Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So after two weeks of feeling progressively unhooked from my friends and family, I wrote this melodramatic (and rather embarrassing) post about a random encounter at the grocery store on Saturday...


Coming down the aisle is an ageing hippie woman--grey hair to her hips, blouson batik shirt, gypsy skirt and Birkenstocks.

"Why is it," she asks, shaking a jar of what looks like coconut juice in my face, "that all of us women turn to this when we are having a hard time?"

I shrug and murmur unintelligibly as I try to step past her. 

She is unfazed: "Yesterday I had to put my cat to sleep."

I stop.

"He was fourteen.  A Siamese, blue eyes--so sweet."

"I am so sorry," I say, and I am surprised because I feel myself tearing up.  In front of this random stranger.

But suddenly I think about my own cat, Calvin, who is now sixteen years old and clearly on a gradual decline.  I think about the problems Swistle is having with her cat, Mouse.  I think about all the sorrow and how it just seems too much sometimes.

I shuffle awkwardly.  I'm surprised to hear myself speaking.

"I'd really like to give you a hug," I say. 

She pauses a moment.

"I'd like that."


So, yeah, weird and random and totally unlike myself.  But I felt better.  Well, embarrassed too, but better.  Maybe she did too? 

I'm not going to try to make this into some deep experience, because, honestly it was probably no more than a chance encounter between too slightly off-balance characters.

But by the next morning something had changed.  I woke my oldest daughter up bright and early and we walked down to the lake to watch the start of the Orange County Triathlon.  Then we walked up to have breakfast, talking and singing and just enjoying being with each other.  Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by everything I need to accomplish that I become unable to enjoy.   


By the way, if you ever want to be INSPIRED, go watch a triathlon.  These are AMAZING athletes.  Watching them plunge into the lake as the sun was just coming up, I wanted to be them.  I think I've found item number one for next year's list...

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