• You've Got Mail ...

    (I wrote this last week, but was caught up in personal stuff and couldn't post it.)

    * All tense issues and word choices intentional.

    For the past year, whenever I put my foot deep into the spot where my mouth was, I often posted this on Facebook:

    Steffan Piper … says all the wrong things …

    I did this ten times since last January. How do I know this? Because I keep a diary. Groan. I know. Slap me. I'm a 'diarist' and I spill my guts into the damn thing about the specifics of my arseinine behaviour and the goals I trip over trying to sort my hawk and handsaw. I also spend a lot of nights rolling around in bed thinking about what I should've said instead, but never do.

    I never will get to say those things either. I never get the chance to. But if I did, I'd probably be overcome with remorse. Who wants to hear the ridiculous and ultra-specific monologue from an old bore like me? What would be achieved if I was able to weave my thoughts into words that made sense and stuck in the mind as poignant and immediate? Writing is where I reign. Perhaps I should stay there and stop fantasizing that I'll one day be eloquent and speak with enough charm and confidence as to get my point across. I think I'm as effective as I'm going to be and I need to accept it.

    I learned a few things today, inadvertently, but it came with some emotional pain and some trouble. There's a lot of things in life that I'd rather do than argue, trust me – a lot of things, but I find myself embroiled in some absurd conversations where the other party isn't really listening and carries on like a ticket taker behind a glass window. You can't really ever get through to someone like that, and they'll never be able to make contact with you either. Some people you just can't reach. But it's like monopoly, we all must all pass go and collect that two hundred. It's part of the game. We all approach the window and state our business and look for something more, but I don't see anything like that coming anytime soon.

    Right now, I'm chuckling to myself and realizing that I need to not take myself so damn seriously. Sips tea. Eats a chocolate covered Ritz cracker. Jesus. I'm also watching -- you guessed it -- You've Got Mail.

    If I continue to say the wrong things, I'll just have to stew on it and make note. I think the epiphany that I've recently had about it, is that I keep expecting myself to get better at speaking, not putting my foot in the old kisser, saying what I mean and so forth. Being more aware of not being able to say what I want, continuing to not be satisfied with what I do say, and hoping to say something better is the real goal – and its own reward. And of course, not becoming jaded in the process. The quest of not being over-ridden by cynicism is hard enough.

    Ever read, heard or spoken the prayer of St. Francis? Yes, all you non-Catholics can google it. It won't kill you. There's a very interesting line that goes:

    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

    What's really interesting about that is that it confronts the person praying head on. It confronts the person by asking a really simple question:

    Is all this stuff that you say and do for others really all about you? Is it all just a twisted road that always leads back to you?

    Hmmm … This 'problem' I have is really just an internal mechanism that's a quiet voice somewhere in the background asking for something else, wanting. It's probably just selfishness unchecked. I want to 'clarify' my statements and my positions for myself and not for the betterment of the total end result. Talk about sabotage. Or at least that's what the higher-mind (ughh … I hate that expression – “higher mind,” puke) tells me.

    Look, it's like this. I live my life the best I can. I'm honest. I'll tell you to your face the things that I say behind your back – and I'm consistent about it. The people that 'know' me, know this about me and even when it's gone bad, they've still stayed relatively close, or as close as comfort allows them. I go out of my way for even the acquaintances that I keep. I'm loyal. I don't make a mess and I'm house-trained. Ha. Sounds like I'm selling a puppy. I also have my obsessions with things, most of them are inane and harmless, but a few of these things are combustible and should be handled delicately. Or, so I'm told. I'm good at psychological issues, relationships, chess and remote viewing (just kidding, ahem), but at the end of it, I seek to understand as much to be understood. SO, maybe I'm halfway there.

    Rambling enough? If anybody reads this entire thing, there may be a prize structure created.



    1. This is just excellent. And rings lots of bells with me. Maybe we writers are just like this. ? Some of us, at least.

    2. As a no longer practicing Catholic, I am utterly familiar with this prayer. Much of it speaks volumes, especially the section you spoke of. To console, understand, love, give, pardon. I think it's so important to make sure we do these things especially if we ask for them in return.

      And I think an honest person is a dying breed, and those that speak the truth should be admired, not admonished.

      The problem with the truth is that it hurts much of the time, that is not the problem of the giver of the truth, but the one at the receiving end. Sometimes we're so quick to discount what's true when it casts shadows on us.

      Keep speaking the truth, brother Steffan, the people worth it will stick around to hear it.

    3. BTW, what's my prize? ;)

    4. I'll have to figure something out worthwhile. ;)

    5. The Indian knew
      that deer moved in circles...

      that if the hunter calculated
      his moves with skill...

      he could run the swift deer
      into submission.

      Its hooves would bleed,
      and the animal stumbled.

      The Indian was to kneel
      above his dying prey...

      putting his mouth
      to that of the deer...

      stealing its last breath.

      While he had earned
      the swiftness of the beast...

      in its death he was struck by
      its peace and stillness...

      and by his own.

    6. Chris,

      You always had an intuitive sense about what I was doing. Good to see that nothing's changed. Either that, or I'm more obvious than I think I am, haha.