I think I'm finally settling in to life without Velvet in the apartment.
Velvet was sick last weekend which was the first time he has been sick away from home unless you count the trips to the emergency room from Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. He lived.
I have to say that my buddy Woody from The Well-Armed Lamb has been helpful through this transition. Woody was a college professor for a long time and can speak about the freshman experience with authority. Woody can also speak with authority on the topic of pissing people off with panache which is a skill I'd like to cultivate. I don't have a particular agenda, it's just that I often hold back on expressing my true opinion about many things because I don't want to make a scene. While the ability to keep the peace is also a good skill to cultivate, every now and then holding your tongue creates a false impression that you actually agree with someone who is sadly full of shit.
Yesterday morning I blew off yoga class because I chose to indulge in one of my favorite activities: Wake & Bake (sorry, Mom). I rarely ever got to wake and bake when Velvet was home because it's not the sort of behavior a mother should encourage around the house. Actually, I hardly ever got high at all when Velvet was home on account of (1) it undermines my parental authority and (2) the kids might need a grown up to manage a tricky situation and I prefer to be sober in tricky situations unless my lawyer, The Man from San Antone, is on hand.
With Velvet five hours away and certainly asleep until noon, there was little chance of trouble from that quarter, so I hit the bong and got ready to reconnoiter in the neighborhood. There was, in truth, plenty of time to straighten up a bit then go to yoga, but yoga is problematic enough when you're sober especially standing on your head. I can manage to balance upside down okay, but with the shoulder issues I wind up crooked. I'm sorry to say that it's like finding Tigger in yoga class. In fact, my inner Tigger was in charge of everything yesterday morning.
I wanted to get more exercise than a high person gets wandering around Whole Foods, so I decided I'd go for a walk in the park then wander around Whole Foods putting together a care package for Velvet.
For years and years, I walked a mile or two in the park several mornings per week. When Velvet was a baby, I even took hand weights along to pump up my heart rate. The loop around the soccer fields is perfect for a short, brisk walk. Unfortunately, I've avoided that loop in the fall for the last few years because somebody I used to know used to coach soccer in those very fields every Saturday morning.
I figured that I should be able to walk in the park in my own neighborhood. It's a free country, after all, and he may not coach soccer anymore. Even if I ran into him, I should be able to say "nice to see you," and go along my merry way. I wouldn't have been so worried except that he apparently buys into the idea that I'm maniacal and made a big deal about my bad behavior when, in fact, his was just as bad or worse. Part of me wants to confront and correct that situation.
Apparently, the other part of me wants to run away because when I got close enough to the fields to start recognizing folks, I thought I recognized him and hurried down a grassy little hill to the running trail which is partially obscured. Then I darted into the trees down a path that went over to the duck pond where I could continue on in peace. The risk of seeing him was an exhilarating rush and my heart rate went up, for sure, but I had enough fun for one morning. I went on home and made myself some coffee and put off going to Whole Foods until Sunday.
It's a shame to give another person dominion over parts of Central Park on the off-chance that an unpleasant confrontation might result - especially when that person might not even be there or recognize me if he were. Nevertheless, one of my guiding mantras is, "Don't start shit, won't be none," which brings us back to the problem of going along to get along, or giving someone the impression that I concur with his assessment of a situation when the truth is that I decided to let him believe what he wanted to believe. He was so angry, defensive and suspicious back then that no other point of view existed.
I never figured out if his attitude was situational or if that is his general nature. In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff talks about recognizing and working with our general natures. There is nothing inherently Good or Bad about somebody's general nature, but certain individuals use cleverness (Rabbit), complaining (Eeyore) and knowledge (Owl) to dominate others which makes them a drag. Wise individuals, like Pooh, understand this simple truth and live accordingly. Hoff explains:
The wise know their limitations; the foolish do not. To demonstrate what we mean, we can think of no one better than Tigger, who doesn't know his limitations. Oh, excuse me, He says he does now. Well, let's recall how he was forced to recognize one of them anyway . . . (Hoff, 1983, p. 44).
Hoff references the time Tigger told Roo, "Climbing trees is what Tiggers do best," and the two of them climb so high into a tree they can't get down. A commotion subsequently builds around their rescue, further illustrating the difficulties surrounding not knowing your own limitations.
This morning, I'm thinking that while I may have been silly yesterday in the park, at least I recognized my limitations before I accidentally raised a ruckus. That's progress for a Tigger. I'm also thinking there is a good bit of Rabbit in that soccer coach. Eeyore and Owl, too. Those characters frequently get aggravated by Tigger's bounce to the point where one day, Rabbit concocts a plan wherein some of the friends will ditch Tigger in an unknown part of the forest so that when they return for him, he will be a Small and Sorry Tigger who bounces no more. As it happens, Tigger never gets lost at all. Rabbit does and is found by ". . . a Tigger who bounced, if he bounced at all, in just the beautiful way a Tigger ought to bounce" (p. 63).
If there's a single lesson in The Tao of Pooh, it's to trust our inner natures. I knew I was going to get stuck and wisely bounced over to the duck pond. Certainly there are aspects to all of our characters that need to be addressed as we work toward Usefulness and Happiness - but nobody needs to get uptight about the whole thing. Or angry, defensive and suspicious either.