Might Be Dorothy, But it’s Not Oz

Friday, 5 April 2013

©2009

She wore bowling shoes and carried a basket like Dorothy.  It was hard to tell if the plaid pants she had on were long Capri’s or short because she carried a few extra pounds.  But she didn’t care because the colors where coordinated.  Red’s, blacks and white.  Bowling shoes were not her only pair of shoes, but one of her favorite.  She liked them mostly because she, from time to time would notice people looking at them.  They rarely said anything to her about the shoes.  But often smiled or even giggled.  She wrote that off as her contribution to happy for the day.  People were so unhappy.  If her shoes brought on a smile, maybe it was the first in a long while.

It’s hard to imagine the hundreds of people you see every week or even every day.  Who they are, where they come from, what makes them happy?  Are they happy?  Sometimes you see someone and you know … or do you.

She got on the bus and sat down with a smile on her face.  She seemed happy and carefree.  But maybe I was the first person to see her in days.  Maybe she walked through life believing that she was invisible.  Maybe she had been invisible for so long that see grew to appreciate it or understand it.  Or just accept it as the way life would be.  After all, did she really need more than she had?

Life had not handed her a bad story.  Just, in her opinion, one with not much flavor.  She was born, went to grammar school and high school.  She went off to college with everyone and didn’t quite fit in.  It seemed that those around her is where stuff happened.  At least she knew some people that exciting things happened to.  Actually she was fine with watching all of it.  She didn’t really like much being in a spotlight or attracting the attention that other did.  She felt it was too much responsibility to be there and she wasn’t sure she could adequately deliver a worthy product.  So she was find with sitting back.

As she road the bus that day to fill her basket; who cared about childhood or college?  The mundane needed to be completed.  She needed four apples, three maybe four bananas and a yogurt.

As the streets past and the numbers got smaller she wondered who she would see.  Feeling more or less invisible she didn’t often notice people around her either.  Well she might not have noticed them, but she was careful and always aware of their space.  It came as a second nature to move through the day like she was the only one there.  How often had someone stepped in front of her or blocked her view of something?  Like she wasn’t there?  She always thought it odd, but just moved over to another spot hoping for a clear view.

The basket was actually a bit bigger than that one that Dorothy carried and it didn’t have a cover on it.  But it was just right for what she could carry at any given time.  She didn’t originally get the basket for errand.  But on her way out one day she saw the basket out of the corner of her eye and was compelled to take it along.  That was 7 years ago.  She knew by now that if she was by chance seen somewhere along the way, she would be remembered for the basket if nothing else.

She knew that she was fine with this sort of life.  But what about those that she saw the she believed had that look about them, that invisible look.  She had all kinds of ways of spotting them.  She had been through it all.

Once she hadn’t combed her hair for two weeks.  At the time it was short, but it was all over her head with no direction or purpose.  And she didn’t think any one really notices.  So she went another two weeks.  The last two she decided not to wash it.  Still no one noticed?

She used to like to wear socks that matched her shirt.  But only once did anyone say anything about her matching of clothes.  And that was when she matched her shoes to her shirt.  She thought that kind of odd that being invisible someone would notice shoes and a shirt.  That would require some recognition.  Recognition that she didn’t think she possessed.  So from that point on she always matched at least two things she wore with color.  Shoes and pants, shoes and shirt or her actual favorite socks and shirts.

Over the last several years, most of her conversations where with people she didn’t know.  The woman at Safeway who checked her groceries, and asked if she wanted paper or plastic.  The bus driver who gave her a transfer and sometimes ask, “how are you today?”  She actually like the quiet of that.  It gave her more time to think and not have her head clutter with other’s business.  Which usually was a daunting story that drug her down for days.  Days of pondering and wondering how she could help.  Wondering how people get themselves in such a place and why bad things happen to good people.

After college, the first time, she had a friend who was wild.  Wild with a capital “W”!  Very often after a night out she would wonder if she would ever hear from that friend again.  She took more chances than anyone she knew.  But she also knew that she couldn’t tell her friend to not do the things that she did.  She had to navigate her life just like everyone else, on their own.

