Thursday, January 30, 2014

In which I respond to a potential Facebook stalker

Who can keep up with Facebook's ever changing and complex privacy controls? Apparently not me, because I thought my profile was unsearchable and only those who knew me could make contact. Turns out I was wrong, as I received this hilarious, and possibly creepy, private message earlier today.

Note the picture. Is David Jackson a meteorologist who uses his head shot for his Facebook profile? If so, no wonder they keep getting the forecast wrong. His sentence construction is off; he might mean to say "there will be ice tomorrow," but what comes out is "there has been start ice, but tomorrow has been clear."

I shared this with my sister, who said, "Complimentary, but block him!" Despite an itch to engage David in what one assumes would be a hilarious Facebook conversation, I obeyed my sister. Partly because I've heard stories about stalkers, but mostly because I was concerned with hackers and malware.

So, just in case David of the faux meteorology headshot is actually stalking me, I'm publishing my unsent reply below.

Dear David,
Are you actually Gollum? Because your first sentence sounds a bit "my precious" to me. Just in case there's some sort of confusion, I am not, in fact, a ring. Also, if you reply, can you use the word "hobbitses" in a sentence? That would be awesome.

If you aren't Gollum, did you mean to sound like him? That may be funny. Or creepy. I haven't yet decided. If you didn't mean to sound like him, I don't think we have the same sense of humor, and our friendship is probably doomed to an early end.

I'm also confused by your second sentence. When you say you "have interest in me," are you saying that you've bought STOCK in me? I wasn't aware someone is shilling me as a public entity, and to be honest, I'm not worth very much. You might have been scammed. Unless your interest in me is a vote of confidence in my future success, which is nice. Though I'm not guaranteeing anything, so don't come to me in five years or so complaining about your lost investment.

I'm not sure what "start by been good friends" means. Are we starting a friendship, or have we been friends. OR, are you a time traveler going backwards whilst I'm moving forwards? I'm going to assume it's the latter, which is the only way your statement makes sense. That's pretty cool, but we'll have to be super careful about paradoxes. There are a lot of things wrong in my world, but that doesn't mean I want it to blow up in some time-continuum accident.

And yes, I am married. If you are a time traveler moving backwards on my timeline, it's concerning to me that you would ask that question. But don't explain yourself--remember the paradoxes.


Friday, January 24, 2014

The Sound of Snow Falling

for Stefanie C.

I love the sound of snowfall in the woodland—
the soft hush-hush of a thousand voices
coming to the end of a whisper.

Reverence falling, a brief glimpse of prophecy—
a sliver of Heaven's half-hour silence
and the slow swish of robe arms
as seven raise trumpets to sanctified lips.

In the slow wash of white on world,
worship whispers;
the air is tinged with wonder
and promise
and the aftertaste of terror.

It's the sound of all the babies
sighing in milk-filled slumber.

It's the sound of a single assassin,
stealth ruined by the lush crackle of a high-pile carpet.

It's the sound of millions of eyelashes,
flittering closed in invitation.

It's the sound of thought,
when thought has stretched itself thin to plumb the depth
and may not be strong enough to carry forth
treasures long lost in the turgid well.

I love the sound of snow falling.
It's the tranquil tremor of the world.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Story of the Little Sliver

Sometimes, it's easier to believe that the world is only darkness. Sometimes, it's easier to believe that the good times are over, or never existed, or will never come again. Sometimes, it's easier to lay down in the dark, salty places and cry out salty tears and give up and forget the knowledge that every person, in their very heart of hearts, was given in the beginning.

Sometimes, when darkness seems like the easiest path, I think of a woman I know. I don't know all the details of her life--do we ever, really? But I do know this: She has been through the darkness. Even so, she has embraced and remembered and carried and shone the light. She reminds me of that knowledge I've been given. She reminds me that even in the dark, there is always the sliver of perfect light waiting inside.This story was inspired by her.

