lac mahon, la peche, qc.

lac mahon, la peche, qc.
photo by graham law.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Am Wherever I Go.

     Before I left india, last august, I packed up most of my things and stuffed it all in a trunk with a few mothballs.  I was a kind of sub-tenant, the actual tenant was coming for a couple of weeks and, frankly, I didn’t want him dressing up in my clothing, especially not that little French maid’s outfit I’m so fond of.  The problem is, now that I’m back and unpacked, I smell mothballs continuously.  Everywhere I go, all I can smell are mothballs, which is great when walking past an open sewage drain, but rather terrible otherwise. 
     It reminded me of another time and place and another equally awful smell: skunk!
     It was late at night and I was walking through the woods from my shop to my house in our beloved Wakefield village.  My dog, Gaia, was somewhere ahead.  It was dark.  I couldn’t see, but I knew the path well.  However, all of a sudden, without any warning, I was being sprayed, directly into my eyes, into my mouth!  I couldn’t believe it.  And it was not a little piddle.  It was a strong, full-flowing stream that would make any guy my age envious under normal circumstances. 
     My eyes were stinging, burning.  I thrashed through the brush until I fell over a log, spitting, yelling out for help.  All I could think was; ‘what kind of fucking mutant skunk can spray with a trajectory of six feet and hit the fucking bullseye(!?)’   Eventually Sharman, my wife, came running out and led me to the house where I proceeded to wash out my eyes.  I was at the sink for ages when it occurred to me that sharman had gone away.  I couldn’t blame her, of course.  I called her name and she answered from the office room.  I asked what she was doing and she answered; ‘I’m googling.’ 
‘you’re googling,?’ I said somewhat incredulously.
‘yes, I’m googling.’
 ‘you’re googling.’
‘what are you googling?’ 
‘I’m googling; what to do about skunk spray in the eyes.’
     Anyway, my eyes opened up, I bathed with baking soda, my clothes were thrown into the washing machine and life began to return to normal, whatever that means.  Gaia, by the way, was perfectly fine, lying on the sofa, smelling just as she always does which, while many might find distasteful, was not skunky, skunk-ish or skunk-like.  Clearly, she had seen what was happening and slithered away in what I can only assume was a cowardly move of self-preservation. 
     Walking through those same woods one morning, about ten days later, I could smell the skunk(s) again.  I was immediately on my guard.  Everywhere I went, I could smell him or her or them; in the woods, in my shop, in the park across the street, even in the bakery next door.  People in the street, the girl in the bakery, my clients all noticed the smell too. 
     Well, it took me most of the day, not being the sharpest tool in the shed, to figure out that the smell was in fact coming from my shirt.  Even though it had been washed, it still reeked of skunk.  I had been looking everywhere else for the problem when, really, I was the problem.  And that’s the point of this whole story.  The problem was wherever I was.
     You know where this is going.  If we’re unhappy, uptight or upset, if we’re dissatisfied, downcast or dispondent, we will surely carry that all with us wherever we go.  There’s no use in blaming anyone else.  There’s no use in trying to get away from it by buying fancy cars, boats, going on cruises or building big houses, (although I do think a fancy new camper van would make me very happy, but let’s not quibble.)  The problem is always within us and that’s where we need to deal with it. 
     And I like to think that, if we were to google; ‘what to do about dissatisfaction,’ somewhere within at least one of the sites that would bring up, the word; ‘meditation’ would appear.  Check it out.   

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