There wasn’t any particular incident in her life that warranted her choosing a life of solitude.  But that was where she was and she had learned to appreciate it for what it was.  Besides she had a novel to write and she couldn’t be distracted by anyone or anything!

But … how many times had she started?  How many pages had she writing, sentences that didn’t connect?  How many starts that basically if she had continued would have landed in the same damn place?  What was it that she could not get past?  Was it a fear of success or commitment to pushing through the garbage.  What was it that stopped her?  What was it that she didn’t want to admit on paper?

Then she thought that’s crazy!  Fiction is fiction and that’s what I’m writing.  I can go anywhere I want and it doesn’t have to mean anything.  But it meant more to her than that.  Purpose was important to her.  Intent was important.  She didn’t want it to be frivolous.  If someone was going to pay her and then people pay their hard earned money to buy it.  It had to have purpose.

She appreciated the many books that many others pushed out about love and romance.  Or mystery.  That one really got her.  She never could imagine having enough imagination to be mysterious.  But where did all of that come from?  Agatha Christie wrote over 80 books.  Where did it come from?  What was it that feed her imagination to write that many story’s.  What where her parents like?  What kind of childhood did she have?  What kind of stories did she read as a child and who was read to hear?  Why did she write?

Writing seems like the best way to articulate your feelings when you are invisible.  After all she was for the most part invisible to those around her and she sensed the pain, the happiness even of those she didn’t know.  And she somehow wanted to get the word out that it would be okay.  Your pain can be eased and your happiness can be used to brighten the lives of others.  But she didn’t want it to be trite.

Even though occasionally she knew that the people around her thought, as their eye’s rolled, “WooWoo”.  She wasn’t really.  She was very serious and that was what she so desperately need to tell people.

Serious was in her DNA.  But she could cover it up with an acceptable amount of humor.  She was able to make people laugh.  In fact, that was what she missed about her isolation, that guttural laugh that she on numerous occasions produced with friends.

About her isolation, one has to wonder why.  To that moment when everything shifted.   Well maybe it didn’t “just” happen?  Sometimes things just evolve and are what they are.  They don’t have to have any great break trough or break down.  They just happen.

She knew that she like being alone.  She was never lonely.  And she could go days and only interact with that grocery store clerk or the gas station attendant.  It was calming to not have to participate sometimes.  To not have to be present.  Because to not be present in a conversation or in a relationship, what is the point of either.  So she had always given 110% when it came to both.  Never regretting either or any.  But liking the ability to keep some for herself.  To store up if you will.

Maybe that’s where the story is or was.  Hidden or bubbling just below the surface.  Which makes her sound shallow.  Which she was never really accused of.  But it was a way to avoid it.

She kept herself so busy with others that she didn’t have to pay attention to herself.  She could give everything to those around her and then not have time or the energy to bother with anything else.  She didn’t mind that.  Kind of liked it.  But she knew she needed to do what she was meant to do.  She hoped that it was writing?

What if after all the thinking, contemplating and preparing to get herself perfectly aligned to write she had no real talent or ability to carry a story or an idea and she would forever just pound out words on the page.  Words that never went anywhere or meant anything that no one wanted and most certainly didn’t want to pay for!  What then?  Where was the idea that would stick?

That day on the bus was just another day.  The weather was good and without incident she bought her four apples, three bananas and a yogurt.  It was Wednesday after all.

Later that day while on the streetcar she noticed a nicely dressed young man.  Maybe thirty, not much more than that.  She noticed that he had a map of the streetcar out and unfolded.  He was looking at the map and then up at the map in the streetcar.  As she looked closer she realized that the map had been laminated.  She had never seen that map laminated before?  Had he gotten it that way?  Or did he do it himself.  She then noticed his brief case.  She thought that he must be either very successful or very important.  The briefcase was one of those very sturdy one, aluminum maybe?  But it was a light color of brown.  Very nice, she thought.  She watched as he folded the map and opened his briefcase to put the map back.  As he opened the case she noticed that for the most part it was empty.  Except for 3 other laminated maps.

