09 September 2010

"Keep your head and drop the gun."

I wasn't going to let the week of my birthday pass without updating, but three full work days after the fact seems to have dissipated the high a bit. No worries; it'll probably return later, when I meet Martin, my mom, my brother Mikko, and his girlfriend Camille for dinner.

To use a cliche, I feel I'm at the eye of a storm. So many things around me have been thrown out of whack--relatives on rough seas, friends with sick siblings, country investigating two bloody incidents at once--and yet somehow, I feel that this has been the best birthday I've had in years.

The only explanation I can offer is that about three days prior, I had lost all sight of the meaning of my life. It's not very hard to do that, living mostly alone in a city like this; wondering what makes you any different from the million other people who take the same jeep, train, or bus every day; knowing that no one will remember your work three days from now; and feeling dehumanized by the almighty quest to kiss Slatekin* ass.

Why do I bother? Why am I even here? That kind of thing.

And then, I don't know. I don't know what happened, what switch got flipped, but the next day, all I could think about was how happy I'd be, spending most of the weekend with Martin. And though the weekend wasn't much different from how we usually spend them--parked in front of a computer game, catching up on work, watching cooking shows, going to a movie, eating an expensive meal--I was just indescribably happy that he was the person I was with.

Sunday night, I got some sad (but, to be honest, unsurprising) news about a relative. I can't say much about it except I couldn't stop thinking about how much damage the fallout would inflict on the people around, and I couldn't stop thinking about the people to whom the damage would be most acute. Mostly, I wanted to shield them if and when the bomb dropped, but I wasn't sure if it was my place.

All I've wanted in the past year or so was some semblance of stability for myself (the shallow part of me thinks that this hole can be filled with real estate). That night, however, all I wanted for my birthday was the best for other people, particularly Martin and my family.

"Please, God, do what's best for ______." I learned that prayer from Madeleine L'Engle, who didn't write just fantasy stories but also some really good books about life, faith, and writing. It's the prayer I use when I want something so terribly for someone but have neither the power nor the right to bring about.

My own birthday was a pretty ordinary day. I saw Martin in the morning, brought my co-workers pizza for lunch, and reunited with my mom and brother at night for a quiet dinner in Megamall. But I went to bed feeling hugely grateful.

I want to live. I want to be with Martin, be good at my work, make my little projects, go all domestic, and be happy while I'm at it. I still don't know what for except maybe for life's own sake, and I'm excited by the prospect. Suddenly, I'm terribly afraid that something bad will happen to me before I get the chance. How I got here from last week's "I feel meaningless," especially considering that I haven't actually hit upon a precise meaning, is a complete mystery. But I won't ask questions.

*Word has been changed to protect myself. But I will say they are the only thing about this job that make me want to pull a Steven Slater.

I take comfort in the fact that our company founder once told a Slatekin to go to hell. But he's dead, and times are hard.

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