The Chaff of Life

IMG_0003Last month I only wrote a few times.  Normally I write every single day, even if I don’t post something.  It’s what I do.  It’s what I’ve done my whole life.  I had one other break from my usual daily writing habit and that was for the first few months after Max was born.  I used to write every day on my blog but at some point I felt that I should only post when I could spend a good amount of time editing and polishing my thoughts.  That’s all well and good but this is MY online journal – it isn’t a novel or a professional site.  I think it’s time to find my way back to the daily habit.  I know the daily minutiae of life bores a lot of people but it’s what has fueled my endless curiosity about people and fed my imagination with an endless flood of ideas, thoughts, questions, and passions.

So.  Back to the minutiae.

The next picture in this post is gross.  My lovely friend Renee and anyone else sensitive to being exposed to grossness should stop reading at this point.  I’m going to include some space between these words and the image to provide some polite cushioning.

*comfort spacing*

*More comfort spacing.  Really, if you don’t like ick – skip this schtick.*

*I’ve given plenty of warning at this point.*

gross cut 2

A few weeks ago on a stupid Friday I was doing dishes.  I washed what appeared to be a plastic Starbucks cup of my mom’s.  I observed some slight fissures in it and wondered if I should wash it or toss it.  I told myself that plastic isn’t like glass and remembered countless plastic cups in my life that lived soundly beyond the fissured state with no ill consequences.  So I washed that cup with all the vigor I wash everything.

I’m beginning to suspect that I shouldn’t wash dishes so vigorously.

That damn cup/glass busted open on my knuckle and it was with stunned curiosity that I looked down at my hand, knowing it was cut but not totally feeling it, and seeing that the broken edges of the cup had pressed my flesh in so deep the edges were tinged blue.  No blood came up at first.  That’s what tipped me off that it was bad.  Instinctively I grabbed at paper towels and pressed on the cut.  I was too afraid to try and bandage it because I would have to look at it again to do that.  The last time I cut myself so bad I couldn’t look at it without wanting to pass out was twenty years ago when I was doing dishes and a glass broke against that same knuckle.

I needed stitches.  I knew it.  I called all my close friends trying to get someone who could take me to the hospital.  It was my sister’s birthday.  She could have taken me but she’d been dealing with hospitals for almost a month and was at a manicure appointment and I didn’t want to punctuate her birthday with a visit to the emergency room.  My good friend Lisa took me.  The emergency doc debated on giving me traditional stitches and gluing and taping me up.

Like a bad craft project I was glued and taped back together.  Later that evening the cut kept bleeding through the tape as you can see.

gross cut 3

A day or two later if I flexed my hand at all it would start bleeding.  I have never gotten real stitches in my life.  I wish they had given them to me this time.  This injury hurt like having my whole knuckle ripped out and replaced.  The cut was at least 1/4″ deep, circling my knuckle, and the knuckle itself has been in pain ever since.

I am going to share the next set of pictures as soon as I process them.  Why do people publish gory crap like this?  What motivates people to share the gaggy shit that happens to them?  Because it’s part of the human story.  Mine and yours.  All of ours.  We’re used to noticing that shit happens but this is personal journalism and you know who cares about it?  The future.  This is the modern diary with vivid graphics.  Can you imagine how amazing and informative the history books would be if they were illustrated with photographs of the plague and fashion trends from the 1200’s or from biblical times?

Everything as we know it would be shaken down.

I think I’ve always been an anthropologist at heart.  I want to know how people live, what makes them tick, what they eat, how they clean their teeth, how they bury their dead, and what they worship.  I want to know what they grow, how they fight, what they want, what they struggle with, how they bathe, how they adorn themselves.  The only difference between me and anthropologists is that they usually study the habits of dead people and I study both the living and the dead.

What condition were Jesus’ teeth in when he died?  Have you never wondered about that?  Don’t you want to know what it was like to have a bone set in the 1920’s in Egypt?  What did the bread actually taste like 2,000 years ago?  Did it taste like ass?

