Wednesday, May 30, 2012

perspective (or something)

When I was seeking silver linings, I thought cancer would give me an ineffable, serene sense of perspective. I thought that, post-treatment, I would be able to face every small stupid crisis with, "I've been through worse!" or "This is a day without cancer, so it is a good day." (I also never quite gave up hope that radiation would give me superpowers.) Of course this has not always been the case. I am often just as prone to George Eliot's definition of youth as ever: thinking every crisis is the last simply because it is new.

This doesn't mean, fortunately, that I let small things ruin my mood for weeks at a time. But it does mean that, in the moment, the hyperbole soars as it ever did:

Friday night my bedroom was invaded by beetles (four). "Oh my god!" I shrieked, leaping about and bashing at shadows with a hand weight. "This is the worst thing that has ever happened!"

Saturday, after being outside with the dogs, I found a literal (and ENORMOUS) ant in my pants. Good thing I was inside at that point, and away from windows, because I did not know it was possible for someone to get naked that fast. "Aaaa!" I shrieked, flinging clothing across the room. "This is the worst thing that has ever happened!"

Monday, because I enjoy small-town life, I put festive bandannas on the dogs and headed out to see the Memorial Day parade. Halfway there, an Incident occurred with a malfunctioning poop bag, one of my favorite pairs of pants, and the entire town out on the streets to witness said incident. And I'm going to stand by the fact that getting dog shit on your pants, a mile from your house, in front of fifty people, might very well be the worst thing. I suppose I maintained perspective in that I did not plunge into the woods and hide there until darkness had fallen, or even scamper home. I had a water bottle, so I rinsed myself off, accepted the fact that a giant wet splotch near my groin was not a huge improvement, dignity-wise, and then said, "Well, what are you gonna do? Let's go see a parade!"

(Given that I thought nothing of saying this out loud to my dogs, it's possible that on the public-dignity scale I hadn't far to fall.)

Stories about dog poop! On your pants! huffs the imaginary easily-appalled reader I use to mock my oversharing. And you wonder why you're single! No, IEAR, I don't wonder that at all. I am single because of Flaws! Terrible, terrible flaws! Or because the next guy I'm going to date and I haven't met yet. 

The thing, you see, is that at no point have I felt that being single is the worst thing that has ever happened. Sure, there are days when I buy the Flaws! argument (why would a woman be single if she wasn't doing something terribly wrong, asks our society, and I am not immune to that), but even when I do, I don't think that my life is ruined because my terrible flaws have denied me a man. My life is pretty grand, except when there are beetles.

Is this perspective? Could be. Or it could just be that there was no way I was not going to blog about getting dog poop on my pants, no matter how much introspective stuff I had to add to justify the posting to myself.

I have been reading a lot of Walt Whitman and Greek tragedy. It makes me expansive and goofy at the same time. Clearly sometimes more the one than the other.

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