Mango Margaritas, Grace, and Anne Lamott
I was going to write about what a very alright, really great day I’m having.
How last night I dreamt of witches and Donald Sutherland and the vague memory of my dog offering me a pork chop and donut smoothie.
About how I had the stamina, not just the stamina, the desire to put on the false eyelashes and leave the house. (If you know me at all you know that if I’m rocking the eyelashes I’m firing on all cylinders.)
That fact that I drove myself somewhere BY MYSELF for the first time in ten days without falling asleep at the wheel, ricocheting off other cars or hitting puppies and babies in crosswalks.
Then I got a parking space right in front of my destination (which came in handy because I’m still walking like a toddler with a full diaper.) Not only that, the meter still had and hour and fifteen minutes of time left on it which always leaves me in a state of awe and wonder when I see it—like someone has just pulled a diamond out of their ear.
That’s all good and well but while I was sitting and waiting in a bright blue linen chair that was too deep for me to dismount in any kind of elegant way, I read this.
This beautiful essay by Anne Lamott that sums things up. Big things. Little things. All things. Government, hopelessness, getting gutted by a well-meaning doctor…Every damn thing.
“I think they are a tiny tiny bit tired of hearing me say that grace bats last, and that in the meantime, we practice radical self-care, pick up litter, flirt with old people. They’re probably sick of hearing my secular father’s Golden Rule: Don’t be an asshat. And above all, listen. Listen. Listen. Hear each other.”
I’m not tired of hearing it, Anne. I needed it. Like a mango margarita on Taco Tuesday.
I Love you, Anne. I Love you guys. xox
“I have been traveling around the country for nearly two weeks on book tour, and without exception, my audiences have been filled with lovely bright people who feel doomed. In New York City they were too sad to be ironic, just devastated, and in the Deep South, where they pet me and give me home baked cookies and pocket crosses, and where I develop an accent, their eyes tear up.
People do not feel “anxious” or “frustrated,” or doomed-ish, in a mopey Eeyore kind of way.
They feel cursed, cut down, scared to death, like during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s as if we’re all waiting for biopsy results for someone we love. We try to be brave.
No one has a clue how we are going to come through this fever dream. They come to my events because I am usually a cranky optimist who believes that if it seems like a bad ending, it’s not the ending. They hope I have found some spiritual, political or psychological tools to cope and transcend.
I think they are a tiny tiny bit tired of hearing me say that grace bats last, and that in the meantime, we practice radical self-care, pick up litter, flirt with old people. They’re probably sick of hearing my secular father’s Golden Rule: Don’t be an asshat. And above all, listen. Listen. Listen. Hear each other.
I think they are tired of me repeating that the only things that ever help are Left, Right, Left, Breathe.
I think they are tired of me saying around Easter that the crucifixion looked like a big win for the Romans. The following Monday, Caesar, and Herod were still in power. The chief priests were still the chief priests. (And meanwhile, in a tucked-away corner, the 12 were transformed. And some women, too.)
It’s amazing to stop pretending that things are not as bizarre and dire or hard as they are, in the marriage, for your grown child, in the nation. To be where your feet are, and to feel it all: the swirl of doom, of gratitude, of incredulous fear, of wonder, of hate, judgment, love.
Doctorow nailed it when he said writing fiction is like driving at night with the headlights on–you can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make it through the whole journey that way. That is true about every single aspect of life. Maybe people are sick of me quoting that, too, but it’s true.
It doesn’t make sense to stay fixated on what we don’t know–say, hypothetically, whether we will nuke North Korea over our special friend’s feelings getting hurt, or who turns state’s evidence first, or what crazy scheme might save the mountain gorillas from extinction. We only know now. We have all been through long stretches of feeling truly doomed–deaths, divorces, breakdown, failure. They call it the abyss because it’s pretty abysmal.
Maybe the Obama years were like this for you. Whatever.
But we know the precious community that kept us company. We know sacrifice, mercy, the arc toward justice. We know that the love and solidarity were real and profoundly, eternally true; and it is now, where your feet are, abundantly.
And hey, Hallelujah, y’all.”