11/100 The Snail
After watching The Life of Pi, it was time for a walk. On Mission Street on a Friday night nearing Halloween, people are out drinking and finding parking spaces. No crazy costumes. The police are keeping an eye on the homeless and the drunk drivers who are too wasted to keep their eyes open. Mel’s Diner is brightly lit, but only half of the tables are full. Many malls are vacant and the only restaurants that are open are for post-drinks munchies.
Chico’s Pizza was a place made for a movie introduction. Soccer jerseys, flicking 2L soda fridge, a random metal chain across the store, people walking in and out arguing, smelling of alcohol. There was a life-size cardboard of Shakira and dusty flags of countries all over the world nailed to the ceiling. The pizza did not look good, the cheese seemed to have hardened and the crust was very..floury. Picked up garlic bread and a can of diet coke.
On the way back, a drugged lady with a blindfold, slightly lifted so that you could barely see her eyes and few missing front teeth asked me if the coat I was wearing was rabbit fur. I said, “no, it’s fake.” She said that it’s cute. I smiled and said thank you. There was a group hollering out, all drunk and happy in front of the Hilton valet parking. Just wanting to have fun. Goofing off. Making people laugh.
Walked to the waterfall by the metreon. Late night movies playing. The church across the street seemed scary. On the staircase, two females were smoking weed and some homeless guy was dosing off on a bench. I wanted to stare at the waterfall for just some time, because of how refreshing the sound and clear the water is. After some time, a guy dunk his bike into the fountain as one would to a doughnut into a coffee and cleaned his wheels. Back and forth he went.
Attracted to the slightly purple and orange sky by the Moscone Center, I wanted to lie down. Nobody would watch me there. So, I did. There was a LED light decoration you could see through the glass building. Orange, red, blue, rainbow..pretty mix of colors. I really liked the pale orange just before it transitioned to pink and wondered what programming language would do that. Certain range of RGB values..what would look good wrapped in that orange? A car? A cake? Definitely not a good bedroom color. LED art is the ultimate characterization of San Francisco. Tech and colorful. Open, yet closed. Rich and homeless. Sunny, foggy and cold.
When I looked down at my feet, there was a big snail approacing me. I was listening to Counting Stars by One Republic. I had a sudden urge to get up and get to the higher ground, but then I heard a thud as I stood up. I lifted my phone and saw the snail had crawled inside into a ball. Then I noticed. The shell, its home and only source of protection, was broken. I wanted to put it by the water. Then realized that I should first find a new shell. Should I take it home? I picked it up from the bottom with two leaves and set it into the bush it crawled out of. I stared at it as it struggled to get up into the leaf to move downwards. It was the slowest three minutes of my life.
Remember, this was after watching the life of pi. The heart was still tender. I felt like Pi when he killed the first fish. I wanted to believe that the snail would survive. There was a selfish reason, to reduce my guilt. I felt really, really bad. There was something even more helpless than I am, and from my carelessness I had wrecked a creature that didn’t do me any wrong. I stared at it move, as fast and strong as it could, because I couldn’t walk away nor help it. I had to accept it. My butt was getting cold from the bench. Found a shortcut home.
Arrived home, heated up the garlic bread, got out pasta sauce and ate it with coffee. Had oreos and started watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy(the extended version). Forgot about the snail. As if nothing had happened. Laughed at Gandalf doing a breakdance spin as he got attacked. Wanted to eat all the cheese, bread, butter in the movie. Everything people eat in movies always looks so good. Even the slurping of the cabbage soup in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had an urge to give up the city life, move to some European farmland and have a bakery there. Play some piano, farm some carrots, tutor some children…In a wooden home shaped as a mushroom. Light as warm as Winnie the Pooh read as a bedtime story….
Living life as a movie scene, creating movie scene, meaning, peaceful, jolly people as a Hobbits. Of course, reality is not a movie. It’s a production of daydreams and deepest desires.
When we become adults and move out of our given shelter, the place and people we grew up with, we find a new home. We miss the past, and may take places to take rest and recharge, but we know that we must sail far out, even if it takes losing all we have. We must make peace with the struggle and pain that comes with survival. You can never be prepared for everything. What keeps us going, all the strength we need, is how we see ourselves and the world around us. We know the life that we have lived.
The snail is something that can stay in the back of the mind.
It’s your soft spot, your anxiety, fear and pain. The basic necessities in life is food, water, shelter, and a peace of mind. Peace of mind is something that cannot be bought or given by another. You must make peace with yourself and find what makes you smile the most. What feels at home.
I learned to accept things that are hard to swallow. I learned to move on and make peace with the past. I learned to create my own values. I want to find something that would not hurt me even if an event destroys all that I have. I want the strength of the snail, to keep going even when there is a very low change. It will die trying till its very last breath, rather than give up. It doesn’t have any other way.