Monday, March 19, 2012

On Second Thought, Maybe It Matters

This marquee has absolutely nothing to do with this blog. I just dig it.
On second thought, maybe it matters...

I want to begin this week’s rantings by thanking all of my faithful followers who took time out of their hectic days to complete the online ballot and vote for me in our local rag’s Best Of contest.  (and to hell with those of you who didn't!!) jk.
As I excitedly went online the morning of March 15 to check the results for "best blog"  I can say that I was not surprised(or thrilled) that it went to Mark C. Anderson and his food blog, Edible, for the 2nd year in a row.
Okay, I can understand that the nation loves food more than trailer trash, but what I can’t understand is how a newspaper can sponsor a contest and allow their employees, and in this case, an editor in chief, to be eligible for the prize.  Any credible contest excludes affiliates, their family members and households from entering or being eligible.  But of course The Monterey County Weekly is not The New York Times; a fine paper where proper and ethical rules of protocol for contests are followed.  Hey, I’m not fumin and certainly not throwing my flamingos across the yard.
I’m actually not a sore loser.
On the contrary, I love food too. But reading all about the fancy dancy restaurants in Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach, over and over again, just isn’t my cup of Lipton if you know
what I mean.
It got me thinking though.
What matters?  What truly matters?
So, what am I doing right now?  I guess I’m pondering the “what matters” and the “what doesn’t matter” in life.  And winning a small town paper’s lil competition is teeny weenie on the big daddy scale of things, I suppose.  If the sun were over a yardarm, this current pondering might rear its ugly head; even converge on comical hysteria.  However, it’s only 9:00 a.m. and caffeine has a much calmer
affect on me than booze.

So, does it matter that Encyclopedia Britannica, whose first editions date back to 1768, ceased the printing of its books this week?  On March 14, 2012, the company went public saying it would continue publishing online but its paper edition would no longer be in production.
It’s a sign of the times, I reckon.  I mean, who goes to a bookshelf and strums through a set of encyclopedias to look up a fact?  You just “Google it” right?  The Google Wizard has become the man behind the curtain in the land of Oz.  He knows all. He only competes with the Yahoo Wizard.
And much like rotary phones, 8-tracks and human contact;
Encyclopedias are now a thing of the past.  After two hundred plus years, the last page has been turned.
But does it matter? 

The Bad Girls Book Club met last week to drink wine, eat ravioli and oh yes, discuss the book which can sometimes be an after-thought for us!  We read Ursula Hegi’s novel Sacred Time; about family secrets, relationships and what mattered in the lives of a family growing up in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx beginning in the 1950’s.  Filled with Pall Mall cigarettes, Holy Communion, veal parmesean and those Sunday gatherings where everyone danced, argued and talked over each other and ate so much they had to unbutton the top button. And it all was precious; all of it  “sacred time.” 

I finished the book only 2 hours before we met; therefore, the characters and images of a time long forgotten were fresh in my mind.  While reading, I had stumbled over boulder of a quote, three-quarters of the way through the book, that left me thinking, thinking, thinking…
Aunt Floria, while on a journey of self-discovery to "the old country" said,
"Miracles are merely misinterpretations."
Never one to remain silent, I spoke up and of course my words came out like I was some sort of heathen female dragon breathing flames of atheist dogma.  Seems I agreed with Aunt Fiora and all my gal pals disagreed with Aunt Floria and me.  This catapulted us into our own sacred time; jabbering, yelling, pouring more wine, talking over one another and discussing whether miracles are misinterpretations? Personal interpretations? Whether they actually exist or not.  
And if they do exist,
Do they matter? 

