Tag Archives: death

Sorry to Spoil it For You, but I Die in the End

the world goes on

the world goes on

Did you know that it rains almost every afternoon here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and that bear hunting season is from November through January 2nd? Did you know that these forests have gross centipedes and tons of bugs and flies and rhododendrons whose white flowers then turn a sickly gold color when they fall off?

Did you know that (some) people from the south add the prefix Miss to first names of women, so Emily becomes Miss Emily and Myra becomes Miss Myra? Well it’s true. It’s all true.

It’s hard to know what to believe sometimes, or what’s worth taking a stand on. Hard to know where the truth can be found or where you’re better off just picking an opinion and justifying it with whatever you have at hand though in the end you know it’s just your gut that tells you so.

What is young? What is old? Is there only younger and older or are old and young set in stone, or are those things you tell yourself to make sense of how you feel? How much of me is tied to my body and my ability to do things like sleep on the bus for 3 hours and then spend an entire day walking around a new city? If I can’t do that anymore, am I still me?

When is the right time to be afraid? What is there to be afraid of? Has fear ever helped me become more of the person that I want to be?

Where are the limits to my own crapabilities?

I looked out over the Blue Ridge Mountains today, over Buncombe county and I saw the rolling blue peaks and the sun rising over them and a cloudy sky that looked kind of like water. I wanted to feel at peace and to feel serene like everything was going to be okay. When I was younger, I used to be able to do that, to zoom out until I was looking down at myself from the stars and I was so tiny and everything was going to be okay because the world would go on after I was gone.

Now that I’ve gotten older, it’s harder to zoom out, to remember how fast this life will go by and how my to-do list and goals and priorities will go away just as fast as I will. As I’ve grown older, so has my sense of self-importance.

There’s so much to know, but I will only know some of it. There’s so much to see, but I will only see some of it. And the world will go on as usual.

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RIP: Fake Epitaphs for a Real Life

epitaph_of_an_improviser

You don’t often get to say “I drew my own grave today.”

R.I.P. Emily Drevets, 1989-2280

What will they say about you when you pass on? Who’s opinion matters the most to you? Do you think you’re on your way to being remembered the way you want to be remembered?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but I came up with some true and hopefully true epitaphs that might adorn my tombstone, even though I’d like to be cremated and have my ashes spread in a vegetable garden. Making epitaphs is more fun than suggesting ash-scattering locations.

She always answered her email.
A consummate professional and friend.
Her emails were easy to read and contained very few typos.
She never dumped her personal life onto her Facebook friends.
She never gave money to the homeless. She just didn’t know what was the right thing to do.
She tried to get what she wanted out of life. She was pretty sure she knew what that was.
She sought out the unknown unknowns.
She called her mom every week.
A frugal dresser.
She wasn’t too picky about the food she ate.
She never spent too much on cosmetics.
Paid little attention to things that bored her.
Doodler.
She never knew quite what to do with Twitter.
Oft more afraid than others knew, she sometimes struggled with asking for help.
She wanted to remember everything, but only remembered some things.
She wanted to do everything, but only did some things.
She enjoyed sharing mundane details of her life with other people.
Mighty consumer of oatmeal and peanut butter.
She never understood fashion.
She had trouble understanding why others might feel differently than her about some things.
She told multiple people she wanted to be a tree but never became one.
She didn’t know what the criteria were for regretting something.
She really liked the sound her iPad made when it closed.
She finally walked on foot through the mountains.
She found love in the end.
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How to Be Funny With Words

I have a friend. He is real and his name is Joe. He is a novelist who co-runs a website called The Write Practice. One day I was in the bathtub playing with rubber ducky and suddenly I was like “DAMN! I need to write a guest post for this blog and tell everyone how to be funny with their words.”

I put on a towel and was teleported at that instant into his living room, scaring him, his wife, and his dog as I demanded he let me guest post on his blog. There was no knife in my hands. He acquiesced.

Later that night, I, the humorist, drank alone and wrote a post with my own blood mingled with the four humors of three cats. It was a Friday.

Weeks pass, and we arrive at today. While millions of showers are being taken, my guest post “How to be Funny with Words” will bloop onto the screen of The Write Practice, startling thousands and making hundreds more cringe as they pick their noses.

Please go to The Write Practice, and for God’s sakes, write something funny for once in your life. Do it! WRITE ABOUT THE SPOOOOOOOOOONS!

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Transportation: A post in three acts

As the daughter of a doctor, I would venture to say that I feel like 20 percent of our lives are spent commuting. Sometimes mortals like to enrich this transit time by reading, listening to music, or bothering other commuters with forced conversation. In Cairo, however, this is not possible since chance of death or severe injury during transit jumps from 80 percent to 100 percent should one lose focus on self-preservation. Transportation in Cairo will never, ever, be relaxing.

Today I had the pleasure of using three different kinds of transportation, most of which have already been discussed here and yet not exhausted due to the layers and layers of stress and discomfort found in all of them, layers that continue to be peeled back like the proverbial modern Egyptian woman who wears tons of…layers.

Act one: Rebirth on the Metro

Always in a class of its own, my Metro experience today was particularly moving. Switching trains at Sadat in order to head south, I felt my personal will fade away as I was sucked onto the woman’s car in a mass of bodies. While on the train, I was held firmly in place by the bubbly behinds of the ladies in front of and behind me. It was an intimate experience. Between me and the door was a group of perhaps 12 women, women I thought I would either need to squish through or shove aside in order to get out. Apparently there was a third option. As the train reached my stop, I was reborn as we, the mass of woman, formed one being and squeezed ourselves through the aperture of the metro car. To carry the metaphor further, all of us were also hot and sticky as we parted our separate ways. Too much?

Act two: If you can’t see the bones being crushed, do they still make a sound?

After partaking in the most delicious Mexican food this side of the Arab World (including Lebanon and Jordan), we were faced with the task of making it back home from Heliopolis, a faraway land filled with the richer segments of Egyptian society. We had arrived by a busy 8 lane highway and we were to leave by the same 8 lane highway, but in the opposite direction. This meant we had to cross the first 4 lanes (hell), make it to the grassy median (purgatory), and then cross the next four lanes (hell) to safety (paradise). It was nighttime, only 70 percent of the cars had their headlights on, and they were all going fast, about 70 miles an hour if my feelings are right. The speed, nighttime, and invisibility of the cars heightened the terror of the what could have been a normal highway-crossing experience. We made it to the median safely, and as we finally breached the last stretch like little black ants, I watched the lights rush towards me and imagined hearing my bones crunched against cold steel as the truck behind the headlights made contact with my unprotected, human, body. But we made it to the other side and hailed a cab, only to experience near death again all too soon.

Act three: Misfortune and self-interest

We were speeding along back to Doqqi on one of the many Cairene overpasses that look eerily similar to the skeletons of concrete giants when all of the sudden, we heard a screech, glass shattering, metal impacting, and more screeching. And then we saw the car wreck in front of us as our taxi driver skillfully slowed us down just in time to avoid hitting anyone. He stopped the car, got out to help yell at people, and then got back in and nosed his way into traffic that had been further bottlenecked into one lane, down from three. No one was hurt in the wreck, which made me feel better about the fact that my first thoughts upon seeing it were a) I’m glad that wasn’t us b) I’m glad we’re close to the wreck so we’ll be able to get through faster and c) I hope the meter wasn’t messed up when he stopped the car. Cairo does something to your priorities.

I have yet to ride any animals in Cairo, the most prevalent of which are donkeys and horses, as opposed to camels. I have also not ridden any form of bus except for the yachts rented by AUC, so there is still ground to break in the depths of Cairo transportation.

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