the angry man

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We are not built to live forever.

At least that is what I think often. When I am tired or stressed. Our pieces that have blood and electricity flowing through them do inevitably give out and we are still left with what happens after we stop.

I do want to say that I think often about my purpose on this wacky planet.
I also think about all the people.

This past weekend I saw a lot of different kinds of people on a beach and thought, “I will probably never be this close to them ever again.” And while there is little importance in that statement, it makes me feel very tiny. And I am. Unless you’re standing next to me, in which case, my 6’2 frame might sway your opinion.

There are the moments I wish I could’ve lived in a little longer. Maybe held on for another thirty seconds. Or perhaps be less dramatic and harsh. We all have that.

I still think time is our most valuable resource.
We don’t always have to be doing something incredible, regardless of bleeding heart Josh in 2007 that felt he was going to change the world — only the world made him feel and seem so ridiculously small.

Small.

Yes.

Recently, a few friends and I were somewhat threatened at a grocery store by a large angry man. For no reason he decided to lash out at a friend of mine. That escalated into something else entirely where he threatened to “beat our asses” as we stepped outside.

Well. It didn’t happen. And we laughed it off. We were just trying to buy some ice-cream.
I do think we were all a little taken aback by how quick he was to fume. I’d never seen such a thing. A small incident and BOOM. He’s threatening us.

Now, I’m just not used to that. I’m not used to conflict that intense. I was only spanked a few times, as a kid that was pretty hard on himself. I’ve never been in a fight and don’t plan on it. I do however wish to remove my glasses if someone wished to slug me. I really like my glasses and can’t see at all without them. And I was in Florida, so I really didn’t want to get punched in the face so far from home.

I didn’t, like I said. But we thought about him. I thought about his wife who was seemingly very embarrassed and I am afraid took the brunt of his anger on her either in words or silence or something else. He was just an angry man. (And I was far away from danger, because well, it’s me after all.)

anger

What I’m wanting to say is that we aren’t here very long. And I want my energy to be good and helpful. I am a super sensitive feeler guy. All the feels, all the time. I’ve always been so sensitive, and that is really difficult to navigate with other people.

It is weird that I have become something so many people fear because of TV or word of mouth that chefs are angry people. We do have frustrations and loads of stress — but it is my own form of justice — that thing I was so passionate about when I was younger.

It’s the small moves. Like being super human patient with people. Kids. Grown-ups. All the same. It’s giving the moment some space. Some time. Circle it a bit. Give it room to grow into something else. Something that may be good for both sides. I’ve never gained much by being quick to say something sarcastic or passive aggressive. I don’t often feel good about being mean to people, even if I think they deserve it.

I think about the angry man. I think about what gave him his fear.

Somewhere, I wish for him some peace in his life so that he doesn’t have to live so angry.

Because we are not built to live forever.

I want my smallness — the peace I try to bring — to be large.

Maybe that starts with ice cream. And it definitely has forgiveness, too.

But ice cream.

We can do ice cream.

life, all over again.

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Writing is a lot like unpacking a suitcase after vacation.

A few wrinkled bits here. Maybe a half used bottle of this or that.

Smells of some place you ate stained into your clothing and maybe a souvenir or two.

Then begins the process of putting things back where they belong, and tossing what you don’t need anymore.
I don’t know why this part is so hard for me. Perhaps there’s some rebellion involved.

As with cooking, writing has the ability to create and clear chaos in my brain.
Before service, you want all your pieces in order. The fancy term is mise en place.

I’ve used that phrase here several times.

Gathering and preparing your ‘meez’ — that is cooking for the most part. Preparing yourself mentally and physically for what the night might throw at you. To be honest, you can never be prepared for everything, but you can sure as hell get close.

Preparation. I start to get that itch. That something is coming.

I have this idea in my head and I suppose most people call them writing prompts. They lead to one thought after another.

In the same way I prepare a dish, I am thinking of the next prompt. To be honest, cooking is mostly about prompts. There is a process, where one tiny thing is added to create one bigger thing. The parallel could go on for days, but I will choose to stop there.

a-suitcase-full-of-life

When I get to write, I get to prepare myself for something. I get to lay something down, examine it, put it away or give it away. When you write for the public, you are giving. I would say most people write for themselves. I think when you write for yourself, you’re being honest and people will know. Giving this away is hard sometimes. When I publish, there’s a big part of me that hopes it will go under the radar.

All of this has become such second nature to me, that I often forget people read. And when confronted, I am surprised and get shy and shrug a bit.

I could say the same for my other love.

I am so humbled when I get a response. Any response, I am usually bracing myself for impact. But as always, I love the good ones, and take seriously the bad. Or, “constructive”.

That’s the best thing about voice.

It’s so powerful and it’s so yours!

It is your wonderful and unique story and it’s how you tell it. Some people won’t respond, but the ones who do, you will know there is some soul sharing involved.

Sort of like when I read Anne Lamott, I have an odd fantasy of being around her the last days of my life. Making me laugh and cry and cuss in the same ten minutes. I like those people. Not that I know her, but I love that she makes me feel that way– connected deeply to her story. If anyone has brought me screaming and kicking back to God and my own spirituality, I would most likely thank her for doing the dragging. She’s a writer who helps me connect deeply to my own story.

It’s all just a process.

Creating. Failing. Celebrating.

Dish doing.

Floor mopping.

All over again. 

Unpacking.

Washing.

Remembering.

indulging in this sweet sorrowful beautiful magical resilient thing,

we call life.