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Thursday, June 21, 2007

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Zen and the Art of Miniature Golf

I've got to tell you, I have been a bit of a wreck lately. Between a touch of homesickness, mourning the passing of a friend, and a flare up of chronic, cavernous, gaping ambition, I have been feeling a little bit fragile, a little bit lost, a little bit desperate.

I don't think either the homesickness or the grieving requires much in the way of annotation. Each just is. I hate it that I can't afford to travel home to the island this summer, and I hate it that people get sick and die. There's not much I want to say about the grasping, except that I feel like I am sitting on the edge of a coin some other hand has tossed, waiting for heads or tails. This, or something better, has been my mantra, for I know the clenched hand cannot receive. Que sera, sera. But my prayer (if you can call wheedling prayer) has been Oh, please. Please. This.

What it feels like is the summer I was fifteen and my boyfriend broke up with me. It's that bad. My self-esteem in this matter is between grades nine and ten. I am on the verge of writing Kasey Kasem about it.

Anyway, I just couldn't face another day of obsessing and moping, so I gathered up the kids and took them out to Gator Golf. We headed down the interstate, listening to Elton John and Billy Joel on the oldies station. Gator Golf is a cement shack right off the highway, surrounded by a labyrinth of matted astroturf and algae-smothered waterways. It has a video arcade that could gave been lifted straight out of my early adolescence. Old school. I bet you could buy a cigarette for a quarter at the counter. It rocks.

You know how your fingers remember phone numbers on a key pad, even when your mind doesn't? Apparently, mine have retained the Ms. Pac-Man opening strategy at the cellular level. I got the high score. It boosted my confidence immensely. The kids had a blast at mini golf. It could have been Pebble Beach.

And you know something? For that hour, it felt like we were on vacation. It felt like life really is a gift, on any terms. It felt like it might not turn out to have all been for nothing if it never happens for me, because maybe this is what's been happening for me, all along.

For twelve bucks and a handful of quarters, it was quite a deal.

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Blogger Brit said...

I hear ya. That what is it about? And when will it happen for me and why didn't it happen yet. Whine whine whine whine.

And then I look at my babes and I think. This is it. For now. This is where I want to be. Today.

And someday when they are ten or fifteen or thirty. I'll have plenty of time to work on what I want to be when I grow up and getting mine.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

I found your blog through my friend Jen Lemen and have been reading it hungrily each day--making my way through the archives, thrilled when there is a new post. But more than any, this post resonated with me today. I have been thinking so much about finding hope even as it all seems to be falling apart and wondering just how to do it and this post just captures the essence of it. Thank you. It was a blessing today to read it.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I have never seen cigarettes for sale - across the counter, individually - anywhere in the US. Certainly not in the South.

I think that is a uniquely Canadian quirk of capitalsim - perhaps even unique to Newfoundland.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

when I was 14, a pack of cigarettes cost three bucks or more in Canada. I think they were a buck in the U.S. We didn't always have three bucks, but we could usually scrounge up a quarter or two. Almost every convenience store (and arcade) unofficially sold smokes to youngsters by "the each". Seems unbelievable now.

9:00 AM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

oh the things i find out after the fact......
i want you home desperately.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Wild said...

next time you gator golf please call us - i could use the same boost for similiar reasons...

8:59 PM  
Blogger Wild said...

"wild" is actually "lennie" incidentally.

9:01 PM  
Blogger lia from luebeck, germany said...

A friend of mine family couldn't go vacation never-ever. My friend just stated this fact and we never found out whether it was because they couldn't afford it, or didn't have any where to go.

Her mother was really imaginative and they would do a lot of theme parties or outings (south sea island, Family Robinson, new world explorer, scientific discoveries). There were never many props or resources. I remember using a lot of what was lying around. We kids did most of the preparation and work. I don't remember, but we were probably not so hot on the clean up.

If you can't fly to your beloved island, is there any way you can bring it to you? What was special about those childhood summers?

5:02 AM  

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