As the Hindu gods are “immortal” only in a very particular sense–for they are born and they die–they experience most of the great human dilemmas and often seem to differ from mortals in a few trivial details . . . and from demons even less. Yet they are regarded by Hindus as a class of beings by definition totally different from any other; they are symbols in a way that no human being, however “archetypal” his life story, can ever be. They are actors playing parts that are real only for us; they are the masks behind which we see our own faces.
–Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty Introduction, Hindu Myths (Penguin Books, 1975)
Me: (phone id indicates in-laws) Hello?
Caller: . . . .
Caller: . . .
Me: Hel. . .
Me: Hello Margaret.
Mother-in-law: . . .
Me: Hello? Margaret?
Me: Yes, hello.
Mother-in-law: Can you hear me? Are you there?
Me: Yes, I can hear you Margaret. I’m here.
Mother-in-law: Oh, gosh.
Me: Do tell, kind lady, what fresh disaster awaits?
Me: How are you?
Mother-in-law: Well, not so good.
Me: How so?
Mother-in-law: Well, let me tell you . . .
Him: Blah blah blahblah yadda yadda wizbang, you know? But that’s just me being anal.
Him: By the way, you were the first one to notice that.
Him: That I’m anal.
Him: Yeah. ‘Cause I remember you were the first one to say I was anal attentive.
Her: Um . . .
Him: “Anal attentive.” That was the first time I ever heard that before.
Her: I . . .
Him: “You’re anal attentive,” you said. And I got so mad at you! You know why?
Her: Uh . . .
Him: Because I didn’t know what it meant! Heh, heh.
Her: . . .
Him: Yeah! I thought you were calling me an asshole!!
Her: I think . . .
Her: Never mind.
“Forever is composed of nows.”
— Emily Dickinson
“When is the most important time?”
“Now is the most important time.”
“Who is the most important person?”
“The person, with whom we are now, is the most important.”
“What is the most important thing?”
“To care is the most important thing.”