relationships alive, especially with those who live miles and miles away.
But recently I’m becoming a bit annoyed and confused at all this ability to instantly “connect” with others. I’m feeling lonelier than ever.
Texts can be misconstrued. And the fact that everyone has a phone and seems to be on them all the time doesn’t bode well when someone doesn’t text you back in a proper time frame. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions and self over-analyzation.
“Did I say too much? Not enough? Is their phone working properly? Are they dead in a ditch somewhere?”
Two days or two weeks later you finally get a response. And there’s no mention of a hey I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you, excuse excuse excuse.
It’s enough to drive you insane.
Not that I haven’t done the same. And for that I am truly sorry. My excuse is that I was either in the throws of single-working-momdom or I did not know how to respond to you so I just sat on it for a few days hoping the words would eventually reach my brain.
I’m not saying I hate texting. I’m a writer so it’s a lot easier for me in most instances to type out what I want to say rather than find the words straight from my head.
I just don’t know if this ability to connect instantly is helping us or hurting us. I’m half thinking of doing an experiment where I only actually talk to people on the phone.
There are things you can detect from the human voice. Like if they sound distracted, bored, distant, excited, nervous, cheerful. But there are also those empty spots of uncomfortable silence. Or even worse when you talk over each other and can’t hear what the other is saying. And even more people like me who don’t know how to end the conversation without dragging it on and on.
And what about the dying art of letter writing? The last time I received a letter was at least 3 years ago. It came from a friend overseas. And when this friend came to live state side our messages paled in comparison to the lengthy, thought-out detailed letters we’d written.
I guess it boils down to the age-old manners rule of do unto others what you’d prefer done to you. Try not to leave people in the dark. Do your best to communicate. And stay off your phone when you’re actually face to face with someone. And keep your arms from crossing in front of you and your eyes from blinking too much…
What are your thoughts on electronic communication? Is it helping or hurting?