Saturday, April 12, 2014

Epic fails

I've been known to engage in a number of endeavors that turned out to be, in spite of my best intentions, epic fails. Most recently there was the saga of trying to get new glasses, an utter failure, yet expensive since I paid for frames I will never use and also for the eye exam which the eye doctor refused to refund. I spent a lot of money for nothing but frustration.

How about the ill-fated wish for birthday cake this year, the many disappointments leading up to the day when I ordered a Very Expensive cake from a bakery in Georgetown, for which I had to pay in advance. It snowed on my birthday. I decided to pick up the cake the following day. The bakery will only hold cakes one day. As I tried to make my way through the pools of icy slush to get to the bakery, I twisted my ankle. At that point I asked myself, "Do you even want that cake?" I did not. Turned around, limped home. Yep, that was an exercise in futility all the way around. An expensive failure.

This week's epic fail was my annual visit to see the cherries around the Tidal Basin. The trees were beautiful, yet the mood was, of all things, somber. I've never felt a melancholy mood down there when the cherries were in bloom - never. And it wasn't just me - I was with two friends who also said it felt off. The trees looked a bit off, too. I think winter was very hard on them. As soon as we left the Tidal Basin, all three of us cheered up and went for sushi. It was weird.

A few years ago, I decided to learn to play the bass. It's something I wanted to try for many years. When I moved into the chateau at last I had the sound proofing to make me think it would be ok to practice. I rented a bass, I hired a teacher. But alas, I have a dainty little pinky finger. It's the pinky that presses on the largest string of the bass. I am not made to play the bass after all.

Epic fail.

I could go on. I could describe my marriage, for instance, but I think you get the idea.

I'm not sleeping well. I'm worried about the trip to Paris, worried I'm about to engage in an Outrageously Expensive Epic Fail. I talked to a friend who has been recently, who said a malaise has laid a thick layer of discouragement over the city. Recently the city suffered from smog so terrible, it made the news here in the states, and a week later, dust from the Sahara. I'm getting it, that Paris, the city soul I mean, is struggling right now. I wanted to go in order to recharge after the hideous winter here, but I'm worried that I'm heading right into the same energy, only intensified since it is Paris. What was I thinking, buying the ticket?

If I could, I would cancel the trip. I've invested a lot of money already, though. I'm trying not to get stuck in this spiraling thought form. I'm trying to disbelieve it, to follow the advice I hand out so often which is: Remain curious, stay open. Anything could happen. Be open. I'm trying. I believed in my new glasses, I was enthusiastic, even determined. Same goes for the cherry blossoms, my birthday cake, my marriage, playing the bass. I can not locate a single calorie of enthusiasm for the upcoming trip. I am so worried. Oy vey!

When I mention my sense of dread about the trip, everyone tries to reassure me. I'll see some comments to that effect here, I imagine. I hope everyone else is right about this and that it turns into a great trip. Right now, since the weather has turned around, I want nothing more than to walk the streets and boulevards of this city, my home. After two years of longing with all my heart to go to Paris, now I dread it.

It was the dream of birthday cake that I loved, the fantasy of playing the bass, of my new glasses. It's a dream of Paris I've invested in. You can see, can't you, why I'm feeling discouraged and superstitious. Can you?


  1. Dearest Reya, relax...there are no FAILS, Especially as you are concerned. Have no expectations, we are just along for the ride. Like any amusement park, you pays your money and you takes your chances. It's all good, just part of the adventure of this so called life. You will go to Paris and you will have an experience, maybe some great surprises, maybe a tumble, but that's the deal, and a wonderful deal it is!

  2. I'm trying to remember. Thanks, Linda Sue. I've never been good at knowing when to hold 'me and when to fold 'en.

  3. Yes, I do. You've built it up in your mind and preparations and now you are afraid you're going to be disappointed. You are committed to going. Quit looking for signs and just go experience. Shed your expectations if you can. And remember, Paris is a living entity with highs and lows and shades. It is all authentic.

  4. So I wrote my comment before reading Linda Sue's. I see we said essentially the same thing.

  5. Anticipation can be a bitch.

    In my 15 years in D.C., I never had anything but an Epic Fail at the tidal basin in cherry season. They are amazingly beautiful, but whenever I went on the big days, I got presentments of death and decay. "Cherry blossoms are fragile, and we will all die soon." My best memories of the D.C. Spring Floral Riot of Beauty were in odd, seldom-mentioned spots. For example, there were a couple of mighty wisterias on the backside of the Natural History Museum that knocked my socks off.

    I've never been able to plan a peak experience. I've seen some amazing things while traveling, but when I remember how I felt at those moments, I am reminded of the various illnesses and discomforts that come from traveling back roads in tropical countries. I hope you have amazing experiences in Paris, even if they don't seem amazing at the time.

  6. I didn't want a peak experience, I only knew I longed to go.

    How sad that you never experienced the euphoria of the cherries, Rebecca. But of course i know just what you're saying - everyone is different and reacts differently.

    The dread I feel is honest. It isn't specific, just an overall sense of dread. It's a relief to admit it.

  7. I actually dislike peak experiences. They're too strong for me.

  8. Sometimes we tend to be our own worse enemies....I do this also...maybe trying to protect myself?..from what I don't know.

  9. "If it scares you, do it"...somebody said that, I think they are dead now...hahaha

  10. I think Linda Sue and Ellen are right on. Just try to drop whatever expectations you have -- for a good trip or a bad one, for positive energy or negative -- and see what comes. I think your dread may relate to spending so much money on something that may turn out to be disappointing, but part of that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, right? The trip will only be disappointing if you go expecting things that may not happen. Try not to expect! Have Zen mind -- approach Paris as if you know nothing. :)