Her father had a briefcase when she was a child.  He was very important and she only saw him on Sundays, sometimes during the week, but rarely.  He was a gentle and quiet man, but very busy and very important.  She knew he was important because of the crease between his eyebrows.  He was very serious all the time.  He was also gone frequently, traveling on business.

She didn’t see much of her mother either.  She was busy planning party’s, at the club or traveling with her father.  So mostly she saw the maid, the cook and her nanny.  And while well cared for and watched over closely she was left to do just about what ever she wanted.  As long as she went to school and made good grades, which she did.

The house they lived in was big.  Not enormous, but big for the town that it was in.  It actually was most of the town.  Close to 800 acres.  There was a stable for the horses a green house, a church and houses for the people who worked the land and building for her father.  Many of the people who lived in the town worked for her father.

When her father was home on Sunday’s breakfast would be served on the sun porch.  They would walk to church then back to the house for reading, maybe a game of cards and supper.  Sometimes they would have company for supper.  None of her parent’s friends had children.  Well they had children but they were older so none of them really cared to play with her so she was once again left to her own imagination.

In the summertime she had lots of land to play on and explore.  But she spent most of her time by the small lake.

Today the lake is part of a large housing addition, but the flavor of the land is still there.  And most of the land is now a large lake build by the Core of Engineers.  There is at least one house still standing, or at least it was left standing when the water came in.  One early summer day by this lake she met her new friend Mowana-Winky.

Mowana-Winky lived in the jungle, with not a care in the world. Life was very simple. Nothing controlled Mowana-Winky. A day would begin with a stretch. Since no real duties go with the days events, hunger is the only guideline to action. Unless of course… it’s raining. The rain cleans and refreshes. Mowana-Winky liked rain. It was assurance that things were normal. And, time to laze away. The one aspect of Mowana-Winky’s life that was of the utmost importance was – the ocean. Being in the water calmed and put Mawana-Winky at ease. Water is a life force, a source of all potential. What was it about the water that drew Mowana-Winky? Something deep in the soul, in the unconscious. A mystery but a comfort.

 

She could be quoted later in life saying, “if it weren’t for my imaginary life I’d have no life at all.”  She always said it with a smile.  Because she did have a life, but she just wasn’t sure where she fit in the life that she was born into.   And she wanted to make sure that the people in her life didn’t feel discounted or that they meant any less to her than they felt.  Feeling a part of something was important to her so she knew it had to be important to others.

Mowana wasn’t that type of friend that they called “imaginary friend”.   Mowana wasn’t created because of a traumatic experience.  She was kind of bored one day by the lake and the name Mowana-Winky popped into her head.  She thought that Mowana should be like her.  Life seemed simple, she liked water and liked looking at pictures of the ocean.  She hoped to see the ocean for real one day.   Maybe she would get to go on one of her father’s trips and see the ocean then.  She had her father to take her on one of this trips and he always said, “not this time Fish.”  Yes he called her Fish.  Since she was a baby she love the water, loved being in the bathtub, floating and listening to the sound her ears made under the water.  Researchers say that imaginary friends are common and are not a red flag like some have thought.

You might be wondering now if those banana’s she was off to get that day were for Mowana.  That day she hadn’t thought about Mowana.  She thought  about almost everything else that day.

That day she couldn’t get that nice young man with the brief case out of her mind.  Why did he only have maps in his case?   She thought, maps can give you a sense of purpose because you can see where you are in two ways.  Once on the map and once as you are in that very place.  It has to feel comforting in a way to be so sure where you are.  To really know where you are.  Now if you could have a map that helped with who you were.  Parts of who you are aren’t hard.  You’re young or old, tall or short, skinny or not, male or female, but who are we?

Sometimes people will say, “I’m Ben Franklin”.  Well that’s your name, but who are you?

