Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ghost Candle, Water Shock, Leap of Faith

Since Mr. Typist meanly banned real wax candles from the fireplace mantle, I’ve had to resort to those electric candles that run on batteries. I have one that gives off a gentle glow and a light vanilla scent, and I find it oddly comforting in these dark, wet Seattle days. Except that it was almost haunted! (Cue dramatic music here.) I would notice that it was on around 7:00 in the evening when it got dark outside, and then off when I woke in the morning. But I never recalled turning it on or off myself. At first, I chalked this up to my completely shredded short-term memory, and then I decided that Mr. Typist must have been uncharacteristically turning it on and off. When I saw it flickering  the other night, I finally asked him if he had switched the candle on. He said he never touched it, then I said, well I never touch it, either. (Cue dramatic soap-opera-esque close-ups.) I immediately jumped to the conclusion that we had a candle-loving ghost haunting the apartment, willy-nilly switching the candle on and off, and I was actually sort of excited at the prospect. If you’re going to be haunted, you could do worse than a ghost who is mildly obsessed with electric candles. But then Mr. Typist turned it over, squinted at the switch, and discovered that it was set on a timer, something completely unbeknownst to me when I first took it out of the package months ago. So, mystery solved. No ghosts, just the awesome power of electric candle technology at work.

Now that it’s properly cold outside, my Epsom salt bath tally has gone up to an average of two per week. This causes our cat Buddy a great deal of consternation. He’s seen me in the tub numerous times now, but he never seems to get over the idea that I have actually chosen to immerse myself in water. He paces around the outside of the tub twittering nervously, then gets up on his two front legs and leans over the edge staring at me with glossy, frightened eyes as if to say, “My God, woman. Do you realize that you are in the water? Don’t you see what’s happening here?” Ever the daredevil, this week he took the brave step of actually dipping his paw a half an inch into the bathwater, and then ran off terrified and hid under the bed. If only he knew how glorious a long soak in a steamy tub can be, but I don’t think I’m going to bring him around to my way of thinking any time soon.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of the phrase “leap of faith”. I took one this week--a big one, (details to be revealed when everything is official), and after a few bouts of “did I do the right thing?” panic, I realized that I’m at peace with it. A leap of faith: a long jump into the unknown, a quantum expanse between the familiar and the scary uncharted. I’ve never been able to figure out if I’m risk-adverse or reckless, and I suppose that it depends on how I look at my choices. I chose not to have kids, which comes with its own risks in this society, including a great deal of social stigma. I chose an unconventional career path for a number of years. I choose to write and submit my work and risk constant rejection. I chose not to follow the typical house/kids pathway. But at the same time, I’ve made some very conventional choices, too, and have avoided some things that I’ve always wanted to do out of fear or a sense of overwhelm. So I don’t know what side the tally ultimately falls on, I just know that this time, I took a risk, and I feel a bit overwhelmed by it—but happy and excited, too. A calm voice within me tells me it’s all going to be okay. And it’s all going to be okay for you, too. Just relax and enjoy this video of cats scrambling out of tubs.

--Kristen McHenry


Frank Moraes said...

I'll be very interested to hear what this leap of faith is. I finally gave in and signed a contract to republish my most "dangerous" book. Mostly, it is just to stop people asking when I'm going to put it back into print. But at the same time, I'm not so keen because that is about the past and who I used to be. I've worked hard at reinventing myself. But I guess you can't escape your past.

Why don't cats like water? Rats seem to like it. And they all wash their faces the same way. And it is adorable.

Anonymous said...

Yes, tell us soon, the suspense is killing me! We just discussed this very same topic in the book club I host at my library. We were talking about "Maiden Voyage" about the young Tania Aebi who sailed around the world at 18 years old. Go to school or sail, her father said. She jumped, literally into the unknown. It's a question I've been pondering a lot lately. How does one get to the point where they leave everything safe and constant, and take a risk that could result in a loss of it all? And what about the question is missing the point? Maybe some of us have to be OK with no risk taking. Maybe some of us have to take risks. Maybe it's different as time goes on for each of us. Maybe it's small steps and big steps, but the point is making steps.