I’m sure it has something to do with the competitive nature of humans, but we live in a world of superlatives. On tv they sell us the best cars EVER. The most air tight ziplock bags you have ever used. They even sell the best TVs on TV (mind blown). Wars have been started over the best religion. I’m just as guilty of this phenomenon. There is comfort in categorizing our surroundings. I’m going to frame things differently from now on. Nothing will be the best in my life, it will all be what I choose. You are the friend that I choose. The church I choose. The fab boots I choose. No competition just my choice. It sounds simple. It isn’t natural. Maybe you have already figured this out but I’m still learning. I will no longer wage a war of itemizing people, events, and things in my head. They will all be what I choose until I don’t choose them any longer. Insert deep breath here.
By e on November 20, 2014
By e on November 19, 2014
I feel about hugs what some people feel about bugs. I don’t mind them but I don’t want to be surprised by one.
The coffee shop where I work is located next to a yoga studio. One of our regulars is a frequent practitioner of yoga. He comes over after class and reads the paper and has a cup. When he first introduced himself to me he stepped in for a ninja hug. I didn’t see it coming. I closed my eyes and waited, arms at my sides, for it to end. He didn’t seem to notice. From that point on I have made sure that there was always a counter between us. Months later, my coworker sketchy Jeff, made the comment that she is a toucher in a world of non-touchers. The hugger looked at me incredulously. “But but but…..the human touch is healing” he implored. “I’m good”, I assured him. “A 20 second hug releases endorphins”, he defended. “That’s 20 seconds too long for me. Besides I have sports and my animals to aid me in endorphin in release”, I rebuffed. Undeterred, he continued on about the health benefits of hugging. I stopped listening.
Yesterday I was offered a hug for saving his paper from coffee spilled at his table by another patron. I pushed the new girl toward him. Maybe a hug by proxy would suit both of our needs. He began the hug in a normal fashion (if hugging a stranger can be done normally). Then again touted the benefits of this embrace and went for a deeper hug. The new girl said, “oh, that’s nice.” My hair stood on end. My skin crawled. I backed away from the two of them lest I be pulled into their embrace while I wasn’t paying attention. When he came up later for a refill he shared that he was going to make me a hugger. Now maybe it’s just that I don’t like to be told what to do. Maybe it’s that he was so convinced that I was in need of healing. Perhaps it’s the violent reaction I had while witnessing what a 20 second hug looks like. I could only respond with ” nuh-uh!”
I’m pretty sure that he thought that he could soften me to his hugging ways. Here’s the thing. I’m plenty soft. I’ve gone 43 years being disinterested in touching a person I don’t know well. It works for me. I am not a broken vessel of fragility.
There are very clear examples of when I would be willing to hug a stranger. A lost child needing comfort. Any person crying. Someone one who has accomplished something they though insurmountable. I have seen this man spreading his hugging movement in the coffee shop. He is in no short supply of people who will tolerate his ways. How gratifying could it possibly be for him to “work his magic” on me as I’m stood granite still, panting like a nervous dog? He will have to settle for my patent response to a toucher, a chuff on the shoulder.
By e on November 18, 2014
I will be the first to admit, happily even, that I have a very immature sense of humor. It all comes down to body parts and poop. Perhaps it’s our vulnerability with regard to these topics that make it all so funny. Maybe I never grew out of the anal phase. Either way we can’t help what hits our funny bone.
In my year and a half of being a pusher of coffee I have not managed to transcend one item on the menu. I can’t really say this drink without giggling. I believe conversation is the best way to excise demons. My coffee demon is….the steamer. It’s warm milk with any flavor of your choosing. Generally something ordered for a child in which case I have been unable to talk my way through the steamer. There is one fella who has become a semi-regular (see, even that made me think of poop) He’s tall, rugged looking, maybe mid forties. He orders a toasted marshmallow steamer. I quickly avert my gaze. This does not go unnoticed by my coworker, sketchy Jeff. You’re trying not to giggle aren’t you, she asks. A window is cracked open. I look up at the rugged man. He looks inquisitive. The window is thrown all the way up. Did you grow up with brothers in the house, I ask him. Yes, he responds in a question. I wait looking for the realization to dawn on him. Nothing. Instead of doing what most would and leave it at that, I press on. Well, in my house a steamer was poop. Huh, he stumbles, nope pretty sure that’s not what my brothers called it. I respond patently with, well then they were doing it wrong. I think I have charmed him, but it’s a fine line between that and a desperate need to cut a run. Our financial transaction complete, he walks from the counter. Upon completion of the making of his drink, I walk it over to him. Doing what I do when things get weird, which is to keep talking. I hand him his drink. He’s standing with another regular, the silver fox. I lead with, we need to give this drink another name. I wait while rugged man explains to silver fox my issue with steamer. Silver fox laughs, I’ve had him in my pocket for months. I’m thinking, nap in a cup? No? How about hot granny I offer? They are both laughing at me not with my I’m sure. Undeterred I soldier on. That would be GILF. They both look confused.
