A Patina of Experience

Last night, I was in “a mood.”   It caused me to write an email to a friend, something I too rarely do.  The message was mostly silliness memorialized in language, but as I read my message this morning, I saw traces of something larger and more thought-provoking.

I related, in my message, a bit about a dream I’d had the night before.  In the dream, I ran down a set of steep stairways, rushing to catch a train.  I was wearing a grey tweed sports jacket.  A guy heading up the stairs in the opposite direction stopped me and grabbed a device from my breast pocket.  It was a lubricant pen, the kind used for maintenance of embroidery and sewing machines.  I know this because once I was given such a device while attending an embroidery trade show. The guy questioned me about the pen, but I didn’t answer.  Instead, I pushed him aside and continued down toward the trains.

As I reached what I think was a loading platform, a bunch of men surrounded me.  They would not let me get past them, nor would they allow me to retrace my steps.  Their demeanor and their words implied they planned to kill me.  First, though, they wanted me to suffer and plead with them for my life.  My level of panic was escalating rapidly as I tried to decide whether to try to fight my way out of the situation; I awoke just then.  The dream bothered me almost all day yesterday.

My email then turned to the fact that I still do not own a dog (though I’ve wanted one for years and years). Until we moved into our latest house, my wife had begrudgingly agreed that I could get such a beast, provided I would take full responsibility for its upkeep, feeding, and exercise.  But, now, we have a house with shiny wood floors.  And my wife raised the issue that dog claws could mar those floors.  And she’s right.

In my message to my friend, I said, “I think that’s just what the wood floors need; claw marks demonstrating their connection with the real world.  That’s what the real world is all about, isn’t it?  Surviving claw marks with dignity and serenity. A patina of experience.”

Today, I wonder whether I really would accept the marks on the floor?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I’d probably insist on creating shoes for the dog to protect the floor.  But aside from the consideration about the dog, I think my message may have accidentally articulated a fundamental truth:

The real world is about surviving claw marks with dignity and serenity, living life with a patina of experience in lieu of a protective shell.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Dreams, Philosophy, Serenity, Wisdom. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Patina of Experience

  1. Trisha says:

    Robin, your link was really informative, which only gives me more initiative to consider ripping out that old carpeting very soon!

  2. Trisha says:

    You know, I have a dog, and I’ve wanted to rip up old carpeting in certain principle areas to lay down hard wood flooring. However, for the scratch factor this plan has been on the back burner. But then again, I’ve considered doing it anyway for my dog is 13 years old, slowing down, and his scampering days are at a minimum. Still weighing the possibilities.

    With all that reality aside, what really intrigued me here was your dream, John! And afterwards when you said, “I think that’s just what the wood floors need; claw marks demonstrating their connection with the real world.” I love that line! Why I find that thought fascinating, I am not sure, but I could readily visualize the criss-cross of scratches on that hard wood floors that could be saying, “this is part of my life and this is my home.” Shiny, perfect hard wood floor are always attractive to the eye, but can also give off a sterilized atmosphere…but that’s just me. Guess I have a whole other spin on this kind of thing..perhaps I’m fond of the lived in look? 🙂

    Okay, back to reality. Volunteering at the animal shelter is not a half bad idea, but if you don’t happen to fall in love with a particular pooch along the way, and do not want it (the dog) to really be part of your life (danger zone, it happens), the hard wood floors will remain perfectly shiny and unmarred, which for sure is a personal choice. 🙂

  3. Lois, if I had the money, I’d selectively replace wood with stone or tile of some type. There’s even a room (or two) in which I’d use carpet. Robin, thanks for the link; very interesting article! I probably should just volunteer at the animal shelter to get my need for “animal companionship” met. Another friend suggested just that!

  4. robin andrea says:

    It has literally never occurred to me that a dog’s claws could leave scratches on a hard wood floor. So, of course I googled it and found this interesting article. http://www.peteshardwoodfloors.com/Wood-Floor-Techniques-101/what-pets-do-to-hardwood-floors.html
    There are ways to mitigate that damage, but not other damages that pets can do.

  5. Lois Ferrara says:

    One of the reasons I like our distressed saltillo tile floor is because it’s hard to see any damage. The grout is intentionally uneven and the tiles aren’t perfectly square. We’re pier & beam and have had to make repeated small repairs due to movement and grout popping out. Luckily, repairs are hard to see. I am thinking about putting wood floors in oru dining/living area. If so, maybe I should consider a distressed wood for the same reason. lol I don’t think Bogie’s feet would scratch anything, but it would not be a problem if you couldn’t tell which scratches were his if he did.

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