Sometimes it pays to take a look around.
Once years ago when I was a single mom without a pot to piss in a handsome friend of mine, a man about 10 years younger than myself, quite coveted in our town for his gold bracelets and the fact that his family owned a fuel business - in upstate New York no less - showed up uninvited at my back door with a 12-pack of beer in his hands.
I said thanks a lot, took the beer from him and told him again how much I appreciated his generosity, closed the door while he was still standing on the steps and went back to my telephone conversation - after I cracked one open of course.
Another time I was hanging out at a bar with a couple of priest friends, incognito of course, when a younger and sort of attractive man came up to me and said, “Your name is Debbie, right?”
“Nope, afraid not,” I said and turned my attention back to my friends.
“Really, because you look just like her.”
“Nope. Name’s not Debbie. Never has been,” I said, clearly losing my patience. Priests don’t make a lot of money, but then again they are light on expenses so they were always good about picking up the tab.
“Well, I just thought it was sort of a coincidence that you really look like this woman I know,” the guy said.
By this point, my vodka and tonic was low and my priest friends were about to order another round and I wasn’t going to miss that by talking to a stranger.
“Ummm, no really, I’m not Debbie. Sorry about that,” I said and again turned completely away from him. Jesus, some people are so annoying.
He walked away, kind of slowly.
One of the priests, the one the women we worked with usually referred to as Father What a Waste, said to me, “Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how hard that guy was trying?”
And I didn’t.
I can almost guarantee that after both the bracelet guy debacle and the stranger danger, I immediately went into my usual rant about how sorry I was that I could never land a date and how all guys were jerks.
I can be a tad Forrest Gumpish at times. It takes a hit on the head with a hammer before I spring into action. And, for reasons known only to my therapist, I often can’t see what’s right in front of me.
I think I was so used to frantically pushing through a sometimes-challenging life that when something good presented itself, I never even saw it coming. It’s only now that I’m older and slower that I actually stop and think.
Maybe slowing down means the good stuff has a chance to catch up. Maybe after more than 50 years of trying to figure all this out, my answers are right in front of me.
I worry sometimes about any advice I can give my children. This keeps me up at night because I still feel like the child I was so long ago and I don’t know how to tell them this. Peter Pan was a story, so they say.
All my life, until about five years ago, I was waiting to grow up. Surely once I bought a house and had a 401K I would feel grownup. After I actually paid off a car loan, then I’d be responsible. When my kids got their own apartments, then I’d feel mature. Nope. Never.
I’d like to meet whoever it is that has perpetuated this ridiculous myth that we all grow up in time. When I see this person, I plan to punch him or her right in the ass.
I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg. - James M. Barrie