Sunday, February 17, 2013

365 Days Without Bing

A year ago today, I said goodbye to the cat of my heart, my furry soulmate who always seemed person-sized to me, despite him being a low-riding short shorty with half a tail. His body was failing, and though I knew from working with the animal communicator that he wanted to make the transition on his own, we'd agreed that I would step in if he were at all suffering.

That morning he was, and I quickly-on-radar made arrangements at the emergency vet down the street. I also called my friend M. and asked her what mantra would be an appropriate send-off for my little loyal, royal meezer. Not only did she sing it to me so I could sing it to him, she recorded it and sent me the file so I wouldn't forget the tune. Bing told the animal communicator that he had been chanting for lifetimes, so I knew this would be important. It was the shri ram mantra, often chanted as a blessing before meals, so it just made sense… heaven, or whatever you wanna call it, has gotta be like a spiritual all-you-can-eat buffet, you know?

This morning, a big, giant year later, I pinned Bing's photo to my race bib and headed out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to run in the (bing!) Cherry Tree 10-Miler. I'm a newbie runner, and I wouldn't say I necessarily *like* running, but I won't even entertain thoughts that go in that direction--I just keep showing up and putting in the miles. Race start was 10, and it's a good thing I got to Brooklyn at 9 because I got panickingly lost en route. At one point I jaywalked across the street because I knew the entrance to the park was in that general direction. From the side of the street I'd just left, I hear someone yelling at me…

"You're racist. A f*cking racist bitch…you know that?"

WHOA! I was stunned. I looked to see a young black guy, late teens or so, matching my pace as we walked forward.

"What are you talking about?" I yell back.

"You saw me coming and crossed the street. Racist bitch."

"I did not--I'm LOST!"

"I hope you die, you racist."

I am not the type to get into it with people who go all wonky and loose-canon on the street, and certainly I had a right to be pissed off/scared, but the whole thing was sort of ridiculous and odd and head-shaking, and I was more concerned about finding my way. So I asked the next guy I saw on my side of the street for directions; my 1-second assessment of him as a nice person was spot-on, as he took the time to explain that I was indeed far off from where I needed to be, but showed me one way to get there. As I turned around I ran right into the dude who called me racist, who must have followed me across the street when I was asking for directions.

"Are you lost, miss?" Without sarcasm or attitude. I thought: WTF!?! It's a big, albeit unstable, teddy bear.

"I TOLD YOU, YES! ! I'm trying to get to 16th Street and Prospect Park West."

"Do you like black men?"

"What?! I like everybody!" (Yeah, I did say that with an exclamation at the end.)

"Do you want to have sex then?"

If there's one thing I DO like, it's absurdity. In those 3 seconds you get to figure out what's going on in a situation, I realized how almost-silly this was. For one, he was like 18, and his bark was clearly way worse than his bite. And I wasn't getting the feeling this was really about race. I did not feel any fear or anger, but I also knew he wouldn't apologize or anything. He seemed to me equally sensitive and angry, looking for or maybe expecting trouble, and clearly had some, uh, communication challenges…  )

"No! I have a race at 10 AM." (See how ridiculous the conversation was? Like if I didn't have a race, I'd actually consider it!)

Somehow stating the time brought him back to a reality closer to mine, because he told me it was 9:25 and I'd better hurry, then proceeded to give me perfect and very detailed directions to the race start. I thanked him and told him it wasn't nice that he called me a racist. After some more mumblings and grumblings about having sex, he continued on his way.

What does this have to do with Bing? I'm really not sure. But I think it has something to do with being a peaceful warrior. Bing was such a love--the minute I sat down, he glued himself to my side, and he and Derrick were constantly cuddling--but strong, too. He'd greet everyone who came to the house, and never complained or got cranky with all the vet treatments and surgeries he went through in the last 18 months of his life. A lesser cat could/would not have withstood that. And looking back at that strange interaction today, I think it went the way it did because he didn't expect me to have the reaction I did. I didn't return his anger, and I wasn't scared. I'm rarely that "neutral," but today I was strong in myself and that negative energy just bounced off me. I would think peaceful warriors are all about deflecting that sh*t, too.

P.S. I just made it to race start at 9:57 and really enjoyed the run. : )

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meezer Monday: Being & Binglessness

We're somewhere in between Bing's birthday and the anniversary of a year without him, and I've been thinking a lot about what to write here. I'm pretty sure that some may think this/I is/am nuts, but, well, it feels like truth to me. No apologies.

Bing was young when I started working with an animal communicator, and two of the first things she told me was he often felt lonely when I was at work and he rearranged the energy in the apartment every day. Who wouldn't want a cat who does that? Because he was so naturally contemplative, and because I'll believe in any idea that's beautiful enough, she suggested I do the following meditative exercise with him. I was to imagine Bing's energy, and then imagine my energy separately, and then these 2 energies coming together. Pretty standard visualization stuff, 'cept one of the main characters was a Siamese cat with half-a-tail. So I gave it a try, and I can't remember how or when I tweaked the exercise to include elaborate tableaux, like me and Bing atop an ancient stone maze, looking down at a snowscape alit with flame-red trees…  In a summer forest, on a path leading to a big baby bay… That didn't always happen, and I never forced it, but it became a sort of go-to exercise when I was away from home, on a trip or something, and missed him.

Since he died, I find myself doing this exercise a whole lot more. It's a lot harder, but I think that's cause it's a-whole-nother ballgame--he's not in a cat body, but something strong yet elusive in my heart. Every once in awhile, I'll be meditating and he just sort of appears in that every/nothingness, distinctly different than the way a standard-issue memory or thought pops up… you can almost hear the air twinkle, and it's like, "Oh, hey, Bing." It's him. And then I'll try to do the exercise and see what happens. Sometimes the thoughts go fast and nowhere, or I try too hard and it's just me writing the story, not in it. But a few times--just a rare few over the past year--it's this different state that redefines time and space and place, and it's game on--me and Bing, Bing and me.

Like a couple weeks ago, he and I were running fast and joyfully on a trail of very hard-packed snow, but we were both the same kind of animal--dogs, or wolves maybe, definitely canines. It's like I could almost smell the wet wild woofness.  And before that, he was sailing a silent mountain through a star-lit sea of clouds, like a captain slowly, so slowly, navigating a ship through the ocean … It's not like he's the Siamese-shaped Bing I knew… he's Binger than that Bing. It's hard for my human brain to imagine what contains his energy, or rather, what his energy is contained in. How can a light body remain the same for more than a moonbeam… Is it the shape of a bucket? A flower? A  sped-up, time-bending hour?

And if by any chance light bodies have tails, I like to imagine that his is still bobbed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LessWords Wednesday: Holy Rollers

It's true what they say, that New York City pulls 180s like a crazy mofo--one block can be completely different from the one next to it, and that one's completely different from the next one over. Like, after the snowfall last Saturday night, all the cars on my street were captioned with what you see here (that's a little heart symbol, if it's not really clear in the pic). Over on 21st Street, however, the back windows of 13--count 'em, 13--cars were decorated with cartoon-like depictions of a flaccid phallus.*

* Not sure, but I think that may be like saying someone has stick-straight curly hair.

I am lately obsessed with this next song. If you do click and play, I strongly recommend ignoring the images completely--the only other versions I could find on YouTube were either covers made in people's basements or distorted with 25 seconds of crazy hymn-ish music at the beginning to fool the copyright bots. This one has lots of Hallmark-white Jesuses and Marys instead, but hey, a beggar can't be a chooser. But perhaps a beggar should make her own YouTube videos.