My Estuary

I’ve never been able to ease into anything. The flow of life is like a torrent for me.  Even if on the surface the waters appear calm, underneath is all white water, broiling and frothing against the smooth-worn boulders; there is a reason my blog is Notes From the Fire; things froth, things flame, things roil.  There is no easing into anything. No easing.  And so much noise!  Even when living a life so alone, the noise is persistent, concussive.  Car commercials where celebrities I like encourage me to take on life-ruining debt, with shiny black wet city streets behind them.  Who can resist the allure of shiny wet black city streets?  And low-toned, vague voiceovers?  I am a sucker for those, they fool me every time into thinking they are genuine, real, thoughtful.  And handheld gadgets now, with push notifications that insist I stop what I am doing in order to read about the latest problems of the Italian Prime Minister, or Redbox wants me to rent the latest Ice Cube movie, or somebody liked my profile picture.  All the time with these gadgets, these gadgets.  I love them, but still, they yell at me. Screens during the day, screens at night, screens at dusk, inside and outside, my own screens and other people’s screens and screens larger than a house, they all want my attention, want to sell me things, want my fears and longings.  Worries about whether I should rearrange my furniture, or if I can get electrocuted simply by pounding a nail into a wall.  These are the things I worry about inside the torrent.  I worry about if people like me, even as I try desperately to be my most authentic self.  You can’t ever stop worrying if people like you, or if your parents are proud of you, or if your old friends wonder where you are because they won’t get Facebook, or if your elementary school teachers are dead, or what happened after the end of LOST, or why my bank charges me to use other ATMs, or why I feel so tired sometimes, and sometimes not tired for days or weeks or what seems like years, to the point that sometimes I miss being tired.  I wonder what kind of trees line my street, and I hope against hope that someday I’ll be the kind of man who can identify trees simply by looking at them; oh, that’s an elm, I’ll say someday, and everyone will be astonished, and I will be a successful man.  I want to impress people.  I worry so much about impressing people, while trying so very hard to not appear to be trying to impress them.  I don’t want to impress people with flashiness, but with content; I want to surprise people with my wit and intellect.  I suspect this is still not a positive trait.  And then there are things like train times, and bike tires, and inseams, and manscaping. Oh, the noise, the torrent of rushing life, it’s like the incessant beating of distant drums that will not stop, perhaps on a Friday night in the fall and it is the sound of a high school football game, just down the road in town, and the band is banging out a rousing rendition of some old classic, but it just won’t stop, won’t fade away, because that’s the real nature of things, isn’t it?  To not fade away? To persist, if only in memory or perception, and perception is where they get you.  And then there’s bills, of course, everyone hates bills, and the pulsating beat of work (go in! come back! go in! come back!) that heaves with the rise and fall of my sleeping chest as I dream about the same things that chase me as I’m awake, the bills and the Redbox notifications and the celebrities in the luxury cars or was it condos? Either way they want to ruin my life; either way I salivate at the thought of buying things—anything really—despite my abhorrence of it.  And it all (it’s all fears, really, right?) slops together in a big stew and rushes in frothy whitewater over the rocks (what are the rocks? Why, they’re everything, of course), rushes downhill without stopping forever in a painful deluge; at least, that’s what I thought.  That’s how it had always been. Then suddenly she floated downstream, too, and she found me and I held on.  Beyond her now I see the wide-open ocean, sloshing still, but not rushing and pounding—and behind us lay the rapids.  She bridges the gap, my estuary.

7 Responses to “My Estuary”

  1. Adrienne McGuire Says:

    Wow. Slow clap.

  2. I never would have known manscaping was pressure…thanks for giving me a chuckle.

  3. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    I’d pay good money to see a professional actor read this live. Joaquin Phoenix, Sean Penn, Daniel Day Lewis, or even a Pinkett-Smith.

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