In the midst of all the chaos of the last few weeks, I’d promised myself I could get something to commemorate Just Listen and all the work I’ve been doing to promote it. I respond very well to the carrot-and-stick method, it’s documented, whether it be chocolate before I write, or promised coffee once a journal entry is done. So when I had some time a couple of weeks back, I went to my favorite local jewelry store and bought a necklace. It’s a horseshoe on a silver chain, and I love it. So much so that when I went up to D.C. last weekend, I decided to take it with me. I put it in its little box, nice and neat, and packed it in my carry on. By the time I opened the box again a couple of hours later, it was completely tangled. I was able to get most of the knots out…except for one. Luckily, this knot was up at the very top, near the clasp. So I could still wear it and have it not be noticeable. But I still wanted to get it out, so I started to work on it.
Now, any normal person would approach this situation thusly: Hmm, I have a knot. Let me try to get it out. *time passes* Oh, well, looks like I can’t. I’ll just take it the jeweler once I’m home, no problem. And it’s not like anyone will see it anyway, no harm, no foul.
Of course, I am not normal. Which is why I handled the situation like this: Hmm. A knot. Let me try to get it out. Well, that’s not working. Let me try it with a needle. Hmm. Nope. Maybe if I stretch it out, under a bright light, and then try with the needle. Sheesh. I’ll just put it away, deal with it later….after I try for a little bit longer. Why can’t I do this? I can’t even see what I’m doing. Maybe I should go over by the window. I bet if I tug this part…nope. Hold on, I’ll just stretch it out flat again, and then….or maybe I should take it back under the lamp. Or use two needles. See, this is working. I’ve almost got it…no, I don’t. God! What is wrong with me? I’m just going to put it away. But maybe if I find some baby powder, that might…
Cut to me cursing, slowly going blind as I squint at the knot that will NEVER COME OUT NOT EVER EVER. I even went so far as to let my friend Holly try to tackle it during a banquet dinner we were at on Thursday night, and she pronounced it too tangled. But was a second opinion enough for me? No, and neither was a third, from Courtney, who looked at it once I was home and said the same thing. I continued to try to figure it out. I still am.
I am not usually such a stubborn person. In fact, when it comes to certain things—housework, arguing about politics, long division—I am the happiest quitter you will ever meet. Life is short, I say, and not worth the time or stress. But why, then, are there other issues that I just can’t let rest? Like a knot in a necklace, or a scene in a book that I have written and rewritten ten times, and should probably just leave alone for a few days to untangle itself? I don’t know. It’s like I’m convinced that somehow, if I just keep messing, I’ll be able to fix it. And that when I do, it will restore balance to my universe, if such a thing is even possible.
(God, this entry feels like therapy. You guys should be scribbling on a legal pad and charging me.)
So maybe it’s a good thing that, as soon as I finish this entry, I am taking my necklace back to where I bought it, to let the experts figure it out. I still think that with enough time (and maybe multiple needles) I might be able to get it untangled. But I think it’s best not to find out, if only for the sake of my mental health. I guess there are some things that are worth putting yourself through hell and back for—like that scene in that book, maybe—and others that just aren’t. The trick, I suppose, is learning to tell one from the other. Clearly, I’m still working on that one.