Lourdes Mint's Mid-Life Miracle

Real-time memoir of the coming year (5/20/14 – 15) and the achievement of a life-long dream

Archive for the month “July, 2014”

Day 68 (Daily Prompt): Sudden Downpour, Long-Time Coming

Sudden Downpour

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

 

Downpour-1

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella??? I understand, but you know how I am: always prepared! I tote mine along, always, just in case. See, here? Ha-ha-ha. [Sip.] But I’m not saying my lid’s screwed on any tighter than yours, Polly — you know I’m not. Please say you do. We’re just different this way, along with many other ways. So, so many ways. [Siiiiip.]

Yes, I agree. Absolutely! They’re what have kept things interesting for us all these years: our differences.

And so an hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour??? Oh no! Poor, poor Polly… But who’s surprised? We knew we were going to hear a good story the second you opened your mouth, didn’t we? Of course we did! You and your adventures! Tell me: When does the memoir come out? Ha ha! No really! And then there’ll be a movie, too? Who will play you, do you think? Hmmmm. There’s a thought for us to nibble on while we wait for our food. Ha-ha! Ha. [Slurp.]

No, I’m just saying ….. Maybe it’s you, not our differences, that’s kept things interesting for us all these years. No, not maybe: it’s a fact. [Siiiiip.] Plain as day now, really, and you must know it. [Slurp.] But we can’t all forget our umbrellas at home and get caught in a surprise monsoon, so please, just go on with your story.

I’m not getting angry. I’m just grumpy. I’m … where is our food? [Slurrrp. Loud sigh.] Say, the chef isn’t a friend of yours is he (or she) — off having an adventure instead of making our lunch???

Oh, I’m joking, Polly! You know how offbeat I can sometimes be. Or is out of step? Out of line, maybe… . Anyway, please. Go on. You were caught in a torrential downpour and then what?

Nothing really, you say? Well, there must be something. That was an hour ago, at least. Hmmm…

My poor Polly, standing in a puddle; soaking wet and all befuddled! All at once, a …

Oh, no, Polly. It’s just that silly rhyming thing I do! It’s a tic, practically. It’s in my genes — you’ve met my mother: you KNOW it can’t be helped. It’s like you and your stories.

[Slurp.] You’re annoyed at me. Disappointed. No, no, I can see it. I’m sorry, Polly. I do want to hear your story. So much. I do. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you for so long —you have no idea. [Slight whimper.]

Thank you, Polly. That’s very sweet. It has been hard … at times. But we’re okay. Most days they’re fine. They eat what I make for them. They laugh at their shows. But no, they usually don’t seem to understand that I’m their daughter. He does more often than she, but even he, now… . It’s odd, though: they know they have a daughter; they just don’t seem to recognize… . I tell them, “Yes, I’ll do that. I’ll call Maude. I’m sure she’d love to come to visit again.” And then, a few days later — oh, this might be really bad, Polly — a few days later, I talk about the visit like it already happened. I usually try to incorporate something from before, something they might remember, and sometimes I can see a little light go off. “Yes!” my mother said last time, clapping her hands together. “Her lemon poppyseed cake! Maude knows that’s my favorite. Oh, our dear girl.” But then my dad added, “But was she well? Is she looking herself again? Seeing anyone?” I go on and on and on, all good. All lies. How bad is that of me, Polly? Tell me what you really think. I want to know. [Faint weep…]

Thank you, Polly. How sweet you are to me.

Of course you can! I’m impervious to delicate questions. Please! Don’t forget who you’re talking to, my soggy little miss!

Uh, um. Yes, we are. We’re getting by just fine. That won’t be an issue. Put it out of our head, Polly, please.

HURRAH!! I see the food! Thank goodness!!! I’m about to fall to pieces here. I’m sorry, Polly. I know I’m not at my best today. I wanted this to be fun.

Well, you’re sweet to say so, Polly. But oh my gosh, Polly, WHERE is the rest of your lunch??? How can you survive on that … bird’s snack? This is why you forget your umbrella. Malnourishment! Very hard to think straight when you’re starving. Sorry. Now let’s hear your story, please, go on with it.

What?? I don’t believe it, not for a moment. All this build up and nothing? Something happened! I can see it in your eyes and you’re keeping it from me. Something wonderful. I want to hear it. I need to!!! Tell me, Polly, please. [Gobble, gulp, slurp….] Please.

Okay then: My poor Polly forgot her umbrella, the rain came down and along came a fella. Polly said…

What? Went into an antique store and bought a what? A broche? Is that it?