The Story of the Little Sliver

Once, there was a little sliver of a thing. It floated, happy, in a great water. Warmth surrounded it and beauty was its home. Above, brightness danced and filtered and cascaded slowly down. Below, shadows slipped and whispered. Bright colors zipped and zagged, darting this way and that.

The little sliver could not imagine a better place to be.

One day, the little sliver caught hold of a current and road it down, down, down. Current riding was a favorite past time, and the little sliver would have screamed with joy had it a mouth.
This time, the ride was different. The little sliver didn't catch the current back up; instead, it tumbled into the soft depths of something new.

The little sliver, being comprised of fairly laidback molecules, was not, at first, alarmed. The new place was warm and salty and dark. It was as good a place as any to settle in for a rest. The sliver rested for a while. It considered leaving, but let security lull it into a longer sleep. There was always tomorrow for current riding and brightness watching.

Soon, the little sliver noticed something was happening. It couldn't move with the current. It couldn't even feel the current. There was something slowly growing, all around it. The little sliver was not happy about the new circumstance, and it railed silently, still, inside the little prison.

Had the little sliver been a timekeeper, it would have marked the passing of days, weeks, years within the dark, salty prison. As it was, the little sliver only knew that it wasn't happy at the changes; it wasn't happy in the prison. It wasn't happy about anything at all.

The little sliver dreamt of bright colors and light dancing. It dreamt of current rides and shadow whispers. The little sliver, who was a philosophical sort, considered that all those good things had only been a dream. Maybe they didn't exist at all. Maybe life was only this dark, salty existence.

More time passed, and the little sliver wanted to begin to believe only in the darkness and salt. It would be easier to exist, just believing those things. But it couldn't shake the wispy memories of color and sun and current. Always, deep down within itself—beneath the shell growing daily—was the memory of something greater. Of something glorious and filled with light.

So the little sliver passed its time, struggling to discover within itself more of that beautiful memory.

One day, a miracle occurred. The dark, wet, salty thing jostled and shook. Current rushed around, washing the round, hard thing that the little sliver had become. Above, a crack appeared. Light bloomed in the darkness. Color crashed in on all sides. The little sliver felt something in itself give way, explode, join with the beauty that surrounded it.

The little sliver could never quite explain—even if it had the mouth and words to do so—what occurred on the journey that began with the crack of light. It understood, only, that it was being changed. It was being remade. Its remaking, which had begun in the salty, terrible depths of darkness, was being completed.

Soon, the little sliver came to rest against something soft and warm. It hung in a line, other remade slivers sitting joyfully next to it. Around them, the world was a wonder of light, of color, of indescribable and perfect sound.

A word bloomed, complete and pure, in the heart of the little sliver; if it had a mouth, the little sliver would have cried, "Home!"  

Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm usually busy breaking stuff

Conversation between Chris and me the other night when he called to tell me he was on the way home.

Chris: Hi, I'm leaving.

Me: Ok. See you in a bit. I'm sort of busy.

Chris: Doing what?

Me: Breaking stuff.

Chris: How often does that go on?

Me: A lot.

Chris: Where's all the broken stuff?

Me: I'm really good at fixing it.

Chris: Fixing it?

Me: Or. . . disguising it.

Chris: What do you. . . ah. . . never mind. I probably shouldn't know.

It's taken nine years for him to come to that wisdom.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That one second when the baby was maybe a demon

There's an awesomely terrifying and hilarious video making the social media rounds today that reminded me of an awesomely hilarious and momentarily terrifying episode that occurred when my son was a few days old.

Here's the video. You are welcome. And also, I'm sorry.

Here's the story.

My son was only a few days old. We were living at my mom's house, and no one was yet accustomed to the sounds of the baby monitor. Babies sound weird enough on their own if you aren't used to them--add in some cheap plastic, a bit of static, and an imagination, and it seems like the baby is half the time a wee dragon breathing through rocks and brimstone. You wonder, for a moment, if the cribbing might catch fire.

