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    

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
Jeffrey Wilson
Demolish! The Story of One Detroit Resident’s Home
REZA FIYOUZAT
Billionaire In Panic Over Dems’ Self-Destruct
David Penner
The Barbarism of Privatized Health Care
Yves Engler
Canada in Zambia
Ludwig Watzal
What Israel is Really All About
Randy Shields
Matters of National Insecurity
Vacy Vlanza
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Through Eyes of an Activist for Palestine
Cesar Chelala
Dr. Schweitzer’s Lost Message
Masturah Alatas
Becoming Italian
Martin Billheimer
Lessons Paid in Full
Charles R. Larson
Review: James Q. Whitman’s “Hitler’s American Model”
David Yearsley
The Brilliance of Velasquez
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail