Much to the dismay, I’m sure, of many of my Catholic family members, I don’t believe in God. What I’m talking about here is the “Santa Claus” version of God. I don’t believe that once upon a time some “man” got bored and began an eternal, never-ending game of The Sims and voila, here we are, life. I refuse to believe it’s that simple when just about everything logical says otherwise. And much to the dismay, I’m sure, of many of my Atheist friends, I don’t believe there isn’t god (lower case ‘g’). The universe (not to mention the individual “universes” of all living creatures) is so precisely chaotic that I can’t be so arrogant as to leave it all to chance, either. It’s so easy to believe in something; it’s simply a matter of deciding upon it, black or white, Yankees or Red Sox. To me, what’s more interesting is that in between, that uncertainty. I am, like all humans, ultimately stupid. We, collectively, have absolutely no idea what is out there, what’s going on, or just how big or how small we truly are.
The thought is overwhelming, and so it’s easy to just decide to believe in something. In my opinion, though, believing in God or believing that there isn’t “god” ultimately brings about the same results. As for me personally, I don’t need or want either. I think there are so many countless things about life, nature, and humanity that are so unbelievably beautiful that I don’t need to worry about where I came from or where I’ll end up. I’m here, it’s now, and I’m ok with just that.
Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be about Mary Poppins?
Along with those unbelievably beautiful parts of life are their horrific counterparts, and sometimes it’s difficult to think anything good in this world even matters. But I, naïve, optimistic, silly, and romantic (and those are the nicest terms), all I need for a re-affirmation of humanity is a good dose of art. I am lucky to have to many affirming things in my life, but art – it’s instant gratification.
Though my beliefs might be confusing, one thing I am certain of us the fact that I am unabashedly polytheistic. The existence of talents such as Beethoven, Van Gogh, and Gene Kelly, that they have even existed, is proof enough for me that something about our lives are more than just stimuli reacting, and each of them are gods residing on my own personal Mt. Olympus. Julie Andrews, whom I met tonight, is one of those transcendent beings.
Today I got to meet this goddess at the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca. A lighter, airier, “Kiki-er” Dostoevskyian inquisition.
She was signing a new book that she wrote with her daughter, and I stood in line anxiously waiting to meet her. When she entered the room, many people started singing “Happy Birthday”, which I assumed wasn’t an accident and was confused and shocked that she decided to spend her evening signing books for us mortals. As I waited, I noticed that she was taking the time to talk to each person (gods are known to be aloof). I worried about being totally, embarrassingly gob-smacked and tried to come up with something meaningful to say . . . “I LOVE YOU!!!!” being too much and “’sup, Jules?” not quite being enough. But I was simply too shaken and it became too late for me to think of anything worthwhile.
When it was my turn, I managed to sputter out, “Oh. Oh! Oh my goodness! Hello”! She smiled, said hello back, and like the wonderfully kind woman she is, asked me how I was. How am I? How am I?! Julie, Maria, Mary, Victor, Victoria! Are you kidding me?! I quickly said, “fine thanks, how are you?” She was fine too, and so I said, “Happy Birthday! Is it today?” It turns out that no, it was over the weekend but, like a queen, she thanked me anyway. “Well, Saturday is my birthday”, I said, not unlike Marta asking for a pink parasol, and she quickly, genuinely, excitedly, and without one shred of sarcasm said “OH! It IS?! Wonderful! Then we were both sung to!” Die. Die die die! I could have died, and I think maybe I did for a few seconds. I thanked her for writing the book and for signing it and told her that it was the best gift I could have ever asked for, and she nodded and smiled in acknowledgement. My time was up, and as I was closing my freshly Sharpie-d book, she told me it was nice to meet me, wished me a happy birthday, and thanked me for coming. 20 seconds. A lifetime.
I know that this is terribly cheesy; she is, after all, just an actress, and so maybe this is even downright moronic. But she was, she is, kind, lovely, genuine, caring, immensely talented, and beautiful. If these aren’t the qualities we are seeking out in our own lives, then what’s the point?