Downpours flooded SoCal streets yesterday, but all had mostly dried up by mid-morning today. This meant I was unconcerned when I set out for a meeting.
Trouble struck when I tried getting onto the freeway. Turning sharply onto the ramp that’d deposit me on the freeway 20 or so feet below, I found my car suddenly floating just above the road. My steering wheel did its own thing.
First, my car veered right toward foliage. I didn’t dare try countering the pull, because I felt like flipping was inevitable.
The car then veered left, taking me precariously close to the thin metal barrier that kept me from tumbling down onto the road below. I kept my hands poised above the steering wheel, ready to seize it when it seemed ready to respond to my touch (without flipping my car).
I managed to miss the barrier by a few inches and steer myself safely down the ramp. My heart raced as I drove northward and contemplated the possibility of different outcomes.
The next 30 minutes, I found myself appreciating with new clarity how tenuous is the connection between tire and road. Every skid and shudder had me on alert.
Ultimately, I made it safely to my destination. My return trip was pleasant. Now, safe at home, I’ll be content to drive nowhere else this long weekend …
In 2004, I experienced my first typhoon in a small coastal town on Japan’s main island, Honshu. I filmed myself standing in the middle of a street while everything shook and swayed around me.
All was silent and still in the eye of the storm. I couldn’t believe the winds would soon whip around me again, but they did. I howled with them when they returned. The windy days I’d loved at home were nothing compared to this.
I enjoyed my later typhoons, too, but none invigorated me the same way my my first one did.
Today, an ocean and a dozen years removed from my first typhoon, I look out my SoCal windows and see the trees thrashing in the wind. The wind rattles my home’s windows, slamming sheets of rain against them.
I don’t know what it is about the wind, but I have always loved it. I will always love it. This wind-advisory afternoon, I’ll snuggle up with my husband and my little boys, content in now … but also remembering the thrill of being one small body standing strong against ferocious winds.
On Wednesday evening, I caught the flu my two-year-old had just ditched. I stayed home Thursday, but was determined to make it to the office on Friday. Why was I so determined? First off, my cube is quiet and tidy, unlike my home. I cherish my time there.
Second, a beloved teammate was in from another office this week. I so seldom get to see him, I wasn’t about to let a little thing like “recuperating” keep me from the office.
Finally, it was a rare jersey day. With the Super Bowl just a couple of days away, I could wear a jersey and sneakers to the office! How could I sit that out?
My husband, Anthony, loves hockey and owns at least a dozen jerseys. At first, I put on one from his alma mater. It more or less matched my comfy toe shoes, which was this sports-ambivalent person’s main criteria for choosing a jersey.
Seeing myself in it, unfortunately, I could easily imagine a dozen conversations explaining that, no, I didn’t actually go there. (Been there, done that. It’s no fun for an introvert, even one in peak health!)
Anthony brought out one from a bin under our bed. Unlike the first, this one, a gift from his third season on a show for which he worked five years, had shared meaning. I’d worked on the show as an extra once, when my husband and I were newly dating. My heart fluttered when I caught a glimpse of him from the bleachers, and again when he swung by to say hello. Read more…
I met Elsha, then-girlfriend of my husband’s best friend, on September 27, 2009.
I was lying on a couch when she walked into my apartment with a blanket she’d made for my soon-to-be-born baby.
I said something to her. I couldn’t tell you what, though I think it included the words “thank you.” I was nine months pregnant and had an enormous freakin’ headache that wouldn’t go away.
A couple hours later, my then-partner, Anthony, drove me to the hospital to be induced. My blood pressure was high enough to put me and my baby at risk.
Over several coffee dates a few years later, Elsha would tell me about her best friend, Broceny. Broceny sounded pretty damn rad. Still, I somehow managed never to meet her.
(Life with two little kids is like that.)
In early 2016, my siblings made me question whether Hillary Clinton was really the more practical choice of the Democratic primary candidates.
Since then, I’ve walked the locally-lonely road of being 100% Bernie … and more for Bernie with every single article I read about U.S. politics.
My husband emailed lonely me a Facebook post last Wednesday. He prefaced the pasted text with the message:
So, I think that you and Elsha’s friend Broceny should get together soon and chat..
…you need local friends with similar agendas 🙂
I read his forwarded message and barely kept from squealing.
Broceny was my people!
As I stood in line to vote for my district’s Democratic delegates on Saturday, Broceny and I exchanged many texts. She, having been part of the local progressive scene long before I even knew “progressives” were a thing, had lots of insights to share.
And heart. Lots and lots of heart.
