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Mattering More


Things that matter more, often unexpectedly: a consistently clean bathtub and bathroom floor, soft brown shoes, razor blades that really cut, spacious elevators, naps, flowers in vases on glass tables, having time for bills, sitting on opposite sides of the couch with the dishwasher noise in the background, driving a manual on a mountain road, coffee before sun, tax deductions for non-cash charitable gifts, pulling the ol' belt one notch tighter, discipline, a slow lunch, knowing how to make food without looking at a recipe, not having to win every time, being asked to "tell me more," asking "tell me more," land values in rural counties and the cost of installing new septic systems, dermatologist referrals, staying hydrated, unplugging, a sturdy couch, time to be alone to work some leather or build something or whatever, thank you notes (writing and receiving), better sentences, appropriately-sized ambitions for oneself, the same mug, blankets, well-built fires, books with cloth bindings, knowing how to cut up a chicken, the weight and balance of a good chicken-cutting knife, having a clearer idea about what counts as justice, admitting one does not know, shutting up, asking for help, saying "I need help," saying "I am having a hard time," saying "it is not easy, but I am trying" (and meaning it), a bowling ball with finger holes that are perfectly matched to one's fingers, the promise of intelligence and passion in familial relations in their teenage years, the universe's incessant expansion into nothing, high-quality drugs, not counting other people's money, stretching exercises and core strength, the non-equivalence of professional achievement and overall happiness, letting go, revising drafts, trusting someone to shave one's neck, mountain vistas, fast trains, a balanced breakfast, eating enough fruit, low cholesterol, low blood pressure, low triglycerides, low stress about family heart health histories because one ultimately never knows (does one?), a 2 minute transfer at Atlantic Avenue, keeping the peace, knowing that what one says at funerals is "gosh, I just don't understand what it feels like, but I am here to listen," knowing that what one says at weddings is "yes, I'm sure I'll have three whiskeys, thank you," cleaning out attics, throwing things away, holding onto things, knowing how to decide what to keep and what to throw away, talking to the voices when one hears them, seven hours of sleep (at least), the clink of ice in the glass, sobriety, full sour pickles, documentaries, long novels, Dutch still life paintings, learning the names of trees and flowers (and birds and grasses), turning off the inner editor (or at least giving her the night off), remembering why one went into the other room, gas stoves, putting a little away, leaving something on the plate, leaving early on warm early spring days, remembering that one is always replaceable and that there are no good choices under conditions of capital, and that calling it "late capitalism" was always a little too optimistic, and that the robots will not be kind to us.