Sunday, May 20, 2012

What am I saving objects for?

I once heard that you should never save things for a special occasion, if you do you will never enjoy the things you have. For me that might very well be true. I am given things all the time and I think to myself I will have to save this for something special. That special never comes and the item sits unused. I love these objects and want to use them, but never seem to find the right time. So a couple months ago I woke up and decided to change that. I use the perfumed hand cream everyday not just on a date. My muscles are sore from the gym and that wonderful scented bubble bath is going to be perfect to sooth the aching joints. The jewelry worn when I go out to dinner?... It's on right now and I am getting ready to go to the grocery store. The note paper is being used up, because there will be more beautiful note paper by other designers next year. The Hudson Bay blanket is on the foot of the bed. The cloths I save to wear for just the right day because I feel "pretty" in them, are being worn everyday, why not feel pretty all the time. And my grandmothers good china? I had lunch and used one of her sandwich plates. I realized that for most things there never will be the perfect time, so we have to make the time, and make that time count.

My grandmother's china is beautiful because it was hers. When I use it, which has been often, it makes me think of my grandparents. It reminds me of holidays and those special meals when the whole family is together. It takes me back home into a place where I keep my fondest memories. If the plate was left in the cupboard I would not have those moments where I look at the plate and smile. When I wash them, I wouldn't have the image of my grandmother flash through my mind and linger while I remember helping her wash the dishes. For the longest time these dishes sat in a box in the closet, waiting for holidays. Now they are out and remind me that everyday is a special day. I still worry about breaking them, but the truth is I can buy more. Besides I have enough to seat 8 and only have a table for 6.

I find myself now going through old boxes and taking things out to use them. We should spending less time worrying about what if and more time using the objects we already love to make lasting memories. What is more important when I am old and gray? The pristine dish still in a box or the warm memory of a chipped piece of china at lunch.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hulk Smash!

Lets talk Incredible Hulk.
When I was a kid The Incredible Hulk was my favorite comic book character, and then he became a television show that I insisted on watching every week. For me, the Hulk was more than a lumbering beast. He is the modern day version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The nice doctor, trying to create something good for humanity, but in his desperation to prove his theories his vanity and pride take him over the edge creating an alter ego that is his antithesis. Unlike Hyde, the Hulk is not a murderer. The Hulk in the comics has changed a lot and I personally liked the original. I like the idea of the inner fight we all have with good and evil. The fine line we all walk everyday to control our emotions when we are pushed to our breaking point. For me that is what this story is basically about, controlling our darker side so that we don't let our anger get the best of us. I am sure that I am not the only one who somedays wish I could let that monster out to have a heyday with someone who is being mean to myself or others. For me, I will let people walk all over me, but pick on other defenseless people and I flip out. When I was in school, I would see kids picking on other kids and I had a bad habit of getting angry and stepping into the situation. Needless to say, I got into many fights that my inner Hulk won in trying to help others.

We can all associate with Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk. We all have something we try and hide from the public, a part of us that we don't like, yet every once and a while it comes roaring out and no matter how hard we try we can't stop it. We all get angry, stomp around, say things, or do things in anger that we regret once we calm down. We all have a little bit of the angry Hulk in us, a bit of the super human Hulk strength that pours through our muscles as adrenaline when we need it most. How many times have you heard about people performing super human deeds to save someone. Most of the time we are all regular Bruce Banners, but when it counts, I mean really counts, our Incredible Hulk comes out of all of us. Sometimes we are embarrassed because of the mess our Hulks made and sometimes we praise our inner Hulks for saving us once again. In the new Avengers movie Iron Man says, "But we have a Hulk." And so do you. We all have a Hulk inside us waiting to be let out. Some people are really good at keeping it in and others let The Hulk out everyday while driving on the freeway at rush hour. For most of us it is finding a way to channel that anger and use it towards something productive. I like to think that if my world were to be threatened my Hulk would take over and there would be a lot of "Hulk Smash" followed by lots of ... well.... Smashing. I believe that we all like to think we have a dangerous side, mine is green and filled with gamma radiation. I even have a photo of my Hulk that my parents took.

