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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Buffet Table, Chafing Dishes

I assume there is widespread general knowledge that Las Vegas is replete with buffet restaurants. In "the day", some of these establishments constituted fine dining at a bargain price and were a kind of "reward" or thanks from the house for the gambling money left behind by the tourist. I'm sure there are still some fine ones, but if I had to take a stab at how many there are, I'd say three bazillion, mostly identical, and they serve up shlocky food for big bucks. These are a kind of "reward" or thanks from the house to say "Leave more of your money behind in exchange for little or nothing. Leave it for us to line the pockets of the fat cat corporations that do little or nothing to support programs and infrastructure in Nevada." Does the reader get the mood I'm in?

I've been emotionally dining at a buffet that serves only beef jerky, corn on the cob, overcooked tortilla chips and taffy (for dessert). I am emotionally toothless and suited only to yogurt and vegetable broth. I've had a lot to chew on and it has given me verbal constipation. I can't write. Forget "can't write". I can't even organize my thoughts. I'm not only down. I'm up and down and up again. This is unusual and I don't know myself, for mostly I'm pretty level, pretty routine.

Last weekend I was giddy. I'm a woman who loves a holiday celebrating love. There was a hint of spring in the light and the feel of the air and the temperature. I actually managed two days in a row off from work. I got the good haircut, entertained people I care for, exhanged Valentine cards and little gifties.

Monday I shifted from giddy to shitty. I was unkind in a way I cannot believe of myself. Oh, I can tell anyone the reason for it. It's that I simply cannot believe it of myself. This rendered the middle of the week "shaky ground and shaming oneself". Yesterday I offered an abject and sincere apology and found myself able to look at my own visage in the mirror last night. When I looked at myself I appeared tired and drawn. I reminded myself to be kind and generous, for I certainly want to be treated that way.Someone who cares for me reminded me I suffered a bereavement not a month ago and I still haven't finished the book about dealing with grief that Mother Badger sent me. I'm still wearing the rubber band on my wrist to snap when I want to feel something other than what I am actually feeling. Note to self: Stop trying to run from it. Walk through it, experience it and move forward. It's still there, no matter how fast you run.

Last night I was asked whether it was possible for two people (another person and I, specifically) to behave in a certain way with one another. The question blew me out of my chair. The behavior is a positive one, productive, peace-giving. Not negative in any way. But I was overwhelmed by the enormity of what I don't know. We're complex, we human beings. Layers of phyllo dough built inches thick. Some of the layers are crimped around the edges and some have tiny tears. We're patched in places, with unsightly scars. And we're crispy in other spots that might crumble when pressure is applied. Some of us possess the honey intended to be included in baklava and some of us seem empty, unable to present sweetness. I had to reply that I don't know what's possible between people (the two of us specifically). I don't have it all figured out. Worse - I don't have anything figured out. I got back a good response: "I don't know what's possible, either. We'll just make it up as we go." All right. Where there are human beings of good nature in the mix, the way will be found.

I observed something this week. I noodle around (like I suspect most bloggers do) in 25-30 blogs, adding some from time to time, slowing on reading others. I read the serious and humorous things some very talented sorts write. I read people who are passionate about their avocations and I see the art presented by those with a special eye for capturing and presenting beauty digitally, in clay, with paint. Sometimes I favor a trend that this blogger is following right now, and other times that one over there pulls me strongly. Almost invariably, the bloggers have posted pieces, whether verbal or visual, that tell of the angst they feel from time to time. This is natural I think. We are expressive sorts (that's why we blog), so we express. It awes me that, just as the readers and followers cheer over a happy or brilliant post, they also reach out in kindness when the blogger is troubled. I was touched to see men offering another male blogger comfort this week. Yes, I do know that men can be kind just as women can be kind. I was touched that the male followers reached out to say it.

So, I really do already know the answer to my ailment. One foot in front of the other. Do it again. Inhale. Exhale. Do it again. I think I'll make the appointment for the indulgently long massage and while I lie on the table, I'll think some more. I'm looking forward to a more usual weekend. No visitors, no holiday, no bicycle race. More balanced. I think I'll step up to the buffet table again and . . . Hey! Look there! Mashed potatoes. Applesauce. Cottage cheese and soup. And I feel a new tooth growing in!

In my ears right now: Another important part of the soundtrack from my misspent youth. Written by Dylan, performed by The Byrds. Does it get any better?

Something that charmed me: It intrigues me how friend Kirk often "thinks" in movies, and Tag sometimes in music. The Badger surely thinks in flowerly terms, and Kass appears a multilingual thinker to me, favored reader. Others I follow think in cycling and good writing and things psychological and beautiful poetry within their fiction. I think in food. Not at all times, but often. Food and I have a long and fiery relationship. I understand it very well. So, no, I wasn't starving to death when I wrote this post. At least not in the physical sense.