Okay, back to the bananas.  Wednesday was just another day.  Now before we get to much further it needs to be clear that she doesn’t live by any kind of regiment or schedule.  It is what happens to hit her at any given moment.  Except for bananas on Wednesday day.  So don’t make a big deal out of it alright?!

Okay, so she thought about the care and thought that must have gone behind the reasoning of laminating maps.  Sure it keeps them clean and they don’t rip at the folds.  But that’s what makes a map cool.  The wear and tear of the paper the diminishing lines that mark the streets and towns.  The disappearance of places just like in real life.  She worked with a woman once whose brother-in-law was a mapmaker.  She never asked but wondered if he worked from an airplane?  After all how could you really do a good job with out seeing the entire thing?  There had to be pictures at least.

Mowana-Winky popped in and out of her life from the day she met her.  Mowana was quiet like she was and didn’t need a lot of taking care of.  She for a young one was pretty self-sufficient she thought, even for an 8 year old.  But a close eye was always on her.  There was a lot of land and trees to wonder and get lost in.  Even thought she never went far, usually to the lake, someone was always near.

When she was ten she was allowed to use the small boat that was on the lake.  But she had to take lessons on how to be safe.  She thought that kind of odd since it was just a lake and not the ocean.  It didn’t have the big waves like the ocean and you could see the other side of the lake unlike the ocean.  At least the pictures she had seen of the ocean, she was never able to see the other side.  So she knew that it was big.  She thought it would be great to just row out and lay in the bottom of the boat and watch the clouds roll by.  And listen to the water slap the bottom and side of the boat.

Lessons were fun and easy.  Fun because her father actually was the one who taught her to use the boat and took her out three days in a row.  Now as she thinks back it his lessons where easy and not complicated at all.  And he spent more time just rowing around the lake than talking about how to be safe.  It was then that she knew her father liked the water as much as she did.  He started to tell her stories of ocean liner’s and big boats on the ocean.  He told her about the ocean liner he went on when he was a little boy.  When he was eight his mother’s father passed away and they left New York for England on the Queen Mary.

Their room was one of the bigger ones and had a door that went outside.  He told her that he stretched out as far as he could so that he could watch New York get smaller and smaller.  He hoped that he was able to see London as they came into port.  He told her stories about the people on the boat.  The fancy dinner’s the games played during the day and how people walked around and around on the deck.

But mostly while in the little boat they just floated and rowed around the lake.  She never asked why her father was home for three days in a row.  She just liked being in the boat with him and it didn’t matter.  It was cool, peaceful and relaxing.

One day after her lessons when she as allowed to go out on the boat by herself, she was laying in the bottom of the boat looking up at the blue sky.  It was the perfect summer day.  It was warm but the breeze was just right.  What she really wanted to do was be out on the lake at night to watch the stars.  She knew she would have to be older to get to do that.

She closed her eyes and thought about the water.  Wondered what it would be like to live under water.  Not inside of something under water but under water like a fish.  She thought that it had to be the most peaceful place on earth.  And because the water surrounded you like a blanket it had be feel safe and comforting.  But then she thought about the temperature of the water.  Did fish get cold?  She knew the water had to be cold in the winter because last winter it actually froze over a bit it got so cold.

What would Thursday bring?  She still had the image of those laminated maps in her head and wondered if she retraced her steps if maybe she would see him again. Maybe she would ask him where he got the maps.  She didn’t want to embarrass him by asking about the lamination; she thought just asking where he got them might reveal how they got that way.  But it would be totally out of character to ask or even approach him about it.  She would talk to others when they initiated the conversation, but she was never the one to start the conversation, especially with a stranger.

She didn’t think that she was interesting enough to engage other in conversation or banter.  So felt that if they were compelled to talk to her or ask her a question she was more than happy to oblige.  It made her a bit uncomfortable to put herself out there like that.

She was actually fine with just wondering and making up her own story of why or how the maps came to be.  Maybe he was allergic to paper and had to have it covered so that he could hold it.  Maybe he was one of those people who ate paper?  So lamination kept him from eating it.  Maybe he had a crazy aunt who gave him a laminating machine for his birthday and he hated not to use it so he did.    Maybe she would get a laminator.

