What do you do when life is a meaningless expanse of nothing? ....make Hallmark cards, of course!
14. Existential Moments (Feb. 2013)
Some days, like this one, Kate felt like an overtired three-year-old. The least provocation might push her over the edge to tears. But unlike a three-year-old, she noted with satisfaction, I can at least know my own state of being. All the same, she couldn’t always control the bent of her thoughts. When she was this tired, life was a meaningless expanse of meaningless consuming and meaningless producing. You take some, you give some, then you die. And here she was, having, moments before, just claimed that teaching music to her piano students was a worthwhile effort because it was meaningful. But as soon as the words came out of her mouth, she doubted them. She turned to Mister, always conveniently nearby when life crises were out of control.
“Do you think my life is meaningful?” she asked bluntly.
“Do I think it’s meaningful?!” he reiterated in mock outrage. “Of course I do.”
“But you’re my husband. You’re probably biased.”
“You bet I am. And your life is one of the most meaningful things in my life.”
“What if I’m just a blip on a screen somewhere?”
“You’re not a blip. You’re meaningful, remember. You’d at least be a splotch.”
She looked at him skeptically. “I bet we’re just both blips.”
Mister hugged her and laughed at her persistence. “Then at least we’re cute, happy blips.”
“Hmm.” She thought about this for a while, and then smiled up at him. “I would be your blip,” she said coquettishly.
Mister chuckled. “It could be a new Valentines Day card. ‘Will you be my blip?’”
Kate no longer felt depressed and was enjoying herself thoroughly. “Hey! We could kick off the new ‘existential’ department at Hallmark. How about this one, ‘The day we met was like any other day I meet someone new. I can’t explain why I remember it…’”
She was on a roll, but Mister stopped her by stuffing a toothbrush in her mouth. “Time to go to bed,” he said decisively.
She brushed her teeth and slowly changed into her pajamas. Since it was a cold winter night, she put on her favorite black fuzzy pants, a t-shirt, and then a brown college hoodie-sweatshirt on top. The hoodie never went outside because it was embarrassed to have been made with a hood but without a front pocket. She surveyed her bedtime self in the mirror. Well! she thought with satisfaction, one glorious thing about nothing really mattering is that I can wear black and brown if I want to when I’m going to bed and have a clean fashion conscience. She snuggled under the covers and didn’t even approach her fashion conscience about wearing her work-out clothes to bed.
Mister came to bed and coughed. Kate coughed. Mister looked at her, as if she were just mocking him. But then Kate really coughed, and lunged across him to snatch his water.
“I think you’re giving me your cold,” she said accusingly.
“I can’t even imagine what you’re talking about.” He picked up an economics book and began to read, pretending total absorption.
“I know you know what I’m talking about,” she said persistently.
“Well,” she sighed as she picked up her book, “I guess that’s what comes from being your blip.”
Mister put his book down and laughed his wonderful full, round laugh. He leaned over and kissed Kate. “Your life is fun,” he said.