I am putting these two drawings side by side. To the left is a digitally enhanced version of the painting on the right. The one on the left is a bit slicker. The lines are smoother. The colors are more vivid. I think the one on the right has a bit more. The roughness gives it more character though.
Let me tell you why I think it's hard to be human.
I know I like to act all zen and calm and portray that I live in patience and serenity with all of God's creatures. I want to think the slings and arrows of everyday life bounce off of me like bullets off Superman. Unfortunately, I am not quite the man I want to be - or maybe I am.
I want to confess that I almost ended my little artsy newsletter career because of my stupidity. I nearly ended my life today. Somehow my 30-year-old Marine mind inhabited my sixty-year-old pensioner's frame on Sunday in a grocery car park (parking lot to the rest of us). Uggg.
We were coming around a corner, and I could hear somebody outside say in a snarky tone. say, "You're not driving a tank lady."
Well, Andrea turned to me and said, "Did you hear what he said?"
Of course, my first reaction was to roll down my window and say, "Who the F*#* are you?"
Now, Under normal circumstances that would be the end of it. We'd both go off fuming, feathers ruffled, hackles raised. Each of us going off saying, "God, that guy was an ass!" And that would be the end of it.
Instead, the schoolyard came out in both of us.
He said, "Get out of your car and say that."
He had, what had to be, a six-month-old child in his arms.
Oh God, what have I gotten myself into?
I said, "You gonna do this with a child in your arms? I'm getting back in the car."
He gave the child to his wife.
Of course, I remember this from other stupid childish fights I'd had in the past. Not going to end well.
Andrea comes flying around the car and gets between us. She said, "Hey, why don't you pick on somebody your own size!?" He was about 5' 4".
I tried to push Andrea aside and insisted she go and get back in the car.
WTF now I'm arguing with her.
I'm sorry, but I have to resort to emoji freaking webreviations!
This situation is most certainly not going to end well.
As I leaned over, we stood two inches from each other face, his eyes twitching like a junkie needing a fix, his hands were in his pockets. That meant one of two things.
1. There's a knife in the cretin's pocket - BAD!
2. He's not planning on hitting me - GOOD!
So, thoughts in my head:
1. If I believe the miscreant doesn't have a knife and I'm wrong - Stay and fight - Oh Shit!
2. If I believe the ass doesn't have a knife and I'm right - stay and fight - I gain nothing, maybe a couple of bruises.
3. If I believe the reprobate does have a knife and I'm wrong - back down - I lose nothing.
4. If I think the idiot does have a knife and I'm right - back down - I gain everything.
Secondly, if he wasn't going to hit me, what's the point? I wasn't going to attack him first. I could see all the cameras coming out. I'd be on the worst version of Cops getting stabbed and bleeding out in the parking lot. Or I could be handcuffed, in jail, looking like bad Santa on the holidays with my little white beard on the six o'clock evening news.
I'm not a clairvoyant. I'm not Carnac the Magnificent. I can't tell the future.
I did not pick the right time or place to make a stand. I made a mistake. I'll admit my error. Walk away.
I said, "Sorry - I'm getting back in my car then."
And, I really was sorry.
I was sorry I got out of the car.
I was sorry I was feeling so stupid standing in the middle of a parking lot play "who the hell are you" with an adolescent, testosterone driven moron.
I was sorry that Andrea got involved.
I was sorry I almost made it on to some police blotter. "Bad boys, Bad boys, Whatcha gonna do."
I was sorry deportation flashed across my mind.
Oh no, not so soon my friend.
Oh-Oh, it's not over.
Andrea said to him, "You should apologize to me."
He says, "For what?"
Oh, God! There's no getting out of this!
"Please, get in the car, Andrea!"
As my dad would have said, "Andrea has more balls than Dick Tracy!"
Somehow we both got back in the car and left him walk off.
Did I feel a bit stupid? Yes, a bit.
Was I glad I wasn't in the hospital? Yes, a lot.
Should I have handled it differently? Well, hell yes.
I wish I didn't get out of the car in the first place. It just wasn't worth it.
Next time, I probably won't get out of the car.
In the mean time I'll try to meditate on the meaningfulness of equanimity. Or, maybe I'll have a beer.
Either way, this was a day I almost earned my very own Darwin Award.
Until next week - I wish you peace.