When she was 15 her father asked her if she would like to go to school in Europe for a year.  She had never thought about going to school anywhere but where she was.  She didn’t even know you could do that.  Why would she do that, she asked.  Her father explained that it would be a great opportunity to explore, me people from other countries and cultures and cross the ocean.

He had all kinds of articles for her to read, books brochures and magazines.  As she read and flipped through looking at all the pictures she thought about all the places she would see.  She gave a passing glance to all the pictures of girls in uniforms sitting in classes, walking around sight-seeing and looking at painting in the Louve.  She was of course interested in the land, the water and the landscape.

She thought about it for a long time.  She thought it might be interesting, but yet she didn’t see herself there spending much time in school.  So she asked if maybe she couldn’t just go to Europe and travel.  That could be arranged her father said.

Oddly enough, she never went to Europe.  Oddly enough it didn’t interest her.  She thought she might like seeing the land and all the castles.  But you couldn’t stay at any place for very long so what was the point.  Think about it.  Wouldn’t it be great to spend weeks or even months in a castle, or days and nights in the Louve?  The images were fleeting just like the time she could spend at each place.

Like writing she realized that there was a place you had to get to go beyond the normal understanding of a concept.  That there was a place that you could break through and get to that place that had been hiding for year.  The truth, the reality of what was going on or going to happen.

How many stories had she started and then stopped?  Maybe she was destined to be a short story writer.  What would be so bad about that?  The same could be said about how many different places she would write.  This computer or that computer, this notebook or that notebook.  She couldn’t finish a paper journal either.  She would get several pages in and then stop.  Or find a newer journal that she liked better.  She didn’t want for a place to write.  She just lacked the ability to get past a certain point.  Sometimes a paragraph, sometimes more, but novel?

She could finish things.  She graduated from High School.  She did leave college once, but returned a few years later and finished with a degree in four years.  So she knew she could finish things.  Although she did lose a bit of steam her first year she finished and did okay.  Sometimes family just doesn’t know when to wait to have a melt down.  And her first year back at school it was a big one.

She once thought that if she had a way to record her thoughts that would give her an advantage.  Sometimes while driving or being in a place not conducive to writing so many great thoughts would run through her head.  She started carrying a mini tape recorder with her.  But that almost seemed to create some kind of shyness.  Like her brain knew that it was there and it wanted to hold those thoughts and not let them be noted for future use.

She tried her and at a fairytale in college.  She did okay.  The comments from her teacher were good.  But her teacher also said that she was capable of much better writing.  She didn’t mind that comment.  But she wished that she had asked what she meant by that.  What was it that the teacher saw in her or heard from her that made her think that?  Was it a sentence or the idea?  Or was it just the teacher’s way of encouraging her to do more.  Again, her imagination only took her so far.  Where was the break, the mark that allowed her to go deeper than ever before?   Had she had enough life experience?  Her relationships had been short and in some cases lacked depth.

To be honest she didn’t really feel that she lacked depth in a relationship, but the reciprocation of that depth maybe was lacking.  But should that really matter?  Feelings are feelings.  And to commit a certain level of emotion to a relationship is a learning experience.  She didn’t think that she had held back.  But then there was that invisible thing.

She believed that a person should be judged by how much they love, not how much they were loved.  She was sure that the people in her life that were there for her to love were more than enough to insure the richness of her karma bank.  She also felt lucky that she hadn’t had people in her life that challenged her beyond her ability to be decent and honorable.  She never understood the need to or the idea of not liking someone.  She got that you won’t like everyone, but do you need to be mean.  Does one need to create turmoil and tension?  And no one should be discounted.

She didn’t necessarily think that this was why she spent more time alone than with people.  But she did realize that even though she had some stress in her life, it seemed pale in comparison to those around her.  What was it that happened to these people that made them so angry or tortured?  And what did they accomplish by taking it out on those around them?  Was it a feeling of getting even?

