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Perspective and Gratitude Are At My Front Door. I’m Not Answering.

by The Next Family April 01, 2011

By: Ann Brown

Doug’s private Facebook message to me contained one word with a punctuation mark that struck at the heart:


I know that a blogger is supposed to blog often, not just when there’s nothing good on TV or while your  Bob’s Red Mill cheese biscuit is heating up in the toaster oven.

It will not surprise you, however, that I have an excuse for not posting in a while.

I am writing a novel. And every time I write a blog post I keep thinking, “THIS is why it is going to take me a million years to finish the novel.” Which, of course, isn’t true. The reason that it is going to take me a million years to finish the novel is Pathwords. But still. A 1940 on Pathwords isn’t gonna get me into Shouts and Murmurs, even I know that.

It’s just that every time I set out to write a blog post, my brain goes to the checklist of all the other shit that I should be doing instead. Like memorizing the list of important things Obama has done, so the next time someone says he hasn’t done anything, I can have a quick and accurate response. Instead of, you know, “shut up, that’s what.” Which works, frankly, but I want to be smarter than that. I owe it to the ‘Rack.

This morning, for instance, I had every intention of spending the entire day at the computer, writing. I woke up at 8:30, talked on the phone to my sister for an hour (during which I unloaded the dishwasher, made coffee and stared at my face in the bathroom mirror for twenty minutes, coming to the conclusion that YIKES I have gone way the fuck downhill). Karen told me about a house for sale in my neighborhood that would be a good one for me to buy with Mom, since my current house isn’t an easy one for an 86 year old to navigate what with all the stairs and all, even though Mom, at 86, is in better physical shape than her 50-something daughters, and she has no intention of moving to Portland until at least two full  months after she’s been dead. But still.

So I drove over to look at the house, which made me hate my current house. I really don’t know why I bother to look at houses. I never come home feeling grateful; I only come home feeling pissed off. I don’t know why I bother looking at anything, really. Even the river. Or a gas station. Or change back from a five dollar bill. It all just makes me hate what I have.

Gratitude, like her cousin, Perspective, does not linger at my front door. Both do more of a drive-by thing on my street.

If you are Jewish, you have your inner comparison barometer set to the Holocaust, which you’d think would keep gratitude and perspective close at hand. You know, the coffee maker breaks in your newly-remodeled granite and oak kitchen  and you don’t feel like getting into your Highlander to drive all the way to Starbucks to get a cup of joe? So you tell yourself, “if the coffee maker broke in my barracks in the concentration camp, I’d be grateful to get out and drive to Starbucks for fifteen minutes. Grab an artisan breakfast sandwich to take back, I’d be golden until the liberation.”

That kind of perspective. You think it would make you a better person.

You’d be wrong.

I bet I’d be the kind of camp prisoner who would complain that the coffee maker in our barracks wasn’t working. I bet when they failed to get me to see the bigger picture, even my fellow Jews would turn against me. And I’d hold my ground, as I am wont to do when I know I am horribly, terribly wrong. It would be ridiculous.

So, in conclusion. Please go to Facebook, find the Dr. Strangemom fan page and become a fan. To make up for the Holocaust.


The post Perspective and Gratitude Are At My Front Door. I’m Not Answering. appeared first on The Next Family.

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