I’m sitting on the patio, the last of the cool morning air hanging on here with me. I listen to the energetic gurgle of two waterfalls in the pond. Notice that I don’t make assumptions about nature. I don’t assume anything about the water in the pond, well, except that it’s not potable. The mosquito fish must be getting big by now. I hope they’re eating all the mosquito larvae that float on the water’s surface.
I don’t make assumptions about the heat, don’t assign malintent to the place on the thermometer where the mercury hovers. It’s going to be a scorcher, an early June heat stroke in the Southwest. I assume it’s cooler here than in Carlsbad or Phoenix. I’d rather be here than there, although I’d rather this heat stroke not hit at all.
Just like I’d rather the Gulf oil spill not be happening. That’s an understatement. I can’t look at the pictures of oil-soaked pelicans, their watery eyes helpless behind layers of crude—CRUD—and not cry, not feel my stomach turn. I feel so helpless here, far away. I can’t imagine how the people of the coast feel. Ads featuring that British Petroleum CEO are playing these days, causing Jim to snarl at the television, “Oh shut up!” I don’t make assumptions or not make assumptions about that CEO. He is what he is, who he is, and like us all he is living a hell right now every time he thinks about what’s happening in those waters and beaches and reefs.
Assumptions. What is that saying—What does ASSUME mean? It means You make an ASS out of U and ME. How long ago did I first hear that and who told me? Was it Dad during one of our many fights when I was a teenager? We fought about my friends, my habits, his strictness, his expectations. I once got so mad during a fight that I threw a bottle of nail polish at Mom. Cooley and slowly capped the bottle, in my mind’s eye I looked at my freshly painted pink nails, blew on the tips of my fingers to make sure they were as dry as could be, and then I reeled back my arm, took aim, threw.
We made a lot of assumptions about each other then. I assumed my parents were out of touch, old-fashioned, incapable of understanding me. Now that I am the mother of a teenage girl, I wonder what assumptions, if any, she makes about me. I look at the assumptions I make about her. Surely from this writing practice I can take away that this is one place where I have to take special care to not make assumptions.
The pond still gurgles. It gurgles in spite of me here, in the waning cool. I think the scale has tipped, the day is officially hot. I wish it were that easy for me to tip the scale, to move from the place of making assumptions to the place of not making assumptions. I’ve never liked it when people label me. I don’t like to be distilled down by others so that they can better understand me. It’s not real, after all, those assumptions we make about one another. Not real, not like the heat of this day is real, nor the sound of water.
-Related to post WRITING TOPIC — THE FOUR AGREEMENTS