Standing Outside the Fire

My Kindle Fire has a slow processor. Not a big deal, except when I started it this morning, I clicked on my WordPress app and it said that the SD card where I’d stored the application wasn’t available, and I needed to re-download it. At roughly 0600, I am slow on the uptake, and I started to panic. Almost immediately, I thought, “JFC. I’m going to have to go back to factory settings to fix this thing.” Because that’s what I do. I get enough of tech support to last my whole life when I’m working. I don’t fix my own computers for shit. I keep everything in the cloud and on a 3 TB backup drive so that if anything goes wrong, I am free to wipe any device and just start over. It is my go-to answer for anything and everything.

I realize how ridiculous this sounds, especially since I am really good at troubleshooting problems on every operating system imaginable. But think of it this way…….. when I was working in a restaurant, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook for myself….. and that attitude has lasted for quite a while. I would much rather run on sandwiches/not dogs, snacks, and Cheerios with yogurt than stand in front of the stove. Part of it is indolence. Part of it is that meals have ceased to be an event. I need fuel, not fancy. When I got that through my head, my whole attitude toward food changed.

When I cook, I want to use all the classic techniques I’ve been taught, plate beautifully, etc. That pretty much means a thousand calories more than my computer ass needs…. and that’s a thing. My musician friends call it piano butt…. although I am sure that playing the piano is much more of a workout than playing the keyboard…. or maybe not, since I type 80 wpm on a bad day (let’s be clear- I type that fast when I’m thinking, but not nearly as fast when I’m copying something that can’t be cut and pasted, like a document….. and I’m too cheap to pay for good OCR software).

Speaking of documents, for one job in which I applied, I have no idea why, but they wanted a copy of my driving record. I ordered it over the Internet (not cheap), and it came with password protection. In order to upload it, instead of using OCR, I just printed it and rescanned it to a PDF. The encryption wasn’t hard, just my driver license number, but what employer wants to go through all that shit?

In case you’re wondering, and I’m sure you are, I haven’t had a wreck or a ticket in three years and three months, which means everything on my record has fallen off for insurance purposes. That may change with this latest wreck because I was ticketed for failure to control my speed, which basically means I wasn’t speeding per se, just going too fast for that curve since it wasn’t marked. And paying the city back comes out of the property damage part of my insurance, and I don’t know if that adds points to my insurance or not. I’ll have to ask my aunt, because even though she doesn’t write for Maryland, it would be easy enough for her to find out.

That being said, I have no plans to get a “new to me” car anytime soon. This is because when I am forced to walk everywhere, my depression fades into the background without having to buy a gym membership. Even the Y is expensive…. although I can’t help it. I saw on a Facebook image a copy of the application for the Y, and when asked how the client heard about the YMCA, he put The Village People. I am driving that into the ground for all eternity. Every Y application I fill out. Every. Single. One.

When DDD (Darling Dangerous Dana) and I lived in Portland, there was a YMCA that had pay as you go. It was like, $3.50 a visit. So perhaps I will call them and see if they have the same deal. I think it would be fun to walk to the Metro and back (about four miles) and then get into a hot tub almost as large as a swimming pool. My bathtub just cannot compete.

Walking downtown is infinitely easier than taking the bus. That is because the bus that picks me up at the end of my street (closer than the school bus when I was in elementary school) only runs about every half hour or so, whereas the bus that runs along Hwy. 29, Colesville Rd., runs every 10. However, in order to get to the direction toward downtown, you have to cross that busy highway in front of drivers who rarely, if ever, notice you at the crosswalk. I have almost been hit a number of times, and Franklin Ave., the crosswalk that has a light, has no sidewalk down to Colesville. I run the likelihood of getting hit either way, unless I manage to catch the 14. That bus is rad, though, because one direction goes directly to the Silver Spring Metro stop, and the other way goes directly to Takoma Park, where my favorite restaurant is located about three blocks away, Busboys & Poets. There are many in the city, but Takoma Park is so easily accessible that I’ve been to very few of the others. Taking the Metro is paramount, though, because parking is so limited Jesus might come before you get a space. It’s one of the few places I took my mom while she was here, so I also have that memory to tie me there… even more so that she liked it and thought it was cool.

The other thing that made me so happy is that she didn’t rent a car while she was here, because she wanted to see how I got around and see how my life really worked. We took public transportation everywhere, and it was so much fun to, for once, have someone sit next to me on every trip for a week. The only thing that went wrong is that my mom and I almost got separated on the Yellow Line, and I got stuck in the doors trying to keep my mom from wandering off without me, because trust me when I say that she was directionally challenged and being separated would not have ended well… especially since I didn’t have time to tell her to just wait for me in the station because the next train was only four minutes away.

They finally noticed me an opened the doors again in order to keep me from riding with half my body outside the car…. but I often wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t. #gozoey

Kevin Spacey. Gotta talk about it. You knew I would. Talk about standing outside the fire. That bastard blamed his behavior on drunkenness and gave every evangelical Christian in the nation reason to believe what they already do….. that pedophilia and homosexuality are the same. Luckily, there are less people on that bandwagon than there used to be, but how DARE he.

