On the one hand, I think the approach of the New Year is an appropriate time for me to reflect on some of the weird things I’ve learned about myself in 2004. On the other hand, I keep waiting for the year when these revelations seem more normal than weird. That hasn’t happened yet. It seems as though I am doomed to be weird till I die.
The first new thing I learned about myself this year is that TV has finally become nothing more than white noise in my life. I turn it on and pick up my book (magazine, newspaper, crossword puzzle) and become totally unconscious of what’s being said on the tube.
What’s even weirder is that this only works for old sitcoms and David Letterman’s monologue. Anything else on TV just annoys me and I have to turn it off. Except for the Daily Show, which I watch because it’s the best, if not the only, satiric commentary left in America today.
If I turn the TV off, I become aware of my surroundings and can’t concentrate as well. I need the white noise from the TV to completely escape. So thanks to all the cable channels that make it possible to always find an old sitcom somewhere on the dial.
I also learned this year that I have an absolutely irrational fear that my birds will somehow intuitively know if I am holding back on them during pomegranate season. Pomegranate season is the three months every fall when my living room looks like a blood bath takes place in it on a daily basis.
My birds go head first into the seeds and come up with beaks red and dripping. Then they shake their heads in a frenzy of joy making sure every floor, window, wall and cage surface reflects that happiness. Captain and CB, who live in a white cage, can create particularly striking images of what appears to be the aftermath of a bloodletting gone bad.
I grow tired of cleaning this mess up long before they get tired of making it. Yet I continue to buy the pomegranates for as long as they are in the stores because I am irrationally convinced that they will know if I shortchange them on the season and will seek revenge. Parrots seeking revenge is a scary concept, as any seasoned bird companion will tell you.
I also found out that despite my advancing years, my brain is still able to shock me with conclusions it throws out to issues I didn’t even know existed till I suddenly had answers to questions I don’t remember asking. For instance, while taking a shower one morning, it occurred to me that my friend Leslie’s grandchildren were named Aden, Brenna and Connor. ABC. And it corresponds to their age ranking from oldest to youngest.
Her girls swear this is a co-incidence. I think they’re just playing with their mom’s head, which is not a nice thing to do to those of us not sure how much brain we have left to play with. Anyhow, we’ll know for sure if the next grandkid is named Damien or Damiana.
Perhaps more frightening, I found out that no matter how old I get, when I’m doing anything that gives me time to daydream, I’m still apt to fantasize about a knight in shining white armor come to rescue me from my mundane existence. Of course, my knight is older now and has a 401K and his own home and doesn’t need to put his name on my mortgage. But he’s my knight nonetheless.
Finally, I realized that even though I was born years after the Great Depression ended, being raised by children of that Depression has left its mark on me. When I reach the last cloth in those pre-moistened kitchen wipes, I tear off about six paper towels and stick them in the container to sop up the last of the liquid cleanser at the bottom of the jar . Then I use those paper towels before opening new wipes. I can’t not do this. I’ve tried.
So I guess growing older doesn’t always mean listing towards normalcy. It just means rubbing the edges off of who we always were and polishing our personalities till they fit us like a glove. And, as our incarcerated friend Martha would say, that’s a good thing.
With that in mind, may 2005 see you still learning new, weird things about yourself that make you smile and laugh and enjoy life to it’s fullest.