Well, my friends, the last seven days or so have been full of dizzying highs and lows. Mostly lows. I can’t really say much about that, except that some big things in my life suck about as badly as they are able to suck. And I must admit that yours truly has succumbed of late to some very dark despair, oh yes I have.
Tonight, though, I turned an inexplicable and improbable sort of corner. It didn’t change any of the things about my life that suck, but it certainly feels like something has shifted. And it all has to do with an act of public urination.
I will share the incident as I described it on Twitter and Facebook. I went out to the grocery store this evening, and when I got home– well, here’s what I posted:
So’s I get back home from the food jobber, right? And my downstairs neighbor comes out. Says “I gotta tell you something.” She then tells me about Five-Dogs-Lady who routinely brings her dogs over to poop on our lawn. She came while I was out. Except this time, after her dogs finished, she drops trou, pops a squat and pees on our lawn herself.
A) I totally believe this story, and B) You have no idea how much it cracks me up that I share a neighborhood with a yard-pisser.
Ever since this happened, I have been feeling better than I have in some time. I have come to think that, improbable as this sounds, the yard-pissing lady was delivering a message from God.
Of course there is something terribly unseemly about someone dropping her pants on your lawn and peeing. I am sure that there is some city ordinance or other against this sort of behavior. But at some level, I just have a hard time getting worked up about this. In fact, I find it somewhat endearing. This sounds terribly sixties of me, I know, but it’s not really my lawn. I wouldn’t want my son to see someone use the bathroom on our lawn, but he didn’t; for that matter, neither did I. Part of me, though, suddenly wonders just what a big deal it is in the grand scheme of things if my neighbor pees on my lawn. Probably not much of a big deal at all.
It’s more than that, though. Lately I have been having some difficult thoughts related to the suckery I referred to earlier. It has occurred to me that a great deal of what makes a person’s life meaningful involves deciding who one stands beside. I don’t mean in the first instance who one has intimate relationships with, although I guess that’s part of it. I mean more who one stands with socially, who one identifies with and lives near, those people one allows oneself to see. It seems that so much of the world chooses to stand alongside the best and the brightest, the straight and the white, the male and the affluent. I have for some time cast my lot in tangible ways with that side of the social equation, albeit in varying forms. So many of us do that. They are where the money is, and we all need to pay the rent, right?
As I mentioned in my last post, though, I have moved to a new place. I live alongside different people now. I am now beginning to learn what that means. I am not meant to stand along the shining white straight rich men with their serious ideas that never seem to amount to much in the end beyond their own self-aggrandizement. My place is, in some way, alongside the dog-walking yard-pissers of this world, smiling and laughing.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t plan to start urinating on lawns myself. And it’s not like any of us can write off the world of upstanding citizenship entirely. I still have rent to pay, even here. Besides, God even loves rich straight white men, yes God does. But even the straight white man’s lawn needs watering and fertilizing. Then the dog-walking yard-pissers of the world are indispensable.
So my micturating neighbor gave me a shower of unexpected blessing tonight. Like most blessings, it is both life-giving and extremely hard to bear. I have more confidence than I have had in some time, though, that it will somehow all work out.