I left work grumpy and tired.
I pulled out of my work street and merged right into bumper to bumper traffic. After 15 minutes and moving 3 car lengths, I maneuvered through parking lots and a secret back way to my work street.
I started over.
I left work grumpiER and tiredER. I turned the other way and pridefully blew past west bound traffic. I made it to the next major street and landed in bumper to bumper traffic. I merged into the middle lane, comfortably wedged between three cop cars. Two positioned to both be beside me on the right, one was on my left. As we SAT not crept, not inched, but SAT....I began texting.
I suddenly jumped as the cop on my left squawked his P. A. "no texting, seniorita!".
I reinjured my neck as I turned and threw him the look..
"you have got to be freakin kidding me"
This greatly amused, not only him but his two cohorts on my right. I shook my head and finished my text. A few minutes later, as we sat in the same spots, the cop on my left gave 3 short bleeps of his siren. The cars in front started inching up as traffic moved, slowly. The two cops on my right began to merge on top of me and they all 3 motioned for me to follow them.
My adrenaline kicked in and my body pulsed with excitement and renewed energy, as they pushed me into their escape.
The four of us, going the wrong way, blew past the common citizens. The three MPD motioned and guided me onto a side street. I smiled at the "no texting cop", he smiled back and they left me.
I was on my way home, free of traffic....
Until I was stopped by the train....
Tonight, I ran on the hotel treadmill, instead of running outside, in the beautiful weather, into the colorful sunset. Why? I don't know.
As I entered the tiny workout closet, I noted that I was the only one in the room. I turned on the basketball game, turned on my music, and started running. Out of the corners of my eyes, I noticed 2 other people running with me.
It began to be distracting so I casually turned my gaze straight ahead, into the entire mirrored wall. I then turned to my left and lost my orientation in the other entire mirrored wall.
I tried to go back to watching the game, but I was mesmerized by my reflection. No matter how much weight I lose or how toned I get, my body does not show it.
To pass the running time, I started really looking at myself, trying to see what others see. I have spent my whole life avoiding my reflection. I have perfected the glance-roll-eyes-and-go move.
I have never LOOKED at myself.
I started at my face and moved down to my feet. I probably should have cringed at the sight, but instead I was whisked away into "my life story".
I saw two spiral curls on top of my head that did a trampoline "double bounce" every time my feet landed. They looked like broken, unraveling bunny ears. I have thick unruly hair, and it matches my personality perfectly.
The longer I ran, my skin shade turned from white, to pink, to a light sunburn shade. Sadly, I had a few years in high school and college, when I thought a tan would make me pretty. I am thankful I realized in my late 20s that my shading is perfect for me. I am not without blemishes, but the sun damage is minimal.
My face is round and will always be round, supporting my wild hair, my grumpy expressions, and providing amusement. It is rare that I get an involuntary real smile, but when someone is able to extract it from me, my cheeks fill out and block my vision.......making me laugh at the absurdity....creating a bigger smile.
My full and sagging chin/neck identify me as a Kennedy. My maternal grandmother, her sisters, her brother, and my mother have the same chin/neck. A family story tells about my mother's aunt strapping saran wrap under her face to hold up the hereditary droop, for a family picture.
My profile presents my odd nose, but it is my maternal grandfather's odd nose. It reminds me how he would listen without response to all the chaos around him, puff on his pipe, wipe the end of his nose with one finger, and grunt a laugh or grumble, as his opinion.
My full upper arms and upper body were developed during the years I swam, and they remind me of all the years of picking up my special needs students and my own large babies! I have great upper body strength.
My firm calves and skinny ankles made me audibly giggle. They are the only evidence that I am a runner.
My thighs......my thighs....
As I looked at my thighs, I tried to see some of my life history in them. I had a thought on the tip of my brain, but I could not think of what my thighs could remind. So I looked at them intently, and it hit me.
They look like two baked potatoes.
The family album project was over. My brain was flooded with thoughts of loaded baked potato, baked potato with French Onions on top, twice baked potato, potato soup......
The run was over. I hopped off the treadmill and hurried to the shower.....ready to eat!
Spent the afternoon collecting quotes!
Listening to a serious and thoughtful story,
"One guy in my dad's church was mad that a black family was visiting and he told my dad to get rid of them or he was leaving. My dad said 'bye'. He didn't put up with stuff like that."
"he got that guy's suit."
That made me giggle.
No, seriously. The guy died and his son said 'wrap him in plastic. He doesn't need that suit'. And he gave my dad the suit. It was a nice sear sucker suit."
"Did you see my poo?"
I looked at him, alarmed.
"Well, it's not MY poo. I got it at the Mardi gras party."
I have learned the office dynamics, expectations, preferences and the social etiquette.
So far, I have managed to stay out of trouble and win their tolerance of me.
There are many events and processes, socially, that are often more important than the ability to do the job.
Today, in a moment of weakness, I smarted off to Mr. Important. A fear shot through my gut.
Ms. Important found it amusing and delightful, so the moment was ignored, but I noted the need to smooth things over slowly and surreptitiously.
It was also the arrival day of the much anticipated King's Cake. The mysterious feeling of threat moved through the office when it was delivered. These lottery playing, competitive people dug into the cake, hoping to find the baby in their slice. I intuitively waited to be the last to get a slice.