One day my sister came by after work. She demanded to see the baby, who was sleeping. Both my mom and I, sitting in the living room, threatened her with various ineffective comments such as, "If you wake him up, he's your responsibility!"

My sister made her way to the back of the house, where my brother and a friend were. Seemingly, she took to heart the seriousness of waking the baby.

Several minutes later, once my mom and I were amply distracted by television or conversation, the baby monitor made a sound we'd never heard before.

A voice crackled, low and wispy, at the other end. "Heelllllloooooooooooo," it said. The voice, traveling through the cheap plastic receiver, seemed cast in shadow and smoke and darkness.

I looked up, meeting my mom's eyes. Her face had gone a bit pale, her eyes grown much too wide. I'm sure it mirrored my own face. The fact that I was certain, in that second, that my mom was thinking the exact impossible thought I was just proves that we're related.

For a split second--not even an entire second, really--my heart crashed in my chest as my mind stumbled on the thought. Was THAT the baby speaking? Was the baby--sometimes a dragon, now a demon--greeting us with his mean, gravelly voice through the terrible, terrible invention of a baby monitor?

The thoughts flew through at warp speed, and then I gasped. "It's Alice!" I said, my realization coming at the same time my mother's eyes cleared and she thought the same thing.

It was my sister. Either messing with us through the baby monitor or greeting her nephew with a whisper so creepy she is possibly the Other Mother's sister--the Other Aunt.

Either way, it explains a lot about the kid, now that he's 13-years-old.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Are You Our Kind of Weird?

My friend Mabel and I often say, "They aren't our kind of weird." We say it when someone doesn't understand what we're on about, or when a communication goes awkward, or just in general. "Our kind of weird" has never been defined, so I thought I'd give it a go. 

Now you can use this handy quiz to see if you're our kind of weird. I'm sure you're on pins and needles about the outcome. But even if you aren't, I'm sure you'll enjoy the procrastinatory entertainment. Everyone likes some pointless procrastination.


Take the Quiz
Answer each question as honestly as possible. If you don't understand the question, just go with your gut feeling. 

1. The right response to rabbits in the roadway is to shout "Watership Down!"

a. Sure, that makes complete sense.
b. Doesn't it make more sense to call out one of the rabbit names, like Fiver?
c. What's Watership Down? Why would you shout at all?

2. In the event of the zombie apocalypse, the Fried-Brains-and-Chicken shack is a win-win business proposition.
a. Absolutely. No matter who wins, you've got a popular product to sell.
b. Uh, no. Zombies don't have money. And all the chicken-buyers would just attract killer zombies.
c. Why is everyone always talking about the zombie apocalypse?

3. What is the scariest thing on earth?
a. People.
b. Clowns. Dolls. Anything with a painted-on face.
c. Disease. Car Accidents. Things that commonly kill.

4. The best way to perform a tedious task is:
a. To song. That you made up just now. About the tedious task itself.
b. With liquor or laughter or both.
c. Just get to it and get it done as quickly as possible.
5. When you see someone in a store you used to work with, you should:
a. Hide behind--or within--the nearest rack of clothing until they leave.
b. Nod and do the half smile as you walk by.
c. Stop and catch up--you haven't seen the person in forever!

Score Your Results 
A's are worth 10, B's are worth 7, and C's are worth 3. Total your score and see whether you're our kind of weird. 
47-50 - You're "our kind of weird." No one really knows what that means, but if we were forced to work on a project with you, eat lunch with you, or sit awkwardly next to you at a social event, it would probably be more awesome than terrible.

31 to 46 - You can be a little weird, and you're the type of person we gravitate to in the workplace or social situations--when we are forced to gravitate toward anyone at all. We share a bit of humor with you, although there are times when we forget to filter what we say and you get the look in your eyes that tells us it's time for us to make an awkward retreat.
0 to 30 - You may or may not be weird. We think you're pretty normal, and we try not to scare you with too much information about the inside of our heads.