When my sister in law, Julie, came by, I don’t think I thanked her for the huge bag of cherries she left on my counter.
I was too preoccupied with the fact that a whole bunch of fruit was going to go to waste, while there are kids eating dirt cookies in Africa.
Raw cherries make the insides of my mouth hurt. And for some reason raw fruit of any kind is anathema to half of this family, although Colin will eat fruit that I wash and peel and cut and present to him on a silver platter with a live string quartet playing in the background.
… I don’t know if it’s all that important, but I was not affiliated with any particular political party at the time my boyfriend and I were saving seats for the Campus Democrats at our Homecoming game (if you missed yesterday’s post, here you go), but still perfectly happy to stave off drunk fraternity guys for a full two hours for a governor my parents had actively worked to keep from office just a year or two before.
My parents, probably trying to avoid showing how completely distraught they were over my dating this guy, were really good sports about the whole thing.
We arrived before the fraternity pledges who were supposed to be saving seats, and taped “Reserved for the Governor’s Party” signs to a section a few rows up from the field. We chatted for a while as people started to show up for the game.
I had a college boyfriend who lived by the principle that if one expects the worst from life, he’ll never be disappointed. I told myself he was a philosopher.
Not surprisingly, this guy was kind of a bummer to be around. I cannot fathom why I didn’t tell him to shine on after our first date. For some reason, I was terribly worried that, with as little as he had going for him, he’d find me lacking.
Anyway, this isn’t about him, or where my head was while I was dating him.
This piece actually started to be about making decisions based on love rather than on fear, and expecting the best. I was inspired by a clip from a commencement address Jim Carrey gave at some school for existential transcendental meditators or something.
Mike has a picture somewhere of himself standing with his sister, mom, and dad next to a sign shaped like Idaho. He is five years old and wearing the same wide grin we get from Colin when he poses for a picture. His sister is wearing short shorts and his dad has the most awesome moustache ever. His brother isn’t in the shot. He was holding the camera.
It is unofficial documentation of their emigration, forty years ago, to the place most of them have continued to live since. Not long after, Mike’s two oldest brothers and their wives came out to join them.
Later this month I have a retreat with a group of ladies who serve on a board with me. We’re supposed to take a personality quiz beforehand and bring the results with us.
I love these things. I don’t know why. I take them and then read over the results and think “yup, that about sums it up,” and then I wonder if other results might also sound exactly like me, depending upon my mood, and if I’ve skewed the test by just answering stuff the way I want to be rather than the way I am. Then I forget what I was doing and go do something else. Eventually I forget what the results were altogether.
Never mind using these test results to make me a better person. I can never remember if I’m an ENTP, or Vermillion/Periwinkle, or an aspen versus a douglas fir, Yoda or Princes Leah, or what any of it means.
I do know I’m a Virgo, but I think I’m supposed to be a Leo who was too lazy to be born on time. Leo’s horoscopes are always the most interesting. Virgo is supposed to be systematically checking stuff off her list, earthy and patient.
Today Kurt Cobain will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 20 years and a couple of days after he took his own life at age 27.
At the time, Nirvana’s music was only hovering somewhere on the edge of my perception. I’m not much into music, save for the stuff I load on my iPod for running. Today, Cobain’s being hailed as one of the last true rock artists to earn icon status. He was here and then gone again in a flash. And he’s left us two decades to ponder his impact.
Not that there’s been a lot of pondering on my part. Instead, there have been been kids and work and Courtney Love making a minor spectacle of herself, and the occasional summer road trip with the windows down and Smells Like Teen Spirit cranked way up.
We’re driving somewhere a couple weeks ago, all of us together, when there’s an NPR story about how parents are generally less happy than non-parents.
As usual, I’m daydreaming during most of the article until it dawns on me what they’re talking about and I look at Mike. He’s driving, and has probably been daydreaming too, and appears to be becoming aware of the subject matter at about the same time.
At an early meeting last week, a colleague pointed at a spot on my screen where colored boxes blended into a menacing hue: one of several points on my calendar where meetings were stacked on each other.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“THAT is where I figure out how to be four places at once,” I said, “unless an asteroid hits the earth and ends life as we know it. Which could also happen.”
My colleague is a very active community volunteer. He’s retired, kids grown, a prolific reader, an amateur woodworker, and blah, blah, sundry other stuff one does when one has spare time.
“Your week is more crowded than my entire month,” he said. “I’m going home to take a nap.”
The reason is simple: I don’t like how it feels to avoid eye contact when I pass someone asking for help. I decided if I can hand over a buck without fumbling through my purse, if I feel safe, and am not enticing anyone to cross traffic, I’m going to give away money when asked.
I’m totally nearsighted, so clever signs don’t sway me. If the person isn’t too scary – not brandishing a machete, in other words – his appearance doesn’t matter, whether he’s sitting in a wheelchair, or dressed in a suit with a Maserati parked around the corner.
Once, early on in our marriage, I came home for lunch and there was a dirty glass on the counter with a note next to it:
“Might I gently suggest that your habit of drinking V-8 without rinsing out the vessel afterward might have a lot to do why so many of our glasses have taken on a permanent cloudy hue? If you could take care of this, it would be as good for the glass as it would be for our relationship.”