Shopping for gifts at the store yesterday, I stopped by some bracelets. A woman who had already been standing there suddenly spoke. “What this mean, ‘fierce’?” She lifted up a charm bracelet she was holding.
After squinting at it, I told her it’s supposed to mean intense in a fun way. “Like, sassy.” I went with. The woman adjusted her eyeglasses.
“This girl, she is almost like a gothic. She is always in black. But she is very nice and I don’t know her too well… She helps me so much in a-cu-punc-ture, and I want to get her something she will like. How about this?” She started to struggle with bangles on a mannequin hand. After a few more minutes she lifted up a leather cord with TRUE ❤ beaded on it. “Trrrue love,” she read slowly. She shrugged. “I don’t know if she has true love… But, I hope she does not think it is true love from me.” After I assured her there would probably be no mistake, she nodded thoughtfully, “Yes, but I like her very much, she is good to me.”
Good to me. Lately moments like these have been good for me. Since arriving home from my road trip extravaganza, a lot of seriousness has taken over, a lot of responsibility has settled in. I like responsibility and seriousness, but some of this week’s have been of the emotional variety, which will always lead to a kind of heaviness. Maybe it’s the contrast of feelings — between oysters at Swan Oyster Depot, in San Fran, a week ago, and a large coffee guzzled stressfully here at a nearby stop light. Ultimately, I am still in the mood to laugh. I’m still in the mood to admire majestic mountains, and jam to some sweet tunes, and smile so wide…
But this is all reality, thankfully. Thankfully, at every single second of each day, seriousness and mirth coexist simultaneously. For every darkness, there is light.
Driving out of Long Beach, on the expressway, I remember looking up and seeing a man on the bridge. One long, sweater-clad arm held a phone to his ear. The other arm was raised, and in its hand fluttered a large, paper heart. The rest of him was, miraculously, popping and locking, turning and spinning and grooving to the beat of some unknown song. Really. I couldn’t tell you what it was for. Reality television? Breakin’ 3: Electric Boogaloo, the Rapture? It was extremely out of place, and heartwarming. And even now, thinking of it, somehow it makes a difference.
So this was the week of relishing differences. It was the week of celebrating small triumphs — not the least of which was pulling a few of these out of the garden: