It’s Counterintuitive…

Snow on the desert is something to see. It doesn’t belong there. It doesn’t blend with anything. And it seems such a shame to get it dirty that way.

It does brighten things up a bit. Everything is so brown and dead and lifeless in winter, especially in places that are brown, dead, and seemingly lifeless all the time. At least that’s how it seems. But when snow falls on a desert, we are able to realize that it is fuller of life than we might like to think.

There are tracks all over the place, and none of them look the same. Some of them are coming toward the road, but most are moving away from it. I wonder if the animals who made them arrived at civilization and decided it was a mistake. I can’t say I blame them.

Aside from the occasional animal wanderer, there is nothing in the desert to disturb the sparkling white blanket that was dumped there by a weather system that seemed to have lost its sense of direction. It remains pristine until the sun finally realizes that it has a job to do and melts it away.

Snow is nice; they wouldn’t call it a winter wonderland if it wasn’t. But it just doesn’t belong in a desert.

Sitting in Judgement…of Me

I hold myself to standards that, thankfully, I do not apply to anyone else. At least when I let myself down, I’m the only one I can be angry with.

Why do we expect so much from ourselves and so little from others?

In the recent crisis that has afflicted El Paso and completely crippled the city, I find myself wondering how it came to be that I find myself questioning whether I should pick up the slack for others in the city who don’t feel the need to obey restrictions on water and other utilities. It throws into sharp perspective how self-centered and entitled I can be sometimes.

I am bothered by the fact that we are being told to consume as little water as possible (to the point of not bathing ourselves). I don’t like that I am paying for bottled water when I have a perfectly fine filter in the refrigerator. I don’t like that there is an eminent possibility that we may, as a city, run out of water.

Then I remember that I have a warm home to sleep in. I have a nice, soft bed to crawl into at night. I have food to eat and clean clothes to wear. My pipes didn’t burst, and my ceiling didn’t cave in. I have a car to take me where I need to go to acquire the things that will make this whole experience easier. And don’t these things count for something?

Realizing this question has led me to ponder myself as a person and whether or not I am as good and decent as I like to think I am. This is no attempt to garner self-worth from external sources of validation. I’m just wondering when it is going to be enough. Will I ever be happy with what I have? The very fact that I have to ask this question of myself is painfully telling. I know what the answer should be. I know what I would like for my answer to be. I also know what my reality has become, and I am ashamed.

Funnily enough, I don’t hold other people to the same standards. You can want what you want when you want it and get it and go on wanting as much as you like, and I think no less of people who live that way. I almost expect it of everyone else, and I wonder if they expect the same thing of me. The difference is that there comes a moment when I stop and chastise myself for thinking and behaving the way I do. Then I continue doing what I’ve always done. I wonder how many of us think these things and never say anything about them. We just go on living the way we want to fulfill what we believe to be everyone else’s expectations.

Is this how life really is? Is this how it’s going to be?

I’m Having a White Nightmare

Bing Crosby dreamt of a white Christmas. I must admit that I’m guilty of this myself. Snow on Christmas completes the holiday. It’s that elusive seasonal element that makes the day (which is normally pretty awesome to begin with) seem complete.

Snow is beautiful. When it’s freshly fallen, it looks clean and soft. It muffles the noises that might otherwise become distractions to us. It makes things quiet. I have always thought snow was beautiful.

But what about after Christmas?

After traveling through the wintry weather, I understand why some people abhor the stuff. While it may seem innocent (and it’s color might deceive us into thinking that it is), snow is nothing but a white nightmare (in some parts of the world, white is the color associated with insanity). It’s nice enough when you are at home with electricity and heat and water. Then I suppose it’s possible that snow might be enjoyable. But if you’re stranded on an interstate or your electricity and heat are rendered useless by the weather or if you live in a place that is completely incapable of handling such weather-related extremities, the snow becomes unbearably oppressive.

I admit that I haven’t seen as much of it as some people have this winter. And I am the first to admit that those are people of whom I am not jealous. But I don’t think I would lament of not seeing this white affliction again any time soon. Luckily, I have the entire summer to recoup my appreciation for winter weather.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-From “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
by Robert Frost

Lamentations on the State of Shopping Carts

Putting a blinker on a car was a brilliant idea. Truly a stroke of genius to include a flashing light indicating which direction a driver was going to turn. I fervently believe this same concept should apply to shopping carts.

Shopping carts should in fact be equipped with their own blinkers. This would eliminate that awkward moment when trying to determine which cart is going to go down which side of the grocery aisle. Instead of looking at the other cart driver with that sorry-about-this-whole-ridiculous-cart-situation look, we could flip a switch, and the other driver could react accordingly.

I have visions of a well-ordered grocery store with no emergency clean-ups in aisle four. I have visions of store patrons smiling as they happily collect their eggs and milk without incident. It could all be reality with the shopping cart blinker.

In a perfect world.

The reality is that people don’t use the blinkers on their cars. In fact, I am inclined to think that people think a blinker is an option. You have to request it special; otherwise they don’t put one in there. I am quite certain that people’s inability to use a cart blinker would far surpass their inability to use one in an automobile, but I can dare to dream, and I am ever hopeful.