It’s no wonder, then, why social media is like daily bread to me.  Why photography is a deep fascination for me.  Both mine and yours.  What you see, what you want to capture in your lens, it matters to me.  It is of extreme interest to me.  What you eat for lunch, what you wish you were eating for lunch tells me things about you that no formal conversation can ever reveal.  I want to know who you love and what made you love them.  I want to know what is reflected in your cornea as you take in the light and the weather and the roiling life undulating around you.  You are no more static than I am.  No matter what your life is – no matter if it seems mundane and “normal” and the same all the time – it’s NOT.

The details always matter though most people think they don’t.  Most people think no one cares about their idle thoughts, their funky inappropriate questions, their macabre humor.  People suppress so much because they don’t value it themselves.  Because they don’t want to know what anyone else ate for lunch no one could possibly want to know what they ate for lunch.  People always think the interest is in the big stories of their lives but the big stories inevitably can be predicted by the minutiae.

As above, so below.

 There are seven billion people on this planet.

We’re all part of a human collective.

Either every one of us matters or none of us do.

It’s my personal belief that we all matter.


  1. Robin says:

    As always I love to read what you write. You evoke so many things in me when I read your words.
    I remember cutting my hand and reacting the same way watching waiting for the blood knowing it was beyond my scope to care for it.
    Wanting to know about things old things new things. Different things. My kids don’t get it I want to see what they see. Where they live what they do. When Hillari was in France I wanted to see houses how people lived she didn’t get it boring mom!
    I have been in the dumps of life again and reading your post woke me up just a bit for a moment but I’m still in here I know that now thank you for writing and hopefully not criticizing my big run on sentence. I had to get it out before it slipped Away!

  2. angelina says:

    Robin – I could never criticize you for a run-on sentence when I am the queen of them! I’m so sorry you’re in the dumps right now! I wish I could pull you out for real. Some of my family doesn’t get it either. My brother says of facebook “Who cares what everyone had for lunch?!” and I say “ME!!! I love knowing what everyone is eating and doing all the time!”

  3. Lonnie says:

    I do hope your hand is mending quickly. I have always washed everything by hand, I’m very careful when washing knives, though. I measured how much water I used versus the dishwasher and I used about 3 gallons and got better results. I know the dishwasher should be used regularly but bothers me to use the extra electricity and water; it’s loud, slow & leaky and needs to be replaced (still). When I went to Texas to see my first grandchild, I left my husband & father (as responsible adults) in charge. The men-folk decided it was a good idea to use that modern convenience, the dishwasher. Too much soap was added – a little is good, a lot is not better! I did mention leaky? My daughter escaped to her room to do homework; they turned on the old clunker and retreated to watch TV (both hard of hearing so volume was cranked almost as high as possible) – with predictable results. They ignored the excited barking and yapping of the dogs who were merrily surfing in almost a foot of suds in the kitchen! On a positive note, the kitchen floor was spotless, bottom cabinets polished when I came home. The dogs had been bathed and groomed. Ah, the minutiae of life! Good stuff! I wonder about many of those things, too. Writing is important. The world needs writers. Thank you for making the effort!

  4. fala cedar says:

    Aaaaagh, that looks so painful and awful!! Thanks for the warning, but OF COURSE I had to look. Curiosity often wins out over sense with me. At least it wasn’t a photo of a fresh placenta on a countertop, just waiting to be made into casserole — you know how I love those photos! I hope your hand heals up soon, that’s got to be really annoying and inconvenient. I remember when I fell into the woodstove and burned my hand all to heck, it was all kinds of fun. 🙁 And yeah, most people enjoy sharing gory stories. I think it’s just a sort of morbid & funny way of saying “hey! I empathize because I’ve been there”. Take care of that hand!! xx

  5. angelina says:

    Falling into a woodstove sounds awful!! I love hearing people’s morbid and gory stories but dude – even I would have a really hard time having to see a placenta on a kitchen counter. UGH! I’m so thankful I have been spared some the of the creepy stuff you’ve been exposed to on the parenting blogs. My hand is mostly healed now. The knuckle is still a little swollen which I think it weird – but the cut is just a fresh scar now. I will warn you again when I post the second set of pictures of it which might be much worse to you. I really should have done one gross post with all the pics of it but – oh well.

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