My cold is getting better. In the meantime, since I've not been busy art-wise, perhaps you'd like to read something I wrote last month - January 2009.
IT'S not often that a younger version of yourself walks up to remind you exactly how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned — or haven’t — but it happened to me during our December 2008 ice and snowstorm.
I was standing in front of the art store on , across from the Argus, waiting for my husband to come and give me a ride home. It was dark out, cold and very slippery, so I was just trying to stay upright and warm. I hoped my ride would come soon. I was thinking about all the things I wanted to do at home and ruing all the time I’ve been wasting doing other things. I was feeling irritated that the majority of my life seems to have been sucked up by some giant vacuum. I should have paid closer attention and made better plans for my life.
The Washington Street Max station is near the Argus building and there were several people out walking in the cold and light snow. I watched as a young woman walked toward me. She was very pretty and bundled up, but her long hair was uncovered and the tip of her nose was red.
She walked up to me and stopped.
“I got my car stuck back there in the snow and it’s in-between two other cars,” she announced.
I probably said something like, “Oh, no.”
“I’ve had a really crappy day,” she went on. “I thought I’d get out and take a walk … do something I like to do … then wait a while and go back and see if one of the cars has moved.”
“I’m sorry you had a bad day,” I offered.
“Oh, I missed a job interview. It’s because of the weather. Now my car’s stuck. Oh, well. I’m looking for something else since I lost my job. I worked for my mother-in-law, but when my husband and I divorced she fired me. It was strictly personal reasons. I was a great employee.”
Inspired, I thought this must be the reason I was standing here. In my mind I saw a happy ending in the future for this girl.
I said, “You should go in and talk to the owner of this store.” I motioned to Art Envy. “The owner just told me he may be hiring one more person to help out.”
“Yes, but is it part time or full time?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I answered. “Maybe part time, but you could ask.”
“Hmm,” she murmured. “I need full-time work. I have a young son and ended up paying for the whole divorce. All I got were my clothes, my car and my son.”
She said something else indicating she was happy with this arrangement.
“Well, still that’s hard. I was on my own with three kids at one time.”
My thoughts flashed back to those times and I was no longer standing on the icy Hillsboro streets. I was standing in the post office extracting overdue bills from the mail box, I was walking into our home and berating three teenagers for watching cartoons instead of doing their chores, I was crying alone in the middle of the night wondering what I would do about the overdue taxes on the house, I was asking my parents if they might loan me enough money for the house payment.
I shook my head and came back to the present.
“Well, I hope you get your car out,” I said, thinking of the AAA card in my purse. Should I offer this as an option, I wondered. “And I hope you get another chance at the job interview.”
“Oh, it will be all right,” she said. “I usually make out OK.”
Making out OK. I thought of all the times — just when I thought there were no more chances or solutions or opportunities — I was lucky enough to “make out OK.” When I sold our house and ended up with about $400 in profits, when I quit a job I didn’t like without having another one to go to, when I quit a second job and took a new one at half the salary — all those times things had magically worked out OK.
Just then my husband appeared and parked near us. Here was one of the many things that had definitely turned out OK for me.
“Well, here’s my ride,” I said. “I do hope you get another chance at that job interview.”
I think she said something like, “Oh, everything will turn out all right.”
And before I could say anything else she walked out into the street and away and didn’t once look back. I watched her for a minute thinking she looked awfully brave all alone on that cold, slippery street. Then I opened the door to my husband’s four-wheel drive service truck, put my purse inside and took a giant step up inside.
“Hey, there,” said my husband. “Found somebody to talk with?”
I told him a little bit about her story as we drove home and thought about how absurd it is to make plans for life. What a joke!
It struck me then to ask myself, am I really paying attention to my life now? What am I not doing today that I will regret in the days to come? There would be something, of that I had no doubt, but I wouldn't miss this opportunity.
I turned to my husband and said, “It’s nice to see you. I missed you today.”
Femminismo wanders through life trying to believe she’s going the right way even when she can’t remember why she turned up this one certain path or what she was looking for.