In the year 2000, around the time Flannista's sister, Karen, was dying and another sister was in the middle of a sad divorce, my mother -- standing in the parking lot of Sam's Club -- said: "Compared to the rest of the world, our problems may be a drop in the bucket, but, by God, these are our troubles and this is our bucket." I was struck by her sentiment because my mother fiercely dissuaded her daughters to feel sorry for themselves when we lived in her house. This was further reinforced by what I referred to as her "Hallmark-card mentality" that always seemed to kick in when any of us seemed sad. So I was relieved when she confessed that our family had its own bucket.
So do the Sassistas!.
Yesterday, I witnessed a stunning confrontation between Matissta and her next-door neighbor about a court parking space -- the subject of a feud with another neighbor that has been going on for years. Matiss has always quietly stayed out of it, but yesterday, her neighbor pounced on Matiss as soon as she left her house and insisted that Matiss see the disagreement her way. Exasperated, Matiss finally said -- her voice breaking, "This is so petty compared to what is going on in my life right now," and walked away. Dropping her jaw, the neighbor looked at me, and I said, "Matiss has lost her mother and she has lost her job." The neighbor responded, "She doesn't lose her job until the end of the month, right?" Dumbfounded, I turned and walked away.
Three hours later treesta called with the unexpected news that my storytelling program for her elementary school was not awarded any of our County's Arts and Humanities grant money. Perhaps foolishly, I had held out that money (a drop in the bucket compared to what I once earned) as affirmation for taking a new direction in my life. I am deeply disappointed; a bit numb, actually.
Last night Matiss said, "Is this the price we pay for being responsible all of our lives? As soon as I graduated, I got a job. I could have roamed around Europe, but I did the responsible thing. I got a job." I responded: "I wouldn't have lost all that money in the stock market in 2008-2009 if I hadn't done the responsible thing and saved it all." Simultaneously we then said, "Fuck responsibility."
For a moment, we felt powerful, in charge of our lives. Then we said goodnight and I went home.
"Bucket," I said, as I crawled into bed. "Bucket all."