Grannie I’d like to…… Rugged man says ok, but will everybody know what I mean when I order a GILF? I assured him that it will be done.
I’m thinking he never comes back or he orders a hot chocolate next time.
By e on November 17, 2014
1) Never trust a fart
2) 4 hours on a Saturday at the Apple Store. Yay
3) Zombie Honeymoon not as good of a movie as you might think
4)My life is full of scorpios
5) I dreamt about a person I don’t know in real, life stepping on a scorpion on their carpeted living room. Wonder what that means.
6) Teenagers like my Instagram pics because they feel sorry for me if I have zero likes. I like it for the filters.
7) The only thing worse that Christmas music in November is elf on the shelf on FB
8) There is little else more gratifying than witnessing a friend reaching for the brass ring.
9) Laughter heals and I treasure my job as doctor
10) It is such a blessing to see my kid comfortable in her own skin for the first time in years.
One to grow on:
Truth isn’t always pretty. Or easy. Sometimes it’s a lot like pulling the pin and hurling and armed explosive. You can duck and cover. Plug your ears and shut your eyes. Truth always finds its way in. It seeps into our pores. It rolls under closed doors like the smoke of ghosts in movies. Truth permeates. You can ignore it, but it will live beside you like a better twin until it is acknowledged. Unless you have perpetrated a horrible act against God or nature, truth can never be as bad as you fear. Living blind to your truth is not living life, it’s just getting by. So go for it. The fear can’t possibly be as bad as you have built it up to be. Having left it to bounce around inside your own mind has created waves of echoes. Theses echoes have done their job. They have reverberated loudly enough to drowned out the truth. The work it has taken to make such noise is twice what it would have taken to face your truth. It will come to you as you have one foot left in this reality anyway. When you no longer have the strength to make the echoes. Why not let it now, today, while you can make amends if need be. Find happiness if you can. Be open as you should be. Live as is intended.
By e on November 14, 2014
When I met C I quickly learned that we were both scorpios. We were born 2 days and 10 years apart. We were two girls who never questioned the ways in which we are special and relished that we each had a day that was ours alone. We celebrated our birthdays together.
She shares the same birthday with my Bug. It was another reason that she was special to me. For several years this day was ours. It made us feel like our friendship was meant to be. Like the planets aligned for us.
I find myself struggling. I chose to celebrate the Bug’s birthday a few days early because I knew this would be hard. I have worked through my anger and am left with my sadness. We laugh too. But today I find I falter in my ability to move forward because I have turned 43 and she will never be 53. Because I hear the whisper of a man’s voice in my boy and she will never know the great men that hers will surely become.
Today I allow myself to wallow in the mire of what ifs. I feel the shade the world knows in her absence. I hurt for what will never be.
I miss you. I’m so very sad that you aren’t here to eat dessert first. To relish in the attention of your day. To be silly with us until our sides hurt. We are finding our way without you but it isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun.
I raise my glass of champs to you…
By e on November 12, 2014
I am a child of autumn. While my heart swells at the brightness of spring it is renewed by the colors of fall. I love the unpredictability of view. How in one day a street of green is transformed to oranges and reds. How bitterness of morning warms to sun dancing off the wind by noon. I am reminded of the impermanence of this place. That our feet should dance everyday in homage to this gift. That doors can be moved toward closing but always remain cracked. Nothing ever truly ends as it is a cycle. There is always another chance. Like the door, if you remain open, hope will carry you through winter back to the brightness of spring.
I can’t help but be filled with gratitude on this the day of my birth. I have chosen people to love and they love me in return. That the thought of me may bring a smile to their face. That I am missed in absence and welcomed in presence. That I am seen. To my most darkest depths. And loved all the same.
I am thankful. I am grateful. I am blessed. I am the luckiest.
