Facts of Life

I learned something new recently.  Not only can you eat corn raw, but it’s actually better that way.  When I first heard this, about two weeks ago,  I thought some highly guarded culinary secret was inadvertently leaked, but it seems that a bunch of regular non-chef people know about it already.  And all I keep thinking is –  isn’t this a crazy enough game-changing fact that, if you did know it,  wouldn’t you want to tell everyone?  Yet no one told me.

I love knowing why I know something – where I learned it, who told me, what I was doing at the time.  It makes the fact seem more solid.  But obviously only super memorable pieces of info have their moment of discovery marked in my brain.  And that bothers me.

I know where I learned about raw corn, but I’m constantly wondering where I learned other less meaningful things.  Of course I learned stuff from my parents, from school,  from just being alive, but wouldn’t it be great if you could remember the exact moment that you learned a specific thing?  A few years ago I was obsessed – and I do mean obsessed – with this thought and I picked an example out of blue.  Of course I knew what a screen door was but I wanted to pinpoint the exact moment of when I learned that.

I asked my mother over and over again if she remembered teaching it to me.  Of course she didn’t.  I would let a few phone conversations go by without mentioning it and then I’d try again.

“Do you think maybe you said ‘open the screen door’ and I said, ‘what’s that?’ and you explained it?”

She actually began to hang up on me.  Finally, after months of this, she exasperatedly said, “I probably mentioned screen door and you saw a door with a screen and made the connection!”

I could tell she was just saying that to shut me up.

I’d ask friends if they remembered learning what a screen door was.  No one did.  Not a single one.  I started feeling like my need to find this out was getting dangerously close to having to count my steps or lick a light switch before turning it on or something so I tried to get it in check.  But even though I no longer asked about it aloud, I still wondered about it in private.

Months later,  I was having dinner with a friend who was visiting from California.  He was telling me a story about his next door neighbor and how he thought she was smoking hot when she came to his door but then, when he opened it, he was sorely disappointed.  Typical guy story.   But I didn’t understand why he would think she was hot when he hadn’t yet opened the door.  He explained:  it was because he had a screen door and she was all back-lit and he couldn’t see her face.

He did not know about my obsession.

He paused and then said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  Do you not know what a screen door is?  It’s a door,  but instead of being solid, there’s a screen.”  I flipped out.


“Oh, you just had such a weird expression on your face that I thought you didn’t know what it meant.”

Persistence paid off!  At last, here was the exact moment someone actually articulated the definition for me.  I’ve always heard it’s possible to manifest what you need, and here was proof.  I have no idea how, but I’m 100% sure that I somehow conjured up that explanation.  And since that’s true, logic follows that that must mean it’s also possible to conjure up more important things.  Like people and work and situations and experiences that add to my life rather than drain it.   It’s easy for me to forget that’s possible.  Luckily I had an ear of corn to make me circuitously remember.

Maybe after awhile it would get overwhelming if I knew where each fact inside my head came from. I know when I learned about the corn and the screen door.  And this week at least, I know when I re-learned the importance of concentrating on what I want in my life rather than all that’s there that bogs me down.  And, who knows?  Maybe that’s enough.



Mind Games

What a crazy few days.  Posting twice in a week?  Totally nuts.  Don’t worry, it won’t become a habit.

I’m bleary-eyed.  I haven’t been sleeping well, which is not like me at all.  I’ve been having vivid (bad) dreams – also really unusual.   Well maybe it isn’t, but I don’t know since I rarely remember them.  Suffice to say, I’ve been having vivid (bad) dreams, which are now waking me up in the middle of the night and causing me to stay awake for hours.

First it was a traffic cop coming in through my hatchback door and attacking me.  It was super scary at the time, but the fact that I was driving a hatchback was the part that upset me most when I awoke.  Then I dreamed my mother fell down, hit her head and I’m pretty sure died, but I woke up before I found out.  She was wearing all white.  The morning after I had this dream, a friend of mine told me he dreamed that he reinvented silverware.  It’s just not fair.

I almost always get up at the crack of dawn each day to go to yoga, and this new sleeping issue is really hampering that habit.  I’ve just been too tired.  With yoga clearly not on the docket yesterday, I blearily stumbled to the corner deli to get coffee.

I’ve always loved the ritual of going out to pick up a cup of coffee.  Not good coffee, mind you, but corner deli coffee, or even better, cart coffee when that’s an option.  And if you’re shaking your head, shake harder:  I live directly next to the cutest, independent gourmet coffee shop.  I’m pretty sure they’re judging me as I walk past, wave, go to the deli and then walk past again, carrying a cup of crappy coffee from somewhere else.

The man who works in the coffee shop is interesting.  He’s the super of the building next to mine, works early mornings grinding beans,  afternoons in an antique shop and then walks neighborhood dogs at night.  He’s Peruvian and even though he’s been here for decades, still has the thickest accent you’ve ever heard.  He’s part of a NYC that I sometimes forget still exists.

For years, he would never acknowledge my existence.  We used to pass each other all the time as I was walking my dog, but he’d only glance down to him and in his syrupy accent say, “Helloooo, Reepy.” It wasn’t that he was unfriendly, it was just that he literally never made it up to my eye line.  But after Reepy died, he had no where else to look.  Gradually we began to stop and chat and he’d catch me up on the news of our block.

This particular morning he told me his brother-in-law had had a heart attack and died.  I remember actually thinking I don’t really hear of heart attacks much any more.  Maybe it’s just the people in my life cornering the market on cancers or something, but a heart attack sounded almost retro to me.

The extreme lack of sleep, my nightmares and that the fact that I was on a job which required a bunch of crazy long days in the middle of it all left me feeling extremely off-kilter and this news somehow seemed like a clue to something.   I felt on edge, the way you do when you’re waiting for a call that hasn’t yet come, which, come to think of it, was also the case for me.

I lean toward being a superstitious and “sign-y” person in general and boy, was my mind having a field day.

About 10 hours later I found out my mother was admitted to the hospital.  They thought she had a heart attack.  My bad dreams were immediately renamed omens.  It didn’t help that she got brought to a hospital directly across from a huge graveyard.  Easy in, easy out!  C’mon, seriously?

When I finally left her late last night,  I turned on my computer for a few minutes.  You know, to relax.  I read a friend’s status update, the gist of which was that the sun was going to swallow the earth soon, so we better all start living.  It was the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep.  Maybe it was just my being super tired, but it seemed to sum up everything.  Kind of like what I was trying to say in my Working Girl post, but in one seemingly profound sentence.

Just now I went to double check that it was really as good as I remembered it on no sleep and lots of stress.  It was gone.  Just like that.  Did it vanish? Did I maybe only dream it?

Oh, great.  What  kind of sign is that?

Must be a good one.  My mom just got released, all good news.  Phew.  Okay, now start living.  That swallowing sun may be imminent.