Friday, June 29, 2012

Overheard - Really!

I heard her talking from thirty feet away.  She was over by the men’s polo shirts.  I thought she was talking to a friend across the aisle.  But no, she was talking on her phone.

“…I was married 16 years the first time but all he wanted to do was drink and party.  I just couldn’t live with that.”  After listening to this woman for 30 seconds I was ready for a drink too.  She wandered around the men’s department of Macy’s feigning to look at clothes.  She wasn’t really shopping; I don’t think she even knew where she was.

“…I was remarried for 10 years; I lost him 7 years ago.”  Lost him?  He ran away!

“…I’m just looking for companionship.  It gets a little lonely talking to the cat.”  Now I finally get it.  She’s negotiating a date!

“Oh, I like stock car racing, tractor pulls; I’m open to a lot of things.” 

I had enough and moved to another part of the store to look at shoes.  What is it about a phone that puts people into another world?  This lady would never dream of standing on a street corner shouting out her life history.  Would she reveal her personal life to clientele at Starbucks while sipping her latte?  Maybe she would.  Maybe she was trolling and the phone was a fake.  I quietly deliberated whether I should try on a pair of shoes.  I was not inquiring of the world in general or of other shoppers - just mulling it over in the sanctity of my own mind…should I try on these shoes?

”I can be a lady, but I can also be a tomboy.”  There she was again.  Was she stalking me?

“…I had a friend, and after a couple dates the guy wanted her to move in with him….”  I didn’t find out if she did but the guy must have liked her.  Just then a sales clerk asked if I needed any help.  I said no and we both stood silently watching the talking phone-head. 

“…I never tell where I live.  I always meet in a public place - somewhere about half-way.  It’s just my rule.”  Don’t worry lady.  One look at you and he isn’t even going to care where you live.  Unless he truly is a blind date.

Time and space do not allow me to tell all I learned of this person.  It was just an afternoon at the mall.  If I had sufficient fortitude I’d spend more time there and write a blog about what I see and hear.  But I don’t and so I won’t and you will just have to go yourself if you are desperate for twisted entertainment.  But be careful.  If you are capable of feeling compassion (not exactly one of my strong points) you may actually feel a little sorry for some of the people you will see.  This woman wasn’t so much trolling as reaching out.  No - screaming out.  She desperately wanted to relate to somebody.  Anybody!  What choices led her to this place of loneliness?  She wanted to feel alive, to be loved; to be a part of something bigger than herself.  To be able to share, to know there is someone who cares.  But it wasn’t me. 

I just walked away.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's a Puzzle

I’m not sure when it happened but at some time I must have been transported to another planet.  (Then again - it may just be flashbacks.)  In this new world everything is all whacked out.  I haven’t seen the Mad Hatter yet but I did see Pippy Longstockings the other day.  At least I thought I did.  It turned out to be some guy of about 18 wearing a skirt – well, maybe - it may have been culottes or just really baggy shorts.  But what really arrested my attention were his socks.  Socks or leotard I can’t be sure which but they were very colorful.  Horizontal stripes – all the way up his legs.  I mean - these are what my daughters would have worn when they were six!

When I was a kid, they would have put you in an institution for dressing like that; your parents could have visited on the first and third Thursday of the month.  But these days you can wear your hair any color, dress in anything, decorate your whole body with tattoos, pierce and attach hardware.  When I was in grade school one of the highlights of a trip to the library was to look through National Geographic Magazine to see aboriginal Africans with their tattooed bodies and bones and stuff sticking out of unlikely places.  These were not things we did in our country.  It was only done in far away, strange places by superstitious and ignorant people.   Remember the Ubangi’s?   I saw one the other day.  Only he was white and living in Cleveland.

Another thing I never saw as a kid was a mosque.  Muslims were in Byzantium or somewhere - and Hindus were in India, Buddhist in Asia and everywhere else was Christian.  How quaint.  And Mexicans were either in Mexico or in a field picking tomatoes.  Everything was so well ordered; like produce at the grocery store - everything in its own place.  Ho hum.

So I rather like this new world.  I enjoy the entertainment people provide.  My grandkids can learn Spanish in school.  Not from a text book but from their friends.  How cool is that?  (Did you know they don’t put all the words in a Spanish textbook?) 

If I hadn’t seen Pippy Longstockings at the store, I wouldn’t know how well adjusted I am - or just how narrow minded.  If we consider the limits of the human mind, to think yourself well-ordered means you are ignoring a great deal of the world around you.  If this world could make sense, it would indeed be a small and boring place.  As I work out the puzzle of life, it’s the misplaced piece that spoils the picture.  Pippy somehow belongs there and if he/she doesn’t quite fit there’s something messed up.  I’ve grown tired of trying to make the puzzle look the way I want it to.  It’s my superstitions and ignorance that lead me to dark, confined places.  If every snowflake is different, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine every human being different - right back to the beginning of time.  How awesome is that?  As long as there is the possibility of one more never-before-seen combination of matter - how pitiful to deny its existence.  Every next manifestation of being holds the key to what follows.  No exceptions.  The only thing getting crowded is the mausoleum we call our head, where there is no room for new possibilities.  The open and free mind expands to deeper, truer understandings.  The universe itself is expanding.  Continually becoming more “roomy”!  It’s the very nature of living things to grow, to propagate, to ever expand beyond current boundaries.  And contradicting nature is never a good idea.

Whoa!  Hang on there bubalou!  What the heck!  Sorry if I got a little preachy there.  Pippy really got me thinking and I guess a little carried away.  It’s just the nature of the stockings I wear.