Having a surreal moment
Thanks to Facebook.
Looking through an ex-boyfriend’s old profile pictures, remembering which ones I took of him, as his girlfriend, and, for years before that, as his best friend. Seeing the gaps between uploaded photos where he deleted shots that included me. The ridiculous photo that I uploaded for him one night over winter break, when he let me goof around on his profile to try to cheer me up. I’d been quiet all night, practically in tears, admitting that the relationship I’d just ended had been filled with emotional abuse for over a year.
How can you know so much of someone’s life, be so much of someone’s life, and then one day, not know anything about them at all?
No one else has ever felt as comfortable and simple. It’s never been so easy as it was then. My whole life since has been an endless string of over-thinking and questioning.
My memory is sloppy. Some details, it preserves pristinely. Others, it pushes away. The ones it keeps seem irrelevant most of the time. The t-shirt I was wearing when E. told me he’d cheated on me. The cereal I ate for breakfast on the first day of sixth grade. The smell of B.’s cologne on a date night. The first time I had my blood drawn. Things like my license plate number or what kind of cancer my dad had, well, those things are mostly a mystery to me.
But the phone call where I rode my bike and asked him to come back to Kansas City for the summer? Reading my senior capstone paper, all 20 pages of it, to him over the phone? Watching Superbad for the first time in his bedroom, both of us sniffly with colds? Those stupid, useless, unimportant scraps of my past still haunt me.
I wish my priorities were straighter.
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost."
Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. (via oliviacirce)
When I lose hope in the world, I remember this poem.
I do not have the energy for friends who can’t find the time to be emotionally or physically available for me.
I’m tired of excusing selfish behavior.
This is the last time.
Went jeans-shopping today, and I couldn’t find any jeans…period? Not just, ‘couldn’t find jeans I liked.’ There were actually no pants to be found.
Where have all the pants gone?
Standard Style, Banana, and Urban had a collective total of maybe a dozen pairs of jeans. And none of them were close to my size or a dark wash. What is happening in Kansas City? Is this a sign that leggings-as-pants are out and pants-as-pants are in? Because if that’s the case, I’m actually okay with today’s failed shopping trip. Otherwise….
"Me: Wait. So who’s Robocop?
Joe: He’s half-human, half-robot.
Me: And he’s in what movie?
Joe: Kindergarden Cop. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Boys have penis. Girls have vagina. That’s the main line from it.
Me: So in Terminator…Arnold is the terminator? Or is the molten-lava Robocop the Terminator?
Joe: Arnold is—did you just try to bring Robocop back into this? MOLTEN LAVA?
Joe: Do you even know what Robocop LOOKS like? Pull up a Google search.
Me: …Is that BATMAN? Robocop looks like Batman mixed with Daft Punk. He doesn’t even look like a cop! Not-Robocop looks far more like a cop.
Joe: What?! He has cop lips."
Oh, hello two-tiny-beers-and-one-glass-of-wine-drunk Caitlin. It’s been awhile.
Wish I could see inside your head and know that you’re certain.