The other morning, like most mornings, I woke up, well, no, I didn’t. I snoozed. Then, I snoozed some more. There’s something intoxicating about grasping onto those few minutes of sleep (my snooze works in five minute intervals). Sometimes, I’m not even actually sleeping; I’m just in a limbo state between awake and asleep and it’s peaceful, tranquil.
Anyhow, after finally scourging the snooze button, I rolled out of my covers, I fumbled, of course, and stood up. My back and ankles and arms and neck and everything it seemed, cracked like I’m thirty years older than I ought to be. Thankfully, I still have my unblemished ginger locks.
Eyes still half-shut, I slid on my black work pants at the end of the bed; again, I fumbled, of course. Then I moved over to my dresser to locate my socks. Over the years, I’ve come to much prefer black socks to white socks. Aesthetically, white socks are just goddamn ugly and don’t go well with any shoes, but especially mine since they’re black or red. And maybe it’s just mental, but I also think they’re more comfortable. So, I grabbed a pair, slid the first one on and its fine. I grabbed the second slid it on, and it had a hole at the top. My big toe stuck out. Son of a bitch, my dog must have gotten ahold of this one at some point.
I looked in the drawer for another sock. No way was I going all day with this fucking hole in my sock and with my big toe hanging out uncomfortably. Well, there were no other socks. They must all be dirty. The stars aligned for this to happen, apparently. So, I did what I had to do: I put on the sock, wiggled my toe through the hole, put on my shoes and went about the rest of my morning routine.
Okay, yeah, I know, I’ve already spent almost 300 words setting up the fact that I had to start my morning wearing a damn sock with a hole in it. Blah, who cares, right? That’s what I thought. I didn’t give it a second more consideration until I was in my car making the usual 20 minute commute to work through back country roads in the dark, which, I think, incidentally, is ample time for such thinking.
Life’s ailments are like that hole in the sock. All of us have baggage in our life of some variety, stress to some degree and pain and torment we carry with us. Even the most outwardly optimistic and happy person surely has something that weighs them down.
And yet, just like the sock, we put it on and wear it throughout the day, even though we are aware of it and sometimes, are distracted by it. When I was driving down those windy, country roads, I couldn’t help but think how tragic life is and how baffling that is. Whenever I pass a stranger on the street or in my car, I think, now, “What problems are they suffering through right now? What’s their tragic story?” And that they are carrying that with them right there in that moment.
We just keep living despite it all. Despite all the bad shit that comes at us. How can anyone treat another person maliciously knowing this? We’re all suffering through the rough edges of live, some of us with deeper wounds and wounds unable to heal and yet, we keep living and carry it with us. So, how can we treat some poorly when this life experience is that of a shared one?
It sounds sappy and sentimental, I know, but honestly, I find it perplexing; human beings are the greatest chameleons of all. No matter what ails us – and some are better at this than others, quite rightly – we are able to put on a façade for others that says, “Hey, pal/gal, I’m doing alright, look at this smile,” when under the surface, they could be experimenting a torment that makes Job say, “Whoa, dude.”
Kobayashi Issa, one of the masters of the Japanese haiku, lost both his first-born child and then his daughter. Such tragic circumstances led him to pen this haiku, translated in English:
The world of dew —
A world of dew it is indeed,
And yet, and yet…
That last line is immensely powerful to me. Yeah, in a way, life is fucking tragic. The moment we’re born, we’re careening toward death (careening, as relative to the scale of the universe) and on the way, we’re ricocheting like the clumsiest bastards into tragedy after tragedy…and yet.
And yet, there is something fucking beautiful about this insanity. There’s something beautiful about being able to wake up every morning with the luxury of hitting a snooze button. Hell, there’s something beautiful about being able to sleep in a bed with a soft mattress, a soft pillow and thick blankets in a neighborhood virtually guaranteed to be safe.
Maybe sometimes life is about just putting on that goddamn sock and celebrating the air between your toes granted by that fucking hole.
I’m feeling like an Al Pacino “life is about inches” monologue right about now…