Words can be like hamsters. If you’re not careful and you look away for too long, they can escape and hide. And when you finally set around looking for them, you can’t find them. You’re forced into a hide-and-seek game and it’s not as easy as playing with four year olds who always hide in the same places, no, you really have to work on it, bending down on your hands and knees, looking into dusty corners, between pages of a book tucked far away on the shelf, maybe curled right in the middle of a bunch of receipts you were supposed to use to finally record how much money you really spend in a month.
I saw what looked like a doll made out of straw in the branches of a tree and I wondered if squirrels are smarter than we think. I also never realized what an annoying sound squirrels make – strange, high-pitched birdlike squeaking. Screeching like very tiny, angry ghouls. Which makes me wonder about all the noises animals make. I mean, one of the first conversations we have with toddlers revolves around what does a cat, dog, cow, duck do? The immense pride that parents bubble with when the little critters get these sounds right is amusing – I mean of course, if little Susie/Sara/Saleem can cock-a-doodle like a rooster that means they’re destined for success? If the children are really hitting the genius scales then they might also know how elephants and horses speak too.
But. What about zebras? Ostriches? Giraffes? If there were a social justice class for the animal kingdom, we’d definitely talk about that.
Speaking of social justice, sometimes I feel so happy I’m going to be a social worker in Pakistan and not in America. So what if my two years of hard work will be equated with all rich and generous people who do charity in their spare time – at least I won’t be sitting around in a support group for people who feel oppressed and sad and discriminated against all the time. I won’t have to deal with how an African-American woman feels when females of other races talk about washing their hair and she is estranged because her hair doesn’t work that way – or how 14 year olds started a rumor about poor, geeky Estelle and reduced her to an anorexic, wrist-cutting wreck? The young man who locked teenagers into a gym and shot half a dozen of them with a shiny revolver?
Sometimes I think I’m not cut out to be a social worker because instead of asking people how they feel, I want to tell them to get a grip. Pop your bubble of self-induced misery and low self-esteem and realize that there are other problems out there too.
I want to be working against poverty, unemployment, child abuse, corruption, illiteracy and yes, unhappiness too but not the kind that you might be able to rip yourself out of by just thinking above and beyond.
I know I sound callous so I’m going to switch to an easier topic – weather.
It’s getting colder and it’s getting easier to work at my desk because the trees outside are so bare. Their leafless branches stick out sharp, dry, withered. Still clawing at the air for the leaves that fluttered away so happily, so dreamily into the wind.
I loved Fall. The colors, the wind, the flurry of traffic-light colored leaves that whirled around in the breeze, on the sidewalks, momentary whirlpools.
I’m going to wait for the snow now. It might be worth the painful mornings that gleam white and cloudy outside my window while I battle alarm clocks, schedules and the whimsical fairies which dance around my head, pulling my blanket over my head, whispering in my ear to just skip class, it’s too cold to walk in a drizzle…
Seasons are so cool. I’m glad break is here and I can switch off my mode of independence and go see my family. Here’s to five days of not cooking, cleaning and using my debit card!