For 90 minutes each weekend, I leave my phone at home and join my family for our weekly grocery shopping. It’s my very favorite time of the week.
For 90 minutes weekly, I notice the temperature, the direction of the breeze, the looks of joy and frustration on the faces of those who pass by. I see nuances of the world around me and its peoples, not some pale, paltry electronic version of these.
Last weekend, my two little boys sat and shared what they call shaved ice. My husband and I waited for my family’s favorite farmers market vendor to return with our order.
“Excuse me,” an older woman standing nearby said. “I see you every week. Your boys? They’re so sweet! Every week, they make me smile.”
I touched my heart as I said, “Thank you.”
“I thought you should know,” she said, smiling as she turned and disappeared into the crowd.
Once or twice, I’ve seen people frown at my boys and their antics. The frowners are irritated that they must have their quiet, solemn post-joy lives temporarily shattered by the unpredictability of youthful lives still (and hopefully always) fully lived.
Far, far more often, by a factor of at least ten times, I’ve seen people smile, giggle, and even laugh outright. The week my seven-year-old repeatedly called my almost three-year-old “Mr. Scrotum” definitely helped with that!
(“No, no! If you feel you must call him that, save it for home!” I chided. “But better still, just don’t do it at all.”)
I know some people see grocery shopping as a chore. For me, it’s a joyful yet calming reminder I’m not apart from the physical world I live in, but very much a part of it.
I’ve smiled many times this last week, but nowhere else as wide as I did when I was told my children consistently make one woman smile. ‘Cause, see, we’re connected, and that doesn’t change just because we fail to see it.
(My husband chuckled about our typing our separate narratives on other sides of our rental home: “That’s how I met you! The other side of the clickety-clack.”)
Please see other #WeeklySmile posts here
to present on my time in Japan,
I found a photo of myself
in front of the floating torii
I was there. Of course
I remember my awe
that gate (between
the profane and
the sacred); still,
That all really
happened! I didn’t
just dream it! Read more…
I watched Jordan Peele’s Get Out tonight. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to write, but I do know it needs to go behind a cut. There will be spoilers.
About twenty years ago, I took Econ my first term at university. Since it was online, I could fit it in whenever I wanted from week to week.
I don’t remember much of what I studied in that University of Oregon basement Social Studies computer lab. My brain’s been filled with law, contracts, and IT knowledge that’s displaced much of what came before. And yet, reading a political text a couple of weeks ago, I rediscovered an economic concept that matters very much to my life right now: opportunity cost.
Before I read that, I’d understood I haven’t been using my time well recently. I just didn’t have a way to explain it clearly, not even to myself … until I saw the words “opportunity costs.”
When I spend hours on Twitter, when I have arguments not worth having, when I type long essays in states of dismay, I’ve wasted precious minutes much better spent elsewhere. In doing one thing impulsively (or compulsively), I’ve lost an opportunity to do something else that I genuinely wanted to do. Something that might power me through fights worth taking on.
I decided I need to be more conscientious about how I spend my time. I’m making better-for-me choices (virtually!) every day.
Today, home sick with an adverse reaction to something or other, I cheered at this post … and an exchange of comments below it. Athena’s words spoke to thoughts already on my mind, reminding me to actively choose my priorities.
Rather than regret opportunities squandered, I’m going to start saying, “It’s not a priority.” No one else gets to define mine or dictate them to me, though my husband, kids, and manager have some say!
Today, my priority is resting, followed by snuggling, reading, and reflecting. These things refuel me in ways that no amount of caffeine or sugar can.
I need the real stuff. The good fuel.
What about you? Are you getting enough good fuel?
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.