Thursday, July 05, 2018

A Meerkat on the Bathroom Floor

We live in a condo built in 2004, and though the original owner ripped up the standard builder’s beige carpet and replaced it with maple laminate, she left the original vinyl flooring in the hallway, bathroom and kitchen, and we’ve never mustered up the nerve to get a contractor in to replace it. The factory must have produced this stuff by the football field sized quantities hourly for years. In fact, I could probably drive to Home Depot and buy 500 sq feet of it tomorrow morning. 

The colour is what my mother would have called “muckeldy dun”. I haven’t figured out if the background is dirty tan with greenish-brown and grey splotches thrown across it, or if the background is greenish-brown and grey with dirty tan splotches on it. A tile pattern was pressed on it after the colours were thrown on it. No matter how long you scrub it still looks dirty. 

But it does have a remarkable quality. One admits that at one’s advanced age one spends a fair amount of time upon the throne of thought. And while I’m sure this was purely accidental on the part of the paint thrower at the “Ugly Sheet Vinyl by the Football Field Quantity Company”, the random spots, blobs, lines, light and dark patches thrown together are fodder for the human brain (well my human brain anyway) to see all kinds of creatures on my bathroom floor. 

The show is constantly changing. One time all I see are dogs, from dachshunds dogs to Great Danes, a terrier with a rat in its mouth, a poodle in show clip, a fat lab pup with its tongue hanging out. 

My next visit I see no dogs at all but horses run riot, jumping, a mare nuzzling a foal,  a couple grazing, one looking over a stall wall. I never know what to expect, it may be sheep, cattle, camels, parrots, monkeys, meerkats, children at play, cats, donkeys.

I don’t go in looking for any of these illusions, and if I look for, say a kitten that I saw previously, or a bird, I cannot see it, even though I know precisely where it was, and in fact, all of the pictures I see in my floor are there, it’s just a question my brain organizing the blobs and lines on the floor into recognizable patterns when I am not consciously looking for them.  

But isn’t this like us in the world? Even though the connections may not be obvious ALL of us are connected, all of us are part of the great pattern. Compassion is born when we are no longer deceived by appearances; the illusion that “I” exist separately from”you”.