Friday, February 19, 2010

Pretty Words

I was paid the highest compliment yesterday that a writer of my sort can be paid. As with anything I suppose, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but for me this compliment hit the core reason of why I write. It was, therefore, an accolade whose high I will ride for years to come. A co-worker, who seemed reluctant to admit that she had read my writing late one night, offered to me that while no one may remember what I wrote, they will remember how I made them feel and that I made them laugh.

I delight in the world around me. I am fascinated by every detail to the point that it holds me up sometimes from accomplishing ordinary daily tasks. I see the world around me the way a scuba diver sees the deep sea. Everything pops for me and overwhelms me with its intricacy and usefulness. I recognize coincidence in what others likely take for granted.

A couple of years ago I was free diving in Mexico when it occurred to me that I had three shimmering silver bangle bracelets on my wrist. Earlier in the day I had bartered zealously with a man at a street fair for these and was proud of my exploit. Strangely ill timed, while diving, I recalled an article I had read where a woman was bit in the head by a Barracuda because she was wearing a silver clip in her hair and the jagged toothed fish are attracted to shiny objects which they mistake for food. Perhaps my bargain bracelets were not a good diving accessory after all. The second I finished the thought, I looked to my right out toward the deep sea, and about two feet from me was a perfect, thin, silver three foot Barracuda looking back at me. I did a double take, stuck the arm with those stupid bangles out of the water and swam back to shore fast as my flipper assisted feet would allow me to go. That is me. I invite the unimaginable in, likely because I am aware it is possible. And I love this side of life.

Today I stopped at a local Starbucks. I went to use the bathroom to find it was occupied and so I waited patiently and checked Facebook on my phone. Pathetic commentary aside, a minute later a woman emerged. Slightly hunched forward, in a lint covered coat that appeared to be made of industrial felt, she scowled at me. I smiled and said "Hi" to which she replied "bad design and it’s a mess". I assume she was referring to the bathroom, though she could have been just as accurately describing her own coat. Given the recent disasters in our world, the obvious evidence of horror and hardship, why would anyone let the state of a public bathroom with fresh running water and flushing toilets get them down, particularly when right outside it is a latte for $5.45 and you have the money in your pocket to pay for that. To me, that alone is a brilliant day by the worlds’ standards.

I say delight in the ordinary, take notice of the absurd and have a laugh at it to yourself, let gratitude overwhelm you each time you walk in the door on a cold day and it's warm inside, entertain yourself and those around you, and when one more day feels like too many remind yourself of all those people who would kill to walk in your shoes!

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