Monday, August 1, 2016

Dishwasher Slo-Mo

Husband and I took our dog to the beach for the first time this past weekend. We, of course, documented the event excessively, creating archival footage that will, most likely, forever remain un-downloaded and unprinted. Since I left my glasses in the car, yet another sign that I am following the middle aged cliche trajectory, I assumed I was scrolling to the correct format of video as my dog enjoyed the beach. Once I got reacquainted with said glasses and reviewed the prolific documentation of a precious trip to the beach, I laughed heartily at my mistake of hitting the slo-mo option for an empirically mundane moment. The transformation was irrefutable, however, as the mundane became the magnificently significant because of the heightening reality of slo-mo.

I believe it was The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman that first taught me that slowing down means something important is happening, that super powers are being unleashed and that attention must be paid. It is an unspoken pavlovian contract that we are powerless in front of. Go ahead and watch the opening scene of Chariots of Fire, or the moment when Patrick Swayze jumps off the stage at the end of Dirty Dancing, or almost any boxing movie. Slo-mo magnifies a moment, suspends it in time and we feel awe in one of its many facets.

Which leads me to the only next logical thought, how do I get more slo-mo in my life. I want the involuntary nervous system to evolve an automatic response to recognize significance and flip me into slo-mo at appropriate times during the day. This would, of course come with a fitting soundtrack to underline the moment. And, not to be too picky, but I don't need it to highlight obvious significance like weddings, births, graduations and taking cinnamon rolls out of the oven; I need it to mark the unrecognized significance of the everyday. For example

  • Doing the dishes before you go to bed instead of leaving them until the morning.
  • Seeing the dishes as you walk up stairs to bed, pausing, and deciding to continue walking upstairs.
  • Getting out of the car for your third trip to the grocery store in the same day because you keep forgetting the milk.
  • Changing that diaper and getting it into the diaper genie on the first throw.
  • As it starts to rain, reaching in your bag, pulling out and engaging your umbrella with the seamless grace of a ninja.
  • Cleaning up the last of your five year old's vomit on the threshold of the bathroom while holding back your own sympathy vomit.
  • Doing the math, by long hand, to work out the when and how much of the month's bills so the statement at the end of the month is more than zero.
  • Cracking the door of your teenager's door at night, after ignoring the dishes, to check on them still to make sure they are breathing, because, yesssss, they are always your babies.
  • Finally caving and changing the toilet paper roll because everyone refuses to learn the unspoken lesson you have laid before them.
You get the picture.

Why magnify these moments? Because it is all the small moments that make the grand ones possible. It is because most of us lead small un-cinematic lives that could lead to George Bailey on the bridge doubt of impact. Magnify these moments because the courage of another day beating down cynicism by loading the dishwasher, and picking up Teenager #2 from rehearsal, and texting Teenager #1 to tell us what his plans are for the night, and rewarding yourself with an episode of "Life in Pieces" on CBS (that's right, not some trendy anti-hero binge-worthy Netflix series); the courage to take on the small moments that make a life work are significant and perpetually unheralded by the very us that all too often resent and mock them.

So here's to slo-mo-ing the significance of everyday efforts and to recognizing the cumulative impact each lego of a moment has on constructing a life.

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

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