  1. A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.
  2. A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.

In searching for a simplistic, non-denominational definition for the word, I think the above comes close to my liking.
Yet, in the circle of my closest pals last week, I felt I was standing alone, and not for the usual reason of
being a lesbian from a trailer park. This time because, as scary as it is to say in a crowd, I might not believe in a "divine being" or God or miracles.
That's a lot of strikes against me; even in a comfortable circle of cool, loving and progressive women,  but I just can't wrap myself around the whole turning water to wine or the Virgin de Guadalupe appearing to the masses multiple times over centuries.  It's science vs. spirituality;  it's the tangible, provable vs. the faith-card.  And book after book after book has been written in support of both.
So, does it matter; whether we believe in miracles or not?
I think believing in miracles makes us feel safe, comfortable and adds hope to the clouds of hopelessness that hang over us all in our day to day lives.  
But we use the hell out of the word "miracle."
"It's a miracle Johnny passed algebra."  "It's a god damn miracle my cat found his way back home after being gone 3 years." "Her miraculous recovery has left her cancer-free." "Such a miracle Arnie didn't freeze last night, cuz the temperatures dropped to below 30."

Possibly each example can be explained...
Johnny passed algebra because his aunt hired a tutor.  The cat found its way back home because of good instincts and a few scraps of food hand-outs along the way.  She became cancer-free after years of a special diet, exercise and a strong genetic make-up.  Arnie didn't freeze on the street because someone gave him a down comforter."

But whether there is a measured explanation or just an open heart filled with faith...
Does it really matter which side we're on?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Perhaps, whichever way we look at the occurrences in our lives and the lives of those we love,
is absolutely perfect for each individual.  And maybe what truly matters is being okay with it; not only with our own personal beliefs, but okay with someone else's.  Like maybe it does matter, to some, that Jesus Saves and Fried Apple Pies are only 49 cents.
Coexist. Hmmm..Isn't there a bumper sticker?

I think what matters in this theatrical performance called Life which, in my view, is not a dress rehearsal,   are those little things that I mentioned at the start of this piece; which clearly has gone off on some weird, reckless tangents that may cause understandable confusion and quite possibly the need for Advil.

Those things like rotary phones, paper books and human contact.  Well, maybe not rotary phones but what about calling someone or taking them out on the town when it's their birthday, rather than simply wishing them a Happy Birthday on Facebook?  Or sending a friend a card, through snail mail, just to say, "Hi" rather than sending a text? Or thumbing through the pages of an actual book; physically touching the words that touch you?
Do those things still matter on the giant ladder of importance or are they all just things of the past?
At the end of the day, I think, yes they matter.
And I think it's about taking the time.  The time to say, "I love you" in person.  The time to prepare a nourishing meal rather than go through a drive-thru.  The time to choose the "right" card that fits the personality of that special friend.  The time to volunteer at an organization rather than press a button to sign an online petition.  Taking the time to put 'human' back into humankind.
That's what we all crave.  That's what we all need.  And quite possibly, those types of things could feel like miracles for many folks. And that is what matters.
And you know what, my beautiful peeps?
All of this matters so much more than winning a silly contest
in a small town rag.



  1. I really loved this blog (I love them all really) it had my mind going. This inspires me to have these kinds of conversations.

  2. Miracles? Well, was it a miracle that we met at the Women's Retreat and have become close compadres? Couldn't we just have "passed each other in the night" after the weekend? Well, we didn't. Heck, what do I know? The more I read and study and ponder...and I've done a lot of that...the more I agree with you about the miracle of close human contact, its invaluable role in our lives. Something deep and profound links friends together. Whatever that is, it is beautiful. So thank you for this blog, friend. I'll ponder it at length...

  3. Val,
    As usual you hit a cord of meaning in my heart. The Grateful Dead have a song called, "I need a miracle." When they sang it the entire crowd went crazy during the chorus..."I need a miracle everyday!" I used to sing it with gusto because I BELIEVED in miracles with all of my heart. I expected them. And you know what? I got them. Regularly. Some big and some small. Years later I'm a bit more jaded and faded, but I know just under the surface there is some fairy dust magic waiting to sparkle again! Some deadheads put their pointer finger in the air at shows to signify they want a "miracle", which in deadhead terms means Free Ticket! They will also say "Looking for my miracle" whilst doing so. : ) (seriously)