Thursday, May 29


We, as human beings, naturaly gravitate toward beauty. Consider the many cathedrals, museums, luxury resorts, national parks, even fashion models and show dogs; we love beautiful things. But is picturesque perfection enough? Do our desires wade as shallow as physical beauty?

An ex(boyfriend) once said to me, "You'd be so beautiful if you'd just shut up." Back then, given an insatiable thirst for all things fermented, and enough anger to spawn any spat, he may have had a point. But what I think he really meant was, "peace and quiet would be so beautiful." For the record, I often felt the same about him.

For Adam (names may or may not have been changed to protect the spoken of), I am confident that beauty was enough. It was the one thing that could brighten his darkest place. Just about any thing had potential to be beautiful: a job well done--an attactive finished product, a gigantic plate of spagetti, a 1954 Norton, and--apparently--my silence.

But what about those whose standards are . . . let's say . . . more specific? Festering details can, in time, erode face-value. Once detected, can we ignore the aphid infestation on a prized rose bush? Will we tolerate the blue-ribbon Terrior--best in class and show--who can't seem to shit outside? Would we adopt Shiloh if all attempts to potty train were unsuccessful? Sure things may look good on the surface--the carton of eggs free of collapsed corners and dried yolk--but I have learned to look inside--at each individual egg.

The dozen I failed to inspect, however, came in the form of a tropical paradise. What better place for salvation than a postcard image constructed almost entirely from my own imagination? It was fool proof, really, or so I thought. But such an image does not allow for closer inspection. In it, you cannot detect mosquitos, travel delays, language barriers, stolen baggage, torrential downpours, frequent power outages, or hurricanes. The carton of paradise was bought--and already home--before I realized my haste had a greater price than $2.69.

There are moments, amidst the jungle, that provide photo opportunies. Don't get me wrong; it is a beautiful place. But there are days when you are unable to pull out your camera, for various reasons--you hope none of them involve questionable limb integrity. I have learned that, for me, beauty alone is not enough.

Sadly, I have fallen out of love with my tropical paradise. The honeymoon is over, as they say, evidenced by the keyword "annulment" in recent Google searches. I just hope there was more to the collapse of my vision than an inability to deal with toenail clippings in bed. Oh, wait . . . nevermind; that was Adam.

Thursday, May 22

Time is Money

When purchasing an item in excess of several hundred dollars—or pounds—I prefer to research my options. Some people choose not to fret over such nuances, claiming that time is money. But this, my friends, is exactly what I mean. Money takes time. It took a considerable amount of time to make the money to buy that shiny, or delicious, or useful often useless, or entertaining thing. Perhaps it’s obvious on which side of the tracks my car stalled?

Due to a compulsion toward extensive research, my relationship with newly purchased, semi-precious items extend beyond the receipt's date. Take my digital camera for example. Last year, after months of painstaking comparisons, I bought a Cannon G7. I needed something compact, in the10 mega pixel range, more manual options than I know how to use, and capable of producing incredible shots—despite its operator. On paper, the G7 looked good. In practical application, it has exceeded all expectations.

The downside, however, presents itself in the item's absence. Absence due to theft, for example. No longer is it the monetary loss, but the loss of the gadget itself. Replaceable? Yes. Doubtful, though, to gather endurance for another quest. The next one will most likely just fill the hole. Like the “replacement” dog—acquired before the grieving dissolves. Yeah, you have a dog again, but the floppy ear and high-pitched bark somehow irritates you more this time. Fortunately, Cannon has manufactured a successor to the G7—with a few more bells and pixels.

You'd think that an easy decision such as this would let the neurosis rest. But quite the opposite. Idle energy has the potential of burning a hole in your butt. Perhaps it’s time to place emotional attachment elsewhere . . . like onto more appropriate objects . . . like my car. With enough love maybe it will decide to stall on the other side of the tracks.

Thursday, May 8


Like a fogging machine and 80’s glam-rock, so goes spring and allergens. Billions of florescent-green spores can make this time of year miserable. Persistent sneezing leads to a runny nose; itchy eyes turn red; and one's head feels as heavy as a dinosaur's. My father’s battle with hay fever taught me early-on to appreciate my resilience to pollen and macrospores. Certain social situations, however, presented a greater challenge than just avoiding the lawn.

As our sensitivities broaden, specific foods, particular activities, and people, demonstrate that the body—or mind—is capable of rejecting almost anything. In a vast arena of possible allergens, accurately identifying one can be more trouble than it’s worth. The banana, according to Dr. Meyers, for example, can take over three months to nail down as an offender.

A recent business layover in Phoenix provided more than a stuffy nose. Irritability, anxiety, claustrophobia, and an unshakable urge to harm the locals manifested immediately upon arrival. Can overexposure—like excessive consumption of dairy, or wheat—degrade our immunity? If so, then perhaps this also explains my aversion to cell phones, email, television, and—frequently—my own writing.

I began to question the placement of blame when, in the safety and air-conditioned comfort of the company vehicle, the beauty of the landscape, however faint, lightened the angst. When allowed suitable space—to breath, I was able to appreciate the conveniences of a big city. I found peace in the absence of people. Perhaps Phoenix was not the allergen, but the people in it.

So, Dr. Meyers, how long does it take to test people as allergens? Or do we just develop a new perspective, realizing that we can not live without them—no matter how hideous the rash? If only we could make them taste like bananas, maybe, then, it would be more palatable.