Friday, August 11, 2006

Drawn and Quartered

Picture it* an ordinary drive through, on an ordinary day. You’re looking particularly dapper, by the way, and you feel good. You place your order and pull forward to the window, waiting patiently for the girl to bring your drink. When she does so with a smile, you are pleased.

The exchange-quick and efficient-she hands you the food, and you hand her the money. As you wait for your change you marvel at how quick the process is going and decide you made the right decision to get your food here instead of on the other side of town.

And then it happens.

As she opens the drive thru window, her hand hits the side of the wall and your money spews out of control, some landing outside the car. The bills, luckily, survived and some change, but as you survey the damage, you realize that 3 quarters-.75-is missing.

There are 2 cars behind you and you can’t open your door all of the way because the window protrudes out so far. The drive thru girl looks at you expectantly, as if to say, “I’m done with you-move on now”.

What would you do?

Well, my friends, this happened to me yesterday, and I can tell you that I will no longer be a patron of the Duncan Donuts that did this to me yesterday. In my opinion, .75 in quarters is a lot of change to simply shrug off. It’s even harder for me to drive away from knowing it was her fault that it was on the ground, not mine.

In my opinion, I think smiley should have given me .75 from her register and told her manager what happened after I left. Surely, given that it was not my error, I should not be the one who loses.

For those of you thinking, “It’s only .75” you’re nuts. Ever since my quarter hording days at Westfield State College (for laundry) I’ve come to respect the quarter. I mean, it takes 25 pennies to make it, and it’s big.

But truly, it’s not really about the money. It’s about the fact that the girl purged my money onto the dirty ground out, out of my reach, and looked at me as though I was to blame.


*Who of you want to continue with: Sicily, 1932, your cousin Francesca wanted to marry a chicken (cue laugh track)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

That Was Then...

This was at our senior prom. The picture of us together wouldn't scan...

Valley Girls

Sometimes we're so wrapped up in our own misery that we fail to see that others are suffering too. And when, years later, you come together again more mature and open, you truly understand the things you never did.

This is my friend J. We had dinner last night after not seeing or talking to each other for 12 years.

Yes, 12. We graduated high school and went our separate ways.

Not because we hated each other and not even because we didn't like each other, but because we were both on a quest to find people who understood us, and accepted us for who we were. Little did we know the person who could have helped us the most was right next to us in Algebra class the whole time.

J's father was also an alcoholic, and though her story is much more tragic than mine, the feelings we had in middle and high school were exactly the same.



The never-ending battle to conceal our home life.

Keeping people at arms length so that they could not hurt us.

J and I were so alike. The only time we ever talked about our "snappiness" or our withdrawn and cautious friendships was one day when we were both on edge. I said I was sorry, and she did too. She went on to say that she hated when she got that way, that she knew she was doing it, but she couldn't stop.

I told her I knew exactly what she meant.

Had we taken a chance, or simply stepped back to recognize in each other the pain that we felt in ourselves-years of suffering, loneliness and pain could have been avoided.

If only we knew.

Last night's meeting was a blessing to me. Perceptions, past and present were shared, dreams revealed and even dirty, never told before secrets slipped through the cracks of time and landed before me and the guacamole.

It was amazing.

These things will always make me smile about J. Some are old, most are new, and I look forward to having someone in SF to visit.

*My mom and I were dying some curtains yellow. (Her response to "Why are your hands yellow?" in 7th grade. Really she just didn't wash her hands after applying sunless tanning cream. She confessed later that day)

*Shut up J! (Said by me at lunch the day her best friend failed her driving test. It's funny b/c I knew and she didn't.)

*I still like swimming in lakes....

*I'll start kissing toads-I don't care!

*Chinese Medicine Woman

...and my favorite from yesterday:

*I'll go if you go. Said to me; a sign that 2 people who should have found comfort in each other years ago will face the demons together if they ever get the chance.

