I think I’ve been entirely too serious lately.
In that vein, I’ve decided to share a story from my past that I find both funny and miraculous. I hope you do too so hunker down and enjoy this Sunday morning storytelling moment.
I don’t know why when I bought this house twelve years ago I had such a hard time transitioning in to it. I have all kinds of intellectual ideas to answer that riddle but the fact remains; I was anxious and awkward and everything other than the comforts of home in this house for nearly an entire year.
On one level I loved the house and did so much to make it my own. I painted every single room (except the ones that still had hideous wallpaper-those came later) before I moved in. I moved furniture around multiple times in multiple rooms to try and achieve my coz factor. I poured a whole lotta love in to this house yet, I was just flat out uncomfortable and disoriented. For a long time.
It was weird because I only moved about two miles away from where I’d been living. But my grocery store and route to work shifted and it all threw me off course.
I have a large Fry’s grocery store just half a block from my house. It used to be one of the largest Smitty’s in town, then Smiths then probably something else and now Fry’s for a long time. I remember an old boyfriend, long ago, when I was living in the last house, said he’d travel out of his way to go to my particular Fry’s. I don’t know why, he just loved that store.
I tried to love it as I figured he, as a major foodie, knew it had something special. But Fry’s was also on my radar for alien territory and at some kind of unreachable distance. That’s the best way I can describe it. Imagine your own bedroom at an unreachable distance. It was tough, weird, embarrassing all wrapped in to one.
The first time this thing happened was on a trip to Fry’s early in to my new tenancy at this house. It was so early that I was still picking up new house supplies like dish drainers and sponges. It was in the morning on a week day I do remember that.
I completed my shopping, exited the lesser used south door, walked pushing my cart to my car which might have still been my Toyota Previa at that point (God I loved that nerdy mini van with it’s two sunroofs, black bra and huge windshield). I placed my groceries in the back and drove home, the whole half a block. I pulled in to my carport and looked down, as usual, to grab my purse and……panic.
My eyes darted all over the car, went to the back where the groceries were.
I threw my car in to reverse and dashed back to Fry’s.
And there it was. Safe as a baby in a cradle nestled in the front of that shopping cart. Just where I left it. Sitting all alone right in the middle of that huge parking lot.
SAVED, I thought. You won’t get that lucky again I also thought.
Now we fast forward a few weeks later.
Again, I do my shopping, daytime.
Again I park in the southern area of the parking lot. I don’t know, it’s less crowded there and seems easier to get in and out. In fact I parked my car in either the exact same space or very near it as the time I left my purse.
Pushing my cart out the same south door, toward the same row of cars I reflect on the time I nearly lost my purse. I breathe a sigh of relief again, remembering. I think one of those prophetic kiss of death thoughts like you’ll never let that happen to you again.
I pack up my groceries again in the back and head over to the then attached gas station to fill up.
As I pull to the pump, I reach down for my wallet to the right and…well you can see where this is going can’t you?
I throw my car in to reverse, rush back to the parking lot. And once again, swaddled in that front slot of the cart sitting alone like a neon sign Come and Get it! I have $300 cash right here and it’s all for YOU! It’s your Lucky Day!.
I grab it once again, breathing now a sigh of “ok how stupid are you right now?” along with relief, fill up my car with gas and go home.
Oh we’re not done yet. Oh no we’re not.
Now somewhere along this string of incidents I found myself actually inside the grocery store this time.
There was a woman, a shelf stocker, doing her thing stocking shelves but using one of those triangle shaped super tall ladder things that sort of block the aisle to place things on a super high shelf. Of course the thing I needed was probably straddled right between the legs of her contraption, which I can’t even get around anyway. So I naturally, park my cart on one side then walk around her thing to grab my whatever.
This woman nearly shouts at me as she looks down and really basically yells “do not EVER leave your purse unattended in your cart! We had an incident of theft just this week where someone grabbed a woman’s purse while she was shopping and fled the store!”.
Warned. Saved. Reprimanded. Mothered.
Take your pick.
Now let’s flash forward a few more months. I have a feeling my house anxiety was still lingering but may have settled some.
This time it was a Saturday morning. A group of us who danced together in a dance therapy group were taking a field trip to Sedona for a weekend to dance with the beautiful late Gabrielle Roth (rest in peace and thank you). I’m so lucky to have met so many greats in their field in this life I tell you.
I either had my mini van or had already upgraded to my Lexus mini SUV by then but it had plenty of room so I volunteered to drive the five of us. We were bringing lots of our own food so had a couple of coolers in the back. I decided we could run by, you guessed it, Fry’s on our way to grab ice and I also had to make a money stop as a branch of my bank was in there at the time.
I left the car with the gals still in it idling in the pick up zone, ran in and did my banking and grabbed ice. I ran in just with my wallet in hand instead of the whole heavy purse.
I opened the hatch, put the ice in the cooler and off we went.
A mile down the road we stopped at a red light about a quarter of a mile before entering the freeway.
Someone noticed next to us some young man was waving wildly in his car. Now I had a car full of five beautiful women (see how I’m counting myself in this ? haha I was younger then!) so we all assumed it was some kind of pick up.
I’m sorry I just couldn’t resist
One of the gals finally said “he’s trying to say something”.
Yes you can see where this is going too.
“You have a wallet on the bumper of your car!!!”
Yes, I’d set my wallet, in the Fry’s parking lot, on the bumper as I handled the ice situation, closed the hatch and happily drove away.
I was just moments from entering the freeway where that wallet and all the cash for the weekend would have been cash cow road kill immediately.
As I look back on these events I am reminded how much protection I have around me, always. And I mean from myself.
And I think about patterns and bad habits and how we sometimes think we’re in control of things but in reality you can be engaging in a nearly identical behavior, thinking about how you’d never do that again and step right in to the same hole. It’s fascinating don’t you think?
And also I’m thinking of those dancers and that amazing weekend in Sedona as I head off to my first attendance at an Ecstatic dance group just near my home. The creator of this group calls it Shedding Skins. Dance church.
I wonder what layer I’m ready to let go of today. I think I’ll dedicate my dancing today to Gabrielle Roth.
Happy Sunday out there.
May we all be surrounded in love and protected. And dancing.