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Parlor Games

January 6, 2009
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I possess an irrational fear of birds.

Do you remember having to answer questions like, ‘if you were stuck on an island, what 3 things would you have to have with you?’ or, ‘if you could have dinner with one person through out all of history, who would it be?’ Uh huh. I used to believe that if I were an animal, I’d be a bird. I loved to travel and fly, and having the power to do that on my own, to feel the rush of windy excitement under actual, tangible, feathery wings… well that was what I thought was meant for.

Everyone else thought I’d be a cat.

What?? Does that mean I’m sneaky? Stealthy? Sleepy? Soft? Stuck up? Honest? Ok. Well, after seeing my parents’ cats act all Miss Independent, I’m good with being classed as feline. But put me in league with the big cats; call me ‘tigressa.’ Find a mexican and ask them what that means– ^.~ Because while lazy and doted upon I can appreciate, I have to be the one gifting the mouse on the door step. It is not within my personality to go the rest of my life without tasting blood.

But what I wonder now is, have I changed so much that I fear what used to invigorate me? I am plagued by the lingering suspicion that I can’t play with the lions anymore. And when did my wings get chopped off? Many people seem to search high and low for success and something to excel at. Some sabotage their happiness. Others just want comfort, routine, acceptance. I used to be the one that soared toward stars and other galaxies, not for anyone else, but just because it was purely beautiful. My new sense of humanity has shown me that this is usually at someone else’s expense, even though one never means it to be so. Is this conscience my way of sabotaging my prize-winning destiny? Or has some Mega-God shown me that am I truly winning now?

Or is it just:
When I was 12 & 13 we lived in Australia. My family is one of those disgusting campbell’s chunky soup commercials, where we eat dinner together every night, and talk about our days… Except my mom was an editor for Vegetarian Times, so we eat balanced meals. Anyway, one ordinary evening, my brilliant father was sitting at dinner and in the middle of my chicken and vegetables, he told us very matter-of-factly that while one of the other scientists was riding his bike to work, he got his eye pecked out by a nesting swallow. As the story goes, he proceeded to pick up his eyeball, get calmly on his bike, and ride to the hospital rather than his lab. This poor victim had been doing everything right, walking his bike, wearing a helmet with foil on it, and avoiding nesting areas, saving the planet with his zero-emission bike exhaust, and probably wearing sunscreen no less… only to loose his ability to see things in the periphery. The kicker is that my dad then got up for seconds, merely stating that it was probably a horrific experience, but luckily our eyeballs don’t have many nerve endings.

I’m reminded of Alanis Morrisette when I tell this story. It’s not a horror flick like living in Bodega Bay, but a tale of irony. It says to me that none of us are safe. We can play by the rules and eventually get what’s coming to us… except that maybe what’s coming isn’t that big promotion. It’s getting cut down, as we’re given what we think we can’t handle, not what we covet. And it’s quite perfect actually, the proverbial blinders were just made physical.  Does that mean we should all do crazy things like quit our stable jobs to dance in Zanzibar marketplaces? Maybe not. But the birds, the hunters, they will be the ones picking you apart if you don’t find something to devote yourself to and swoop down upon it. Find yourself something that makes it all seem like a game rather than an obligation. That rush is why we fly.

Maybe I possess a rational fear of birds. And being a bird-killing cat suits me? Ok, I don’t know about that, but if I were to be stuck on an island with my spf chapstick and solar powered ipod, seagulls would make excellent dinner for the late Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, and I. Just saying.


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Protected: Becoming a Neilsen Household

January 4, 2009
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