In the Catholic church, no communion wine is allowed to be left over at the end of the service. It’s like blaming raping an altar boy because the priest had to celebrate five times in a row.

Gay people aren’t predators. PREDATORS are predators.

Once more for the people in the back………

GAY PEOPLE AREN’T PREDATORS. PREDATORS ARE PREDATORS.

If you read the story in its entirety, Spacey got this kid alone (classic looking for a target) and then got on him like white on rice before this kid even knew what was happening to him.

Well, there goes watching Glengarry Glen Ross again.

Maybe Kevin Spacey should just GO TO LUNCH.

Standing inside the fire, because go to hell. I’ve spent too much time with too many narcissists to think you’ll ever change, and I won’t even give you the benefit of the doubt. You can share a table with Sam Adams, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, and Mark Saling.

You can all deal with the heat together… and if, by some chance, hell freezes over, I hope it’s still cold enough to burn your skin off.

This is where I say the part where I’ve gone into my “nothing box,” and my actions will never meet up with my angry words. I’m not going to slice off their heads, but I for damn sure am going to fantasize about it…..

Standing outside the fire.

The Power of the Universe

I cannot stop thinking about Jeffrey Thames and all the work we have the possibility of doing in this community. I am serious when I say that meeting was my hot coal, the thing that took the fire in my belly and refreshed it anew in a way that I haven’t felt since the senior high youth retreat at Christ United Methodist Church. I was 15 or 16 then, and Mikal Bowman was my best friend, the one I could safely say I loved more than myself. I was just as invested in her happiness as I was my own. She was the one to whom I could submit in my daily life without even realizing it was happening. This was the day that realization became reality, both in the chord between us and in my own chord with God.

They put us in groups of two, and blindfolded one… me. There was thick, thick twine called the “lifeline,” and it was a trust exercise to get us to submit to our partner’s direction. We could hold on to the “lifeline,” but we couldn’t see. It was the partner’s job to make sure we didn’t run into anything, to be our eyes in the darkness. Mikal (whom my dad affectionately called “Mikalwave”) and I had gone about 15 steps when I GOT IT. My enormous ego crumbled into the dirt and I fell against Myke, crying so hard I COULD NOT EVEN.

Maybe there’s not a God, and maybe there is. I took Logic as a math requirement at University of Houston, because apparently Logic using symbols and Algebra are the same thing (never in three lifetimes). We spent the first half of the semester proving God exists, and the second half of the semester disproving. No matter what we did, we couldn’t prove it either way.

THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT ENTIRELY.

Faith is, as Elaine Pagels so eloquently says, “beyond belief.” The question is why? My answer is that God is too big to comprehend, and will never be proven with fact. This is because we cannot know that anyone is listening when we pray, but we see its effects every day when we are willing to submit to the idea that there is something greater than ourselves; a deep chord, manhole covered in size that can only be accessed by looking inward.

You will know this feeling intimately if you are a musician or singer, because there are two factors at play. The first is that in either singing or playing, you are breathing all the way down, using your entire body to focus on every breath. The second is what happens when everyone in the room is taking those breaths together.

Let’s extrapolate.

What would happen if everyone in a congregation saw God as individually breathing all the way down, and taking those breaths together? How would church politics change when everyone in the room is focusing on the chord that runs between them? How would church politics change when everyone in the room submits to it?

How would the American system of caring for “the least of these” change if we, as a country, were all breathing together?

Diane Syrcle has a great line about this, which she said in front of a treble choir (meaning it was all women), hands in a triangle around her uterus, that “singing is breathing all the way down into the power of the universe… because it is.” New birth, new life, new hope… the power of the universe so close we can touch it… literally. Catholics are onto something by praying to Mary, because it is praying to the power of birth… as tangible an evidence of faith as there is in this life.

If you can’t believe in a God, can you believe in a baby?

Can you submit to the power that comes with a tabula rasa, a clean slate that so many permutations of growth that it would take eons to calculate?

There is never a time when I feel more religious than Advent, because there we are, all waiting for the baby together. What kinds of growth will we do when we realize that we have the chance to be born again every single year? What kinds of ego will fall away? What kinds of sins will you release in the name of rebirth? How will you grow as that Holy Spirit touches a hot coal to your lips and burns away the old versions of you? What will you accomplish that you didn’t in the year before? How will you force yourself into a different reality? I often say that life is a series of learning to commit different sins rather than the same ones over and over. That is the very essence of acknowledging your humanness, that you cannot live life without flaws, but you can let go of them as you forgive yourself; they disappear into the ether as you grow.

The power of the universe comes into play when we’re all doing that very thing at the same time…. the way musicians breathe.

How you forgive yourself is the question with which we struggle- not once, but over and over and over. I cannot speak for you. For me, the answer is that feeling- the way my muscles stretch to accommodate so much more air. As Jeffrey would say, “when you breathe in, you take in the power of the universe.

Whether you believe it or not.

Amen

#prayingonthespaces………………………..