I’m Probably On A Government Watch List For Searching Ricin Today

My two best conversation starters
My two best conversation starters

I have an issue with Breaking Bad, and that issue is that I can’t stop watching it. The show is over, I know. Still, for some reason, I find myself watching it when I need a diversion. Perhaps it’s not light viewing, but that doesn’t stop me. I like Walt. The metamorphosis of his character is nothing short of genius, and Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of him is poetry. This weekend I started busting through all the episodes of Season 5 again because I admire the way Vince Gilligan was able to do with Breaking Bad what Abrams and Lindelof failed to do with my other favorite show, LOST, which is tie up loose ends. (Admittedly, LOST had about a gazillion loose ends to tie up, so maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I should work on letting go?) As I said, I have an issue.

Anyway, tonight I was binge watching episodes when Joe walked in. The boys have seen bits and pieces of the show over the years, and as they have gotten older I’ve been more willing to explain the show’s premise and characters. Last week, I got into a long conversation with Luke trying to explain the relationship between Walt and Hank using my husband and brother-in-law as examples. Nothing like telling your kid, “Well…it’s like if your dad cooked crystal meth and your uncle worked as a special agent for the DEA.”

If you’ve seen the show, you know that ricin figures into the plot repeatedly. So tonight Joe catches a few lines about ricin and its effects and becomes concerned. Of course he does. He’s perpetually on high alert, that one.

“I’m scared,” he tells me.

“Of what?” I inquire.

“Ricin.”

Oh, holy hell.

“Joe, there is no reason to be scared of ricin.”

“What if I get poisoned?” he asks.

“You’re not going to be poisoned by ricin. I’m pretty sure about that.”

“But, it’s out there.”

“It’s not easy to come by. You’re safe. Why are you asking these questions?”

“Because my throat kind of hurts,” he tells me.

The character on the show, you see, was feeling under the weather. The viewer discovers it’s due to ricin poisoning. So, of course, my son now thinks his scratchy throat is a sign that he’s been poisoned. It’s about this point that I’m ready to hang my husband for passing on his worry-gene onto my darling son.

“There are about a dozen reasons why your throat may feel sore right now, Joe. None of them have anything to do with ricin,” I reassured him, trying not to laugh. I then told him to stop watching my show and get out of my room.

If there’s one truly great reason for having kids, it’s the conversations you’ll have. It’s not every day I get into a conversation with another adult about ricin. Chances are, though, if I did, it would be a lot less amusing and they’d probably look at me sideways for a while afterward.

 

 

 

Whatever Twitches, Twitches

I found my own cable on a beach that led into the jungle and into the ocean.
I found my own cable on a beach…one end leading into the jungle and one end leading into the ocean. Scary how life imitates art.

A couple minutes ago I watched the credits roll on the final episode of LOST. I spent the past four weeks cruising through the series. It’s not that I missed the show during its original run. I watched it when it was on the air weekly. I was one of those LOST geeks, looking for “Easter eggs” and spending hours each week mentally dissecting the episodes. As an introvert who spends entirely too much time inside her own head working out mental details, that show was a perfect outlet for me at a time in my life when I was lost. It was easier to watch and find meaning in it than it was to make sense of the chaos, confusion, and struggles in my own life. LOST was an escape. During the years that show aired, there were plenty of times when I longed to be on a tropical island with Sawyer, although I might have envisioned one without smoke monsters and polar bears.

I remember as the show was in its final season, my friends and I discussed at great length how the writers were going to wrap it all up. There were so many details. They had tortured us mercilessly with unanswered questions each week. Would they be able to put all the puzzle pieces in place? After each episode in the final season, we would catalog explanations we’d received and bicker about whether they felt adequate and well placed. When the show ended and the final credits rolled, some LOST devotees were satisfied and others were, well….lost. I fell firmly into the first category. I was honestly happy that the writers left some pieces unexplained because that meant that I could watch the show over and over again and find my own meaning. There’s no fun if you’re given all the answers.

As I set out to view the series in its entirety this time, from the first episode of the first season all the way through the show’s finale, I suspected the show would make any more sense to me now than it did at the time. I would benefit from knowing the ending because that knowledge would change how I viewed the events leading up to it. I had my own theory about the characters and the story line, and I was going to test it out in my non-stop mind. I whipped my way through season after season desperately seeking whether the writers had hinted at the ending the whole time. Watching the show again was like having a conversation with a good friend you haven’t seen in years. It was as if no time had passed. And I discovered that the Season Three finale, Through the Looking Glass, was no less painful the second time around. I had a nice ugly cry over it again. I am not sure that wound will ever heal.

The closer I got to the end of the show this time around, though, the more I found myself letting go of the set up. I didn’t seem to care as much if my hypothesis was correct. By the point in Season 5 when Daniel Farraday says, “Whatever happened, happened,” I had let go of my obsessive need to figure the show out. Daniel was right. Truth is that it doesn’t really matter how it all happened. You can neatly fold back the layers like skin on a junior-high-biology-class frog, but it makes no difference. At the end of the day, all that matters is that it happened. Daniel’s insight reminded me of a quote from the Bunny Buddhism book:

One need not know why the nose twitches but simply know that it twitches.

