Monday, November 9, 2015

If I Were In Charge, I'd Include This Manual at Birth

I was a little over half way into my walk today, my thoughts 100 percent immersed on ways I could use the left over mashed potatoes from Saturday's dinner, when I heard tapping on glass. There was no doubt that's what it was, it reminded me of my brothers and sisters when we'd rap on our upper flat window as we'd watch my mother walk to the bus stop for work in the morning. "Bye, mama!" we'd shout after her, we were positive if she didn't hear our voices, then she'd hear our knocking for her.
I kept hearing a rhythmic tapping, I surveyed around me, glancing up and down, looking to the second floor bedroom windows of the house on the corner. Absolutely, someone was knocking and it was intentional and insistent. They were not giving up. My eyes caught something moving, on the left. I squinted to see, and it was a small white head, fluffy hair like a dandelion, bobbing up and down from an old brick garage only 25 feet away. I'd see the white shadowy outline come up, and then it would disappear under the window, then it would come into view again. There was a hand waving back and forth, fast and hard, against the window of the garage.
I gasped and sprinted over, because my brain yelled TROUBLE! There was a little old lady locked in a garage, doesn't matter how because details don't matter in an emergency. Help had arrived! "I can get you out!," I shouted to her on the other side of the glass, "hold on!" I peeked in closer to the window to motion to her it would be OK, I was here, then I saw that the sweet little thing was scraping paint off the inside of the window of her garage.
"Oh. Ok. Sorry!" I yelled. "I thought you needed help!" She kept working. I turned and walked away, but instead of just going back to thinking about dinner and the mashed potatoes, my mind did what it usually does after I'm a fool. I chastised myself for always doing things wrong.

"Why do you think that way? You think it's normal to think that way? Of course you thought the worse right away. You are so weird what is wrong with you." My footsteps turned to pavement pounding and I shook my head, my breath now panting.

But, for some incredible reason tonight, I don't know why, I asked myself if I would have just kept walking, given a chance to do things over. In all honesty, no--I wouldn't have kept walking. I would have stopped again and shouted to her again, like a fool, checking to see even if it was so ridiculous to think that someone is locked in their garage waiting for me to walk by.

Maybe I'm this way because I've read 5,000 books in my life. Maybe it's because of years of fierce loyalty to The Twilight Zone and being a weekend movie addict. Maybe my mind does race to worst case scenario first. Maybe there's no maybe about it.

All of these reasons are possible and each one, is me.

Would I have stopped to help this person tapping on the glass to be seen, the way we would hope our mother would turn to see us when we were little? Yes, I would have, because maybe she was trapped. And maybe I was her one hope and answer to prayer arriving. I couldn't chance her not being heard.

I kept walking, slowing down now, no longer beating my feet to the ground. I thought about how pretty much my life has been jumping in without thinking first, making sure someone is there to help when I think no one is. Can we change who we are? Just to not stick out?

I have spent decades wanting to fit in and do what it is that other people seem to know how to do... the ones that get everything right. What is that, that I do? Not not be an oddball? I am an oddball. I was an oddball in kindergarten and I'm an oddball years later in a small town. I think that in this last half of my life, I've decided to be Ok with it.

If we could just get a small manual tucked into our baby blanket with us when we're born. On the first page, I'd say-

:Parents: Please read to your children every day until they are able to do so on their own.
:Children: This is the first thing you need to read and then read it every day after: "You are who you are on purpose. Learn to love that person, because there will never be anyone else like you and that's what makes this world perfect and beautiful. You bring the world to life."

And on page two-
"You do you. And don't worry about looking like a fool when you're doing it."

* * *


  1. I love this, because coming to know oneself, and accepting that person, is a feeling like no other. I'm glad you stopped. I'm glad you're glad you stopped, because you know that that's who you are and there is nothing wrong with you. In fact, I rather like you. And if I was stuck in a garage I'd want you to help save me.

    1. Oh, see? You. why I love the internet.

  2. I probably would have jumped to the same conclusion and tried to save the day. I'm always doing things like that. One time I was driving home from work (in Illinois) when I saw what I thought was a huge tortoise by the side of the road. I was thinking, "Was that a TORTOISE? What is it doing there? It could be someone's pet that got lost! I need to go save that tortoise!" So I went around the blog (no easy feat because I was on a busy road with about eleven lanes of traffic and I had to maneuver to the other side) and parked, got out of my car, and went to take a look.
    It was a sewer cap with a rock on it. Hmm.

    1. That made me laugh, and you're right. It could have been a tortoise!! You're a good person.

  3. If you had squashed your instinct to help, the thought that you didn't act in a dire situation would have haunted you for days. You did the right thing, which was to be true to who you are.

    I insert myself, my past experiences, my body of knowledge into every situation I approach. I used to think it was probably some sort of narcissistic quality, but it's not - it's connection. I long to be connected to others. So what if it's in a non-traditional, super-awkward way?

    1. So, here we are, finding our way through this world, and back and forth: do we follow who we are or try and fit in? Not ever feeling comfortable with either. xo



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