Metaphors. What Are They Good For?

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The other day at the ol’ place of employment, I had an early meeting at another site and then came back to my particular office building, which meant parking on the top level of the parking garage. Ugh.

Early on with this parking garage, I made myself promise that no matter where I parked, I would take the stairs to get to my car. No elevators. Just a little extra exercise in the day. So when I get here early, I have one flight of stairs. When I get here late, I have five. That’s how the ol’ cookie crumbles.

So after starting really early in the day at an off site meeting and then running like my hair was on fire in the office all day long (gigantic project brewing with very hard deadlines and a press conference to announce it coming up too!) I was pretty dead tired at the end of the day.

I stood at the bottom up the steps looking up mournfully. Five flights? After the day I had? I was determined to keep my promise to myself and I lifted heavy legs up and up and up the stairs.

Around the fourth floor I started feeling gassed. Each step felt harder than the last. It felt like gravity was actively defying me with every lift of my knees. Finally, exhausted and sucking oxygen I made it to the top floor, stumbled to my car and flopped inside.

That last flight really got to me. As I stepped, I had the kind of pondering thoughts that my brain often makes to keep me entertained. Were those last steps so difficult because my leg muscles were wearing out over the sum total of steps? Or does it become harder to slip the surly bonds of gravity with each flight? Or some combination of both?

And that struggle, that last mile difficulty, well, it started to feel like a metaphor. For my job. I am (to use yet another metaphor) rounding third base on this gigantic project and certainly headed for home plate, but this last leg of the journey is proving to be the most difficult.

Here’s another metaphor. I can see the summit of this mountain, but the last 1,000 steps are straight uphill with no room or time to rest. Each day feels a little harder. Each moment is fraught with worry.

In about two weeks I will summit this sumnabitch and I will be glad I did. In a few months I will look back and it won’t seem all that bad. But right now, looking up, knowing I am so close but knowing all that I have to endure to get to the other side, it feels daunting.

It feels like gravity actively puling me down, down, further toward the ground. Yeah, climbing five flights of steps feels like a metaphor, and not a bad metaphor at that.

But what good is the metaphor? I still have to climb the steps. I still have to complete the journey. And I have not get so focused on the pain and agony and effort of each step that I forget to remember home and the loving arms of The Good Man wait on the other side.

It’s worth climbing those steps if only because it means I’m one step closer to him. What is a difficult journey without a meaningful destination?





Image found here.




A Slice of My Life

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Dateline: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It’s morning and I’m headed in to work a little earlier than I would like but I have a coworker who is a chirrupy morning person and keeps dropping early meetings on my calendar.

She knows I hate the mornings but just can’t help herself.

So I drive my beat up old Jeep down a major surface street that bisects three different cities. It is my usual route to work.

As I roll in slow traffic, there is a guy on a bicycle keeping pace next to me. I am used to bicyclists now because I live in a pretty hipster-y place and they are everywhere.

But this guy is the kind of bicyclist that bugs me. First of all he’s not wearing a helmet. That seems really dumb to ride on city streets without some kind of protection for the ol’ brain bucket.

Second, he’s the kind of guy who can’t ride in a straight line so he’s weaving in and out in front of me. I’m keeping a close eye on him so I can be sure I am not the person who injuries his pretty mane of curls.

We ride side by side on this narrow two-lane street and then I get to a light at a main intersection. I see there is a trash truck just ahead, but there is enough room for me to slip through the light and wait behind the truck.

To the immediate right there is a delivery truck at the curb unloading produce for the corner market.

As I pull through the intersection, the garbage truck cuts sharply in front of me so I easily tap my brakes and slow.

Boy On The Bicycle doesn’t slow. He plunges into that small space between the now moving trash truck and the large produce truck.

I think to myself, “I don’t have that kind of courage.”

____


I have packed my lunch today and that makes me very happy. It’s not just a lunch from home, but it’s the kind of sack lunch that I’ve been looking forward to all morning.

In that bag is a beautiful calzone. I have also packed a little glass bowl of marinara sauce.

After much dragging and delaying, the hands on the clock say it’s time to chow. I smile as I pop the calzone into the office toaster oven and I put the marinara into the microwave.

When the sauce has achieved a temperature akin to lava, I pull it out of the machine.