She might be naïve about it, but she is certain that to date there is only one person who doesn’t like her.  But in the grand scheme of things this is inconsequential and bears no meaning to her.  Sometimes people’s emotional age just don’t match their chronological age.  And she is pretty sure that this is no great loss and is keenly aware of other’s who might feel the same about this person.  It is sad though.

Looking back over her life there are gaps where loved ones have been distant.  Gaps that on some level in her thinking are as wide as the Grand Canyon and still haunt her for the time lost.  Time that can never be regained or gotten back, lost to unfortunate circumstances.  Circumstances that didn’t make sense at the time and still don’t today.  She does think about it.  Less and less these days, but still on occasion wonders what she could have done different, what could have been done to avoid such a loss.

For her it was at a time in her life when change was happening at lightening speed.  A time of evolution that she loved and wanted to share with those she loved.  But not all were present or available.  She was doing what she had wanted to do for years.  She was finally in a place to express herself and create.  That may have very well been the catalyst for the shift.  In other words, I’m going to change and you need to stay right where you are so that I don’t have to worry about seeing what I have neglected in myself in you.  I’m settling for something and for you to become more, evolve into who you were meant to be is to painful for me to be around.

What does it mean when we settle for or on something.  What do we give up?  And how often to we all settle for something.  She decided that she had never married or had a relationship long enough to consider marriage because she would have had to settle for something not quite to the level that she deserved or truly wanted.  She also believed that because of her curiosity of life, people and the things around her she was constantly evolving.  So how could she stop long enough to be with one person for an extended period of time?  What if they didn’t evolve?  What if they stayed right where they were?  Stuck like so many others around her.

She often thought about this but then felt like she didn’t have the right to judge someone else’s evolution to a new place or new being.  Who was she to judge another?  She just knew that she didn’t want anyone holding her back.  She did that enough herself, she didn’t need any help with that.

She sat on the beach years ago after visiting her family in Rhode Island and pondered the word “thank you”.  She thought hoe people don’t take the word seriously and use it infrequently with meaning.

After dinner one night, cooked by her cousins’ step-father, her cousins then boyfriend said, “thank you Rich for the great meal”.  It certainly wasn’t out of place or out of character for that matter.  But how often had she had she enjoyed a good meal, appreciated it and not said, “thank you”?  She was certain that her appreciation was shown in love for the person, but had she said, “thank you” enough?  And if those two words were used with more frequency and intention would we be a better place.

Saying “thank you” takes nothing.  It’s not even a second, it’s barely takes a breath.  Think about it.  When someone does something for you no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, say “thank you” and see how that evolves and how it affects your relationship with that person.

We’ve all heard it before or even said it before.  There is goodness in everyone.  But sometimes that goodness gets side tracked.  But it is there if we took just a moment to acknowledge it and embrace it.  She was and could be just as guilty as the next thinking that someone was evil or mean.  But in her action she worked harder at not showing those feelings than almost anything in her life.  She had been hurt a few times or had in her mind disappointed others and that devastated her.  She hated how that felt and didn’t want anyone to ever feel that.  She realized that as small as her hurt was and as bad as it hurt there were many who had much darker and more devastating damage inflicted upon them.  She could not imagine it.

She didn’t really think she was unusual in hoping that everyone around her could be nice, decent or at least nice enough to not create tension.

She can’t honestly say that she has liked everyone she has known personally or professionally.  She worked very hard to behave in a manner that was a fair and as decent as anyone could be.  And after that time in Rhode Island she said, thank you at every opportunity.

There is a reason behind the number of bananas she picks up.  Once while shopping she realized that there were lone bananas being left.  You know, you’ve done it.  The bunch is six or eight and you only want 2 or 3 so you split them up.  Occasionally, the best looking ones are four or five and you only want two or three.  So you pull what you want.  Leaving two or God forbid one.  So she started picking up the strays.  Giving them purpose and a home.  After all they were perfectly fine bananas, just too much for the last person who was there.

She was a bit of a worrier when it came to one off’s.  Several years ago she lived in the northwest part of Portland Oregon.  She lived on the third floor of a small complex.  Acoustically it was at the right height so that everything that happened on the sidewalk sounded like it happened right outside her window.

The northwest part of Portland is dense and people live on top of each other.  There is no parking so you if you own a car you circle and circle to find a place close to your house but usually end up blocks away.  People would put bumper stickers on their cars that would say “Visualize Parking”.   She didn’t have a car so it didn’t matter.  The neighborhood had all she needed so a car wasn’t necessary.

When someone did get a parking space sometimes a car would be in one place for days.  She wasn’t sure if it was people who didn’t have cars or people who just bought too many groceries.  But you would see shopping carts randomly parked around the neighborhood.  Sometimes they would be there for days.  There were two groceries with in five blocks she just made several trips a week and rarely shopped using a cart.  She never bought more than she could carry, what could fit in a basket.  A redish orange truck would drive the neighborhood each day, collect the shopping carts and take them back to the store where they belonged.

Then one day she started really thinking about those carts.  She thought if she had a camera she would make a video about these abandon carts.  Think about it.  You are a brand new cart, you just came off of the assembly line were loaded on a truck to be taken to your grocery store.  Your wheels were straight, you cage was shiny there wasn’t a nick or scratch anywhere.  You are nestled inside another and one is nestled resting gently inside you.  You get to the store you are unloaded from the truck and carefully lined up just inside the door.  The lights go out and it’s dark.  All of the carts are there, waiting in anticipation of the next morning when the doors are unlocked and customers start coming in.

Then the unthinkable happens.  The new cart gets his chance.  He feels the warm hands on the handle.  His wheels are smooth and silent.  And as she pushes him he understands what his purpose is as the light shines on his shiny new frame.  Isle after isle more and more gets put into the cart.  He can feel the cold go to warm as they leave the produce section.  Then colder as they enter the frozen isle, that actually feels good.  He breezes through the isles and proudly carries fresh vegetables, fresh loaves of bread, toothpaste, soaps, it all fits perfectly.

At check out he wonders if the shopper even noticed that he was knew or if the checker knows?  They have to, he is so shiny.  The shopper unloads the cart pushes it forward and the cart waits to be reloaded.  The checker is very neat, so the bags are fit in perfectly and sit snuggly next to each other.  Now his first trip outside to the parking lot!  Will they leave him in the cart bin outside or bring him back inside?  Oh it’s a nice day he hopes that they leave him outside, the sun feels good.  What kind of car does she have?  What color?  Where is it?

Then it happens.  She doesn’t go to the parking lot.  Ok, she is parked on the street.  Is it this car?  This car? This one?  She keeps walking.  Where is she going?  She is getting further and further away from the store.  Then she turned the corner!  He couldn’t see the store any more.  Where is she taking him?  He started to panic.  How would he do his job and be there for the next person if he is so far away?  He heard some rumbling the night before among some of the other carts but he didn’t pay any attention.  He figured it was an old cart.  How crazy to think that someone would take a cart to there house so far away from the store.  Then he remembered someone saying something about a redish orange truck.  He had to keep an eye open for that truck.  Where was it?  Oh no!  Another corner and further away from the store, he had to be brave.  Things looked nice so it must be a nice place.  Where was he going?

Several blocks have gone by.  It’s getting dark.  There are a few people on the street, but it’s pretty quiet actually.  Then she slows down.  There is a street lamp and the light is shining down on him.  He feels it bouncing off his shiny new frame.  One by one she takes the bags out of the cart and into the building.  There is one last bag in the cart.  This should be it.  She will take the bag come back and push him back home so that he can continue to serve the customers.  She takes the last bag and walks inside.  He waits.  And waits.

He doesn’t really have a concept of time.  He is a shopping cart after all.  But he is thinking that she is taking longer than needed.   Even allowing for time to put frozen things in a freezer and other goods in the fridge, she should be out again.  And it’s getting darker and darker.  How could this have happened to him?  His first run and now he is stranded and has no idea how to get back?

Wait!  The redish orange truck he heard them talking about last night!  It had to come soon.  Was he going to be visible to the driver?  How did he make sure that he was picked up in that truck and taken back to the store?  He looked all around as best he could.  But there was no traffic.  Now it was really late and very dark.  She had forgotten him.

It would be a very long night.  There was some foot traffic, but no trucks.  Two boys walked by and threw their empty coffee cups in the cart.  He wasn’t a trashcan, but now he had trash.  He hoped that was all that he had to take on until that redish orange truck found him.  He didn’t mind just staying in one place.  That was part of his job.  You couldn’t be assured that you would be picked by anyone to help with their list.  But he was too far away and felt useless.

Now if she just had a camera she could take it to Freddies and attach it to a cart, fill it up, push it home and leave it out front of her apartment.  She wondered if her neighbor downstairs would let her put a camera in their window to shoot over the night for time lapse?  But like many other things it was just a thought.  She would tell the story a few times to friends but never produced the video.  It seems a bit traumatic maybe.  But really it is comical.  It’s A shopping cart after all!

The redish orange truck did make its way to that street and picked up the cart and took him back to the store.  The cart was a little wiser and a bit more prepared for the next time someone took him home instead of leaving him.  But he hoped not!

She often wondered, literally.   And wondered how her life would be if she had been born to different people.  Then she would think that she wouldn’t have taken the form of who she is because those two contributors would not have been the same.  Who carries the more dominant gene?   Ok, this thought is way to out in that science fiction space to continue here.  But she did wonder from time to time, if her father married another and visa versa, would any piece of her be anywhere?

But she did wonder.   Not aimlessly.  Because of her father’s success it did allow her or afford her a certain amount of freedom that not many had.  She could have done anything she wanted.  Go anywhere she wanted.  Want she wanted most of all was to just be.  She had jobs here and there.  Graduated from college and from there let the course of her life guide itself.  Or so she thought.

Coming of age in a time when “coming of age” was a big deal, it didn’t really interest her.   It was too much about to little in her opinion.  She didn’t need the attention or the fuss.  Who cared really?  Thankfully her family wasn’t much into the opulence of such events.  Others and friends just didn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to have the big party and all of the attention?  That was just it.  She didn’t want the attention.  She was used to not getting much attention.  She had enough to carry her, but no one really dotted on her.  No one fawned over her.

She spent a lot of time by herself.  She didn’t mind it.  It was how it was.  She wondered if she liked being alone because that’s all she ever knew?  To say that makes it sound like she raised herself and had no one around her.  That’s not true.  But she didn’t have or get the kind of attention that some did or might have had.  Her parents where busy and had their own lives to lead, business to take care of and matters of consequences to handle.  She always loved that line from the book, “The Little Prince”.

She liked high school, or more appropriately the idea of it.  She was board and not interested in much of anything than a few friends.   She wasn’t a good student.  The traditional education setting was not a good fit for her.  Something that would take her years to understand and realize.  She thought it was just the way things were.  She didn’t think she was dumb, just not traditionally smart.

Her school from kindergarten to high school was in the same building with the same students.  She had friends in high school, but she didn’t have a best friend.  She never really knew if it was because she was a bit shy or because her father owned the land that the school was on and most of he students were children of the farm employee’s.  Even though her family had a lot of money, they didn’t put on errs’ or use their money to an advantage beyond what any other person should have.  Her father was raised modestly and he wanted his children to be raised in the same way.

She often wondered if maybe she should change her name then she would know for sure if people liked her just because they liked her.  No one ever took advantage of her.  But she did wonder if she would have been treated differently if she weren’t rich.  Well she wasn’t her father was.  She guessed that she would be one day.  But didn’t really give it much thought.

Throughout high school and college she wondered why some were so determined to be married and have kids.  As she got older and her friends started getting married and having families, she thought all the kids were great and fun.  But she didn’t see the great fun in having her own?


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