March 27, 2011
We had a chicken named David Bowie who had a bad habit of sneaking out of the chicken pen. Our chicken pen is old and badly maintained and there were ways that Bowie could find to sneak out. The other chickens stayed in their pen, but Bowie would sneak out and test the waters. I relate to Bowie, I too left the pen, the safe boundaries. The big difference is that I am not a chicken, so I am still alive. David Bowie is dead. He got into a scrap with the dogs and the dogs won. Luna weighs just under one hundred pounds and the chicken was no match for her.
Also, our cat died today, leaving us with only three remaining cats. The cat that died, Megan was born the year Mark and I met, seventeen years ago. Megan had a long line of cats and kittens that kittened our house for over a decade before we had them all spade. Our cathouse was a mad house due to Megan and her frolicking with every Tom, Dick and Harry. Megan outlived all her kittens and her husbands. Megan was a lovely black and white cat who got very old and decrepit before she died. We didn’t take her to the vet because that isn’t our way. We let animals die if they are supposed to die. Some people throw thousands of dollars at the last few weeks of an animal’s life, but not us. We commend our cats, dogs, birds, iguanas and snakes –when they are ready to die, to great happiness in the afterlife.
Now that the kids are gone, we are slowly saying goodbye to the pets. Maybe we’ll get it down to just 2 dogs, 2 cats, the birds and the chickens. Sometimes Mark and I think about getting rid of all the animals and living in a condo in Pasadena near the press, but not having animals and a garden to say nothing of a house to fix up, would be too depressing. I’m getting some writing done over spring break and I plan to do more.
We saw the movie, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, which was recommended by our friend Carmen. There is one completely crazy woman who believes in past lives. We’ll talk about this in a future blog—but I’m not a big fan of believing in past lives, horoscopes, tea leaves, I-Ching or tarot cards. Give me a break.
Anthony Hopkins is so lovely in this; he’s afraid of being old. He wants a son even though he’s getting on. This isn’t a fear you can walk away from. We will all age. The question is how we deal with aging. Hopkins buys a sports car, takes Viagra, marries a sexy hooker. The ultimate pleasure for an aging male who questions his masculinity is marrying a younger woman who he has to spend a lot of money on at least in this movie. Of course, it doesn’t work. She’s scouting for hot boys and he’s getting tired.
Here is a question. Sometimes you know a man who was married to a lovely woman who treated him wonderfully and all that time, he never did anything for her, never took her on vacations, never bought her gifts. Then he marries someone much younger, someone who is not his equal and not really someone you can take seriously as his wife; he buys this trifling person lots of jewelry, furs, expensive vacations. He has to keep buying her things. Does he really love this expensive person? Or do we really love the person we don’t have to constantly buy for?
I think in most loving couples there is a gift giving part of the relationship. Lewis Hyde in The Gift talks about gift giving and what it symbolizes in our culture; it symbolizes something binding us together. I believe in gift giving as part of what shows both giver and receiver that they know something about each other. That’s why it’s so odd when someone gives you a gift card; it symbolizes that they don’t know you well enough to know what to give you. The ultimate gift is knowing someone well enough that you can give them the right gift, a gift they adore.
But, a relationship that’s built on extreme gift giving is somehow flawed—I think. I like the idea that you could be happy with someone with simple gifts, simple vacations and dinners, simple pleasures.
I want to believe that joy is something shared, not manufactured. I want to believe that joy and love are easy with the right people. If you have to try too hard, is it really love? If you have to try too hard, is it really worth it?