Soon the calzone is crispy on the outside and melty on the inside.

If I was eating this at home, I would quickly dump the marinara over the calzone and dive in headfirst.

I am at work and when I start to pour the sauce a little voice in my head reminds me that my office and the break room are diametrically opposed. I will have to carry my meal all the way across the building and will likely encounter many people on the journey.

I have a quick vision of spilling bright red sauce on the floor. On a coworker. On myself. Or all three.

I decide to put the lid back on the marinara bowl and carry it separately.

It’s the best decision I will make all day.

____

Once the calzone is thoroughly devoured, I wash my hands and clean my face and freshen up. I have a mid-year performance review with my boss who is a Big Boss and while I get along with her great, I still want to be behaved.

It seems only right. She is grading my performance.

As I walk to her office, that calzone starts to hit bottom and I feel instantly sleepy. I think, “Maybe calzone is more of a dinner food.”

____

It’s the end of the day and I’m tired. Not the tired one gets from physical exertion, but the fatigue that comes from sitting around all day thinking about stuff and making decisions.

It doesn’t seem like sitting on my can working on spreadsheets all day would wear me out, but it does.

The Jeep is rolling uphill, following the same route home that got me to work this morning.

I am idly listening to sports talk radio where the two on-air personalities are debating, quite heartily I might add, if it is acceptable for fans to boo their own team.

One guy is a former athlete. One guy is a current sports journalist. They have vastly different opinions.

I come to a stoplight on the two-lane street and I am the third car back. A dark car pulls up on my right side.

I think to myself, “They had better be turning right” and of course they are not. It’s become a game on this high trafficked street for people who don’t want to wait in line to come up the side, thus blocking any right turners, and then cutting off people going straight as soon as the light turns green.

This aggravates me.

The light turns and I make it a point to not let that car in. I pull up close to the car in front and I am not giving up. They are not giving up either.

I see that there is an SUV parked at the curb ahead and a woman is unloading her child from the back seat.

This is going to come to a head. I am going to win.

That jerkwad is going to have to slow down and get into line behind me.

Inexplicably, I tap my brakes. The Jeep slows. I let the shiny black BMW slide in front of me as a college-aged girl in the driver’s seat quite literally flips her hair.

There is no wave of thanks.

I wonder to myself, “What made me do that? Why did I slow down and let her in?”

Then I think, “Because it’s not always about being right. Sometimes it’s just about the fact that we all have to get home safely.”

When I finally turn down my block I am happy to see a spot on the street right in front of my building and I park.

I go inside and The Good Man hugs me and the cat ignores me and I sink into the warm familiar comfort of my home and my family.

I am filled with gratitude. I can finally rest.

Tomorrow is another day.







Image found here.




Oh. It’s You Again.

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I see, well, as much as I asked you not to come, Mr. Monday, you have invited yourself into my life anyway. Fine. Harrumph. I know you feel you need to arrive here promptly every seven days, but rest assured no one here looks fondly upon your visits.

Why oh why can’t you be more like that beautiful boy Mr. Saturday? He’s always kind, generous and quite well behaved. I enjoy being in his company and revel in the smiles he brings. It’s so difficult after living in the sun and light that is Mr. Saturday to have to endure your sour puss face, Mr. Monday. I mean really. Can’t you arrive here with a little more class and grace?

You are all clanging alarms and car horns and rush rush rush after long glorious Saturdays of lazy fingers trailing in the lake and dandelion seeds on the breeze.

Ok, maybe if you can’t find it in your heart to emulate Mr. Saturday, might you perhaps try to be a bit more like Ms. Thursday? She’s still a work day but she comes with softer edges and kinder words. She still starts the day with a clanging alarm but her traffic is a little calmer and she doesn’t fill my email inbox with nonsense before 8:00am. She waits a little. Comes on a little less strong. Understands the needs and wants of the average corporate drone.

Shoot, at this point I’d take it if you would act a bit more like Ms. Wednesday with all her midpoint optimism.

But no, you Mr. Monday insist upon being a creep. A grump. A crufty ol’ toad and I, for one, don’t think that’s very nice.

Oh, you say you were quite kind to me on that last President’s Day three day weekend? Yes, that was true. Quite civil you were that day. You are nice exactly four times a year. Four nice government approved holidays that bring me you, Mr. Monday, wearing madras shorts, sunscreen, a big floppy hat and a rakish look in your eye.