Ohhhhhhh, my goodness. Yes. It is … very much like my mother’s, from the old country! She wore it only special occasions, you know. But it’s not exactly like it! Very similar, but not the same. Right, I’d know. I’d know for sure. Hers must be tucked away who-knows -where. Oh, I shudder to think about what I’ll find when it comes time. But it’s … oh, you’re very good to me, Polly. I’m going to cry.

[Sniff, sniff. Sip.] What store was it again? Well, do you remember the street? The proprietor? No? Malnourishment, I tell you!!!! What’s good for the jeans is not so great for the brain! Uh, there I go again. I sound like your mother. I’m just concerned, really, is all. [Slurp. Loud sigh.]

But was anything … do you recall anything said about the broche? Because I know sometimes there’s a story there, and I was so hoping for a story, Polly! You always come through! Ha-ha-ha!

So nothing, at all, was said about where the broche came from? Just curious.

Oh. Right. A person of any real character wouldn’t say, unless you really pried. But then a person with any real character wouldn’t pry. [Sip, sip. Nibble.]

I knew this old fellow once, used to play cards with my folks. He owned an old dump of an antique store down by the water. He’d be ancient by now so it may not be there anymore, but oh could he tell some stories. Anything you wanted to know about anything in the place, with or without purchase — all the gory details. I used to be enthralled, I admit, but now … well.  Anyway, it’s really not the kind of place you’d go, or want to go, I don’t think. Dark, shabby, dusty. Just the opposite of you, Polly. I doubt it’s there anymore anyway. And now, I’m not even sure it was down by the water at all.

Oh, me. Too much sipping.

Here, Polly, have some of my fish. I’m stuffed and I’m just betting you spent the money you set aside for lunch on this broche.

No? Well, it is beautiful. My mother will … she’ll be reminded of her own. And who knows what else that will bring back? Thank you again, Polly. I don’t know what I’d do without you, your sunny self, your sunny stories. Promise me you’ll never tote your umbrella along just in case. Promise me, Polly. [Sudden loud, long sob….]

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sudden-downpour/

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Day 66(ish) — Daily Prompt: “Act your age, mama, not your shoe size” ~ Prince

Age-Old Questions: “Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore? http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/age-old-questions/

Age is just a number (and numbers are made up, if you want to take it a step further), but just like the hour of the day, it means something, something HUGE — in my opinion. I am 47 and am happy to be here at any age, I say now, knowing that if I’m lucky, I’ll look way back one day at 47 and think, “Oh, how young I was then…,” knowing that I don’t really understand now what growing older (way older) really means AND that growing older will bring many things in addition to wisdom, some of them harder to look forward to — less pleasant to share — than wisdom, AND that wisdom is not even a guarantee …. and not always useful anyway (could have used this when I was younger, but now?) or transferable to others (what does that old lady really know anyway?). My father and I both say we’d like to live to be 120, but really my aim at any given time is to make it as far as I’ve already gone again: e.g., I did 47 years once before, so I can do it again. A close friend of mine, Maya, says she’s not interested in living past a certain age (say 70), as she does not want to live a reduced version of the life she has now (which is still pretty much full tilt, at all times — going, going, going!), but “now” keeps changing, as does that certain age — it is usually about 20 ahead of where she is at present.

I have a vision of this friend and me as very old ladies, walking on a pier (which appeared in a dream about us once) back toward the shore, in Coney Island maybe? It’s winter and we’re walking slowly, holding hands. She has on her crazy Russian hat and an old coat with a zany pattern; I am wearing misc. LL Bean hand-me downs from misc. family members from years gone by. (“Where are your winter clothes??? What on earth did you wear last year?? Here, take mine. I was going to replace it anyway.”) We are still making each other laugh in this frosty future, but not the convulsive, full-body laughter of our younger years. We may talk of age, but not in the ballsy way we have at times — especially years ago. We are more careful, but we’re just fine. As we pass young couples in love, we’re not embittered — on the contrary: we nudge each other, smile, reminisce, giggle — exchanging identifying fragments of saucy tales we used to relish. And we are happy, too, to see the Wonder Wheel rolling along in the distance, even though we won’t be riding it today. “Too bad the beach is closed,” I say. “I have my suit on under all this down and corduroy.”

One thing is for sure, for me: I like to think I have a LOT of time. One, because I have young children. Two, because I have so much I want to do. Three, because I am not doing a lot of it. The whole purpose of this blog is to “bear witness” to my reaching ONE GOAL in one year, by May 20, 2015. And I have not made much progress. There are some good, solid, happy reasons for this: Sarah has come (!) and Elliot is here too now, all the time, it being summer. And Roberto got a big promotion (and so is not as available to share in all that needs to be done at home). But still.

