I’m a big fan of irony, seeing it where many others see truth or silliness. Over the past year, these have been among my favorites (It’s the list-making season, right?):
- The nice couple I know who now swear by the paleo diet….while also buying a new car
- The guy in the open air parking lot who reamed out someone smoking a cigarette…while said reamer sat in his single-occupied SUV
- Getting chastised for being rude….because I no longer gave regular injury updates to the person who greeted each one with “I don’t believe you!”
- Being told that introverts, of which the speaker identifies as the only one present, can’t cope with nonfamily being present, followed by the assertion that that means me…when I am both an introvert and more closely related than the speaker
- The innumerable Born Again in-laws posting “Jesus is the reason for the season”…written in glitter on Victorian-era inspired glass ornaments decorating a Druid-inspired tree
- Authoring a self righteous post….because casual references to these with friends have met with eye rolling
“Do you ever really know when your philosophy assignment is due?” the parked car asks me. It’s a question that I’ve outgrown: there haven’t been philosophy assignments in my life for 35 years…although certainly I continue to have a related task to consider: “Do I know when my philosophy is as complete as this life–for me, the only life I get–allows?” It’s a question about acknowledging limits, about keeping Self from overgrowing into a selfish life.
“Take time to smell the roses,” which I can’t remember seeing on a bumper in decades, is the text my friend Issukee (her nom de web) adopted as her personal summation six or eight car bumpers ago. “Well behaved women never made history,” another assertion rather than a question, still floats on Subarus and Toyotas in this proto-feminist town, and is the self satisfied mantra of other friends who want the mantle of history maker more than the challenge of finding ways to make the present habitable to as many as their pairs of arms can reach (Tip: arms joined with other arms hold more of the world; when Self is subordinated to Sorge, history no longer leads as raison d’etre).
Questions move me to become more. Statements, in the manner of bumper sticker proclamation formulations, suggest the Outside Evaluator holds an upper hand that will be qick to sweep me off the map.
And so it is in my relationships as well. Assumptions are walls; questions invite the use of windows that open outside and in–showing more than already is, shedding light. To ask is to continue to live, to discover the boundaries where history hasn’t yet been “made” and the scent of roses calls as a possibility.