Monday, December 31, 2007

culmination


Dear 2007:
Around the time we first met, I was inspired by a random stranger's blog post which was titled something like "My Resolution for 2007: Make it My B*tch."
I should have known that adopting such an aggressive approach to you from the get-go would backfire. And, suffice it to say (without going into too much detail) that backfire it did. Sometimes.
Other parts of life with you were quite lovely, however, such as the sunsets; the birthdays; the trip to Scottsdale to see all the pretty horsies; the trips to the Bay Area to see family and friends; the sailing...and the list goes on. So, it hasn't all been bad, 2007. We've had our good times, too.
Also, I did experience a nice summation, a nice pinnacle, a nice...culmination, if you will...of our time together just today, on the very last day of our relationship. It went like this: I'm in the Bay Area for a visit, and last week my mother discovered that she was missing a diamond earring. She knew she'd had both earrings together recently, so it wasn't like the missing one had been gone for too long. After a thorough sweep of the area in which the bauble had last been seen yielded nothing, however, my mom seemed resigned to the fact that it was time to just let it go: The earring, it seemed, was gone for good.
It occurred to me that perhaps she'd swept it up and thrown it out, not seeing it in the dust pan. She allowed that this might be a possibility, but she also warned that trying to sift through the trash would be a hazardous task, since there was a bunch of broken glass in there. So, we all let it go.
Today, however, was trash day. Driving down my mother's street I passed the garbage trucks, which hadn't yet reached her place. The lost earring gnawed at me, but my mother had already said, "It's too late" when I'd asked her this morning if we shouldn't seize our last chance and go through those yucky trash bags. So, I drove and thought, thought and drove. "Just drop it already," one half of my brain said. "No way, Jose," said the other half. "This is a diamond we're talking about!"
So, I sent up a little prayer, asking what I should do. Turn the Car Around, came the clear reply. Which was when I hung a U-ey and drove back to mom's place. I figured if the garbage truck had already collected her trash, then that would be my sign. But the trash was still there. So, I threw on an old t-shirt and rolled the garbage can into the garage so the neighbors wouldn't think I was some random dumpster diver and call the police. And it took some doing. It took some intrepid exploration through some fairly gross trash (some of it nearly unidentifiable), but when we finally got to the bag full of glass shards, there it was - the diamond that would have been lost forever in a matter of minutes if we hadn't been willing to sift through the nasty refuse.
There's a symbolic lesson in there somewhere, I'm sure of it. And whether it's Freudian, Jungian or some other -ian, I really don't know. All I know is that it struck me, picking my way through those glass shards and old coffee grounds in search of something precious and elusive, that I was experiencing the perfect summation of the past 364 days. And then I was able to hold up the diamond earring - that which was lost - with my grimy fingers and declare, "I found it!" And let me tell you, 2007: For my money a better ending to our association couldn't be bought.
Still, I've been thinking about how I should approach my relationship with your successor. I've been thinking that the aggressive attempt to make you my b*tch might not have been the best set-up for a good working relationship.
So, here it is, my resolution for 2008: "Try It." That doesn't sound too hostile, does it? Personally, I like the fact that it's sort of all-encompassing and doesn't lock me in to any particular attitude.
I guess I won't know whether I hit the mark - whether there will be another diamond to be found in the trash or not - until this time next year. But now that next year is just a few hours away, I can say for certainty that I'm ready to start finding out. So, Hello, 2008. Pleased to meet you. Feel free to kick your shoes off and make yourself at home.

11 comments:

  1. YEAH Nicole!! I am proud that you listened, went back to go through the garbage and found the gem! Life is sooo like that! I think that is what you have done this year and you found the GEM in you! I wish you and your family the happiest the whole New Year long! Miss you

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  2. Anonymous2:59 PM

    I am impressed that you found a diamond in the trash. I am a garbage collector and you're right that once that bag made its way into the truck the chances for recovery would have been much slimmer. Although we have had women who have come to the transfer station and begged to dig for items they have not meant to throw away.

    As we told one woman a few weeks ago when she mistakenly threw away a glass vase, miss with a press of a lever its history...

    Assume you've seen the garbage truck working before.

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  3. This is just beautiful! Good attitude, girl!

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  4. Life IS like that, isn't it, A? Funny how we learn to appreciate those frickin' growth experiences.

    :-p

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  5. Anon, thanks for your professional take on the situation. I'm amazed that people actually show up at the station and sift through other peoples' trash in order to find their lost treasures. Now, THAT'S commitment. lol

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  6. Aw, thanks, Heidi.

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  7. Anonymous11:52 AM

    We find it amazing sometimes too Nicole. Once glass or something like that goes into the hopper that's it...the compactor puts 5000 lbs of pressure per subic inch on that stuff.

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  8. Sometimes it feels like my life ran into the hopper, got 5000 lbs of pressure and was squished! But having good friends, like Super Mom - alias N. wearing the purple cape - rids me of all the pressure.

    Here's to a great 2008 for all of us!

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  9. This is such a powerful metaphor. I'm inspired by the way you listened to that "still, small voice" which I probably would have blocked out due to the ick factor.

    A couple Scriptures immediately popped in my head and I think they represent themes of 2007:

    Philippians 3:8
    Philippians 3:13-14

    (those verses came to mind separately, but when I looked up the references, they turned out to be in the same book of the Bible, and only a few sentences apart!)

    I think 13-14 also carries into 2008.

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  10. Anonymous10:50 AM

    Love your post maiden, good to have friends like Nicole.

    You certainly don't want to be in that hopper -- had a woman this morning who was totally mesmorized seeing her couch, tv and bags go in up close.

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  11. I'll bet not many blogs get comments from our friends in the garbage collecting business. Your anecdote/metaphor made me think, for possibly no reason at all, about Michelangelo's Last Judgment, on the wall of the Sistine Chapel. He has St Bartholomew holding a flayed and empty man-sized piece of skin with the features of himself on the face. I guess one could say that torture can sometimes lead to powerful metaphors.

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