By e on November 11, 2014
There are German exchange students at the Goose’s school this year. This news prompted a conversation on the subject. I told her that when I was in school you could always tell the exchange students by their shoes and the Germans by their pants. This confused her. The world was a lot bigger then, I explained. Germans could get denim but not American blue jeans. Their jeans looked like trousers. Her face was still contorted with confusion. I was a senior in high school when the Berlin Wall fell, I told her. Now a look of disbelief washed over her. She couldn’t believe it. Though she knew from a historical perspective when the wall fell, she hadn’t quite put it together that that meant it had happened in my lifetime. Suddenly I could see her make all of the pieces fit. How different the world must have been for me at her age. You had to work harder to find things that weren’t from this country. Music, literature, and clothes were not a keystroke away. Our kids seem smarter because Google makes them so. We got our information from our friends and they were usually wrong. The world seemed bigger and our town seemed smaller. I don’t know if things began to shift when the wall came down but it seems as good of a historical place as any to start. I caught a glimpse recently at an after school pick up of exchange students. I could tell that they were European, but I couldn’t pick out the Germans. Europeans still have better shoes.
By e on November 10, 2014
1) it’s always the girls that cry about poor sportsmanship at a game that end up punching someone in the ribs.
2) while trying to figure out how to apologize to the Bug for having seen me accidentally naked, he saves the day by saying it was ok because he didn’t have his glasses on. Phew.
3) people ask me all the time why I hate clowns. I ask, what is there to like about them?
4) lots of my favorite people were born on 11/14. My sweet Bug and our beloved C among them.
5) shin guards are great if they stay put. Not so much when they slouch to the bottom and side. Also known as man that hurts.
6) my grandmother used to call us all Toots…..like tootsie pop sort a. Fun the things you remember.
7) in case you were also waiting, there is no house cleaning fairy. DANGIT!
8) I have been writing these list for 6 years.
9) it takes red nail polish longer to dry. That’s what the professionals say.
10) I am the luckiest.
And one to grow on:
I wear my moxie like a suit of armor. It’s a coping mechanism. A way to be in control of my surroundings. As I grow I realize the effort it takes to be “on”. It’s exhausting. Yet, it has become so engrained that it is no longer what I do, but a part of who I am. I wonder what others do to cope. How their public persona differs from what their personal world sees. I bet some use make-up as a shield. Some us the prefix before their name. I am doctor so-and-so, please make all of the assumptions that go with that. Often, when I replay the day, I will notice inconsistencies in a person. I bet those are just wrinkles in their armor. Maybe, the majority of hypocrisy is really just a glimpse at the “man behind the curtain” of people’s public masks. Let us be patient with one another if it is. Tolerant if we can. And perhaps a bit grateful when we catch a glimpse of someone from behind their mask.
By e on November 6, 2014
She sits in her chair as the sun warms the room
We watch Fallon and Roots play songs with kids’ instruments
Talk to our girls around the way
I worry my cackle may disturb
The woman named Ann assures me, no
All the while the poison medicine drips
We thumb our nose at what is out of our hands
Talk of Oregon and the choice to leave while you still know faces and names
It is all so big
So unreal some days
I knock wood
Still here tater tot
Still foul mouthed and sweetness
Cherub and trouble maker
Still and forever in my heart
By e on November 3, 2014
1) Cabbage is a diuretic. I peed every hour all night long after stuffed cabbage dinner. I’m not sure how that’s even possible.
2) A watched pot never boils, but it sure does seem to wait for you to sit down
3) Clowns are dumb….they’re just dumb
4) A house full of clowns plus gin equals my friends are jerks
5) nothing says this party is over like the host coming downstairs in her pajamas.
6) my husband is a rock star.
7) it’s the end of daylight savings time and it’s still dark when I roll into work.
8) Debbie downers make me punchy.
9) nothing warms the back of the neck like a 25 pound cat.
10) if you see a tiny wondering Boston terrier in the neighborhood. Please return her. The old blind girl has gone a bit senile. Coupled with the GD leaf blowers she gets disoriented.
One to grow on:
Depression doesn’t look the same for all people. It’s not always pajamas all day, shades drawn, can’t get our of bed. We think because we have seen a commercial or an after school special or researched on the Internet that we can fix people. That we are close to a degree in fixing. That because the world seems smaller we have a right to people’s “inside spaces”.
Sometimes depression is quiet. Sometimes it’s angst. You may be working beside a person wrestling with depression and they are just trying to keep their nose down and muscle through it. Some people can’t or choose not to talk about it. We live in a world of sharing…..over sharing. Sometimes a person is having a hard time keeping their demons from showing and the last thing they need is a town crier. Chances are when they come out the other side, there will be acknowledgement, apology if necessary. As an observer, temper your urge to remove the band aid for them. A person’s psyche is their own work.