Thursday, December 11, 2008

blue guitar

They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are, Are changed upon a blue guitar."
(Wallace Stevens)

One of my man-friends came into my office yesterday holding a barrel, well actually a 36 oz plastic container, full of pork rinds, chitin's, whatever. Now, pork rinds are a southern delicacy, basically puffed pork skin. (Have you SEEN unprocessed pork skin?) Light as a feather, so a container holding 36 ounces is a big bucket.
What ensued was a lengthy discussion of fat content, taste, and cultural appropriateness, resulting in me gingerly taking one yellow styrofoam feeling bit of popped pork and yes, eating it. The taste was similar to bacon, presumably if it was deep fried. My tongue perceived it as salty, bacon-esque, and falsely light.
For some time afterward I had a slimy feeling in my throat. And a queasy stomach roil. Could be that it was 'all in my head' or it could be that it is simply bad food. Clearly there are those who feel otherwise.
This small moment of shared culture illustrates one simple thing. We each have a different guitar.
My neighborhood (which consists of one main road and several small cul-de-sacs) has over twenty five inflatable Christmas characters floating just above ground. During the day they lay deflated on the lawn, sad as a discarded piece of rubber on the floor of a cheap hotel.
One life size Santa stands on a porch, waving, and singing LOUD carols, the benign kind, at a sound level that reaches into every home.
We display more light covered reindeer than needed to make a significant northern herd.
My taste goes more to a lit candle on the counter. My Christmas joy comes in the packages called Kyra and Flora and Blaise and Meg and Alaska and Zoe. A good laugh with a friend, a note on the counter left by Steve. Not so much about overblown Grinches and snowmen.
My daughter taught me about 'freak flags'. Apparently everyone has one. Not everyone flies their freak flag. For those of you who are uninformed, a freak flag is your outrageous, inner alter-ego. That bit of you, usually contained, which sneaks out now and again to startle your people. Never mind your people, it can startle your self! Your freak flag changes things as they are.
So although I am contained and moderate on many fronts, and although my best joys are simple pleasures, I have a grand ability to haul out my freak flag and delight in something extreme: wild boots (on sale), shopping in pj's, toasting miniature marshmallows over an open fire or chocolate cake for breakfast.
Try it. Be unpredictable in something. Things as they are can be less than we need.


Krissi said...

I should try that unpredictable thing. Maybe it would be good to surprise people once in a while. Oh wait. Maybe I should actually put my freak flag away now and then. Hmm. Nah. It's a pretty design.

Is shopping in pajamas a weird thing around here? Maybe it's because I moved from a college town in Oregon, but that doesn't seem so off the wall to me. And hey, I ate a piece of YOUR cake for breakfast the other day. The last piece...peace.

Karen said...

I have, as a grown woman, attended a pyjama party at your home. I drove to your place in my nightgown, praying I would not be pulled over. That evening, eating chicken wings and Toblerone fondue with other similarly-clad women, is a very fond memory.

Linda said...

I never knew, until I moved here, that it was considered an oddity to have chocolate cake for breakfast.
My dad always ate two cookies and a cup of tea for breakfast and if there was ever any leftover cake from any event we ate it for breakfast.
So, I guess chocolate cake for breakfast is changed on my blue guitar side of life.
hmmm, a rubber on the floor of a cheap hotel...
that could be unpredictable, couldn't it?