|Camera:||Canon PowerShot SD850 IS|
John Updike wrote a short story, “The Swimmer”, about a man having just the littlest teensiest nervous breakdown in his affluent neighborhood.
He went from one neighbor’s pool to another, unannounced and clad only in his bathing suit, and took a dip in their pool, emerging with a wave, deep laugh and smile to the startled owners and then moving on. (Burt Lancaster played the part in the movie. He looked extremely good in a swim suit, may I say.)
My spud failure (see two previous posts) and I had a similar day. It followed me into the shower and sat next to my celery green gauzy sponge and bottle of Pomegranate body wash. Then, smelling sweet, we took a walk into our neighbor’s gardens and potato, at first, seemed drawn to things that started with a “p”, like pillows, peonies, and portulacas.
Perhaps, it made it feel less like a failure to be amidst things that had a “p”, I don’t really know.
Then, it left the “p’s” and it went for the herbs-chives, thyme and cilantro. I believe, can’t be sure, but it seemed to start smiling. Cilantro is, after all, the world’s most popular herb so perhaps it felt like it was finally hanging out with the popular peeps.
My neighbors treated us very gently I noticed. They began to point things out that my failure and I might like: a hanging container of purple verbena (very nice, but failure doesn’t like heights, vertigo set in don’t you know so we got down right away), and a shocking pink/purple rhododendron that was just entirely too pleased with itself–so we left there right away as well.
We ended up in the birdbath. Failure loves birds because they sing sweet songs and don’t seem to care what you’ve done or not done with your life, they just keep singing. And, failed potatoes love birdbaths because the birds splash water and, well…speaking softly, dehydration is the main cause of failure in microwaved potatoes.
Then, we went home and made a movie of our day which is up on YouTube and is described as ” A baked potato tries to find a place in this world.” The music is my four year old grand niece singing a song from High School Musical II which I recorded last year and just knew I would be able to use one day in the future.
And, if I have my way, it also shall be opening in your neighborhood theatre sometime in 2009.
Then, off to bed. I slept like a babe. Failure slept on top of the Bose radio. It never leaves my side.
Turning failure into success, or Beckett’s “failing better” or Maxwell’s (thank you, Tysdaddy) failing forward may take more than one good night’s sleep for this aging Irish rose whose name begins with a “p”.
Look closely, people. I just gave you a little wave, deep laugh and a smile. We’ll see what trouble I can get into today.
©Pat Coakley 2008
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