Not only did I plan on cutting a thin slice, but I made sure I was the only one in the kitchen. If I had the baby, I would secretly stuff it back into the remaining cake (as I did last year).
It doesn't take a genius to know there would be no jubilation at me getting the "lucky" baby!
I placed my safe slice on the plate and turned to exit.
"Did you get the baby?"
"That is a tiny slice! There would be no chance of getting the baby with that slice!"
I tried to pass it off as no big deal, but I eventually responded......
Now, before I share my response, I need to set the stage.
Right before I emotionally responded, a quiet and mostly serious man entered from the back door and stood behind the wall.
This is what he heard.
I softly responded:
"I don't want the baby"
"What? Who says they don't want the baby? It will be fun!"
"I don't want the baby! The guys would be mad if it wasn't theirs."
At this point, Mr. Serious slowly moved around the corner and put his hand on my shoulder. I turned to see his jaw on the floor. I smiled with confusion in my furrowed brow.
But I continued...
"I just want to enjoy it without the baby."
His grip tightened and he moved closer. The intrusion into my personal space, from this decent guy, disturbed me. He looked really worried which made my brain jump to "something has happened".
I turned toward him and prepared to hear bad news......
When my cake friend said,
"Look at her piece of King's Cake! Tell her she needs a bigger piece! And to hopefully get the baby!"
I thought this man was going to pass out with the immediate relief that washed over him. He smiled, "I thought....ha. I wasn't sure. I'm glad it is the king's cake."
I laughed! "Good golly! I DONT want a real baby either!"
Once I had a chance to think back over the side of the conversation he heard, I was touched that he was so concerned for my "condition".....small piece of cake.
Tonight, I experienced a loss that will forever change the way I enjoy life.
For 5 years and 2 pant sizes, I have relied on my closest companion to get me through migraines, depression, celebrations, relaxation, and adventures.
From Utah to Florida......
From 170 pounds to 140 pounds...........
Two years ago I noticed the thinning and loss of strength, but comfort was more important than lifespan.
Last year, due to an unfortunate mishap, two of the four necessary had to be cut out.
Even with the quickly receding coverage, my work days and weekends were still better because of the love.....
I returned from evening church and decided that tonight's enjoyment would be needed again tomorrow at work.
I took my left leg out and then in a bizarre standing accident, I fell. The trauma was horrendous.
The shock. The disbelief. The grieving.
In ceremonious movement, I chunked them in the laundry. At this time, the plans have not been finalized but I will somehow chop them up and repurpose into something awesome.....even though the front pockets have been cut out.
Rest in pieces....
Saturday morning, I wake up early, as always.
I want desperately to rest, so I quietly stay in bed, playing on my phone. Jeff stirs a bit, so with one hand busy on the phone, I use the other hand to run my fingers over his bald head, neck and back.
Hoping to have the same effect like patting a baby's back:
--shhh, stay asleep, I didn't mean to disturb--
After a few minutes he speaks, "I'm surprised your phone hasn't come to life"
Instant anger floods over me as my brain jumps to
- how dare he comment on me constantly being on my phone when I'm trying to be quiet-
I take a breath, roll my eyes completely to the back of my head and while I wait for my arthritic fingers to move into pinch-a-plug-out-of-his-neck position, I ask through gritted teeth "why.."
With eyes still closed he dreamily replies,
"Because your fingers are like magic"
The Cheeseball words instantly relax my finger joints, saving his life for one more day.
I don't think I have said this lately, but
I LOVE MY JOB!
The actual "job" stresses me out because I never know what the heck I'm doing. In fact, I think everytime Jeff has ever called me at work, I end the conversation with "I gotta go. I'm filling out this form and I don't know what the heck I'm doing."
The LOVE is for everything that comes with the job.
Mr. Funny's stories about his 89 year old uncle leaving the car trunk open and then after a night of rain, ice, and snow....he needs his suitcase, that is now frozen in a block of ice.
The guy that is so calm and quiet and then in a somewhat normal conversation between two men about their chest hair, he claims he doesn't have any and casually slips in the quiet comment "like I always say, you don't grow grass on a playground", rubs his chest and keeps on talking.
The shoe game. Well, it's a game I play by myself. While I'm trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing at my desk, I pretend I'm blind and by listening to the shoes, I guess who it is and where they are going. It's a small office. It's a quick game.
AND then there are times like tonight.
I facilitated an interview, after work hours, between a "guy" in person and a guy on the phone. During the interview, "the guy" with me ignored about 20 calls from his boss, "X", from his current job.
At the conclusion, I escorted "the guy" to the door. He left, I packed up my things, and set the alarm. As I'm locking the door, "the guy" calls.
"I have GPS in my company truck and "X" tracked me to your office."
I looked toward the empty parking lot containing just my car and I see "the guy's" company truck across the street.
"That's crazy! I see your truck. Are you parked across the street?"
"No! I'm on the interstate. That is "X"!"
I lock the office and get in my car, lock the doors and then stare down "X", as he drives up and down the street and circles me in the adjacent parking lots.
I called the phone guy, "you won't believe what is happening......."
"Have you locked the office yet?"
"Yes, I'm in my car watching him. I wonder what he is going to do..."
"You need to roll."
So I did.
And the excitement of being 1/2 way involved in a stalking kept me thrilled the rest of the night.