Sunday, July 08, 2007

Mea Culpa...

The drive to LA takes 6-7 hours, depending on all the variables that time and distance offer. I go on 5, the IntraState, the big, wonking highway that all the truck drivers use as well. It goes, for me, from Elk Grove to Stockton, down through the Central Valley, the home of America's Big-time Agribusiness. No sweet little farms here. Just acres and acres, miles and miles of arable dirt in various stages of production: tilled, sowed, growing, harvested. The total effect is brown. Dirty brown. It's as boring as pig shit*. Speaking of which, scenic route 5 also is home to--okay, not pigs, but cows. So let's revise that to, it's as boring as cow shit. Of which there is an amazing amount. There are feed lots along the highway where they bring in cattle to fatten 'em up for the--well, you know what. The cows, thousands of them, just stand seemingly by the road, for miles inland, chewing and shitting, shitting and chewing. The smell is beyond belief. It's enough to gag a maggot.*

(*I'd like to thank my college roommate, Harriet, for both of these metaphors. If they seem somewhat dated--well, you know how long ago I went to college)

I tell you all this so you have some idea of what I endured during those 6-7 hours down to LA. And the 6-7 hours back home. Alone. By myself, that is. The radio--oh, the radio gets for most of the trip a choice of Spanish-speaking stations, Country & Western or Save-Me-Jesus stations. I don't speak Spanish. I like C & W, but it's all a bit too tragic for me these days, so I spent some considerable time listening to Pastor Whatchamacallit trying to convince me to give up my life for the Lord. Or, at the least, send him, Pastor W, a donation so he could pray to the Almighty that my sinning soul would be saved. I was unmoved, beyond noting that these guys are all heavily into the Old Testament,and they are also overly-partial to Paul, who as best I can tell had lots to say about women and hair. But then I'm Jewish, so I may have misunderstood.

All of this--yes, I have a point and I am getting to it--is to say that I spent some 13-14 hours by myself in the car, and something odd happened. My point of view began to change. On this whole thing, this marriage stuff, with D. After a couple of hours of regurgitating my plaints, poor me, bad him, oh woe, I suddenly had what might be called a chiropractic adjustment of the psyche. I started, maybe just out of sheer boredom, to think through the whole thing again but to see it through his eyes. Oh wow.

Suddenly, all the stuff that he was saying and doing made complete sense. I got It. Really got It. And I saw how much of all we have and have not become has been because of what I wasn't, rather than what he wasn't. Basically, I saw that I have been over the years so focused on ME ME ME and what I should have or want or need that I stopped seeing him. Stopped hearing him. Stopped being with him.

This is huge. D has said from time to time that I can be an obnoxious asshole. He's right. I can, and I have. There is something incredibly liberating about realizing this. Maybe because realizing my culpability also realizes my self-determination.


  1. "Gag a maggot" is one of my favorite expressions! My parents were full of colorful metaphors like that, "slicker'n snot on a glass doorknob," and other earthy treasures that I just don't get enough chances to use anymore.

  2. My dad always says "enough to gag a maggot." I use it, too.

    The cow-shit place? That is right near where my brother lives (Coalinga). I stayed at Harris Ranch for a hot air balloon meet and found out that I am allergic to cow manure. I woke up with my eyes swollen shut.

    I am glad you got some clarity about your relationship. Will that change anything?

  3. So... does this mean something is going to change with the divorce or is this simple knowledge to move forward through life with?

    I really liked this post.

  4. jane: oh, that slicker 'n snot is a new one to me...but I like it.

    sueb0b: you know the area, in all it's glory. every time i go through there, i wonder how the locals bear it. is your brother just used to the smell? was he buried in a bus?

    queen: who knows. the whole thing wasn't my idea in the first place. if anything changes, you may be the first to actually HEAR it.

  5. Somehow I missed this. It's excellent! What you experienced is all anyone can ask for of herself.

    I'm reading "Breath by Breath" also and "Thoughts Without A Thinker" is amazing. It's some time since I've read it.

  6. Holy crap, dude - that's a helluva realization. That's huge.

    I drove by that cow poopy place just yesterday myself returning to SacTown from L.A. and the only realization I made was that I didn't take a big enough breath to hold before entering said gaseousness.


So--whaddaya think?