Happily obsolete

I grew up the old fashioned way. In a time of electronic evolution and new technologies, my parents decided to bring me up the way they were, with no added help, no frivolous objects, thus repressing the urge to follow the latest trends and rendering me less of a victim of increasingly elaborate marketing ploys.

I learned to use a vinyl record player when my classmates were walking around with discmans, I had a twelve channel programmable television set and a cassette player when my contemporaries had a hundred channels, cable and the latest hi-fi systems. I also played with elaborate (and definitely non-aerodynamic) paper airplanes and retro electric trains when gameboys and Nintendos were all the rage. You’d probably assume that made me mad, and you’re right, it did…at first.

As years went by, the more I had access to what was considered obsolete and the less I dabbled with modernism, the more I learned to count on myself for entertainment and everyday tasks like reheating dishes in a skillet or oven pan and finding the right technique to not end up with half of my food stuck at the bottom of what could easily become a dish-washing nightmare. And yes, I never had microwave popcorn with all the fake butter and ten thousand useless ingredients; instead, I went through bags of burnt kernels to perfect the corn popping technique, and guess what? I still can’t make a decent batch. Didn’t expect this turn of events, huh? I learned to cook whole meals from scratch while my friends were playing video games but I still can’t make a half decent bowl of popcorn at 27, how ridiculous. Well, it doesn’t end there. Since I moved from my parents’ house, I have had access to microwaves much more often – home still being a preserved haven of health and lowkey technology – and have used them a few times to reheat something in a hurry or make the occasional mug cake. However, popcorn remained a pan-only treat until about a week ago when my roommate popped some in a paper bag. The thought having pleased me, I decided today to try my hand at the matter and followed the relatively childish procedure: put popcorn in bag, close bag, program microwave and…pop! Except she forgot to tell me one thing: how many minutes do they take in there? I was alone and just pressed on 4, a reasonable time in the microwave world, I thought. One thing is for sure, guessing is a bad idea. A burning smell started exuding from the machine around three minutes in, but being in unfamiliar territory, I assumed it was a figment of my imagination, for how could anything burn in a microwave? Famous last words. I opened the door when the timer rang, unfortunate tune of my popcorn’s death sentence: inside the brown paper bag was a clump of black chunks formerly known as popped corn kernels. I’ll refrain from describing the dark cloud that also came out of my unfriendly helper.

Ultimately, I suppose my old-fashioned upbringing had nothing to do with my popcorn-making abilities, I believe I just don’t carry the kernel-popping gene (or the paper plane designing one if we’re being precise). Nevertheless, I think I’ll maintain the tradition of making my future children just as clueless about society’s downward spiral into the technological abyss, teaching them the value of time and what wonders a little elbow grease and creativity can produce. My train and record player patiently await their little hands…or mine until then.


For a friend

I know not how to make my voice say

That my heart cries for you today,

And I know not how to comfort thee

With much more than an earnest plea;

Today I ask all angels in the sky

To turn each gasp and every cry

Into beds of roses for her to sleep,

And may your soul learn not to weep

For we’re all but visitors doing time

Till those promised bells begin to chime.

We are so near the sweet departed

Who want us not so broken-hearted;

Despite the void and all the pain,

Remember not these days of rain

But count the days of sunny splendor

Given to us by ones so tender.

It is not far, this new hello

Though hours seem to pass so slow,

We’ll see their bright faces again

So keep in mind that until then

If your strength begins to sway

I am only a few steps away.

Half sunken friendships

Over the years, we shed friends like a snake sheds its old skin, leaving behind what no longer suits our current state of being. We walk away and take with us memories, remnants of those other humans forever stitched onto us.

