Going With The Flow
I have the ability to make all machines, zoom and spin in my presence, pipes burst, water overflow, computers crash, printers go “offline” (Do they do that anymore?), cars sputter and die slow pathetic deaths, . . . etc. This is not me bragging about how cosmically electric I am. It only takes a short while hanging out with me before you come to believe I possess a strange hum, an odd aura, thousands of wonky amoebas . . .
So it should be no surprise when I describe a weekend in my life:
The weekend before the unveiling of a book I helped edit for Longview ISD, I decided to let my sister-in law, who’s in beauty school, first bleach my bangs white then dye them a dark, almost unintelligible purple. I had wanted purple streaks for a while, and she had just successfully colored her own bangs two nights before, not to mention a three of her friends, so I let her.
My bangs looked like a bad tie die job. We had to settle for hot pink. Way more noticeable HOT PINK. Longview, never knew what hit’em.
The very next day a few hours before a performance, my kids and I gathered the ingredients for lemon bars to make for a youth group bake sale.
We were out of powdered sugar, so I walked to the store. When I came back a heretofore unnamed child we’ll call, uh, mid-kid, used regular sugar instead, even though he’s made this recipe with me a bunch of times.
Seeing the look on my face, he switched into angel child, an ability he gleaned from his father, and assured me it would be fine, just fine. I assured him he was about to get a chemistry lesson. We cooked the hardest lemon bars known to man. The third little piggy could have built a lemon-scented house with those things.
That night we performed at Swirl-A-Bout with Mad Swirl and various other artists. I had been asked to write a poem for the fire dancers’ finale. Chris and I had been struggling over the order of the show and he said what he always does when I crave the tiniest bit of structure: “Why can’t you just go with the flow?”
My usual response: “You mean why can’t I go with your flow?” was replaced with: “There are six different acts going on tonight and I will go with all their flows if someone will just give me a hint as to what their flow might be before hand. This is not an open mic-It’s a paid event in an art gallery. . . blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
“You don’t have to do it,” he assured me kindly, which in my mind sounded like, “We don’t need you.” In his mind, “No pressure if you want to bow out.”
I rarely bow out of anything. When I do, it’s messy.
Chris left to mingle with the artists. I stewed in the car where I watched the dancers and fire eaters and visual artists go in and out drinking wine, smoking American Spirits and chatting, the girls with their dark red lipsticks and black shocky bangs against their pale tattooed skin, when I realized the poem I carefully crafted for the fire dancers finale didn’t fit.
I rewrote it in the parking lot, going with my flow of anger and abandonment while working in some carnivalesque images. The dancers loved it.
That night, at two o’clock in the morning, two days before we were to sell our Honda so we could get a mini-van, the hood of the car flew open and folded in half as we entered the Mix Master. Chris had been in a hit and run (his third hit and run, fourteenth wreck (but that’s another blog altogether (btaba)) when He swears I said, “That’s what you get for not fixing it in the first place.”
I swear, I am not that stupid.
I said, “That’s what WE get for not fixing it in the first place.”
Chris’ little sister, the same one who dyed my hair, can put her own Honda back together with her eyes closed. She’s like Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast and the Furious, only meanerJ She assured us we only needed a little wrench and the parts from Certa-fit. But we procrastinated because, well, you read the first paragraph. These things usually don’t go well.
I said WE!
Nevertheless a frozen quiet spilled over the car as we realized we were not going to be able to sell anything and we would be stuffing our kids and their friends into this car for the next few months, hoping the front end didn’t shimmy off onto the highway.
The next morning Chris and I lay in bed before church making jokes about the car, the lemon bars, my pink hair and making up for the tension from the night before. Later in church, I had that sick feeling I get between my rib cage, when I have thought or hoped or assumed my flow was in tune with God’s flow and He’s telling me it isn’t.
I pray to always be in it, but half the time I think I’m taking off into the stars like a spaceship, when I am really just a spinning pinwheel, fooling myself with my own flow.
He thumps me . . . a few times, gently reminding me to, “Be still and know My Flow.” (No really, that’s what he said:)