LEMONADE STANDS AND LAST SATURDAY

We all have so much shit in our minds, just bouncing around between all the axons, or neurons, or whatever other physiological terminology I never properly memorized. Who knew nonsensical electrical signals could make us feel so many things in so many places at once? All the way in the pit of your stomach, the bend in my knees, all the way down to the very core of our beings, but still entirely invisible. Invisible except for each half second that your smile fades and your eyes wander to the side, until your line of vision shifts as far past me as it can get, in dire search of any other view. Inaudible too, except for that half hearted laugh I hear after you say something that’s suppose to be funny, and the one word answers that don’t even sound like they are coming from my own mouth. We look like lost people. We’re walking around aimlessly, not in the good way (the way you excitedly wander around a new city in a foreign place), but in a terrified way (the way where you are suppose to know where you are going, but have this gut feeling that you must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and there is no decent place to turn around). We sound like nervous kids on a forced play date that our parents planned against our will, trying to find anything we have in common to bumble fuck on about and make some sort of meaningless conversation. I’m not sure I would even call it conversation, since it was mostly stating useless facts. We probably brought up the weather five different times, without as much as a cloud shifting position in the sky. We look like imitations of ourselves, and we sound like hesitation. If we have so much going on in there, so much that you can see it without examination, can hear it without using words, then why don’t we (see it or hear it or sense it). We probably did, and just didn’t know what to do about it. We didn’t know how to handle being real people interacting with each other about something sober and real, as opposed to our usual drunken delusionary fantasies. I’m sure passerby’s could sense the tension from a block away, and at points we could have physically cut it with a knife, if we wanted to, but the problem was we didn’t.

The awkwardness and fakeness were like little giddy kids hosting a lemonade stand, on the first exceptionally hot day of the summer. You know the kind. The kind where they’re jumping up and down and hollering for you to stop and pay-attention to them, your time, and a mere 25 cents. Their signs are screaming colors, but instead of saying “LEMONADE ONLY 25 CENTS A CUP” these ones said “SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT”. We just passed by and tried to look away, avoid eye contact, and pretend not to notice, like those awful, all too serious, grumpy, businessmen or something you know? They’re the frugal ones who have all the money in the world to spare, but not a second of joy or time. Goddamn, that was us. We must have been so uncomfortable to watch from an outside view.

I know how hard it is to formulate things into words and address them better than anyone. Avoidance is my coping mechanism of choice, and I didn’t say anything as much as you didn’t. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have though. We have to buy the fucking lemonade (figuratively, I mean, we actually did buy lemonade yesterday) and address the awkwardness and fakeness head on, but still gently, like we would the little eager kids working the stand. We can’t keep driving by and pretending these things don’t exist just because feeling things is scary, being honest and open is uncomfortable, and addressing our own humanness sometimes seems to require a super-human skill set. Because what happens when that business man gets home, time after time, year after year, after passing those stands and not pulling over for two minutes to smile and take the refreshing drink? All of that avoidance and awkwardness and above-being-humanness, has to wear on you.

He probably pours himself a lonely cup of whiskey and thinks about why he didn’t do it, again. I bet you he regrets it, and I bet it weighs on him. I bet his neurons and axons are even more of a disaster than ours are right now. I bet he understands them less than us, and I bet he ignores them when he sees them and hears them too. I bet he feels them in his all the way in his back, and blames it on getting old, and I bet he takes too much advil for headaches, which are really just unsaid words pushing around his head in search of a way out. I bet after a certain point, even if he wanted to, he might not have anyone left to say those words to, or at least not the people who needed to hear them. I bet he wishes it wasn’t too late to get back and his car and drive back to those disappointed kids with their dramatic signs to pay more attention, but the neighbor or someone must have stopped by and picked up the last few remaining cups so the kids could go in for dinner, and by now the suns down. Maybe there will be too much rain for the rest of the week, and there might not possibly be another day so perfectly excruciatingly hot until next summer.

I’m not saying all grumpy businessmen avoid buying lemonade from cute little kids, or that we are both going to end up being lonely and depressed just because we didn’t talk about what was on our minds one Saturday. I’m just saying avoidance is an unnecessary evil that always finds a way to catch up with us when we least expect it (even though we should have been expecting it the entire time). I’m just saying we should always buy 25-cent lemonades from little kids, and we should always talk about the things that are hard to say.

5/31/15

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