As friends, we learn intimate details about one another, whether personal or random, things like favourite colours, birthdays or allergies; we learn them out of necessity, out of duty and out of love,  however varying the degree of it is. We accumulate knowledge of these other entities, keep our expertise of them safe within, willfully forgetting how possible all of it might one day become useless or obsolete. Friendships end, it is a fact human nature forces us to forget each time we embark on a new shared adventure, and so does our knowledge of all things pertaining to our once close chosen relation; we pick people, and we also choose to let them go, whether willingly or reluctantly. We’re no longer updated with joyful news, little tidbits of their daily lives, changes big or small…we are the strangers we first started as…but with baggage too deeply engraved to be forgotten. “No, don’t put strawberries on the cake she can’t…actually, go ahead, never mind…”. “Ahhh it’ s today, I forgot to wish…upon a star”. Sometimes it slips our mind, their sudden absence, how their importance weighs less on our life and heart..or does it really? Is every relationship we’ve built and forsaken truly erased from our hearts as from our minds, or does it all remain deeply etched under newer, kinder, better constructed ones?

Things change, but we remain marked, stained with little specks of all the somebodies we once knew, forced to deny how present they once were, unable to forget they were…so very there.

My fleeting soulmate

Soulmates. They say every person walking this Earth has one. They say we should seek them, find them, grab them, keep them. They are the light outside the tunnel, the purpose of the journey, the end prize of this life. They forget to tell us a soulmate isn’t always a lover, and that a soulmate once found won’t necessarily stay. If you find them, that is.
I went through life with a leg over my head and the other haphazardly stuck in a pail, stumbling, bumping into trees and falling off chairs, not knowing which road I was taking or how to sit still. I’ve met so many people, been to so many places, but my heart wandered on its own as I wandered in other directions, blindly. It got attached to memories like this one I have of you. I met you when I was still figuring out the world, when I was still figuring out myself, my demons and all my switches. We instantly clicked, like those tupperwares they keep trying to sell us on TV, the ones that don’t let the air in…or out. We became friends, talked and sat in silence, shared what we feared to share with others, spent mornings and nights doing nothing and everything, walking the streets like we owned them. It felt like looking in the mirror, but the image could hug me when a tear left my eye, the image spoke back to me, soothing me when I was down. And most importantly, we laughed; we’d just stare at each other and know what the other was thinking, instantly, magically. We were friends, best friends, and everyone tried to taint us. They said we had to be more, thought we kept our truths hidden, convinced us we were lying to ourselves and each other. And it worked. One day, a lifetime ago, you told me we were soulmates, and I believed you, young and naive, in search of more than I was persuaded to accept; we were family, makeshift and magnetic, but we didn’t last. We believed them and fell apart, like soulmates sometimes do; my soul felt safe with you till I found out that soulmates don’t exist, or maybe the one you seemed to be never really lived.
It’s been a year now, a year since I set myself free from the lie, that soulmates are forever, and that such friendships don’t die. Today I believe my soulmate was just another dream too good to be true, a figment of my imagination, and I feel sorry, but mostly for the person I convinced myself you were. You knew I was there, always, like a trusty old shoe, the one you discard in the corner of the room once it has served its purpose, still good enough to wear, but mostly to the supermarket. I really thought you made me less blue – boy, I really had no clue.

The waves of friendship

Screenshot_2016-02-23-10-50-50-1I am one of those who didn’t have much luck in friendship growing up, always falling upon the wrong people and searching in all the wrong places for a warm place to belong. I naturally ended up spending a lot of time alone, running away from the masses that just didn’t look like me or feel as I did. I regret nothing, this should be said.

Society does everything to make you feel like the problem lies within you, that you just aren’t worthy of the right people or even worse, that they don’t exist and you are forever doomed to walk this world alone, only finding company in cold conciliatory mirrors. Thing is, it’s all a question of random luck, not good or bad like everyone wants to paint it, just misplaced luck that one day makes a loud comeback and puts things perfectly in order.

We are the products of timing, the sufferers of providence, some given the chance to start pleasantly, surrounded by those they deem similar to them, and others enduring a longer journey that ultimately builds and prepares them for beautiful surprises, as they’re finally allowed to fit their supposedly unfit personas in the adequate pond. Because we’re all worthy, we all deserve people we can call home, people we can turn into family, we simply don’t all get to have it at the same time, and that’s OK. It’s not about popularity or likeability, don’t believe the rumors and what appears to be; you may have hundreds of fans and still feel alone, hear a thousand I love you’s yet feel empty and unfulfilled. It’s a question of clicking with other human beings, finding a twin spark in the eyes of another, that rare understanding which makes true friendship the holy grail of beautiful relationships. Good news is, there’s at least one for each of us, sometimes more, hiding unwillingly from our sight, awaiting pure hazard to do its thing and pull us together.

