Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tidying Up

Ah, yes!  T. S. Eliot was right:  April IS the cruelest month!  And I know why – it’s tax time!  In the middle of a month that is a veritable orgy of abundance, the Tax Man cometh. 

Taxes make life very untidy.  My financial profile is disheveled, like a ballot laden with a horde of hanging chads…and every chad is hanging in a different direction. My accounts are in disarray, as if they were the hairballs that had just been disgorged by a deranged cat bent on offing himself with an overdose of Ipecac. 

When my investment adviser was showing me the numbers on my tax return, it was obvious some governmental subversive gone rogue had kicked my assets into a higher tax bracket. I was stupefied. I was wracked by jagged breaths. I broke into a high-pitched lament, a primal whine, and began emitting various unintelligible, wordless growls. Oh, the convulsions!  Oh, the paroxysms of desperation!  Oh, the tendency to hyperbolize! 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m no miser.  I fully expect to pay my fair share to Uncle Sam. But it was with great mandibular activity on my wad of gum that I refrained, in the name of karmic justice, from flinging a tantrum, conjuring a plague of pustules and imposing the likeness of Mick Jagger’s lips on every inefficient politician responsible for tariff terrorism. Really?  The amount levied by the IRS has the same quantity of numerical digits as my accountant’s cell number! I laid in a sump of self pity.

What’s going on in Washington? It’s hostile territory. Has someone who is genetically challenged and teetering on the surreal edge of normalcy, made a Faustian deal to test the limits of human endurance…not to mention hapless widows?  I always thought there was specific neuronal wiring that distinguished us from other animals.  After April, obviously, I was wrong. Of course, I read somewhere that hemorrhoids have a higher favorability rating than Congress. So, apparently, do root canals. Go figure.  Hemorrhoids can be surgically removed.  That explains a lot.  Washington is not exactly saturated with a population of aspiring candidates for intellectual glory. Every time certain politicians open their mouths, they subtract from the sum total of human knowledge. Talk about a checklist of depravity. Perhaps that explains the current state of the Presidential election – a mind-numbing drop in this country’s collective IQ to a single digit.

Thank goodness April is also saturated with lilacs.  Lilacs are concentrated blossoms with a singular fragrance, comprising the sublime whole.  They are truly more than the sum of their parts. There is never anything wrong with life that can’t be fixed with what is right with lilacs.

Lilacs bloom in inhospitable geography.  Lilacs are a glorious lavender…or white or a soft blush.  They leave one with a sort of divine befuddlement…how could something so incandescently lovely, bloom in tax season?  Smelling the perfume of lilacs is singular, like reading Psalms to ward off fear. 

There’s something permanent about lilacs, although their blooming season lasts only two weeks.  It’s amazing that a blossom so fragile can serve as anchor to the soul…like poetry or scriptures. 

I once said that lilacs have honorable subtlety.  They are a symbol of the deep perfection of life, as well as reminders of anniversaries that give one a sense of self. I never miss an opportunity to denude some unsuspecting neighbor’s lilac bush of its precious blooms.  When life becomes revolting and coarse (witness the messy electoral process currently assaulting this country, laced with vitriol and vulgarisms), lilacs bring a brief refinement, a distinct grace, a sweet respite from all that is fetid in the political arena, or any arena, for that matter. Now, I don’t embezzle any other flowers.  I have my ethics, after all. That’s not evidence of integrity on my part.  Merely the lack of energy to transgress with the same zeal and energy of my youth. However, if theft of lilacs were a felony, I would plead guilty as charged. It always gives me the most disturbing sense of satisfaction to breathe in the intoxicating perfume of contraband lilacs. But I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers.  That’s mostly because my peers don’t have the zeal or energy to judge.  I’d get a full pardon.

My task at present, however, is to tidy up in May the mess that was made in April.

 There is a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marre Kondo.  Apparently, the premise is: Power comes to those whose chads are all in a row.

Ok.  I’ll buy that.  It’s caused me to rethink my whole life. 

So I’ve decided to (metaphorically speaking) impose order on my personal chaos, knit up my unraveled sleeve, be aglow with cleanliness, pledge to become chipperer, and smite dead the fearsome dread of THE UNTIDY that creates scabby growths on my mind, binds the bowels and results in emotional constipation.  I will NOT join the ranks of the comically useless, or worse…the beguilingly incompetent, simply because I flung a tantrum of the untidy, and caused chaos in the universe!

I will be the Attilla the Hun of ordered, analytical reason, the Mother Theresa of the methodical, the matriarch of meditation, the gladiator of the shipshape…structured, logical, systemized…corpulently punctilious…

I’m going to change my life. 

LET’S. DO. THIS!

But…uh…where do I begin?

I think that was a rhetorical question. (Note to self: look up “rhetorical.”) 

Carpe cerebral:  seize the brain.  The physical and the mental do not have the same texture.   Before one can put the physical in order, one must put the mind in order. Actually, in spite of being naturally platinum, I am clandestinely erudite. And, beneath the fa├žade of conventional behavior, I am an organization freak.  I throb to the rhythm of structured logic.

If I am to tidy up any stratum of my life, I must first start with my mind. Forget the corporeal. But before I can decide what is in disarray within the confines of said mind, I must begin with what is in order.

Is there anything lovely in the structure of my mind that I could place before a tribunal of tidy people that could be for the well-being and elevation of mankind?  (I always like to begin with lofty goals.  Woman is vain, after all. Besides, what is the purpose of any intelligence, if not to serve others, and make them succulent with inspiration?  Then I will at least have the satisfaction of having done my duty.) I refuse to be a casualty of insipid vapidness. (Note #2 to self:  look up “vapidness.”)

Ah, but I digress.

Some of the order in my mind is not necessarily symmetrical.  But the following is what has managed to emerge from the clutter and chaos of confronting the worst that is imaginable…and possibly extracting the best.

*Being joyful is a state of mind, not circumstance.

*You’re never aware of personal strength, until being strong is your only option.

*The prime of life can be at any time of life.

*Being hugged by a six-foot young man you once walked the floors with when he was a colicky baby is a singular joy.

*While one can have multiple aka’s in one’s lifetime, (e.g. mother, grandmother, widow, matriarch, etc.) one must never forget the importance of being a woman.

*LOVE is the best medicine.

*Expecting children and grandchildren to fill every empty space in life is unrealistic, and places unfair pressure on all parties.

*Rock ‘n Roll is still the finest music around.

*If someone is invited to grow old with someone, one would be wise to give the matter one’s most serious consideration.

*Optics are tricky. Dawn is a matter of intuition, not necessarily visual perception.  Light can be perceived before it is actually seen.

*It is impossible to be angry when one is laughing.

*Broken wings heal, and one can eventually resume flight.

*True friends know each other by heart.

I suppose tidiness is a matter of simple economics.  Life gets messy.  You go through trials.  You learn from the experience. You keep moving forward. 

Ok. Bottom line: yes, life is often untidy, like an unmade bed, and all we need to do is make crisp hospital corners.

Got it.