I was in the middle of walking my dog and reading Bumped by Megan McCafferty when my phone beeped. I glanced at it to make sure it wasn’t a “HALP PLS!” message from my S.O., Ba.D., who was back at our apartment with our sick toddler, Li’l D.
I tucked my book under my elbow and checked my phone. Nope, no text message–just a WordPress new comment notification on my Reading While Walking post. I returned my phone to my purse and prepared to read again.
“Morning!” Two men sitting and smoking on their apartment’s steps called as I neared them.
“Hey, how’s it going?” I asked.
“Pretty well,” the skinnier of the two said with a smile. “We are having the weirdest conversation! How about you?”
“Doing pretty well. My toddler’s sick, so these are my few minutes of peace today.”
“Aw,” the skinny one said sympathetically. “I hope he feels better soon!”
“Thanks!” I said as I moseyed past them. “I hope your conversation gets, um, less weird? Or is at least pleasing if it stays weird!”
Both men laughed. I, too, was smiling as my phone beeped yet again. I extracted it from my purse and saw it was another new comment notification from a stranger. I tried to recall what comments I’d posted on blog buddies’ journals recently to lead these folks to me but drew a blank. I returned my phone to my purse and tried focusing on my book for the ninety seconds remaining on my walk.
My phone beeped again twice in that short window back to the apartment. “What the?” I wondered, my book forgotten.
Back in the apartment, I went straight to Sancho the Second, my trusty iMac. I checked my blog’s site stats page. “How the heck do I have 87 hits already?” I mused. “Wait . . . could it be . . . ?!”
“Hellz yes!” I shouted. I ran back to the bedroom, where Ba.D. was reading to Li’l D.
“Can I get a high five?! No, wait! I need a high ten!”
Ba.D. assented, then gave me another high ten when one proved unsatisfactory. “What the heck am I giving you ten for?”
I wasn’t ready to answer yet. I ran around the bedroom whooping and hollering, which led even my feverish son to giggle and shriek with delight.
After I’d mostly gotten it out of my system, I went back to the living room, calling back to Ba.D. an explanation of what it meant to be Freshly Pressed. “Congrats!” he hollered at me while our son continued to giggle at his crazy mom’s antics.
I refreshed the page and oohed to see 87 hits had turned into 150, just that quickly. My son ran up to me, still giggling at all the excitement, and threw open his arms for me to pick him up.
It was a little while longer before I’d calmed down from the high of realizing I’d been Freshly Pressed. After I had mellowed, I reflected aloud to Ba.D., “You know what’s funny? That was a ‘filler’ post. I didn’t want to have two totally serious posts back to back, so I typed that one up in twenty minutes, all the while planning my Very Serious Post about the importance of kind words . . . and apologies.” Since I posted my humorous reflections on road rage alternatives (Road rage takes a spill! (or: “How parenting is making me a better driver”), I’d meant to follow it up with a more contemplative second part. On Monday morning, I’d finally found my path to those words, but I wanted to delay them a little lest folks mistake me for the 100% cactus* I used to be.
Perhaps the lesson in all this is that a little levity pays. Sure, it’s good to be thoughtful and to practice shaping the world into a better place with kind, gentle words. Occasionally, though? It’s good to say something silly, and rejoice in all the interesting people you might never have encountered but for that silliness!
* Back in college, I was very briefly a Tri-Delt. In one evening of “fun and” games, I was unanimously and probably not wrongly voted the sister most like a cactus. I’ve gotten a lot less prickly since.