E=Mc2 or Some Shit Like That


In an $80-dollar Uber ride home on New Year’s Eve, I asked the driver the question, which I had previously been asking every new encounter throughout the evening prior to midnight:

“What do you want to leave behind in 2015 and what do you look forward to in 2016?”

Having recently gotten out of a relationship that was fulfilling on many levels, one of the things it lacked was connection. We never really shared hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, secrets or that kind of human intimacy that goes deep into the guts. Feelings made him uncomfortable. So I squashed mine. Or dimmed them down to reading-light wattage. Barely perceptible without squinting.

So 2016 is a year that I want to find spiritual, real, raw and meaningful connection with humans who want to gruesomely feel, share, emote, wail, lament, grow, learn, dissect and eviscerate their insides. Electric. Connection. Like two fingers barely not touching after dragging stocking feet over carpet. But maybe not with men for a while. Or boyfriends, in any case…I’m a little afraid of things with penises at the moment.

Her response was this: “Well, I lost two of my best friends to suicide last year, so there’s that.”

And suddenly, we spent the remaining $63 dollars talking about the thing that nobody talks about, especially not with strangers driving cars during 3.3 times the normal rate: Mental illness. Depression.  Suicide.

It’s acceptable to talk about your skin rashes and your knee replacements. We send sympathy cards when our neighbors’ kidneys need dialysis, and we tell our friends about our UTI’s and our gallstones, but nobody talks about the days when life seems like such an uphill battle all you can do is mitigate the sadness in pajamas and then feel guilty for all of the things you didn’t get done that day.

Nobody even knew her friends were sad.

Not long ago, and for the first time, I saw the watery depths of my darkness and it was a terrifying and shocking place to be. Shocking because I had never previously had any notion that such a place existed within me. I had never felt so annihilated; so worthless, hopeless or insignificant as I did then. I feel better. Much, much better, but sadness is persistent and there are days when I’m just proud of myself for getting out of bed every day, putting food in my mouth and actually being somewhat productive by most peoples’ standards.

It wasn’t always like this. Or rather, I think that for a large part of my life, I was naïvely optimistic. I guess the older I get, it all starts to seem more scary and overwhelming.

Or perhaps it’s because I’m starting to do things that only grown-ups do. And I am throwing a full-out, toddler-style tantrum.

Because I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to apply for health insurance or have mortgage payments (which, actually I do want to own a house, but I’d rather win Powerball and pay for it outright) or have denture care on my health insurance (that I didn’t apply for) or save for my retirement. I feel like I’m too old to grow up. I’m 37 so, like, if I haven’t grown up already, then I’m probably not gonna.

I was supposed to scan 25 pages of business receipts to be sent to our accountant on my sister’s scanner; a beast of a machine, which takes approximately 18,571 hours per page to scan. The thought of sitting at her desk for the rest of my life if I’m lucky enough to live until 90 was giving me major anxiety, so I drove down to the FedEx Copy Store in the middle of a snowstorm, where the dude scanned all 25 pages and saved them to my memory stick in 13.6 seconds for $12 dollars. And since time is money, then for $2.08 per page, I just bought 2.12 years of my life back in 0.54 seconds flat!!!

Obviously, this just makes good business sense and basically proves that I’m a grown-up.

Forget the fact, that I just spent an hour on my flight to New Mexico creating and then solving a problem I didn’t have or need or get paid for, so now I guess I’m out .00011 cents, which is probably why I’m terrible with money and can’t save for my retirement.

And pretty much why I’m awesome at math.

Needless to say, the $80 dollar Uber ride was priceless because the first interaction I had with the first person in the New Year was real and open and raw. We both genuinely said “thank you” when I got out of the car and it was her just being honest that spawned a connection that needed no introduction or preamble. Honesty speaks the language of a thousand heart-songs and sorrows.

Life is hard. Overwhelming, big, dazzling, terrifying, exhilarating, long, tedious, beautiful and perfectly unperfect.

Connection is available only if you’re open to it. You gotta intentionally drag your feet across the carpet, hold your finger out and wait for the shock.

Math, on the other hand…..is easy-peasy.




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