The other 48 visits during the year you come on with a bad attitude wearing severe gray suits with sharp shoulders. Your unkind spectacles giving me clear insight into the horror of the week that lies ahead.

Why must this be so? Why can’t we capture the beauty and harmony of those four holiday Mondays more often? Loosen your tie a little!

But no, you feel you must be severe. And so I say…

Harrumph, dear Monday. Harrumph on you.








Image by user ltz and used royalty free from stock.xchng.




I Keep Looking Over My Shoulder

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I think I’m being stalked. I’m not sure how to prove it or what to do about it but I am pretty sure I’m totally being followed. By an otherwordly entity.

I have shouted “what do you want?!?!” but the face of the man following along remains passive, as if my shouts are lost to the cosmos.

This stalker goes by a few names, but we’ll go with Man in the Moon for the sake of ease and understanding. MITM keeps showing up everywhere lately, getting real close and glowy.

In the small morning hours when I head out to work, he’s there, peering over the hills and looking quite chilly yet magnetic. As I ride the train, he rides along but fades away as I get closer to work.

In the evenings as I drive home, he’s there hanging low on the horizon looking quite handsome. The evening attire is more of a warm and inviting yellow tone. He hangs out over the Bay and turns the tips of saltwater waves a golden amber. They wave as if beckoning me to dive in.

I try to ignore his intense gaze and then take a sharp curve in the road. For a moment I think he’s gone but then voop! there he is again, a little less bigger-than-life when taken from that angle but still there staring down at me with persistence.

I thought it was just a couple coincidences, but I’m pretty sure that the moon is chasing me. And maybe flirting with me too, just a little.

For all the world that big shining Snow Moon looks just like a gigantic cosmic Snickerdoodle.

He’s so charming, I just might take a bite.

———

Now tell me this doesn’t look like a snickerdoodle.



The full Moon as seen in Japan on Feb. 25, 2013. Credit and copyright: Masashi Ito.





Photo from Universe Today.




There Might Be Something To This

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On one of my free days while in the world class city of Singapore, The Good Man and I had occasion to visit a little touristy spot called the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Singapore’s Chinatown district.

It is a profoundly beautiful place, filled to the gills with statues of various forms of the Buddha.

Along one wall there was a display of what they called guardian Buddhas.

So, based on your sign under the Chinese Zodiac, there was a Buddha assigned to be your guide.

Ok, fair enough. Each guardian was rendered in a beautiful, colorful statue and surrounded by tiny Buddha statues.

So while I don’t always believe in stuff like the zodiac, Chinese or otherwise, I figure if there’s a benevolent entity who is going to be on the look out for my often troublesome self, well, why not give that at least a passing nod, hey?

I walked down the line of Buddhas, all gazing out into space, showing different hand and tool configurations.

All are beautiful. Kind looking. Strong. Compassionate.

Then I came across the Buddha that represents me:




Yeah. I, um, called him the Red Ass Buddha until The Good Man told me to cut it out since that’s disrespectful. I said most Buddhists I know are very calm and have a great sense of humor. He wasn’t buying it so I stopped.

But look at that face! The snaggly teeth. The blue skin. The stick in his hand and what is that? A cat-o-nine tails or something? And the flames? Oh the flames!

My goodness. He’s quite a high maintenance looking Buddha. It was sort of odd to see this guy as just the day prior I had well and truly ripped one of my under performing suppliers a brand new pooping chute. I had later felt a couple moments of remorse about it.

Then I saw this guy and was like “No, I was right to do what I did. Red Ass Buddha would approve.”

So I snapped a photo and put some money in the donation box under his area.

Then The Good Man and I moved on to the next guy. The guy who represents The Good Man:




Yeah. That calm guy. Hands all up in a mudra. Mellow colors in a shell behind him. Thoughtful.

That’s my man. To a tee.

Looking at these two statues sitting side by side became sort of a metaphor for our relationship.

Me all red ass and reaching out with that bapping stick to whack some folks around. The Good Man all calm, thoughtful and serene. The yin to my yang.

Maybe, perhaps, kinda sorta there might be something to this whole Chinese zodiac thing?



Images Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.