a zillion years ago when i was in middle school or high school, my friends and i saw a movie where one of the characters said in a thick southern accent, “simmah down!!”. (that can be translated as ‘simmer down’, for those of you who don’t share the same slang shorthand as i do) we thought it was pretty much the most hilarious thing ever, and for months and months afterward, we would just randomly look at each other and mouth/say/yell (depending on where and when), “simmah down!”- then we would dissolve in fits of laughter. it was the kind of body laugh that made your insides ache afterward, but you were still glad you did it. and the trick never got old. no matter how many times we said it, and no matter how many disapproving looks and threats from teachers and pleading from parents, we just couldn’t get over that expression.
i bring it up now because i just yelled at my dogs to simmah down. i wasn’t consciously thinking about it, although earlier today i was thinking about some of the people and places i would miss from around here.
we are in the midst of stacks of boxes and piles of suitcases and it is trash day and it is cold and rainy (good prep for seattle? gosh, i hope not!). my kids are each facing the reality of leaving, and it’s really really hard. we did a trial run of sedatives for our dogs to see how long they would take to work (2 hours) and how long they would stay asleep (1 hour). we are doing our last loads of laundry and finished our last “home cooked” meal (hot dogs- that’s why i put home cooked into parenthesis- but last night was roast chicken and baked salmon and the night before that was some other labor intensive thing. so, i figured i have earned my way to a few hot dogs!). we are cleaning out and unplugging appliances and re-homing food from both freezers to sympathetic friends all over the neighborhood. it’s fair to say that the stress level in the house is relatively high.
so, i am giddily pleased that ‘simmah down’ has come to mind.
it reminds me of days when i wasn’t in charge of everything. it makes me remember that even things that seem eternally long- like being a teenager- come to a stop at some time or another, and you have to embrace the moments you are in. it reminds me not to take myself too seriously. it reminds me that, even in the middle of chaos and turmoil, you have to be able to just be silly and laugh and find the humor in nothing and the happiness in everything.
it’s funny too that i wanted to write a post about old friends. i heard a song today (something from prince’s purple rain soundtrack, if you must know) and it so took me back to a certain time in my life that i could literally remember what i was wearing (pink button down shirt with paisley print- stolen from the very friend i was thinking about today-, jeans, and black patent leather doc marten style shoes. date myself much?) i could almost smell my friend’s cologne (my secret, sorry), and i could see the inside of his mother’s trans am. i wanted to write about moving on from old friends, and although i still might do that one day (i have a particular ax to grind with someone very specific and i might need to blog about it to get it out of my system), it would have been somber and melancholy, and lots of other words for blah.
so, i’m pretty happy that i was able to simmah down enough to gain perspective.
i wonder is there is some scientific order of how a person goes blind, and where on that continuum falls losing perspective. it’s a great expression, and i wonder if losing perspective is the beginning of blindness, or if that is the last thing to happen before one goes totally blind…
in either case, it’s a wonderful gift to not take yourself too seriously.
it’s weird to wake up one day and be the adult. there are still days that i walk around and wonder why someone doesn’t throw in laundry/pick up stuff from the floor/discipline the dogs/make better meals/sweep the floor/ and any other million things. and then i realize that I am the one who is supposed to do all of these things, or at least delegate getting them done. and, at those times i wonder why my kids don’t see me as the fun funky teenager that i am. i wonder how i can be 27 and have a son who is in his 20s.
i wonder when jumping in puddles became too cold and wet for fun. and when laughing out loud in public became declasse. and when “hanging out” stopped being a leisure activity and started being something you do with wet laundry.
i wonder when i started being too old to talk on the phone all night, or even stay up all night, or even stay up past 11pm without drastic consequences the next day.
i wonder when i got old enough to forget to have fun, and parental enough that i am the one who thinks my kids are making too much noise when they have the giggles or are playing exuberantly.
i wish i could be responsible enough to be me- here and now- but young enough in my soul to live in the moment like i did back then.
but i will tell you that reminding myself every once in a while to just “simmah down!” can get me there in a flash.