I felt the way I did when I connected with like souls while blogging more than twenty years ago: overjoyed! The world was so much bigger and more full of possibility than what I saw in the mess immediately around me!
I cried. A few times.
Earlier today, Anthony shared another Facebook post from Broceny. After I read it with tear-filled eyes, I texted her, “Aaaaaaah. Anthony forwarded your post from FB. I love you! I haven’t even met you in person & I love you!!”
This might sound unbelievable to … anyone else. But I grew up surrounded by poverty and predators, and I know the difference between trusting because it feels good (temporarily) and trusting because it’s actually deserved.
Can I boil this trust down to some easily reproducible formula? No.
Can I tell you I’m grateful as hell for someone I’ve never met in person, but who’s no less vibrant in my heart for that?
Sure can! And will, because, man. I am already so damn glad to know Broceny.
She is my people, and I love her.
I left the U.S. Democratic Party on June 10, 2016. I returned on January 7, 2017.
You can read about why–and what it has to do with this lovely oncology nurse–here.
I’m reading Bernie’s Our Revolution right now for insights into effecting political change.
If you’re concerned about the shape of a country that permits outcomes like that highlighted above–pennies “saved” for lives destroyed–please consider listening to Bernie’s town hall on CNN at 9 p.m. ET tonight.
This morning, I woke up with a sense of enthusiasm I haven’t felt upon awakening in months.
(I’m a morning person, to be clear. Historically, I’m up and singing at 4 a.m.)
I told my husband, Anthony, that it felt weird but welcome.
Two hours after wondering aloud about the “why,” it hit me: I didn’t spend all day peeking at news on Twitter!
Instead of compulsively tracking news worth following, I took my seven-year-old, Li’l D, to a DSA-LA meeting. We could only stay for an hour, but I felt more hopeful after that meeting than I’ve felt in months.
(We need each other, y’all. There’s joy in each other!)
Afterward, D and I had lunch before catching The King and I at Hollywood’s The Pantages. We then snuggled throughout the show, except when D was rapt (and thus less wiggly) during its retelling of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Afterward, he got a donut–bringing his sugar intake for the day to approximately a cubic buttload–and we talked the whole slow drive home.
Why did I awaken feeling refreshed this morning, then? I spent yesterday connecting with people in the physical world, destressing instead of distressing myself.
I can only imagine I’ll awaken tomorrow feeling similarly refreshed if I do the same today.
It’s worth a shot, anyway!
I talked with an old friend yesterday morning.
She had made coffee at 6:15 a.m. so she’d be ready to chat at 6:30 a.m.
As I drove to work, Jane and I talked on the phone about many things. One particular exchange stood out after we hung up after I reached my office.
“I’m trying to give myself breaks. I can’t really effect positive change from a place of constant distress, y’know?” I said.
“I’m writing that down,” she replied. She felt exactly what I meant.
I wanted to write down a lot of what we said, but I couldn’t.
Instead of marking the words, I marked the feeling: the feeling of safety that comes with having loved and quarreled with and come back to loving someone without reservation.
For the first time in what seemed like ages, my distress melted away. I was just Deb, chatting with a dear old friend and savoring every second of it.
I tried to return to the feeling of Jane-talking throughout the day. I’d find it in moments here and there, but it kept fleeing when I thought about all the change I wasn’t making happen right now!
Today was a little different.
I’d told Jane yesterday, “Rain is nice. When it’s sunny out, which is most the time here, I feel like I have to get things done. When it pours, the load is lightened. I feel so much more mellow, like, ‘You know what? Today would be a good day to do half as many things.'”
It poured today, as if to remind me.
After spending extra time in traffic this morning thanks to the glorious downpour, I stopped at a gas station and messaged my sister and a new, supportive Twitter friend, Michael, while filling my tank: “Wish I knew how to relax right now.”
Step away, Rache and Michael both told me. Take a social media break!
I smiled. I was grateful to have them looking out for me.
Soon after, I read with a little boy who asked, “Will you be coming back tomorrow?!” (“No,” I told him, “but I’ll see you again next month!”)
At work, we had our holiday party. I fought valiantly and won the only prize worth keeping: poop slippers, which I seized at the very last second.
And there was something else, too: I’d solved a riddle. Thanks to Jane’s candor, I was able to piece together some part of a truth it’s pissed me off to have perpetually just beyond my reach.
The joy from solving a riddle is directly proportional to the time and energy it takes to solve it …
… and whether a friend helps you solve it.
Same as always on Friday, I inched home slowly in Friday afternoon traffic.
Unlike always, I smiled all the way. Why? Well, wouldn’t you know:
I talked with an old friend yesterday morning.