and then, and then

01/06/2022 0 By BuddyCushman

Day dreaming is my ritual. One of them. Everyone knows the others. Everyone here.

I was wondering if everyone has rituals? If everyone lives by them? Via them? Through them? Then I wondered, not so long ago, how about a life with no rituals? Not one. Like ritual-less, except that’s (ritual-less) not very poetic. Not lovely enough. It’s possible – if I step outside of morning rituals (mine daily), I’ll right now dive into writing a short, fictional story – my first in years – and to honor this wonder about a life entirely 100% without them (rituals), the name of the main character, a guy, will be Les Ritual. It says that on his Iowa driver’s license, and in those rare moments of professionalism and seriousness he’s introduced as Mr. Ritual.

Yes, sounds like a character Stephen King may make up. The coolest thing about him, oh story teller, is that he owns, claims, practices, lives by, bows to, or otherwise acknowledges absolutely not one single ritual in his life. Zero rituals. Mr. Ritual wakes up and every single second of the day thereafter is, “Now what?” Do most people go to the bathroom upon waking? Today, the waking-up day, Mr. Ritual holds it until 5pm. It’s possible the majority of the planet’s people, those with access to guaranteed food, eat breakfast by 9am – heaven forbid the stomach is empty at quarter til 10. Mr. Ritual – remember, first name Les – decides I’ll begin a five-day fast, this very second. Maybe Mr. Ritual does not turn on the computer and fall into a ritualistic web trance, doesn’t take a shower or apply make-up or comb his hair or read the paper. No coffee this day. Instead, immediate urge, he strolls casually down to the 5 & 10 store on South Street and buys a hula hoop, which he takes to the center of the park high above the Mississippi (this is Davenport) and hulas for three hours and proposes marriage to an older woman who has stopped to watch – “Want to get hitched, Sweetie?” That felt like the next right thing to say and ask.

And when she laughs and walks away, Les practices first and then successfully rolls the hoop down toward the edge of the bluff and walks home, as he’s walking in the door wonders will the hoop float and be carried all the way down through the Delta, and right then decides to and actually writes a letter to the Mayor of New Orleans, apologizing for littering and encloses a check for $15, which he feels is fair as a fine, then falls into the easy chair where a ritual-ed person would have begun the day with coffee and their smart phone. Easy, Mr. Ritual pictures the bridge spanning over the Mississippi in the movie “Deja Vu” (with Denzel), and he has that movie and puts it in the DVD player and heats a can of Chef Boyardee spaghetti – cause the ‘fast’ commitment was then and this is now – and at just after 11 that night his cousin Janeen calls from Seattle to ask “What’s up?” – she always calls someone at nine o’clock.

So, anyway, I wondered if there are people with no rituals.