FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse

by MISSY BEATTIE

Mercurial I am.

Took a walk after dinner last week after submitting my “Annie” article.  Down to the center of the Kingdom.  “Prosecco On the Patio” at Donna’s Café was teeming with flesh, a lighthouse for the lonely, a lantern to the lost.

I made my way to Chris who coordinates these “events.”  “What is this?” I asked.

“Two Meet Up groups,” she said.  “For singles.  Join us.”

The women outnumbered the men at this desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures-goody bag.

Suddenly, I was talking with a woman.  She was ready-set-go hot.  Plunging neckline.  Cleavage.

At Cindy Sheehan’s Soap Box, I’m listed among the bloggers.  Cindy calls me a “radical” with the caveat, “Looks can be deceiving.”  I thought about this as I scrutinized the Meat Hook Up.  I was wearing jeans and a white, tailored shirt, a veritable anarchist in this tits, ass, perfume, sweat, and testosterone cauldron of carnal opportunity.

Welcome to the slaughterhouse.

A man approached.  He didn’t tell me his name.  Just said he’s a lawyer, divorced two years.

“How long were you married?” I asked.

“Twenty years.”

“And how many of those years were happy?”

“Oh, seventeen.”

“Well, anyone who’s had 17 years of happiness probably wants to remarry.”

“Someday.  Not soon.  All the women I meet want to move in or marry.  What do you want?”

“I just want equanimity,” I said.

“What’s that?” he asked

“I think you should mingle,” I said.

I left for the bank, my original destination, to withdraw cash from the ATM.   Turning, I headed home, walking past Donna’s chaos.  I felt my own.  “I’m not right for this world.”  Nausea.

“I’m not right for this world.”

At home, I poured Pepto-Bismol into its plastic dispenser and chased it with water.  And, then, I imagined a drink for the heartburn-ed:  Pepto and Prosecco.  Hmm, Pepto and Prosecco on the Patio.

I laughed.

Later, I lay in bed.  The positive mantras I’ve said the last few months weren’t there.  “Everything is all right” became “I’m not right for this world.”

Another storm ravaged the Eastern US Friday night.  The ceiling fan faltered, stopped, started, faltered.  The lights flickered.  Then, the outage.  Usually, these are brief.  I awakened early morning to a motionless fan.

Outside, tree branches partially obstructed the road.  I walked with neighbors, surveying the damage.  Someone said we wouldn’t have power for a couple of days.  I said it could be worse.  “What if we lived in Iraq or Afghanistan?  What if we were looking at the aftermath of a drone attack?”

He said, “You’re right.”

Little Ms. Sunshine, I became, spreading messages of gratitude, for all we take for granted.

I walked to the Village Square Café.  No air conditioning but plenty of food, a place to charge batteries, and access email.

Later, I entered my almost dark apartment.  Too early to go to bed.  Not enough light to read. I decided to try meditation.  No, that’s not misspelled.  I did not intend to write “medication.”  Think about it:  Replacing “t” with “c” is a huge difference.

Now, where was I?  Oh, yes, nightfall.

I positioned comfortably, hands on my legs.  And I began to breathe, concentrating on each breath. Breathing, breathing, breathing, focusing on the inhalation, the exhalation.

And, then: “You don’t know what you’re doing.  Okay, picture a STOP sign to prevent invasive and occupying thoughts.”

Breathing, breathing, breathing.

Another intrusive thought.

“Shut up.”

And, then, finally, a nice calm in the smooth stillness of a power outage.

There’s a world I’m not right for, a labyrinth of aging sorority and fraternity rushees.

Yet, there’s this place I entered, a shelter from the storm, where I was able to cast off some negatives, for a while.  I know they’ll reappear, leave, and reappear.

Equanimity.  It’s possible.  With practice.  On purpose.

Missy Beattie continues to work on meditating in Baltimore.  Email:  missybeat@gmail.com    

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
Andrew Levine
Why Not Hillary?
Paul Street
Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé
Chris Floyd
Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers
Eric Mann
How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools
Jason Hirthler
The West’s Needless Aggression
Dan Arel
Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Flunks Decontamination
David Rosen
The Privatization of the Public Sphere
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy
Pete Dolack
We Can Dream, or We Can Organize
Chris Gilbert
Corruption in Latin American Governments
Dan Kovalik
Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation
Jeffrey St. Clair
Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable
Medea Benjamin
Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail