Sunday, May 26, 2024

Go Deeper

Write about me, my daughter says, when I tell her I don’t know what to write about this week. She is visiting from DC for the long weekend, and we are lying on our backs in a hair salon having our hair shampooed. My hair stylist asks me if I want a hand and arm massage. I didn’t know this service came with a haircut. No thanks, I say. I’m good. 

Mom, my daughter says. Do it!

I do, and I am immediately happy. The warm lotion, the pulling and stretching of each finger, but also, the softly lit room, the scent of rosemary? the tinkly notes of spa music, my daughter only a lotion-y arm-length away. I never do stuff like this. 

Correction: I never do stuff like this unless she is here and prodding me along. It’s the same at the shops we browse in later, our new hairdos all fresh and spiffy. I just want to buy a couple of t-shirts, but she talks me into a trendy pair of jeans, a swingy-looking top. Think: fun, she says. 

And I do. It’s magic. No, my daughter says with a laugh, it’s retail therapy. We’re drinking frou frou coffee drinks on the front porch, and I’m pointing out the flowers I planted since the last time she visited, these purply globes called allium which make me think of Horton Hears a Who, how round and boing-y they are and who knows what kind of worlds they contain, what sweet voices are calling out from the hearts of them. 

There’s a clover patch my husband planted next to the boing-y flowers, and every time he looks, he finds a four-leaf clover. I’m not lying, I tell our daughter. See for yourself. We go back to our frou frou drinks and compare our horoscopes. A few weeks ago my son and daughter-in-law showed us a silly astrology app that’s so random and dumb that it's got to be AI-generated. You plug in your date and time and place of birth (yeah, I know, we’re giving away our private information to some company who will use it to try to sell us something later or steal our identities, but ah, well) and each day an absurd list of dos and don’ts spits out. 

For example, Today, mine is: 

Do—Morning rituals, Lists, Weird hat

Don’t—Leftovers, Restriction, Dirty Laundry

I am embarrassed to tell you how much time I spend pondering this. But I am a person who likes to find meaning in things. All of us are like this to one extent or another. Anyway, this is what the book I’m reading, The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell, says. 

It’s human nature to try to make sense of the world, but what happens when there’s too much information bombarding us every second of the day? The answer, according to the author, is: Not good. It's how otherwise rational people fall for cults and conspiracy theories. 

Not me, though, I think, donning my weird hat and avoiding the laundry, swinging back and forth on the porch swing with my daughter, having fun.

Boing-y flowers


This book is good!! And also, it's disturbing!

I'm supposed to go deeper today,

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