“What did you do today?”

Ahh… the eternal question, especially since I’ve been off of work. It’s actually a two-part query… “Have you looked for work?” and “Did you work on the taxes?” But the “What did you do today?” is understood to comprise both of those nuances. Being equally obtuse in my reply, I’ll outline key points of my day, but never being specific. Then the conversation will either continue on to my getting berated for my lackadaisical attitude toward the all important chore of getting the tax papers compiled so that we can give them to the tax guy to prepare the filings, or I’ll just get “the look” which will tell me the same thing without any words, and if I squint through the process, I can sometimes pretend that it wasn’t cast my way.

In the meantime, I look at the passing of time and am both aghast at how quickly it passes, and how difficult it is for me to get much of anything done. I am managing to do things… little things… small steps toward the completion of things. I’m cooking meals almost every night. That takes time and focus… and it ties my attention for long enough to keep from having to think about other things. Cutting, slicing and dicing vegetables becomes a sort of meditation, and gives me moments of zen-like respite from the rest of the chatter that is going on inside my head. For all of the berating I get from external sources, I get an equal if not greater amount from myself. 

–stopping to transfer a load of clean clothes from the washer into the dryer–

My son is a boy of absolutes… he speaks in terms of “always” or “never” … there doesn’t seem to be a sense of greyness in his perceptions… it’s either black or white, but never a mixture of both. I wonder if I was that way, and if that develops later on, when we have had some time to experience our own sense of greyness of the Self. For a good stretch, when I was working and spent at the end of the day, and we’d go to eat at restaurants a lot it was “We always eat out…” or “You never cook at home.” And there’s still the “You never do laundry.”

Obviously, that is largely exaggerated… otherwise we’d be running around nekkid, or our clothes would take on lives of their own and walk themselves into the washing machine. I wonder, sometimes, whether he’ll remember how fiercely I love and cherish him, or whether his recollections of his childhood will mostly be focused on my inadequacies as a caretaker, and the fact that he’d have to hoard his (dirty) jeans, weeks at a time, because I didn’t launder them often enough?

Will he remember that I took the time and money to create special excursions for us… to play tourists in the environs… stays at The Roosevelt and The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood… tidepool and shell gathering trips to the beaches… on sketch crawls through the L.A. Zoo and Union Station and Olvera Street… and multitudes of wondrous meals in equally wondrous restaurants, where his fabulously refined palate that I spoke of several weeks ago was honed? 

Well… I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far… I’ve laundered several loads of clothes… I’ve sent emails to the school regarding the upcoming Western Canada visit (and Gabriel missing school during that time), and an email to one of his teachers in whose classes (he has two subjects with her) Gabriel got F’s in, asking for some input on current progress and how to remedy the situation. I’ve emptied out the trash bin on the balcony and refurbished it with a new bag. I’ve had breakfast (a shake) and prepared a pot of coffee and drank a cup. I’ve put some sweats on. I’ve sprayed carpet cleaner on the rug where it got stained (so, in regard to my “experiment” from my last post… didn’t stain the mattress, but didn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time, either). I read an article in Cookie Magazine entitled Louder Than Bombs by Susan Gregory Thomas, and cried. I’ve pulled the bag containing the jumble of receipts that need sorting through for tax preparation purposes and have put it on the dining room table. 

Well… that’s about it for now. I have other things on my to-do list today. Sign up for the EDD website thingie… drive with Gabriel over to meet Bonnie at the theatre to go see a movie… coordinate some bill payments. Work some more on my chapbook (collaborative project) pages. Meditate for a little bit, if I can manage to shut out the brain chatter for long enough to calm down and find my center… if I can get to my center, which is soft and molten and hurting, and is surrounded by a prickly shell, just before you get to the middle of me.

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