Some of the reasons aren’t so hot.

Yesterday was supposed to be a “me” day, one of the first since Sarah joined our family. I planned to get so much done, SO MUCH, but the main thing was just to get a real haircut (as opposed to the kind I do at home, myself, with scissors from Staples). Instead, I ended up going through a huge backlog of papers/mail (even found an invitation to a party, for last night, that I was slightly miffed about not being invited to). It had to be done, going through all that stuff, but I never got to most of the things on my actual wish list, and by the time I left the house, it was 8:20 p.m. I was headed to a mall 10 minutes north of here fully expecting (but not really) to get my hair cut. Oh, and I ran a small errand on the way. Oh, and a Phish concert was about to begin at a venue next to the mall — read: HEAVY TRAFFIC! (Where do these people keep coming from?) When I finally got to the mall, I was surprised (but not really) to learn it was TOO LATE to get my hair cut (WHAT??). So I returned a few items I brought along with me just in case the haircut I hoped to get was finished in record time, and I did a bit of shopping too. Who knows when I’ll get another chance? Then I thought I might go to a movie, but the reviews for any I might consider were terrible. And I was hungry. So I got some Korean BBQ. But I kept thinking about that haircut.

Later, when I got home and found everyone but the dog asleep, I went at it — with more gusto than ever before — and gave myself the worst self-hair-cut yet.

I was going for this:

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But I ended up with this:

Haircut

And today, even though I’ve cleaned up the clippings (hackings? choppings?), my hair (and face) still looks just like this. And with good reason. As soon as I can, I will need to go to Hair Cuttery again, instead of the fancy mall salon, and ask them to fix it again. I will spend a good chunk of valuable time today, time that was supposed to be quality time for the family, fixing a mistake I’ve made so many times before, relearning lessons I should be able to teach by now, instead of moving the f_ck on with my life. I’m 47.

Even though nothing sounds more exhausting to me than to “live every day like it’s your last,” another well-worn saying, I do think I’ve wasted enough time on silliness (the bad kind, I mean) to last a life time. To be youthful, even child-like, is one thing; this haircut business is another. Of course it is … . But enough. Time to act my age, be my age. To do so can only mean something good, something wonderful, if it does NOT mean saying goodbye to the wonder and freedom and possibility that seem often to be viewed as the exclusive territory of the young, and I don’t believe it does. One simply needs to admit the benefits of age, of every precious year of experience, into that place that still must remain, somewhere, in all of us.

So if age is just a number, it’s one that I believe should be heeded. Notwithstanding the freak accident (my grandfather died in a private plane crash at 50) or other unexpected tragedy (a former colleague, about 50 also, just suffered a massive heart attack while on vacation and is coming home in a body bag), your age can give you a rough idea of how much time you’ve got left, in theory anyway, when you take into consideration your lifestyle and family history. Our days are numbered (0r could be numbered in the end, anyway); we just don’t know what that number is (thankfully). Why hide from the fact that our time is limited, when it is precisely that which gives life its meaning, even though it also kind of sucks. And/but so while I don’t think you should obsess about your age, the last thing you should do is ignore it. These are YOUR years; these are MY years. This is our turn at life here on planet earth and bad as this place can be (bad as it is always somewhere for someone), it is also [ … ]. Just, I cannot imagine not wanting to be here, but I know at least part of the reason for that is that is that I’m still pretty young (why not?) and may have not experienced some of the things that can seriously, perhaps permanently, turn a person around in the joie de vivre department.

SO, I want to say goodbye to all the ways I’ve found to waste time, to avoid the risks that I know I need to take to live my life more fully, to become more completely the person I’m meant to be — and therefore in a position to contribute my most/best.

My mom posted the following on my Facebook page the other day. At first, I was thinking, “Oh, great timing. Anne Lamott? Now? Really? With all I have going on? Where were you with your Anne Lamott quotes back when I really needed them!? Thanks a lot.” But my thought now is simply: “Thanks a lot.” Thanks for the reminder. I’m 47. This year, this day, this moment, THIS ME, will never come again … to paraphrase a great Ray Bradbury quote. Can’t find it now, but maybe you will have more luck. If not, try any of the Sally O’Malley skits on the SNL site — she’s 50. FIVE-OH. And she likes to kick, stretch, and kick! And she’s very quotable also: “I got more juice in this tomato than all you fruits put together.” That one just never gets old. Never, ever, ever. Sorry. This has been a bit of a rambler. Thank you for hanging in there.

THANKS also to Roberto for giving me some time to post today (it’s been a while)!!! Time to go get this hair fixed….

Lamott

 

 

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