Residue

“Yet here’s a spot… Out damned spot! Out, I say!”
-Lady Macbeth (Macbeth* 5.1.30-34)

Setting: Beaches Restaurant Int. Bar. A table is in the far corner near the exit, three chairs are around it. Half empty glasses and plates of food stuff lay on the table. A half eaten plate of nachos is in the center of the table, a mound pf Jalapenos lay to the side of the nachos, clearly picked out of them. CATHY, AMANDA, and CHRIS sit around the table. Int. Lights are dimmed, amniotic restaurant/bar noise fills the air.

CHRIS: (Picks up jalapeno piece) I dare you to eat one.

CATHY: I will give you a dollar if you eat the whole pile.

AMANDA: What is it about our family and ridiculously arbitrary bets.

(AMANDA gets up to use the restroom)

CHRIS: (Holding the jalapeno between his index finger and thumb to look at CATHY through the center) Come on! If you eat one, I’ll eat one.

(Beat.)

CHRIS: Fine, forget it. (Tosses jalapeno back on plate.)

(Long beat.)

CHRIS: She’s been gone a long time.

(CHRIS slumps his head down on his hand in boredom.)

CATHY: WAIT DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYE!

(Too late. CHRIS’ right eye begins to burn and water, turning bright red. As this happens AMANDA returns and sits at the table.)

AMANDA: (Noticing CHRIS.) He touched his eye didn’t he?

CHRIS: *sigh*

(A “Beat” indicates a pause)

-BLACKOUT-

It’s true, I did that. I’ve done it before, and I will most likely do it again. The worst part is, I wear prescription contacts and the residue from peppers, from my experience, often gets trapped within the contact. Why would I do such a carelessly stupid thing? Well, I just simply forgot I touched the pepper, and there was no evidence (that I could see) that any of the spice still lingered on my fingers.

But it did.

Above I included a quote from one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth sleep walks late at night and reveals the deep and dark pain she is feeling for her role in the murder of Duncan. In this one moment we see her become vulnerable and fearful, literally becoming undone and driven to madness by her guilt. Interestingly, there are no spots (or blood, which she is referring to) on her hands, and yet she scrubs them violently and ferociously anyway. No, there was no actual blood on her hands, just the invisible “residue”, the guilt.

Just because there was no clear indication that my hands had Jalapeno juices on them, didn’t change the fact that there actually were.

I think this speaks volumes about the nature and consequences of the actions we make.

For you science-y types just think of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal opposite reaction.

Maybe we can’t see or tell what the immediate or eventual outcome of our actions will be, but there WILL be an outcome. Try all you want to gently drop a pebble in water, there will always be ripples.

Or perhaps not, I am after all writing this under the influence of high volumes of caffeine at Starbucks.

Whatever the case, always remember, residue is often hard to see.

*Or Macbee or Maccers for you superstitious and theatrical types.

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Cats

“Then there was the time my cat Kiki got crushed by the garage door.”

(beat)

“That was a bad birthday.”

I’ve never had good luck with cats. Never. The only cat I remember my family owning while growing up was Kiki, whom one fateful morning attempted to impersonate Indiana Jones. It didn’t end too well.

Besides that the only other cat in my life belonged to my neighbor across the street. It’s name was Rudder, after its oddly bent tail. Rudder was ancient. My neighbor had this cat for over 15 years, and local neighborhood legend was that Rudder once beat a pit-bull in a fight. I didn’t witness the fight, nor did I ever meet anyone who did, but we Carol Drive latchkey kids needed something to believe in.

In Rudders final days he had more diseases than nine lives, and if Cats can suffer from dementia, I am pretty sure he had it. The day before he died I had one final encounter that did not end so well, for either of us. I don’t know what happened. To this day it still haunts me from time to time. I was sitting in my front yard when I noticed rudder walking towards me from afar. I noticed he was looking at me. Staring. He kept approaching me, like a T-1000. Just a straight B-Line to me, as if this was part of his normal routine. I was actually pretty excited, I felt honored that this wise, street-tough feline would honor me; and then it started attacking me.

Not viciously. I mean it was probably 18 years old. It had more gums then teeth.

But it was creepy and unnerving.

And it was snarling.

Red eyes glaring.

So I kicked him.

Fairly hard.

I never told anyone about it, and I found out that he died the next day. But, I am pretty sure it had nothing to do with me kicking him. It was Rudders time; thank you Ecclesiastes 3…

Then there was this past week. My generous cousins are allowing me to stay at their home while I am visiting the beautiful Northwest. I am having a great time here, and it’s so nice not to have to worry about the expense of a hotel.

However…

There is evidence of Cat(s).

Scratching post? Check

Cat hair on some upholstery? Check

Water bowl? I think so…

Litter box? YES.

But where are the cat(s)? I have yet to see them. But I know they are out there in the dark. Lurking. Waiting for their opportunity to do something dastardly to me.

Sometimes if I listen close, as Poe would declare, I can hear the “tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells”- of their collars.

I know they are watching me.

Moments

I, like so many before me (At least I imagine so, after all there is no such thing as an original thought or idea under the sun; thank you Socrates… or was it Plato?) have often mulled over this question: how long is a moment? Really?

Just a second? Thirty seconds perhaps, possibly longer. Five minutes or longer is definitely much longer than a moment, it has to be, that would be more like “awhile” or “soon” or “a bit”.

Before this weekend in the Northwest, before this writers conference, I had been wasting countless moments. Insurmountable measures of time that have tick-tock’d away that I will never know the potential of. Diamonds and riches I will never know of. If I was where I was a week ago, and I mean mentally/spiritually/creatively not location-ally, that would have send me into an even darker tail spin. The weird part about rock bottom I’ve found, is that there is always farther to fall if we allow ourselves.

Well I am out of that pit now.

Semper fi.

Well, I feel as though I have an answer to my question now. The word “moment” is a stupidly lousy word to describe a length of time because it’s not intended to be used for that. Let’s all send letters to Websters immediately and fix this problem.

So many moments have occurred this week that I have miraculously been receptive to. My internal brainwaves have been re-tuned, and I finally feel signs of life out there. These moments- these instances where I have all of a sudden felt myself change for the better, felt growth, felt tugs of hope on my loosening heart-strings. It’s only after these “moments” have occurred that I realize that they existed at all; and they all vary in size, meaning, power, and length of time.

I do not know what obstacles lay hidden before me on my journey, I at least know that it is not a wayward journey I am on.

I am ready to experience and create; to affect and be affected.

I’m ready to discover more moments, big and small.

Often I have found the quick, seemingly miniscule moments that have happened this week to have had the most impact… you know, that lightning-quick moment and flash you wonder whether it happened or not, but you know deep inside it did.

That one second glint of light in another persons eye that you catch. That is yours. That belongs to no one else but you; and no one can take that away from you. No abyss, no pit, no darkness.

Cherish it.