Merging Lanes Ahead

It is elder Sunday at the store with the lowest prices in town. Some are unnatural odds tossed against stained pleather powered by a body able to drive; some are simple couples. Sometimes the Whiz stands alone.

Glazed donuts, a photo by Jessica Gale found on MorgueFile.com“I wonder if these are any good…,” his voice trails off until I glance to my left. There’s a box of nine large donuts with sugar glaze. Nothing wrong with his peripheral vision, “I mean, I’m hungry. These look good.” He laughs to be caught talking himself into donuts.

I offer chastisement with with a generous smile to a man easily 30 years my senior, “Oh, I know better than to shop when I’m hungry.”

Both of his hands grasp the box firmly as he appraises their possibilities.

I gesture at his nearly full cart, “Oh, I see! You have been shopping while you’re hungry.” We laugh a moment until he moves off toward a woman in a wheelchair.

I continue puzzling over bagel A or bagel B because the sort I prefer aren’t in stock at the moment and my husband chides me for planning to buy a bagel for the drive home. “I’m hungry.” His eyes are expressive and he’s happy to fetch an apple we didn’t grab while we were in the produce section.

This is a bag-it-yourself sort of store. As we leave, Hungry Man isn’t experiencing a hardship while sacking his box of donuts; the box is neatly wedged in the otherwise unused child seat of the cart. I skitter from my husband’s side long enough to say, “Now, you’ll have to tell me if those donuts are any good by the next time you see me.” Our spouses look puzzled when the Hungry Man and I snicker at the end of the checkout belt.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Traffic Patterns

Two weeks ago I drove past houses that suddenly are the main exhibit now that construction has finished and traffic is rerouted. There is a little-needed traffic signal light where a four-way stop once regulated the crossing of two roads. Bright pink sneakers, new enough from the looks of them, carried more than six feet of height and close to 300 pounds of weight from toe to heel, toe to heel as a man in his mid forties pushed a shopping cart of assorted belongings between the crisp, white lines of the crosswalk. Perhaps crosswalk tells what there is to tell.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

How Not to Burn Your Bagel

A great cup of coffee and a tasty morsel can be ruined in just a few seconds if you burn the bagel. Your toaster may tell you just how to avoid this everyday bitter moment. If your toaster doesn’t have a bagel setting and you eat bagels on a regular basis, it may well be worth investing in a newer toaster. Here’s how you can have a perfect bagel in every bite.

How you can toast a perfect bagel.

Perfect Bagels

Learning Love

Your partner will teach you how to love.

Mine brings me fresh, hot coffee as soon as I wake up. When I reciprocate, the appreciation is wordless and eyes find mine with adoration.

When I make sounds of waking, I come to a computer already booted and awaiting my password. I don’t always remember to do the same for him; a gentle smile is my reward when I do.

It puzzled me when we first dated. He locked me in his truck. Each time he hurried off to fill the gas tank or pick up the mail, he checked to see if my door was locked. I asked and he said the prized possession in his vehicle is me and the world isn’t genteel.

He teaches me how to love him, how to show him I care. I’m demonstrative in my own ways, and in those ways I show him how to love me also.

“Stay Right Except to Pass”

I caught up with some blogs this morning. Shimon Says has an unusual metaphor for measures of success and our involvement in the lives of those who are struggling—highways.

He questions assumptions often made by fellow travelers with What are you thinking?.

I’d like to say I have this figured out; I do not.
—My grandfather was taught to leave the slow lane for those merging onto the freeway or attempting to exit. To him, it would be a courtesy when driving on a multi-lane highway.
—In Oregon and Washington it is illegal to use the fast lane for anything but passing. Signs on the highways read, “Stay right except to pass.” Two-fold, this allows emergency vehicles to reach their destination without risking a fatality themselves, and staying in the right lane allows vehicles to pass on the left as Shimon expressed, which is what we are taught is safe and an assumption for many of right-of-way when on a highway.

Shimon’s observation of societal fast and slow lanes is new to me and apt. I worked in an industry that addressed homelessness and poverty; this topic is dear to my heart. True, I have experienced these for myself while working two jobs and sharing expenses with another individual who also was working.

What if you could help?

Wikimedia Commons: Maryeoriginals

If we are offered a method to assist others that does not require our time—often a rare surplus when we are working a six-figure salary job—many will step up. Consider Ebola and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s and the Bill Gates Foundation’s recent donations that resulted in increased contribution from members of the general public. An avenue, or lane, of involvement opened in people’s minds. Helping became less overwhelming.

To align our actions with our values, consider the following options in case you’re not a multibillionaire:

  • Support a cause by purchasing from its donation solicitation efforts only what you would normally purchase. That is, shop at a themed thrift store. While breast cancer awareness is at a peak, it has become a brand and logo around which corporations sell the pink ribbon logo; I don’t find anything commendable in furthering company sales at the expense of consumers who likely wouldn’t purchase a pink shirt otherwise.
  • Assemble from your own surplus a care package for someone who is moving from a group setting to living on their own. You may think of victims of domestic violence right of; however, there are other worthy recipients. Going back to a life of crime may feel like the only method for a former inmate when they cannot find a job paying more than minimum wage and, when they do find a place to live, the basics of soap, towels, flatware and sheets are more than they can manage. Your donations needn’t be new to be of use.
  • Words of encouragement are inexpensive and carry a value beyond anything money can buy.
    • Thank someone for something they do anyway, even if it is part of their job.
    • Send a postcard to a stranger’s child (postcard so it isn’t creepy) addressed as “the young man in residence, care of the family at [address]”. Alternately, a postcard to an elderly or disabled person would be just as welcome.
  • Drop off unneeded magazines to the office of your local school for use by teachers in collage and other projects.

I hope these ideas spin off into other ways to support community in ways that align your values and actions.

Plain Plait

Modern Sculpture of a Woman with Long HairI manage to keep this bag with me. Years. I may well have been born with it.

Its many-colored haircloth is seamless and drawn tight on itself by a braid. I have repaired it with my own strands; first blonde, then browns, now grays.

It must weigh half an ounce, if that. Here—open it. Yes, open it.

I know! Black as any night with storm. I have known moments in life to be so dark. Is there a scent of rain from within, or does my imagination brew it? No trick there; it is as small on the inside…except—well, no, that would sound dramatic.

Those dark moments I mentioned? I-it sounds wild.

Yes, alright. How to tell you?

When I don’t know what more there is, the times my mind empties and no solutions come, the braid looses itself as the sides of the bag bulge.

I have learned to accept the strangeness of it and let the bag fall away on its own.

Then into life appear the most uncanny blessings. I cannot not ask for what I do not know I need, but there it is. I gather the slack bag and try to embrace what is given me, hope.

Surely you haven’t lost yours? Oh. Come, let me help you weave.

© 2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Belabored Day

One male, late forties. One child on the cusp of teen. One female, earlyish forties. In just that order, they walk through a small town. He sees CLOSED through the day’s reflection on a windowed storefront. The child watches the pavement pass beneath two feet and glances back. She sees the glare of midday sun that impairs her ability to read the text on the screen of her smartphone.