A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
I stopped at Stone Creek on Bluemound for a sinful cup of indulgence, at least in this economy. But sometimes you just have to blow a couple bucks, not only for the sacramental beverage of my people, but for the sense of connection.
Sometimes I run into my neighbors the sudoku-mad-pharmacists bent over the paper or absorbed in conversation with each other. I like them very much. We only exchange occasional small talk, but Sheila fills my prescriptions: she knows a lot about me.
I see people I never talk to, but it's reassuring to see them there day after day, with laptops or horoscopes. I wonder what laptop man is writing. The guy with the horoscopes is old but he won't flirt with me: he likes the young barristas, and who can blame him. Me, I'll flirt with anyone.
I asked for the usual: "Large dark coffee, please."
"Shall I leave room for cream?"
"Um, no, that's okay. Yeah." I wish I didn't talk like that, but I do, and this day in particular I noticed it. Maybe it was because I was dressed like a superannuated Annie Hall in black pants, white shirt, and an ex-husband's glen plaid vest, and I recognized that too.
"I didn't think so. You don't look like the type."
"You can tell right away what people will order?"
"Usually. I knew you wouldn't want anything extra."
"Yeah. That's me. I'm a plain old kinda gal." I wish it weren't so obvious, though. I wish I looked like someone who would order a double espresso frozen soy caramel machiato--and who would know if something was wrong with it. Really tall heels would be involved, and a severe expression. People would fear and lust after me. They would not, however, want to work for me or be my friend.
It has been a hard couple of weeks. The economic vortex has started tugging on my household in a big way.
And the news: oil, Iran, Afghanistan, the economy, the economy, the economy. It's enough to make you throw yourself into the center. If you're going down, you might as well do it fast.
Time again to turn off the radio. Right and left, the media pour on the fear. Your head can't hold all there is to be afraid of.
Remember: the worst seldom comes to pass. And much of the economy is a figment of imagination, anyway. You might as well be optimistic. Don't go overboard and become conservative, though.
Turn off the radio. Take a walk. The air is cool and if you move fast enough, you'll leave the mosquitoes behind. Fireflys are everywhere, hundreds of them, thickest near the dense green edges of things and the new red mulch.
Look right and left. There, up the driveway, another neighbor is pressing his wife of 30 years against the car, kissing her urgently. In the dark, she looks like a young girl.
You remember what matters, and what makes life good. Two out of three; not bad.