Quick housecleaning note: I don't have breast cancer! Woo hoo! Sorry to keep y'all hanging. I do have some sort of boob "wart" that needs to be removed called a papilloma (still gross, but prettier than "wart").
Today my daughter turned three. THREE! And I got a bit worked up, frenzied, trying to get my working butt home to help the huz with the family party details. I was in the ugly zone, the one where I was thinking about all the things I wasn't doing, instead of all the awesome things I'd done. Regardless, Eckhart Tolle would probably say that both are exercises in futility since neither act is rooted in the present moment.
The Bloor subway was hotter and sweatier than usual. I could count six different bodies touching mine. There was extreme heat emanating from one man and when he moved, the man next to him exuded a cold draft. I began to think of True Blood (my current fave show), and then I let my mind wander to that place that I despise: I began to panic about terrorists.
Post-911, I, like many, have terrorist-related panic attacks. A crowded subway when I haven't slept (because I stayed up to make Lucy cupcakes - the first cupcakes I've ever made in my life) and deadlines are looming is a sure trigger. What was different about this time was that I was able to talk myself off that ledge pretty fast. I breathed, I found the zen, I entered the now, and I was saved. (Yeah, it sounds insane to me too, but it's nice here in the light, so I'm staying.)
I looked around at my fellow subway passengers and tried to beam joy. Like a big giant joy energy field that would wake them out of their sleepwalking states and allow them to see that, fuck, we're all ALIVE! It's so beautiful! Why do we hate so much of it? What is SO wrong with most of us in the west that we have to numb ourselves to the most beautiful experience on the planet? LIVING!
The train rumbled through the Bloor Viaduct and I was suddenly overcome with joy at the sight of trees in the valley below. We get to SEE this, to bear witness to it. Beauty exists when we CHOOSE to see it.
I smiled one of those goofy smiles that make people believe that you are batshit crazy, which is OK on a crowded subway because it gleans you more personal space.
I looked around the train at all the zombies and thought about how I should read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or whatever it's called, because the walking dead are amongst us every day and I should probably see if any authors think like me about it vs. the George Romero version of what zombies are. (Welcome to my brain on ADHD.)
Then the train stopped at a station and I absent-mindedly looked at the opposite platform across the tracks. There, acting like it was nobody's business, was a pigeon on the platform.
There he was all pigeon-like, acting like he needed to get the next car home so he could eat some KD and get the kids to bed in time to watch So You Think You Can Dance. He was doing that impatient pigeon move -- you know, that neck-bobby shit that only pigeons and PeeWee Herman do well? He was pacing and neck-bobbing and waiting for that motherfucking train like the rest of the world at rush hour.
And I laughed.
Then I looked around at all the zombies to see if any of them were alive enough to see the comedy show that was there for all of us, but everyone was too busy staring into laps and blank air, thinking about emails unsent and bills unpaid, to see the Alec Baldwin of pigeons.
I felt sad. I wondered who would bear witness to this magical life moment with me. Why couldn't we all see the pigeon and be happy? Why couldn't we all see the light that's in me, beaming out of me on good days?
"Nate would have loved this," I thought. Then I got happy again, because I realized that I did have people to share it with. I raced home to tell my son about this pigeon. My husband's family was there, my husband barbecuing, the party all set up and as soon as I said, "...and there was a pigeon, waiting for a train...," everyone stopped what they were doing and laughed at my story.
I have a family of people who saw the humour in my pigeon story, who got the beauty in the randomness of it. I have my tribe. They get me. I see pigeons on subway platforms now. I see my family for who they are. I am alive. Life is good.