White Flaggin’ It on the High Seas of Life
I knew when my credit card bill was $666 that June would be a weird one. When flooding left debris resembling an exploded Swiss Family Robinson’s house all over the state and friends e-mailed about escaped prisoners on the lam, some Vermonters wanted to hunker down with Game of Thrones indoors. But… summer. It’s short in VT. Out you go.
I went to Burlington’s Discover Jazz festival. Personal favorite: Aaron Goldberg trio. Brilliant musical wizardry (Harvard smarty pianist! New Zealander bassist! Floridian drummer! Hot Brazilian influence!). Try his The Now CD, first tasting Trocando em Miudos (initially seems like he’s tuning) and Lambada de Serpente on YouTube. Smokin’.
When cops and sirens abound (the escapees), distraction proves key. In world gone mad, it’s time in to look after numero uno. Pop into a pond or brook and feel the love. Stagger vigilance (ticks, poison ivy, rabid coons, escapees) with laffs (a comedy at one of America’s 80 remaining the drive-in theaters?).
I had a boss once with the lethal combination of wildly vacillating mood swings and the most beautiful face money could buy. Only young employees could endure her diabolical stunts; our team of four’s outlet was, you guessed it, laffs. Email was brand new then and as I struggled with her computerized calendar I’d think, “Wow, everyone’s working really hard; it’s so quiet in here.” Stifled snickers would betray that the girls were all in fact emailing each other, not working at all. It was the right move. When in Hell, manufacture Heaven.
Some events are so terrible you cannot distract yourself. Then you can do one thing: ask for help. From friends, fam, and whomever you call God. You’ll get help. As a local spiritual expert maintains, “Prayer helps even when you don’t believe in it.” That means prayer for yourself or prayers from others (think: It’s a Wonderful Life). In one particularly bad period after 9-11, I was losing it in California. I prayed (read: pridelessly begged the universe). One friend wrote, “Do you want me and [her 4 year-old] to fly out and drive you back in a truck?” Another phoned, Do you want me and [our childhood friend, each with two kids] to just come out there and get you?” I was so galvinized with hope by these kind offers from busy helper-mothers 2,000 miles away that I was able to pull it together and move to Vermont without their (further) help. It was the right move.
Little fact for you: SOS does not actually stand for anything (those krazy Germans!). It is, however, easily remembered even when you are wigging out, and it’s the only 9-element signal in Morse code, thus instantly recognizable because no other symbol uses more than 8 elements. Number nine? Three blasts signifying the international distress call? 999 is the number for the Coast Guard? That devilish 666 reversed! There is God in asking for help. Fuzzy numerology.
New England is a tough place (weather, money, weird Puritan legacies) and we must navigate carefully. You are the captain of your ship. Hoist up you mainsail and your jib (the helper sail!), patch any holes, keep your rudder free of barnacles and giant squid, choose well when and where to drop anchor (Vermont?) and, for God’s sake, when surrounded by the enemy or your ship is going down, send out your distress signal and hoist the little white flag that says, “I. Give. Up.” Some helper-mariner will see it, cruise in, and get you the heck out of there. Let him. It’ll be the right move. Good day.
Provocative Autofill of the Month:
When “Things You’re Not Supposed To…” is entered, Google autofills with:
-Eat with braces