I’m in the middle of reading The Chatroom, a novel self-published by a former co-worker. He’s been writing for a while in the mystery genre, getting some short stories published here and there, but struggling as we all do to get that novel published the traditional way. He retired last year and is now pursuing self-publishing of a couple of finished novels. This is his first to get out there. And, yes, it really pisses me off that he gets to be retired pursuing his dream and I don’t.
Last night, after dinner, which was breakfast — chocolate chip pancakes and a couple of eggs over easy, thank you for asking — I sat down to watch the Warriors-Clippers game. Why? Because when it comes to the NBA, I am first and foremost a Warriors fan. The local team, the Kings, will always be in second place for me. Unfortunately, living where I live, I don’t get to see many Warriors games on TV, but last night’s was on a cable channel I could get. And the Warriors are a fun team to watch. And the Warriors-Clippers rivalry has gotten a little … well, chippy. And I wanted to see some chippiness. Which I didn’t get, but the good guys did win.
While watching the game, I worked my way through a significant chunk of The Chatroom on my Kindle. It’s a murder mystery-thriller. People keep dying. The main character is being followed, stalked, threatened. People keep dying. There are shadows flitting here and there, people breaking into his house and leaving behind clues that they were there. Did I mention that people are dying? The guy doing the killing is one of those killers who enjoys it just a bit much.
I’m watching the game, reading the story. Usually, I’m upstairs in bed by 9:00, where I finish my nightly reading until I fall asleep. With no working TV up there, however, I stayed downstairs so I could watch the game.
And then it happened … somebody knocked on our door at 9:20. Nobody knocks on our door at 9:20 at night. It never happens. Even on Halloween, trick or treating is done by then.
My son was in our front room watching television. Remarkably enough, the front room is, get this, right next to the front door. I called out to him to see whose at the door. He tells me he doesn’t know who it is. I think to myself I would have liked to hear it was a neighbor who might need some sugar for a little late night baking. No such luck.
I get up and walk to the door. And, this is all I can think about. Spooky book. People being stalked and followed and threatened. And people dying. And somebody is knocking at my door at 9:20. Nothing good is going to come of this.
I look out the little window that runs up and down along our door and see a man and two girls standing on the porch. The man could have been anywhere from 25-40 years of age. The girls look like teenagers. I don’t know any of them. I open the front door and thank the god I don’t believe in that we installed a heavy security screen door years ago and that it is always locked.
“My daughter lost her phone and we used the program to see where it is and it says it’s at this address,” the man says, waving randomly at our house.
In my head, I think “huh? what? A lost phone? Are you kidding me? Do you realize it’s 9:20 at night and as far as I’m concerned anybody who comes to my door who I don’t know is an immediate threat to me and my family. What the hell are you thinking?” And then I think, “no matter what, I’m coming up with a way to end this conversation and get you away from my door as quickly as possible.”
I have a brainstorm — the way to convince the man to depart the premises and leave me alone. “Where does your daughter go to school?” I ask.
He names the middle school that is just down the street and around the corner from our house. Ding, ding, ding, we’ve got a winner. “My son doesn’t go there. He goes to” and I name the name of his high school, which is something like seven miles away. “There’s no way he would have come across your daughter’s phone and brought it home. We don’t have it.”
The man mumbled something then and he and the two girls walked back to their car and drove off.
I hate these kind of situations. I hate feeling threatened by the simple fact of somebody coming to my door. But it’s a part of who I am. I’ll give you a couple of examples. You know that little event we now refer to as 9/11. Afterwards, our brilliant National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, claimed that nobody could have imagined that terrorists would use airplanes as a weapon. To which I wanted to scream, “Are you f’in’ kidding me?!? I think about it every single time I get on an airplane!!” And then there is every single time I go to see a movie, or a go to a sporting event, or walk through a shopping mall — I imagine and see catastrophe striking. Every single time. And it usually involves somebody with a gun. Or a bomb. Or a whole lot of somebodies with a whole lot of guns and bombs.
So, when I sit at home and read a murder mystery where people are dying and you knock at my door at 9:20 at night, don’t be expecting much help from me. I’m pretty sure in my mind I’ll be wondering if you’re there to harm me and it’s a damn big hurdle for me to get over.
* * * * * * *
I heard a piece of this song on the radio earlier this week. I filed it away in my head as a song to check out later and then, as people my age typically do, promptly forgot about it. A day or two later, Taryn over at Peace & Pizza posted the video of the song. Can I just say that Peace & Pizza may just be the most perfect name of a blog there ever was? There may not be two more perfectly paired words or concepts in the world. Well, except for frick and frack. And peanut butter and jelly. And macaroni and cheese. And … oh, never mind. Peace and pizza — two beautiful things to pair.
Because of Taryn’s posting, I got to watch the video and hear the song in its entirety and, well, it’s just one of those songs that hits me in the solar plexus. It’s beautiful. It is …
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you
Have you ever experienced such a thing? Would you want it? Would you be able to handle it? What if I told you that you could have an opportunity to experience such a thing. Would you take that opportunity? Would you jump at the chance to give your all to somebody and receive the same in return? Could you love both the curves and the edges? Could you …
How many times do I have to tell you
Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too
The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues
I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, in my head for you
Love somebody even through the tears. Through the pain. Through the downs and distractions. Could you really, truly give your all to somebody and be open to what all of that really means?
What if I told you that you could, but it wouldn’t last forever? What if it only lasted for a moment? Or two at the most? Would you take that opportunity? To experience all of it? ALL OF IT? The beauty that is the giving of all that is you, essentially giving your self to somebody and accepting their self?
Would you do it? Would you revel in the beauty of perfect imperfections and then be able to move on? To carry the memories of that through the rest of your life? Or would you be afraid that the weight of that might bury everything else?
Is a moment of bliss worth a lifetime of never having it again?