  1. Very good post, Les. I don't quite know what movie to compare it to. Maybe the buffet could serve chocolet. Like the movie "Chocalat"

  2. @ Kirk ~ Thank you, my friend. You don't have to be 100% dead-on for me. I just like that you think that way sometimes. You keep me on my toes, because I'm way behind you in that way. Except when I got you with Marty's/Murphy's romance.

  3. I can't even imagine you being the kind of unkind you described. It takes a lot to admit something like that and move on to a peaceful place.

    My imagination is working overtime about that certain conversation. Do you think I have the two characters figured out? If so, amazing!

    Thanks for thinking that I think multi-lingually. I'm probably just schizophrenic, though. Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic and so am I....

  4. @ Kass ~ I'm every bit as bad as any other person can be, and I proved it. I hope I remember to be almost as good as any other person can be. I don't suffer the guilt from my own nastiness very well.

    Although I've publicly declared you the best long distance Girlock Holmes in the world in this blog, you wouldn't be able to guess at this conversation. You wouldn't have any frame of reference. No clues have ever been provided.

    Hmmm . . . schizophrenia. One of the few disorders the professionals have not tried to fit onto me like a hat. ;~}

  5. I've talked a few times recently of the rhythms of life. I feel like I'm coming out of a down spell. Seems you have had one as well and as perhaps the whole world shares that with us. But it sounds as if you are moving back. I find the synchronicity of you selecting the Byrds as a musical treat while I pick Loggins and Messina for mine. Maybe were like overlapping sine waves. Sometimes peaking together sometimes not. You charm me dear Leslie.

  6. Hmn...the plot, like the gravy, thickens...

    ..baby steps then - just because we grow larger doesn't mean we have any more answers than we had when we took those first steps...there's always opportunity to practice walking...

  7. @ my dear friend, Tag ~ Aw, you led with Danny's Song. It is deeply ingrained in me, and do you know the Anne Murray version? I love both! I struggled hard in many ways and spent much money, and put much faith in the god I don't believe in to be able to have a child of my own. And it's so '70s - peace, love, freedom, "we can do this together". It's very much me, in my era.

    Here's where I am in the middle of another night, Tag, with my walk looming in 2 1/2 hours. We undulate. It's ALWAYS up, then down. Sometimes I wake up and think, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I'm old. Who gives two shits if I walk 1,000 miles today or if I gain 2 pounds this year? And, p.s., who's in charge of Leslie today?" But the weak voice, from far off, says, "Finally, Les, YOU are in charge of yourself." All right. Drag my ass out of bed, feed cats, feed self a little bite, go walk, go run a business. Do it again.

    Yes, I'm emerging again. Like Puxtawaney Phil. I'd be a good example of a renewable energy source! Once you called me your hero, do you remember? I was awestruck. I've seen you say "I love you" on your blog and I've commended you for it. And now, I charm you. Tag, I'm glad I've "met" you. You have done much for me, inside and outside the blogosphere. Let me say this: once you wrote that you felt a closeness to many people you'd never meet, and if you passed them in a crowd, you wouldn't know them. I feel differently. I feel that the echo-locator would go off and I'd be clearly pointed to you. It would beep and I would hug you. I thank you. This is profound to me.

    Synchronicity, indeed. I'm not required to be deeply knowledgable about spirituality and other things that are a mystery to me. I just naturally know where to go, where it is good and kind and loving. Thank you for this day and connections!

  8. @ Rachel ~ VERY good, the gravy reference! I don't care for sauces and gravies, but it PERFECTLY descriptive!

  9. Well, Leslie, I love this post, for its references to the things of life that bug you including expensive and indigestible food.

    I love the cryptic nature of this post that has me and I see others guessing: What's gotten into Les?

    Most of all I love your capacity for honest and nail-biting self reflection. Talk about 'mea culpa'.

    I do this, too, therefore I resonate. I understand and in so far as I think I might understand, I'm with you all the way.

    And I'm ever so glad that you're almost over the worst of this 'self flagellation' and back in the land of the living.

  10. @ Elisabeth ~ I thank you for your positive comments! For you and everyone: I don't mean to be overly mysterious in this post. It's just that I was asked something that hit me so profoundly I couldn't help but write about it. But I felt dicey about laying out the details when only I could talk about it in this forum. The other person couldn't ring in and give a different impression or point of view. So I tried to keep the written version simply to "this is profound to me ~ all that I do not know".

    More than just yucky pricey food, Elisabeth, I was kind of going off at soul-less Las Vegas for which I do not care at all, and to which I have been shackled for two long periods of my life. I don't expect to be leaving any time soon, either.

    I DO look inward a lot. I try to work on my "stuff" a little bit every day of life. And I've got a lot of stuff. I try hard to be honest after a lifetime of being anything but honest. Because of my life experiences and Catholicism, guilt and shame are the largest beads in my necklace. I'd dislike myself if I didn't work on my stuff, was dishonest or just shrugged my shoulders to say "Oh, well, I am what I am and that's it." I just try to keep on keeping on.

    And, yes, I'm emerging. I feel a desert post coming on, with photos that I love from a place I love.