There’s One In There After All

Just because I’m presumin’
That I could be kind of human
If I only had a heart

— Jack Haley [The Tinman] / “Wizard of Oz”

I so often joke about the black hole, empty echo of space, where my pulmonary organ should be. Today I proved the utter fallacy that jest. At least the physical manifestation of said organ, though the emotional/psychological variant thereof may still be in question.

I chose today to finally get around to filing my taxes. I have never filed taxes this late before, even when I owed the IRS. No idea why I chose this year to be so lackadaisical with it, but C’est la vie. I mentally chastised myself for it and got down to business. I file online and it took the little over an hour the it usually takes to get it done. All was fine until I needed to verify myself by providing the document numbers on my state ID or license. I have a lot of things memorized – that is not one of them. So off I go to my bedroom to retrieve my purse and wallet.

Bedroom? Check. Purse? Check. Wallet? Wallet? Bueller? [insert Ben Stein followed by tumbleweed and crickets here.]

Oh! DUH! I didn’t use my purse yesterday. I must have…

…dropped it on the console when I came in? Nā.

…forgot it in my jacket pocket when I hung it up? Nee.

…placed it on the dining table? Nein.

…left it on the bed before it was made and it’s under the cover? Non.

…put it inside the drawer when I took off my jewelry? Nyet.

[That’s a negative in Bengali, Dutch, German, French and Russian for those who weren’t curious.]

Let’s just say I cycled between languages, rooms and locations in said rooms. I bought the wallet in a bright color so that, though small, it stood out among things and be easy to see. So why couldn’t I see it? I even checked the refrigerator, okay? Each negative added to the increased panic. Was I wrong, did I lose it while I was out and it’s all GONE? I was daunted by all the things I’d have to replace in my wallet: credit cards, ID cards, insurance cards, etc. All while being simultaneously glad that while I have most memorized; I also have photo copies of everything, including contact info, so I could begin that arduous process.

Forty-five minutes, and do not ask about the state of my bedroom, later. I plopped down in the club chair in my living room, head lowered in hands, another maybe fifteen minutes from tears of frustration when I spy a splotch of bright colored leather wedged between the side of the sofa and the broken paper shredder waiting to be picked up for refuse. That was when I remembered I had laid my jacket there before I hung it up, not knowing my wallet had fallen out and slipped down but did not make it to the floor I had checked.

The resulting emotional WHEW! was when I noted the palpations that began to ease. I hadn’t noticed as my heartbeat ratcheted up in my increasing panic, but I sure felt the release valve engaged. And me, being me, only had one thing to say for myself as I finished my taxes and put the rooms Hurricane Raivenne ransacked to rights:

I’ll be damned – there’s one in there after all!

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Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

How You Look At It

I saw the above comment on a blog post not to long ago. I understood that commenter was attempting to be sympatico to the blogger’s post by quoting the phrase. I understood what she was trying to say. Still, my mind record-scratched and went all Inigo Montoya: I do not think it means what you think it means.

The blogger used the phrase “navel gazing”. It was used in the modern sense – being unintentionally or narcissitically self-absorbed on a given matter to the near exclusion of others views. In the blogger’s case it was truly unintentional as it pertained to the post and made sense. It wasn’t the commenter’s use of the phrase of which I took umbrage, but the news example used to demonstrate the point.

Corona virus has become a common part of the American lexicon for the past three weeks. Even so, thanks to media misinformation, it made it sound like something that was only happening overseas. Sure some have heard of it before then, but it had not reached critical mass until recently. Let’s be real, most of us here in the US, likely did not give much credence to its dangers until last week when the direness of it touched our personal shores.

I had read the article mentioned. The rafters were on the Colorado River completely “off the grid.” If they were just returning from their three-week excursion this week, that means they started their trip before it became a major thing here. They had no communication with the outside world for three weeks. How could they know what was now happening here in the States? Who wouldn’t have a moment of utter disbelief upon hearing such news? That is not navel-gazing and thus my knee-jerk, The Princess Bride, response at what was more than likely the commenter’s knee-jerk response to the blog post however unfair it seemed to me to the river rafters.

And as my mind is wont to do – it then leaped from Inigo Montoya to semantics – or specifically semantic change. Semantic Change is the term for how some words or phrases change meaning over time. For example: the word awful was once used the way we now overuse the word awesome – something that fills one with awe – a very good thing. That certainly is not how we use awful now. An even better example is how we now use the word gay compared to its original use. That in turn circled my brain to Omphaloskepsis.

Omphaloskepsis. I knew there was a word for navel-gazing that did not have a medical prefix like ortho or optha. So yes, I did have to look that up. Navel-gazing‘s etymology was meditative-contemplative-almost religious in connotation originally. That type of self-absorption was not the bad thing being a navel gazer implies now.

And that is about the point I realized my own mind was navel gazing, in the bad way, to the point of being pedantic about the whole thing. I closed my mental Funk and Wagnalls and decided to slice about my insane mind and its internal wiki-walk. And if don’t know what look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls means – you may not want to, because depending on how you look at it, you bet your sweet bippy you’ll either grin in rememberance or groan in regret.


Here I am grinning and groaning on Day 21, of the Slice of Life Writing challenge for 2020 – let’s see how others are slicing it:

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