Saturday, November 07, 2009

Return to Life's Little Dramas

This crazy swine flu had me dragging around here all week like a teenager who stayed up too late and had to get up too early and had a bad attitude besides. Long after the fever was gone I just felt so unspeakably TIRED. Still do, in fact. I felt queasy too, so it was almost enough to make me nostalgic for pregnancy.

But I am slowly getting back in the swing of things and the best part of that is just the various little dramas of life that you miss out on when you're flat in bed not caring if you live or die.

Such as:
Emily finished her first week at SMBI and with the 3-hour time difference and her busy schedule and the terrible Verizon reception there, I have hardly talked to her. This tends to tie me up in knots because this last year I talked to her on the phone a LOT, in fact some days I was trying to keep her alive over the phone, so to suddenly have that umbilical cord cut is traumatic but wonderful, if you get what I mean.

I figure if she were sick in bed she'd call all the time, so since she doesn't, all is well.

So since I don't talk to her much, and she doesn't have any siblings there to report on her, I keep checking Facebook to see if anyone has tagged her in a picture, trying to not see this as a barometer of success and friendship and adjusting and fitting in, and also trying not to despair of all the implications since it hasn't happened yet, not once. Aagghh.

Then on the local scene I gave a talk to a church women's group today and they were very gracious about my not coming for the lunch but just showing up for the talk and dessert. Questions: "How did you get started writing?" "What is the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites?" I'm serious, someone asks those two every single time.

But that's ok.

Then I went to WinCo in the cold pouring rain and bought groceries and of course they had their turkey special since it's November, and of course I picked out the biggest one I could find, hoping to get a bit of mileage out of it like I try every year. And here I was still so weak and wobbly that I almost couldn't lift the dumb thing into the cart. I who pride myself on slinging milk jugs and flour sacks around like a good farm girl.

Then I picked the shortest line. Why do I never learn? Whatever line I'm in has the check that doesn't clear the machine, the debit card that doesn't take, the cashier that leaves on break, every person that has any possible way of slowing things down.

This time the guy ahead of me was a homeless man with a little red wagon with all his pop cans in a bag. Long after the whole counter was empty he stood right in my way so I couldn't unload my groceries and carefully counted out coins, dropped two pennies, picked them up, counted some more, and finally finally moved to the cashier to pay for his pop, which it turned out had actually been paid for by the generous woman ahead of him in line.

So could he zip on through with a big thank you? No, he could not. From somewhere he conjured a bottle of strawberry milk, two Crystal Light canisters, and about 4 more drinks. He counted and counted his money, dropped a penny, scrambled after it, counted some more, dropped a quarter, scrambled after it, etc etc. Meanwhile his wagon was blocking my path so I couldn't bring my cart around to start bagging my stuff. (WinCo has two chutes per checkout and basically they check out two people at once.)

"Ahem," I said delicately, in my nicest treat-you-with-kindness-like-a-normal-person-even-though-you're-horribly-irritating voice, "Could I move your wagon over just a bit so I can get my cart through?" There was a growl from behind the beard. "YOU. DON'T. TOUCH. THAT." Ok. Yessir. Got it.

I have issues with homeless people. The old judgment vs. mercy dilemma. Obviously this guy was mentally ill but you know, even mentally ill people can be grateful and decent I would think. And then when I was thinking rapidly boiling thoughts about this guy, I happened to notice his hands, which were all freckled. Like Paul's. Which gave me a terrible turn, I mean, what if my husband was out on a cold rainy day with only half his mind and a little red wagon full of pop cans. But even then he would move so people could get through, I know he would.

See, I can wring a lot of drama out of a homeless guy in the grocery checkout line.

Somewhere in there the lady behind me and I started talking, since we had plenty of time to do so, and she had also survived swine flu but is fully recovered and said the only thing she's ever had that compares was pneumonia. And then she lifted the turkey out of the cart and back in for me, plus my milk and other heavy stuff, which was deeply appreciated.

Ben's fever is gone too but he's dragging around here like I am even though he's young and strong, which helps me feel vindicated somehow. This evening he said,

Quote of the Day:
"This makes me feel a lot more sorry for Emily."


  1. SMBI doesn't have internet access, so the only way you'll see anything on Facebook is if someone goes down to the library in the next town over. Just sayin'...

  2. That's what I was going to say!

  3. Oh dear, Dorcas, I laughed so hard I cried reading your grocery store drama. I told Glen that you sound just like me in the grocery store lines. Grocery stores have given me some of my worst moments!! Don't get me started!!

  4. But it makes me think. I have not been overly impressed with the remodel in our Wal-mart. So when I am there I wish I hadn't come...that I would have taken the time to shop with more thought and time in the other non-Wal-Mart stores. I probably look like a grouch out of my face. So I guess I understand your frustration and hope that I can smile better and wait more kindly. It's a perfect opportunity to practice being Jesus...looking like Him..."the express image of His person."

  5. Having had three girls attend SMBI over the last four years, I would say that email works about as good as anything. :)
    Blessings, Hope

  6. I usually choose the wrong check-out line, too. However, now that I don’t have young children to take with me to the store anymore, I have found that waiting in line is a wonderful time to pray. My minister husband may need to prepare a sermon for Sunday, and I can pray for him. My children may be facing a certain challenge. I can pray for them. While I pray regularly for my family during my devotional time, just lifting them up to the Lord again in prayer while waiting in line makes the waiting worthwhile.