@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
A picture is worth a thousand words. We have heard it a thousand times. It is true, sometimes, that a picture conveys a message better than the word. Especially when I see pictures of war zones, or people born into countries that aren’t as privileged as the United States. These photographs of such tragedy slay me so much it makes me want to leave home and help them, become a monk, or kill myself because how can anyone enjoy such a life knowing how much suffering is happening right now as I sit comfortable in my apartment writing this blog (though this solves nothing). But how insulting to the word. And feelings. That I cannot show you any one picture and say, “this is how I feel.” Perhaps I can share a song to convey such a feeling. Likely, I won’t even be able to tell you, verbally, at least. Though I am able to convey my thoughts and emotions rather well when written, I have been told by friends, lovers, family, that my disposition is slightly “on the spectrum,” as I’m awkward and quiet in person. It’s a common assignment for a creative writing teacher to hand out pictures for their students to write about. Whether it’s a story about the picture or a feeling. Write what comes to your head when looking at this picture. It is amazing how unoriginal you’ll find people to be in such a free writing exercise. But even more amazing is when someone’s take is so far off and yet so spot on. The above picture I took. In July during the summer. On one of my beach runs, I came across this dead skate, washed ashore. I stopped in my tracks (literally), not only because it was the biggest skate I’ve ever seen (dead or alive), but because it made me so sad. Sad is a weak word. That’s what they’ll tell you in a creative writing class. They’ll tell you to substitute it for tragic, lamentable, sorrowful, but it’s all semantics, really. I felt sad. Sad for the skate, sad for mortality. Had we lived in a Shakespearean play, I would have taken this as an omen for serious heartbreak that was coming by way. I stood there for sometime. I had already jogged at least a mile down the beach and was a ways from any other humans. I could see them down the beach but they seemed far away. It was just me and this dead skate. Would it be weird or lovely if I buried the skate? Blood had spilled and dried out of the corner of its mouth. I only say “it” because I do not know how to differentiate sex among skates. It did not smell, or at least, I didn’t get close enough to smell it. I wondered how it died. Perhaps old age? I did not know the life span (I later looked it up and they can live to 50 years old!) of a skate, but seeing that this was the biggest skate I’d ever seen I assumed it was older than most. Perhaps, then, it had a good life. Alas, I decided not to bury it. I wasn’t sure how heavy it would be. Or if I picked it up what sort of rotting terror could be waiting for me. Also, disease. The decomposing dead are riddled with bacteria. It’s part of the reason why we bury the dead. But what a waste of time it would be. If I dug a hole, and assuming I could drag the skate without it tearing or something (I have no idea what would happen), the incoming tide would expose it again, the waves would wash away the grave. Probably the seagulls would beat the tide. Those fucking rats with wings. Always preying on the rotting dead. Or snatching sandwiches from your hand. A seagull never worked an honest day in its life. Skates I always thought were cute. Their little mouths seem to have a little smile as if to say, “I live in the ocean and eat shrimp and living in the ocean is great and shrimp is yummy and I’m not harmful to you humans, I’m your friend!” But we were not friends to the skates, us humans. It made me sad that sometimes when I eat scallops I wonder if they’re actually skates. You might not know this, but in lieu of scallops (which are delicious and more expensive) sometimes fisheries will punch holes in skates and sell them off as scallops. And sometimes when I eat a scallop, I wonder, is this actually a skate? I don’t think I can tell the difference. If you’ve eaten scallops in dishes, you also have probably eaten skates. I guess, at least, this skate wasn’t captured to have had holes punched into it. Breathing heavily from my cardio, music blasting in my ear, probably The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones or Daft Punk, I thought to myself to run on. What are you doing here, staring at this dead skate? You macabre death obsessed weirdo. Before running on, I took my iPhone from my armband and took that very picture. Why? So I could look at it later and be remorseful about it? Save it on my phone for six months? But I guess it made me feel wholly and utterly alone. That one day, I and everyone I love, will end up the same way. Maybe not washed ashore Robert Moses beach, but no longer living. Into nothingness leaving behind decaying meat. It made sad. Sad not because I’m going to die, but because you are. And there never is enough time, is there? It’s always running out. The sand of the hour glass falling, irreversible. How much time we spend not in the sunshine, on the beach. How much time we spend afraid of something like a skate that is not to fear at all.
This blog is exactly one thousand words.