When I was 12 one of the local newspapers was having an anniversary party. They invited kids to come dressed as their favorite comic character. So I went as The Incredible Hulk. My parents did not have a lot of money, my father was a teacher and my mother a teachers aide, so I made the costume myself. I colored the wig, dyed the t-shirt and stockings, ripped the clothes, and stitched the stuffing into the shape of muscles. I insisted on having green make-up on my face and hands, so I made some with green witch make-up and baby powder to tone it down. Then topped it off with ripped shoes, and dental tablets to make the inside of my mouth pink. I remember I was so proud of this costume as I would make my muscle man poses. Then I got to the anniversary party and saw all these kids dressed in costumes parents had bought them. They all looked so perfect and I looked so ... home made. My parents taught me to finish things and they made me stay for the competition. The judges split the children up into boys and girls. So I went and stood with the girls. A judge came over and said to me, "we want the boys over on this side of the room," and started to move me, at which point I said, "but I am a girl!" I took off the wig and my pigtails fell down. Some of the other kids started to titter. I don't think anybody realized that a girl had dressed herself up as The Incredible Hulk. My mother came over and helped me put the wig back on and I went over to stand at the edge of the girl section totally dejected. Lucky for me the judges only took a couple minutes to pick 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for both boys and girls. I already knew I was not going to win and just wanted to go home. The boy who won first was dressed as R2D2, the girl who won first was dressed as The Incredible Hulk! The judge who told me to stand with the boys came and got me and pulled me into the centre of the room. The newspaper had brand new ten-speed bikes for the first place winners. I had wanted a five or ten speed bike, but new my parents could not afford one. Here they were giving me a bike for free. The humiliation of my simple homemade costume and the gender confusion was suddenly totally worth it. I went home the happiest kid in the world. I wore that costume with pride and won every costume competition I entered that year. For me, The Incredible Hulk has the ability to represent the best and the worst in all of us. I only hope that my worst still fights for what's good in this world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I was on a full flight the other day. I was one of the last people on and could not move my seat. The lady sitting one seat over from me smelled like she had an accident in her pants. She also had not had a shower in several weeks. NO SHOWER! The smell was so bad it made my stomach turn. There were no other seats and I had to sit there. Thank god it was a short flight. Let me also point out that this woman was wearing really old runners with no socks, green sweats and a stained t-shirt under which there was no bra. She was oozing over her seat and had a seat belt extender. There were scabs on the visible parts of her skin both arms and legs, her hair was matted and dripping with oil, and her face was dirty. When she scrached, parts of skin flaked off, which she would put on her napkin. The body odor, was putrid, it made me gag several times. What part of my Karma decided to tormented me this way. I have an amazing sense of smell and this smell was torturous. BUT here is the other side of this story. Nobody wanted to even sit near this person, mostly me, I didnt even want to acknowledge her. Then she let out a little squeal of delight when the plane started to taxi away from the gate. This sound startled me as did her child like glee she looked out the window of the plane. The seat between us was empty (obviously) so I showed her how to raise the arm to help accomadate her size. She was .... simple. There was no other word for her, she was simple. It was like talking to a young 12 year old. She did seem to have other mental defects, hence the no showering, but I found my self feeling sad for this person who was attacking everyones sence of smell on this flight. My parents raised me not to be rude, and this was a real challange. I wanted to disinfect myself just because I was sitting near her, but she apparently was oblivious of her condition. She ordered a diet coke and pulled out a nice black purse. The credit card she gave them still had the stickers on it. It looked brand new. The card made me wonder about her life. She struck me as a person who could be living on the street, but here she was taking a flight. Maybe she was being shuttled between family members who felt like they had to care for her, but did not care for her in any sense of the word. She surprised me by offering me half of her soda. I politely declined saying that I did not like sodas. But who offers to share a soda on an airline anymore??? I put the tray down on the seat between us as she was having trouble dealing with the tray in front of her. She thanked me, with that surprised look of someone who has recieved very little kindness. I felt like such a heel. Because the smell was so strong and rancid I was only capable of offering this person a modicum of decorum. The flight although short, was really looooong. When the flight landed I was quick to jump up and be off to freasher air. She went to retrieve her belongings, and I noticed that she had brought her own blanket, it was just a dirty as she was. There was a plastic bag and a plastic reusable bag. The reuseable bag was filthy and filled with VHS movies. I noticed the titles were all from the late 80's. She didnt have other clothes with her, and she carfully put the empty diet soda can into her bag. I thought to ask if she needed help or if there was going to be someone waiting for her, but I didn't. Instead I bolted as soon as the planes door opened. I got my luggage and waited at the curb for my ride who was running a little late. before he came I noticed the woman walking outside with the belongings she carried onto the flight. She didn't have a checked suitcase with clothing only what she was wearing. My heart sank, I asked her if she was ok. She said she was fine and wandered off down the street the corner of her dirty blanket dragging on the ground behind her, her putrid smell filling the air wherever she went. I confess, I gaged a little at the smell and let her walk away. I am conflicted with the feeling of horror and sadness mixed together. I know I should have been more kind to this person, but I could not find it in me to be more than passingly cordial. This world is filled with people who truly need our help, and when presented with those people recoil from them. It is one thing to send money to help people with problems or do a charity show to help raise money it is different to deal with these people when they effect our lives. I truly believed I was a better person, but I guess I am just like everyone else. I realize this woman has mental issues that I would not have been able to change by offering her a little bit more of my humanity, but ..... I still feel bad. I hope that she find the help she truly needs. I am going to try to be a little more kind to everyone, because one day it might be me who needs the kindness from others.