You Look Familiar

“Jesse!  Where’ve you been?”  Hank walked to my side of the bar for a hug.  “I see you stopped writing about narcissism.  Does that mean you survived?”  Hank grinned and walked to his side of the bar.

“Funny, Hank.  I’ve missed you, too.”  I draped my jacket over my knees as I sat on a bar stool.

“But, seriously.  Did you run out of things to say on that subject?”  Hank grabbed for a glass and, before pouring the usual, looked to see if I might ask for something else.  I smiled and he let the amber flow into the glass.

“Ha!  Like that’s even possible.  You, of all people, would know the answer to that question.”

 

Hank walked to the end of the bar to take an order.  Just then a woman walked over to stand next to me.  As she waited to place her order, she looked up at the television screen.  She winced, turned to me and said, “Can you believe ….   Hey, you look familiar.  Do I know you?”

I smiled.  “I’m not sure.  Maybe.  I have that kind of face – that ‘everyone’ and ‘no one’ face.  People tend to think they recognize me from somewhere.”

Hank returned.  “Yeah, she gets that a lot.”

He greeted the new customer and said, “This is Jesse.  She has this thing about her.  Lots of folks think they know her from somewhere.”

She reached out to shake hands.  “Do you work at the bank?”

“Nope.”  I smiled and took a drink.

She ordered a chardonnay.  “I know… it’s that coffee shop on the corner of 9th and Main.”

I looked and Hank and laughed.  “Nope.”

She took her wine and turned to walk over to a table where girlfriends waited.  She looked at me and said, “I’ll think of it.  Nice to meet you.”

“You, too.”  I looked at Hank and shrugged my shoulders.

 

“So, Hank, why do I get that a lot?  What is it about my face that people I’ve never met seem to think they know me from somewhere?”

It’s not your face, Jesse, it’s the way folks feel when they are with you.  You see them.  That feeling is familiar.  They may not have felt that way in a real long time, but they know it.  They crave that feeling.  They remember how it feels to be seen, and they think that must mean they know you from somewhere.  It’s not your face, Jesse, it’s who you are.”

 

 

You Can’t Save Him

I’d left the kids with him at the house.  I wasn’t going to be long.  I’d forgotten something and had to run and get it.  When I returned with the thing (whatever it was) that I’d forgotten, my hands were full.  I was carrying my jacket, a large bag, and the item in one hand, and struggled to open the door with my free hand.  I was fumbling with the doorknob.  Finally, I’d gotten the door to open, but I was concerned about it opening too far. 

I hurried to enter, worried I’d taken too long.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a ginormous spider had come in when the door was ajar.  They didn’t see the spider as it scurried along the floor at the base of the wall.  Its two sets of legs were freakishly hairy.  Three large hairy legs ran down each side of its body, and its underside had a cluster of six smaller hairy legs.  It was large enough to make noise as it scampered, yet he didn’t seem to hear it at all.

I yelled to warn them. “You guys!!  RUN!  A spider got in!  It’s huge!  Run!!”  I saw my kids jump.  They didn’t turn to see the spider.  They took my word for it and ran.

 

(Later, when retelling the dream, I described the spider as the size of one of those plastic Melitta coffee filters.  It was “Twilight Zone” disgusting.)

 

Maybe he hadn’t heard me?  Maybe he didn’t believe me?  I yelled again as I ran toward him.  “Really!! That spider is HUGE.  You gotta run!”

As I came up beside him he got on the floor.  He did the crab walk like we used to do in 4th grade gym class.  He deliberately, without any regard for the spider, crab-walked across the room, IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SPIDER.   I couldn’t believe my eyes.  After my warnings and yelling and all the commotion, he actually got down on the spider’s level and moved toward it!

I could see that he was within a foot of the spider now!  He could SEE the spider.  What was he doing?  I turned to run and join the kids.  As I left the house, I looked over my shoulder and saw him pick up the spider, with both hands!

 

The next morning, as I poured a second cup, I told Jen of my wicked dream.  When I described my astonishment at his picking up the spider, she interrupted me to say, “But, mom, you can’t save him.”

 

 

 

Out in the Open

Hello!

Thanks for being here.

I’ve had a bunch of new posts churning around in my mind for several months – new posts for this new blog.  I’d given thought to starting out by writing something shiny and motivating and positive.  As much as I’d like to focus on that side of me, it’s just not where I am every day.

At least I’m honest.

I tend to gravitate to the intense or the darkly funny.  (I avoid scary at all costs, if I can.)  Sometimes I get on Pinterest and pin to manifest a new life by the beach with a stack of books and a beverage.  When I read, it’s most often about how to sort out the human drama and make sense of why things happen the way they do.

Recently, Jen and I were discussing the fact that humans are riddled with contradictions.  I’m no different.

I do like motivational quotes, but we’ve been force-fed those for so long that we become desensitized to them.  Maybe that’s just me?  Take a rock, a babbling brook, add a quote from some guru and magically your life will change.  I don’t think so.

I do know, that every day brings an opportunity to learn something that helps us along our way.  Maybe it’ll be something positive.  If we’re lucky, it’s an exchange with another who might be working to make progress along his or her own path.

Sometimes we’ll be presented with something funny.  Yesterday, I used the restroom at the ski hill.  A mom was helping her four-year-old use the potty and wash her hands.  Her daughter was resisting the process.  Each time her mom urged, the daughter replied by meowing.  The mom was clearly frustrated, and the daughter replied to her mom’s frustration by saying, “Meow, meow,” which clearly made the mom more frustrated.  As they turned to walk out of the restroom, the girl looked at me and meowed.  I meowed back.

 

It occurs to me that I could use that approach with more things in life.

 

This morning I read this line from J K Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

“He only knew that he did not want to see their looks of horror; that would make the whole thing seem worse and therefore more difficult to face.”

Immediately, I thought of children.

I thought of all the things kids might experience, and the hard decisions they make when figuring out which of those experiences they might discuss. Whether they choose to discuss with friends or family or their teacher, doesn’t matter.  If only they’d bring that stuff out in the open, they might get the support they need, or they’d learn that others are frightened by the same thing, and that they aren’t weird for being afraid.

And I thought of adults, who are really just kids with responsibilities.  I thought of the things adults refuse to discuss because they are afraid that if the light shines on what they have to deal with, they won’t have the strength to continue dealing.  How many are buried under the weight of stuff they think they can’t handle? Of course there is risk in bringing their stuff to light, but if they don’t, how can they ever be met with understanding, or an offer of help?

Maybe we need to be the vulnerable girl in the restroom who doesn’t care what anyone thinks.  We need to risk meowing to see if anyone meows back.

And, perhaps more importantly, when we hear a meow, we need to look up from our phone, put down the latte, and acknowledge the person brave enough to meow.

On that note, I’m going to meow at this messy house, and go back to reading Harry Potter.