Stop back later-I'm going to try to use my work's scanner to upload a picture of J and I in high school.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wind Dancing

Yesterday on the way to work, as I exchanged my sleepy eyes for brighter ones, I spied a tiny hand flitting in the wind from the back seat of the car in front of me. Dipping and diving, rolling and swirling the hand surfed back and fourth and up and down unaware that it was only 7:45am, or that it was “only Tuesday”.

A mile passed and a larger, hairier version of the tiny wind dancer emerged-it’s own rendition on display for all who cared to watch. As sure as the wind that kept their dance afloat, the tiny hand’s haphazard and carefree motions slowly began to mimic those of the veterans.

Secretly observing the unplanned choreography between father and child was both beautiful and sad. Beautiful because a father remembered what it’s like to be a child and missed the feeling of the wind on his hands. Sad because a child shrugged their masterpiece to “do it the way Daddy does”.

Was the father remembering the wind, or was he simply showing his child the “right’ way to wind dance?

Though I have no children of my own, I’ve spent years being the oldest of a large family (and now have a 4 year old niece), was a nanny and babysitter to what seems like hundreds of children and taught several elementary school classes.

I know the dangers of taking away a child’s unquenchable “why?” or their need for finding out what’s around the corner.

It’s why you never tell a child to paint the sky blue and the grass green, or why you should not ask them what it is, exactly, that they drew for you. Instead, asking them to “tell me about it” expands their imagination and develops their communication skills.

As adults, I feel it is important to recognize the delicate balance between teaching our children what is right versus what we do just because we’ve always done it that particular way-because the way we do things is typically shaped by our fears and insecurities. If we are not careful, surely, those things will be passed on to our children.

Flutter your fingers in the wind, for sure-but do it for the joy of wind dancing, and not for proving a point.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Toosdae ?'s

1. If you could be 1" tall for one day what specific place would you like to explore?

2. Excluding sexual acts: Name one thing you think that every man should know how to do, and one thing you think that every woman should know how to do.

3. Would you ever buy a house if you knew someone died there? What about if you found out that a body was discovered in the cement of the basement (and removed) right before it went up for sale.

1. I would want to explore a specific house to see what the day to day life is really like...then I'd know for sure if I made the right decision.

2. Every man should know how to slow dance and every woman should know how to make at least one meal from scratch. A little old fashioned? Maybe. But deep down, I'm just a sap.

3. I'm pretty sure some old family members probably died in the house I grew up in, and I'm sure I've been in homes that people have died, but I think that if I knew this beforehand, I would not opt to buy the home. DEFINITELY NOT if a body was discovered in the cement-imagine how severely pissed that soul would be?!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Party of One

Besides Megan and occasionally my old boss, the thing I miss the most about my old job is the private bathroom we had. Not only did I work with mostly men (so our bathroom was generally clean) but it was a little room that only seats a party of one.

I could change clothes in there, which I did.

I could go in there and sit in the dark for a while when I had a migraine, which I did.

I could pee/poop in there without people listening.

I could sit on the seat because I knew the other 2 women in the office well.

I didn’t have to worry about the bathroom being a social hang out, or saying “Hello” to weird women who won’t return the salutation.

And mostly, I didn’t have to worry about people thinking it was ME who stunk up the bathroom when they arrive as I am washing my hands…

I almost want to state: “It wasn’t me!!” when they meander in. And when it IS me, I typically stay in the stall until everyone is gone, just in case.

I know we’re all human. And I know that when the moment strikes, it strikes. But when the bathroom is stinky as I walk in and no one else is there, I almost want to walk back out and wait an hour just so people don’t think it’s me.

Weird, I know. But there’s just something about a community bathroom that spans 3 or 4 departments that makes me cringe. At least in our private bathroom, we had Lysol.

Stone by Stone

Stone by stone the path is layed,
with crooked, quirky lines.
Half undone with mis-matched squares
It's how my life's defined.
The ground's too hard to take the spade;
it's rocky down below.
But inch by inch if it makes its way
a richness is bestowed.
Diligence now, to make it.
And don't forget to breath.
It's only just a walkway,
But it's more than you'd conceive.