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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail