There’s a park about 1 mile from where I live, and most days, Moose and I walk over there. I like to do things that most people age 70 do.
I am a really terrific 74-year old, and a pretty great 33-year old.
I like to pour of cup of coffee into a mug and head out the door. I have travel mugs, but the coffee never tastes the same. And so. Each morning, I choose my favorite mug, based on how I feel, and we’re off.
Ps. None of my mugs match. They are a compilation of favorite moments, people, and celebrations. Here’s one that my friend made me when we became obsessed with all the things Tyra Banks would say.
Here’s one that reminds me of home.
And here’s my most recent one, that pretty much sums it up.
We took the long route today, Moose and I. It’s not long before his tongue is sticking out of the side of his mouth. He’s got short little legs, and is um, slightly overweight. Just like me, Moose is also fantastic at being 74, and he will never object from a 20-minute pit stop for a stranger, especially when they pet the top of his head.
When I walk, I make a point to make eye contact, to say hello, if it feels right, to go in for the hug. I’m not sure when we all got so far from one another. But maybe, just maybe, if everyone who reads this today, goes out and smiles at a stranger…we just might start a revolution.
We met so many wonderful people on this mornings walk.
At my favorite tree, and park bench intersection. We meet Bill. Probably 61, holding a bag of groceries in one hand, I see cheerios, milk, some potato chips and coca cola. A cute little dog in the other hand. Bill’s missing a few teeth, it’s looked like he’s lived some life. Maybe went to a party or 800 in his day. He smiles at me warmly, and I smile back.
He says, loudly.
‘oh this right here is Sweet Pea, she dont know she’s a dog ya know, and all her friends are humans’
Sweet Pea is sniffing a bush, Moose is trying to kiss Sweet Pea.
Bill and I, we continue to chat, mostly about our dogs, as dog people do.
He shifts his gaze, somewhat suddenly, and now, he’s staring at my boobs.
Dammit Bill, I thought you were cool.
I pull Moose to leave. And Bill says.
‘Oh-ho-ho, your Daugh-tah, plays soccer!!!’
And I’m like, huh? Daughter? Soccer? And I remember that I’m wearing my button of my niece. I had gone over to my sisters the night before, and she gave me buttons of the kids. I wore them during dinner, just to horrify the kids, and didn’t take them off.
I look down.
‘Oh!! Haha, YES! SHE DOES!’ (I mean, why the hell not just go with this)
‘Wonderful! How old is she?’
Me. Trying to remember how old Payton is. ‘NINE!’ I shout, ‘sheeee’s nine’ I say, and smile proudly, pointing to my button.
‘Oooooo Weeee, SOCCER!’ he says. ‘My girl played soccer’ And smiles, so so big.
I smile back. ‘yep. SOCCER’ I say, wanting to meet his enthusiasm.
He starts to walk away. ‘Well YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT SOCCER, right?’
(I have no clue, this is not even my child)
He’s all ‘SOCCER IS GON’ BE SOCCER!’
And I’m all ‘you got that right!’ and even though I have NO CLUE what the hell that means. I get that this is a moment where it’s best that we all agree.
And as we’re walking away Bill goes. ‘Girl, you must a been playin soccer YOURSELF, I mean, look at yo’ calves!’
And I decide not to give Bill a lecture on being in his 60’s talking about my calves, because, he really has a point. I have calves like a Russian, male gymnast. And really, I just want Bill to go home and pour himself a nice bowl of cheerios, and call his daughter, who’s probably my age, who once played soccer, and know that there are nice people in the world.
About 1/100 times, I am able to bite my tounge.
I smiled, walking away from Bill and Sweet Pea. Wondering if one day, when I do have kids, and they are in soccer, if I’ll have any idea what the heck ‘soccer gonna be soccer’ means.
About ¼ of a mile home. We meet Mary, and this is how that went.
‘OH MY GOOOOOODDDDD YOUR DOG IS SO CUTE’
Me, ‘yes, he really is extraordinary’ (side note, when people fall over themselves about Moose, I find that I don’t even say thank you, I can only agree)
In 5 minutes, I discover that she’s waiting for her daughter and the uhaul. Her daughter is moving into a new place. It’s small. But has a beautiful stain glassed window in the bathroom. High ceilings. Her daughter has 2 cats, which Mary will be taking with her today, cause her daughter travels a lot. She’s an archeologist. Which sounds so cool. But really, her daughter is trying to get in for some government work so she can have something steady. The conversation somehow shifts to corgi’s, and Mary’s love for corgis, and how hers are so smart, they even found their way out of a burning home, and how she will always love corgis, because they remind her of the farm she grew up on.
The conversation ends with Mary asking if she can take a picture of Moose (which happens at least once a day) I say yes, of course, and ask Mary if she’d like to be in it. She exclaims YES, as though I have just thought of the best idea in the world, and I snap a few picture of her and Moose. Mary’s smile is the best part about all of this.
As we are saying our goodbyes, and walking away. Mary hugs me, and then says.
‘well. It was nice knowing you!’
And my first impulse is to burst out laughing. Because that’s traditionally something you’d say to someone before killing them, or watching them walk the plank on a ship full of pirates, or something like that.
But I just smiled, and said. ‘you too!’
And what I loved most of all in that moment, is Mary just said the truth. Like the chances of Mary and I crossing paths again is very slim. She could have said something generic like:
‘see ya later!’
‘talk to you again!’
etc. etc. And what if we just told the truth like that. And gave every person a really wonderful 5 minutes, knowing that we wont meet most people again.
And I love the idea of Mary at home in Utah with her Corgi’s waiting for her archeologist daughter to call, to say ‘hey mom, I got the job with the government’ and then maybe they’d go to olive garden or something like that to celebrate, the next time Mary comes up to visit. Because nothing says an American celebration like unlimited breadsticks.
All that happened by 10am.
The rest of today:
I went to the farmers market to buy fresh flowers.
I went to target.
I cleaned the heck out of my apartment with the best early 90’s hip-hop as inspiration.
I got a pedicure.
I read my September issue of rolling stone.
And now. Just drinking a beer that my neighbors brought me, in exchange for watching there sweet puppy Otis, so they could have a date night.
Days like today are worth writing about and remembering.
What happened in your day today that would be worth remembering? Probably more than you think. Take a moment.