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Sometimes Life Tastes Like Sawdust


It was like sawdust, the unhappiness: it infiltrated everything, everything was a problem, everything made her cry — school, homework, boyfriends, the future, the lack of future, the uncertainty of future, fear of future, fear in general — but it was so hard to say exactly what the problem was in the first place. ~Melanie Thernstrom

The males in my home are rehabbing the basement. The endeavor started when a crack in the foundation allowed water to leak in and saturate the carpet resulting in a mildew smell. I originally thought the mildew smell was the result of my son leaving his wet clothing on the floor. We had to tear down a section of the plywood wall to expose the crack for repair this our adventure began.

The son and son in law did most of the demolition then placed all the paneling sheets in my garage where they have been sitting for a few weeks. I spent a couple of hours today with the circular saw ripping them into bite sized chunks for the trash cans. During those couple of hours of ripping, the sawdust flew everywhere. Sawdust not only flies everywhere, it also gets everywhere. There was sawdust on the floor, in my hair, coating my sweaty body, up my nostrils and into my mouth. I blow my nose and fine particulate fills the kleenex. I cough up phlegm that’s the dark brown color of the 1970s era paneling. For the past couple of hours, everything I have eaten has been punctuated with the flavor of sawdust. It’s an unpleasant taste that lingers for quite some time because the sawdust was breathed in and just sits there stuck to the lining of the throat.

Sometimes, the messiness of life infiltrates all of one’s existence just as the sawdust leaves nothing devoid of the fine wood particulate. An argument with a loved one can coat your mood in ways that the feelings can’t quite be deciphered let alone articulated. It just sits there, a haze, obfuscating clarity, tainting one’s ability to get understanding.

When life has the taste of sawdust, all existence is colored by the foul taste. It becomes difficult to understand the essence of the ongoing experience, become difficult to separate good from bad because the bad is a constant undertone.

The unfortunate thing is one can’t just rid oneself of the taste. It is stuck there, stuck in the mucus tainting whatever is ingested. I takes time to work itself out of the system, time to generally dissipate, time until the foul taste is gone and life is again full of excellent flavor, pure flavor.

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