So hang on tirelessly, hope incessantly, believe firmly in the inevitability of happiness and constantly endeavour to make yourself a better person even if you have to take all the hard steps alone; you’ll only end up stronger and more worthy of those fireworks. In the end, the most important thing to remember is that it’s not your fault, it’s not you, it’s the places and the time that are to blame, do not doubt your self-worth and don’t diminish your self-esteem; we each have a different adventure to embark on and a different landing space. All we have to do is buckle up and tighten our grip, for that exhilarating wave is coming and we’re ALL allowed to ride it.

Bowie to Bowie

I suddenly felt like paying tribute to the great David Bowie by creating a “poem” with only his lyrics, taken here and there. Here’s my adieu, with your own words Mr. Stardust:

I’ve heard a rumour from Ground Control
Oh no, don’t say it’s true
I’m awake in an age of light living it because of you
Don’t let the sun blast your shadow
The moment you know, you know you know
Wonder where you are
Watching all the world and war torn
Said you took a big trip, they said you moved away
Happened oh, so quietly they say

Rebel, rebel, let’s dance
Put on your red shoes and dance
Let’s dance for fear your grace should fall
How many times does an angel fall?
Nobody here can do it for me
I’m in tears again when you rock ‘n’ roll with me
Ground control to Major Tom,
All the stars look very differently today, Is there life on Mars? There’s a starman waiting in the sky.
I’m stuck with a valuable friend
As long as there’s sun, as long as there’s rain
As long as there’s me, as long as there’s you
“I’m happy. Hope you’re happy, too”.

Ziggy really sang, screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo, became the special man, then we were Ziggy’s Band.
Eh, eh, how could they know? That given time, the leaders go
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Here I stand, foot in hand, talking to my wall, I’m not quite right at all
Keep your electric eye on me babe;
Time may change me, but I can’t trace time
For my love is like the wind, and wild is the wind
And though nothing will keep us together, we could steal time, just for one day, we can be heroes, for ever and ever, what d’you say?
“Oh I’ll be free, just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free, ain’t that just like me”

The dead can play

She’s in a coma, they said.

I rarely thought of her, the little old lady with a hole in her throat. Cancer had deprived her of her esophagus, her voice resembling the guttural sound effects that always amused me in movies. I saw her mostly when everyone was sad, crying, mourning, like a shadow haunting the already gloomy reunions that were funerals, but our relationship never evolved past that: hello, they’re gone, sigh.

Now she’s gone. I had promised myself this one I’d talk to more, get to know well, memorize her stories and immortalize on paper the way I didn’t her sister. I wanted to grasp one’s history, maybe to compensate for my past mistakes; we don’t care enough when it’s still time and then it’s too late. Life has a way of taking people away before we’ve molded a precise impression of their existence in our memory, before we truly understand their every breath should have mattered more.

She’s up there. Or maybe not. She was a feisty one I was told, dynamic and lively; hard to believe the tiny crumpled up human I had met was once the picture of health, some force to be reckoned with… and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I took my time as yours ran out. I’m sorry I cared too late. I’m sorry I don’t feel enough pain now you’re gone…and I’m sorry that doesn’t change a thing.

I always imagined the dead seated at a floating table just like the one in Mary Poppins, playing cards and laughing. They somehow all fit around it and it never seemed crowded; a place for everyone and a never-ending game…the way it should have been on Earth. Some Sinatra playing in the background, maybe even Sinatra himself – that’s if they allowed the little bastard in in the first place. This image of death appeals to me, a place where things happen the way they should have down here, peace and joy for all. I hope you’re at peace now little lady, dancing alongside Fred Astaire wondering how you suddenly understand English. I hope you feel young again, and that someday we’ll meet at that table, and finally… we’ll talk.