Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Occam's Razor

In an earlier blog titled “Don’t Tell Ruth” I wrote about a peculiar happening in the downstairs bathroom of the famously haunted Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs.
Well. Now I’m really freaked.

See, a friend from out of town wanted to see the Crescent.  This past Sunday she and I drove up the mountain from Fayetteville and, being as how we’re both ‘woman of a certain age’, our first priority when we arrived at the hotel was to locate a bathroom.  Just as in the original event, the upstairs bathroom was unavailable.  This time it was being cleaned.  Last time the doors of all three seemingly empty stalls were locked.

So this Sunday as on the previous Sunday several months ago, I trooped downstairs to the bathroom in what was once the morgue. It’s now a high-class, perfume-scented spa, which should either exorcise any ghosts or, at the very least, make them sneeze.

Well, but this time the moment I opened the door to the bathroom the hairs on my arms begin to stand at attention. See last time when I stepped in the room, a cold breeze washed over me.  I attributed that to an air-conditioning unit coming on just as I opened the door. Also a yellowing lace curtain fluttered at the window. Again I attributed it to the air-conditioner.  Then, when I flushed the toilet it made a noise like the groaning of a…well…ghost.  Afterward as I tried to leave the room I mistook a permanently walled up door for the actual door, had a moment of panic and then finding the correct door, found it momentarily swollen from the rains and stuck shut.

Okay.  Are you still with me? See this time the entire bathroom was different. First of all, I took a close look around. There is no air-conditioning unit in that room.  Secondly, there’s no lace curtain and no window where I remember it being from last time.

No curtain. No window.

There is a walled in door but the actual door is the sort that swings freely with well over a half inch of light showing at both the top and bottom.

So what the Sam Hill happened?  I admit to having an extremely overactive imagination.  But I’m not so far gone that I don’t know the difference between what I invent and what I actually experience.  So? Ghosts or some hallucinatory experience which occurred only during the time I was in that bathroom?

Which brings me to Occam’s Razor.  I could give you the Latin, but frankly if you’re the sort that’s impressed by that sort of thing you’re probably not a follower of this blog. The jest of the principle is “If you have two equally likely explanations for a situation, the simplest is most likely to be true.”

Therefore, with a heartfelt bow to Ruth Burkett Weeks, I conclude – there are ghosts at the Crescent Hotel.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

We all have our dirty little secrets. The funny, the uniquely human aspect of these small vices is that they’re generally not near as secret as we think and, as a rule, there are about ten thousand others privately behaving the same way.
Me? I eat when I’m bored. Or fighting with my husband, or mother, or dog. I graze because I’m sad. I indulge to celebrate a victory. Or to drown my sorrows over a defeat. I nibble when I read, mindlessly munch while watching TV.
You get the picture.
Now.  Since I weigh forty pounds more than I should, there is no way on God’s green earth this behavior is a secret to anyone and yet part of my enjoyment in this activity is the guilty pleasure in pretending no one suspects that the majority of my kick-around-the-house clothes are stained with dribbles of chocolate, and that all my pants are two sizes bigger than they were ten years ago,
Seriously, who do I think I’m kidding?
I’ve tried any number of diet plans. The problem is they stress me out and we all know what I do when I’m stressed. Or, I lose a pound or two and, in celebration…well, you see where this goes. So I’ve come up with a new plan.  I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it before.
I’m training a service animal to help me with my eating disability.
When I overeat, snack endlessly, frantically tear apart the cupboard looking for those last two Ritz crackers and the jar of peanut butter – the dog will bite me in the ass.
Hey. This might be my last hope.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


My friend Ruth tells me that people and experiences come into our lives at a time when we need them.  I suspect learning, growing opportunities are always at our fingertips.  We just don't reach toward what we can't yet use.
Most of you know that my husband, Jack, has mild dementia. You may also remember that I am taking a class at the UofA on Indian Philosophy.  You've got to trust me here.  I'll weave all this together before we're finished.
See, here's the thing -- I've been having a rough time dealing with the changes in my hero, my husband.  Yeah, I know.  He's been having a few issues with the new limitations too.  The thing is, it finally hit me, I've been making life more difficult for both of us by mourning for what-used-to-be instead of enjoying what is.
Buddhism teaches that we can never stand in the same river twice.  What I've come to understand is, while I'm in the river, at each moment, I can, and am in fact required, to find pleasure in this transitory experience. This enjoyment of the moment is only possible when I release all expectation.  Because with expectation comes dissapointment which blocks my joy.
It's hard to live in each moment.  Part of me, a big part of me, is surprised at each new change that comes along, wants to scream and rant and fight against the flow.  So, pray for me people.  Light the incense.  Whisper my name in the ear of Jesus and Buddha and the universe.