April 13, 2010

This wind blows...No, really.

Wind makes me crazy. Maybe if you know me, or know of me, you might me mumbling something along the lines of “Lady, I’ve seen you in CostCo in the stillness of consumerism, and even then you exude an undeniable crazed charm.” Well, thank you and let’s move on.

Wind makes me crazier than usual, and that is saying a lot. We’ve had some windy weather here lately, and I haven’t been coping well.  I’ve often uttered “It’s the wind. I can’t take it.” Naturally the response I usually get is a polite smile and nod, the type of response one might give a hoarder upon unannounced arrival when she states, “I was just straightening up.” (Yes, expect the hoarder references for a while, because like many women of a certain age who collect more than one category of entirely valuable items, I am petrified by the thought of the slipper slope to Hoarderville.)

So let me explain the wind problem, because it is real. (You could ask any self-respecting Pagan about the relationship between air and thought, but I’ll bet you won’t. I’m a drifted Pagan, just as I am a drifted Catholic, so I’ll skip the earth religion reasons behind this and give you my homespun metaphor. Mmmmm…homespun metaphor. My favorite!)

Thoughts are a hairdo. On calm days, when the breezes are still and the air all around is gentle and essentially unnoticed, thoughts are organized. They are a classic Vidal Sassoon bob, each hair in its place, unmoving, in order of layer and relevance. 

On these calm days each thought is also in its place, unmoving – and in order of priority and relevance. Bangs represent immediate tasks: breakfast and lunch for kids, get them to school, sleepover tonight, switch out that load of laundry, don’t trip over the dog.

Side layers represent things to be considered within a broader amount of time: gas bill is due, next Saturday’s potluck, costume for the kids spring musical, my brakes are squeaking again, what’s that smell in the back yard.

Longer layer in back of head is longer-term things to think about: idea for a play, a great couch you saw in a catalog, maybe you should try wearing brown, reconsider gluten, did you dream your ex died or did he die? 

Underneath layer in back that knots in your necklace clasp represents well hidden secrets and regrets: you should have gone for your degree, you only like one of your parents, you can’t stand one of your kids’ names, you don’t like music, you prefer tv to sex, you can’t remember how you met your boyfriend.

And those tiny new hairs around the edges? Those are ongoing, like eat something, sleep a little, love this, hate that, tolerate the rest.

You can see that calm days are a very nice, easy to handle hairdo. The inner voice sounds doable:  “Make toast, get the kids to school, answer some emails. Hey, don’t forget to work on that play and maybe look up the cost of that nice couch. Sleep well, despite your lack of an MFA.”

Windy days mess everything right up, no pun intended. All of the same hairs are there, all the same lengths and all stemming from the same point in the scalp. But the wind mixes them up so there’s no rhyme or reason, no prioritizing, no hairdo anymore.

The inner monologue changes: “Get kids to school, lose twenty pounds, buy milk, the chorus to that song needs more strings, Emma needs glasses, why didn’t I get a degree, the brakes are squeaking, what street did I live on in Chicago in 1994? I can’t find the phone, stop breathing so loud, buy milk, does USO need me to tour Afghanistan? I smell bacon, my priest in fourth grade smelled like ear wax, buy milk, our garage should be a rec room, throw in a load of whites, how did I get so tired, look up grants for female playwrights, try giving up dairy, buy milk, the kids are late for school.”

Usually my mind will race like this for a few hours before I notice the weather.  (Honestly, where would I fit in “Is it windy?”) Once I ascertain that it is, in fact, windy, my thought patterns and stress levels do not change, but I do have a sense of relief knowing that there is a reason for the tangled mess, and the likelihood for an end to the madness. What can I do? Not much. Pray for rain. Pop a Valium. Go with it and take notes. Sometimes a zinger comes through that I’d never think of on a tranquil kind of day.

After the storm has passed there is a feeling of exhaustion, almost a hangover from the wind. I need to set my thoughts back in order, sort of brush my hair and detangle after a ride in a convertible with no scarf. Make sense of it all.

So there you go. Next time I toss off a, “This wind! It’s making me crazy!” you’ll know what I mean. I’m not talking about the lawn chairs getting blown over,  I’m talking about buying milk and overcoming regrets.

With love and back-combing, 

p.s. Yes, what I’ve just described is mania. Thank you, Dr. Mind-your-own-business. If you’re so smart, why does it come with the wind, huh?

April 12, 2010

This is a test of your emergency status update service. Status: updated.