Let’s just put it out there – at present, I’m a BIG fan of other people’s sorrow. It makes me feel less alone at my new vacation spot, the Island of Devastation. No, I’m not celebrating the natural disasters happening in the world today, nor am I popping open champagne over a friend’s sister’s pending divorce. If Kate Winslet can’t make it work, what chance to we have…but let’s be honest, it helps to see that others go through some very difficult times, especially the people who appear to have it all.
Cue Death Bear. Mmm, what? Death Bear. I read about this guy, um bear, whom you text and he arrives to take away all of the leftover remnants of a relationship that you no longer want to remember. I haven’t though about him since that article was written in the beginning of January, right after I spent a wonderfully happy New Year’s weekend away. At the time, I thought, “who in God’s name has a man dressed up in a bear costume come to their home to take bags of their ex’s stuff?” But just yesterday, I read my favorite weekly editorial in the NY Times, and was reminded of this fur-covered enigma. He serves a duty no other can provide – as it’s the secrecy that is the key here. It’s too personal for your friend to throw away his photos, clothing, memories. But a silent figure, in all of its Grim Reaper fashion? Now I think it’s nothing short of Bill Gates-caliber genius, and I’m wishing he didn’t limit himself to Brooklyn.
You know we live in a world surrounded by sadness when we call on a bear to cure our pain. For safety reasons, I won’t buzz in the sushi delivery man to my apartment, but I would welcome a seven foot bear through my front door. If this were a Law & Order episode, it would not end well for the ladies who buzz in a costumed stranger – but we are willing to put the slight possibility of a sliver of happiness ahead of our own safety. And it’s fine, for he is our knight in shining armor, our guardian angel, our chance at possible peace.
I used to relish in the 5:30pm silence at work. Everyone I work with commutes to NJ, so an early exit is crucial to get any time with children, husbands, the dog. My work output always increased tenfold when everyone left. No interruptions are necessary to finish the workload of a full-time employee and part-time student. But today was different. I let the 7pm sadness enter the cracks and flood the crevices. On the seventeenth floor of a skyscraper in Times Square, I don’t think I ever felt so alone.
I’m sure if I told Death Bear my story, he’d break free from his Brooklyn wall. I suppose in the meantime, I’m the one that has to do the emotional cleansing. I suppose that’s easier to do in a newly painted studio that hasn’t welcomed him. His Tod’s haven’t tread the floor, his Brooks Brothers never saw the closet. Maybe I need to begin with gratitude for the clean slate (with patio that fits 30 comfortably–hello summer BBQs) with which I have been given. Maybe I can do this without Death Bear.