You can spend your entire life looking for explanations as to why things have happened a certain way in your life. Why, perhaps, you ended up with the spouse you did or the career you have. How you ended up living somewhere you said you never would or how things have worked out nothing like you anticipated. Life is full of questions that are either unanswerable or answerable only with a huge degree of uncertainty about the validity of the answer. Mentally dissecting what is is merely a colossal waste of fleeting time. If we get bogged down with the details of our past, we can’t move forward in the present. It doesn’t matter how we get there but that we make the journey and make it worthwhile.

I don’t need to know all the answers to LOST to enjoy it. I don’t need to have it tied neatly in a bow. Likewise, I don’t need to have all the answers to be happy in my life. Whatever happened, happened. Whatever twitches, twitches. With each passing year it becomes more apparent to me that the why and how of life are not nearly as important as the that.

 

Floreana Island, Galapagos

Our day yesterday was spent on Floreana Island. Our Galapagos expedition leader, Paula, told us that Floreana is called the Mystery Island. I’m not surprised. Our excursions there yesterday had me thinking about the now defunct ABC television series, LOST.

We started our day with a very early morning hike to try to see some flamingos. Yes. Flamingos. These are Greater American Flamingos that came here from the Caribbean. There is a small population of about 500 of these birds living in the Galapagos. So, we hiked a bit inland from the ocean to a brackish lake on Floreana, hopeful we would see some pink birds but also doubtful because their population is so small. We were in luck. There were about 15 of them at the lake. How crazy to see an American flamingo out here in the isolated Pacific.

Later in the afternoon, we were doing Zodiac cruises around Post Office Bay (here there is a barrel that was set up in 1793 and you can deposit letters without postage and hopefully someone will stop by, take your letter, and hand deliver it to the recipient at a future date). As we skirted our way around the bay, we saw an eagle ray jump from the water just ahead of us, spied several sea turtles coming up for air, and even saw a penguin. The Galapagos Islands, in addition to flamingos, are also home to a small population of penguins. These are the only penguins that live north of the equator and they can do this because of the Humboldt and Cromwell currents that cool both the ocean and the air here.

I sat in our room last night thinking about seeing a flamingo and a penguin on the same day on the same island in the Pacific near the equator. The Galapagos Islands truly are a magical, mysterious place. On LOST, people who were marooned on an isolated tropical island were stuck pondering how polar bears came to be there. Today I saw a flamingo and a penguin on the same island. Apparently LOST wasn’t that far fetched after all.

Yep. That’s a penguin all right.

By Order Of The Queen Of LaLa Land

Joe…out and about as we did our Adopt-A-Highway time today

If I were the Queen, I would make quite a few changes.

1) Every person over the age of the 18 would be required to work at least one hour unpaid per month serving in their community by working at shelters (people or pet), picking up trash outside, assisting the elderly, or otherwise aiding the less fortunate.

2) Anyone demonstrating a lack of understanding between “yield” and “merge” would be put in the dungeon.

3) Gummi bears would contain no calories and comprise the largest portion of the Food Pyramid.

4) The punishment for tossing a cigarette butt of a car window would be beheading.

5) Every model would be a size 8, and not the current size 8 (which is actually a size 12).

6) Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, headwriters for the now defunct, popular ABC drama LOST, would have to explain every single mystery they left unanswered from the show. I’m not kidding. Just because the show was called LOST does not mean it should have ended with every single viewer actually being lost.

7) Every household would be required to recycle at least 50% of their household trash.

8) No man over the age of 19 would be allowed to wear plastic, white sunglasses…unless he was Shaun White.

9) Wolves would be reintroduced in all lower 48 states to help control the deer population. They might eat a few people too, but that would simply prove Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest postulation.

10) Justin Bieber and Lindsey Lohan would be placed in a rocket and launched into outer space where they might actually be happy together, but no one would care.

11) Women’s uteruses would be free from government legislation, same-sex marriages would be not only granted but socially accepted, and stay-at-home parenting would be the most highly regarded profession.

12) Tattoos of any Disney, Looney Tunes, or other cartoon-like character would have to be placed on a body part not seen by the general public.

13) All men would be required to lift the toilet seat before peeing and place it gently back down into place afterward. Any man caught in non-compliance would be forced to clean every toilet in their home every day for a full year.

14) My husband (who is not the king, by the way) would be locked in shackles for an indeterminate amount of time for stealing the covers and then complaining about how hot it was while he was sleeping.

Perhaps my queenly wishes seem a bit ridiculous. I suppose you think the only thing I am the Queen of is LaLa Land. There’s no way even a queen as powerful as I am could bring about the kind of sweeping change I’m espousing here. You silly fool! It’s not my job to figure out how to make these things happen. That’s your job. I’m the Queen and you do my bidding. End of story. Now, get busy or off with your head.