Of Friendship, Love, and Steinbeck

This past week, Sam and I resolved a two-month squabble with one of our friends, Paul. It’s funny how stuff like this can spin out of control, and before you know it you’re not arguing about the issue, you’re arguing about the arguing about the issue. So, we all sat down to eat a little crow this past week, with great satisfaction and surprisingly little indigestion. Saturday night we took Mom to a transcendent performance of Steinbeck’s feel-good play depression-era of the Spring, Of Mice and Men, and if that didn’t cinch a weekend of introspection, the post-apocalyptic dream I had that night did. In the dream, Sam and I watched everyone around us perishing from the fallout, and then once we had saved ourselves and Mom, I sickened from tetanus, as I’d stepped on a nail somewhere along the way. I woke up crying, and Sam hadn’t slept well either, likening everyone in his life, and himself, to the characters in the play. Ugh, Steinbeck.

Having purged our demons overnight, we awoke surprisingly upbeat and eager to face Sunday, which was spent at a political rally in Torrance for a friend’s campaign, and over lunch with our friend and rodeo mentor, Sonny, who essentially inducted me into his rodeo family, loaning me his Kevlar vest and imparting some invaluable wisdom, good in and out of the arena: if it’s right or wrong for me, in my heart and gut, that’s all I need to know – there are only a few others whose ‘say’ even matters, and who those people are is entirely up to me. There’s no shame in following your heart and gut, whether you rode for an eternity, got bucked off right away, or chose not to even get on the animal. There’s no place for shame in rodeo, or in life.

The macro shot is that the week was about friends and family, what you’re willing to do for them, what they’re willing to do for you, and what you’re capable of overcoming for the greater good. People have high blood pressure, HIV, family histories of heart disease, dangerous hobbies, and don’t live in suits of armor or controlled environments; we don’t know how long we’ll have them – “the best laid plans of mice and men” and all that.

Our blood will stop flowing quickly enough; far too quickly to not stanch the fleeting, angry hours that keep us from love and from the people who, if we’re lucky, will be the last we see in this lifetime.

So which of the characters did I see myself in? Let’s just say that sometimes I can have too much of a fascination with what’s shiny, too heavy a hand for petting, too strong a grasp on what I love, and I’m working on that.

3 Responses to “Of Friendship, Love, and Steinbeck”

  1. 1 MrsWaltz
    Monday, April 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Awww, Lenny. Y’ain’t THAT bad 🙂

  2. Monday, April 28, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    The performances were amazing. So much talent on such a small stage; it’s a wonder the boards didn’t collapse.I thank you and Sam for taking me.I got to hug two “crushes” and to hug and commend the amazing Andrew.

    I dreamt of my brother Van that night. He saved me from having to be too caring about failed-love to come; the lights out, gun scene. I thanked him. Sunday and Monday I had a sore throat and the chills.

    Thing is…at my age…I am each one of those characters. Not “have been”…still am. Life IS very short. Were it a hundred years…it wouldn’t be enough for me.I have you and Sam and some very amazing friends with whom I want to have a hundred years. I’ll take what I get and I do not want anyone to save me from any future “blue days”. I want to feel it all. This is a story, “Of Mice and Women”.

  3. 3 Jonathan
    Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 6:34 am

    There are times that I read your blog and just marvel at how well-written it is.
    This is one of those times–particularly the penultimate paragraph.

    [Lovesick Billy: Thanks, JV. That’s huge coming from a man who uses ‘penultimate’ in this day and age. – Fondly, B]

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