Guilty pleasures. Shouldn't that be an oxymoron? Isn't guilt supposed to outweigh pleasure to the point of cancelling it out? apparently not.
At my age, merely remaining alive and in relatively good health is, I suppose, a guilty pleasure. One of my closest friends died two years ago of cancer; another close friend has just been diagnosed with that disease. My daughter suffers painful flare-ups of fibromyalgia. Yet here am I in my late sixties complaining of nothing more than hearing loss and a few twinges in my shoulder and knees.
No, don't talk to me of karma or God's will. I have seen too many good people suffer, too many assholes live out their narrow, peevish lives to a ripe old age.
If it were possible to bargain, I swear I would take some of the pain my loved ones have suffered, give up a year or more of my life to prolong the lives of those who died young with so many unfinished projects, so many unreached goals.
Instead, I sit here drinking my morning coffee and imagining I'm about to write something airy and amusing or else heavy with significance.
Survivor's guilt, I suppose it's called. To justify my continued existence I should be able to contribute something more meaningful than a blog post. I should put on my cape and dash out to save people's lives. I should invent something. Discover something. Spearhead a new crusade.
Instead I sit here sipping coffee, anticipating my morning exercise class (a reprehensible indulgence since it probably adds years, or at least minutes, to my undeserved healthy old age).
Here's an analogy: if I were walking to the store and discovered a paper bag full of hundred dollar bills, would I keep it?
The truth is, I'd probably give some of it away and keep some of it. I'd probably buy a love seat for my tiny apartment -- a red one adorned with pillows sporting various ethnic designs. I'd sit on it every morning, curled up comfortably, coffee mug in hand. Looking out the window, I'd observe the hustle and bustle of the working world. I would think of those I love who are suffering or have suffered, pondering the great unfairness of it all, and -- even so -- enjoying my guilty pleasures.