Monthly Archives: August 2011

Little miracles

Miracle the First: It’s really hot here, but it’s not too hot to walk places, and there is something so cool (pardon the pun) about being the only person not in a car for miiiiiiiiiiiiiles. I hold my head a little higher as I cross an four-lane street and walk the vast parking lot of my neighborhood grocery store, and would you believe the Texas sun is already giving my Oregon pallor a run for its money? The other day I went grocery shopping and emerged with a Texas watermelon (among other things) wondering how I would make the trek back home, when a womyn approached me and said, ‘Excuse me, I noticed you were wearing a dress.’

I nodded. Seeing that she was wearing a long skirt, I braced myself for a lecture on the evils of short dresses. Instead, she said, ‘I have this dress that’s too small for me, would you like it?’ and held out a pink dress with shoulder pads and a mandarin collar.

‘I-I-I can just have it?’

‘Sure!,’ she smiled and walked back to her car.

That dress doesn’t fit me (not even close), and it’s not at all my style; but it’s my magic dress.* Something about it made my load of food lighter and my walk in the outdoor sauna altogether pleasant. See, what I really loathe about the suburbs is how compartmentalized everything is. You go from your house to your car to school/work/the mall/your favorite mid-level restaurant (Pei Wei Asian Fusion or bust! And don’t even try telling me P.F. Chang’s is better)/Coldstone or Pinkberry and home again. I have a really hard time making friends here, and I think most of it has to do with my attitude. I just don’t expect any spontaneous interaction, but as the Parking Lot Dress Womyn so easily proved, that’s silly. And it brings me to my…

Miracle the Second: This story is about the powers of the most magic person I know. I call her my mother. My mom can make friends with anyone anywhere. She’s had so many friends that I have heard her tell long stories about really good friends she used to have, whose names she no longer remembers!

The other day I got to witness her friend-making powers in action. We were waiting for our table at Cheddar’s when my mom turned to the womyn sitting next to us and said, ‘I think I’ve seen you before,’ which I believed because this was one memorable-looking individual: orange-tan skin, platinum hair, super-round eyes, and the most pursed lips I have ever seen on a human being.  Absolutely purssssssssssssssssssed. This womyn (we’ll call her Cheddar in hommage to our meeting place) gave my mom a you-are-crazy-why-are-you-talking-to-me-stranger-danger-look. Unperturbed (or maybe oblivious), my mom went on to introduce herself and me.

Cheddar: (Sounding very unsure) I have a daughter, too.
Mom: How old is she?
Cheddar: Eight.
Mom: Eight?! How old are you?
Cheddar: Thirty-five.
Mom: You don’t look it! Do you think you’ll have more kids?
Cheddar: No.
Mom: Are you divorced?
Cheddar: Yes.
Mom: I got divorced when she was two, but I guess I was lucky because she (signals to me) never wanted siblings, even after I got remarried.
Cheddar:  (Sighs and stops pursing her lips quite so much) My daughter really wants a  little brother or sister.
Mom: (Encouragingly) Oh, I’m sure you could get remarried and have another. You’re still young.
Cheddar: (Sadly) I don’t know…Sometimes it feels like I’ll never meet anyone again.
Mom: I know what that’s like. Dating can be such a hassle! You’re busy with work, with your daughter, with your family and friends. The last thing you wanna do is put in all that effort just to go on a bad date.
Cheddar: (Smiling) Exactly!
Mom: You know, the best way to meet someone is through a mutual friend because they know you, they know him, they can tell if you’re compatible.
Cheddar: (Unsure) Well, I’ve told my friends…
Mom: Then, don’t worry! As long as you are open to meeting someone, you will. You don’t have to go looking. The other thing that’s important is not having impossible expectations. Make a list of the five things that are most important to you. That way you can meet someone human instead of waiting on Mr. Perfect.
Cheddar: (Cheered up, nodding) Yeah! I can do that.

And then our table was ready, so my mom and Cheddar said, ‘Bye, nice to meet you!’ and that was that. I’ve been witnessing interactions like this all my life, and I’m still awestruck. Have you ever met someone who can so easily connect with a stranger and get her/him to divulge deep insecurities or tell her/his life story on the spot? I totally want to be like my mom when I grow up.

*It remains ‘mine’ though I’ve already donated it to charity ’cause I’m all, ‘Minimalism-Minimalism-Rah-Rah-Rah!’ these days.

Join me in The Future (a giveaway!)

Were you a Flintstones kid or a Jetsons kid? I really wish I could say I was a Flintstones kid. The Flintstones kids probably grew up to be great environmentalists who hire goats to mow their lawns. Meanwhile, the Jetsons kids now while away their days dreaming about their first Roomba.

I was totally a Jetsons kid. Let’s watch the intro, just for fun!

This post isn’t really about the Jetsons except insomuch as it is about The Future. As someone who couldn’t wait for the future and spent hours deciding whether she would have Judy or Jane hair (both so flippy but in such different ways), I was really bummed when the advent of the new millennium did not bring with it sleek flying bubble cars and instead gave us the PT Cruiser. It was a total where-did-society-go-wrong moment for me. Fortunately, some of the things meant to exist in this time and place–like the Roomba–actually made it here. And now thanks to me, you can be a part of The Future as the Sixties intended it, too!

How? Well…the other day I went to the doctor at Oregon Health & Science University by the banks of the Willamette in dear old Portland, Oregon (I’m leaving in ten days, so it’s time to wax poetic). As I was leaving, the front desk people asked if I needed my parking validated. I said no. They asked if I wanted a tram ticket. I said, ‘Yes!’ because I’d never ridden the tram even though it has been on my Portland to-do list ever since I first saw it because look:

It is the perfect little space pod. Definitely designed by a Jetsons kid.

I was waiting in line to board when I realized I didn’t need the ticket at all because my job gives me monthly public transit passes, and the tram is publicly-owned. I tucked the ticket in my wallet and thought maybe I’d keep it forever because even the Tram logo is adorable.

That’s some cute.

And just when you think things can’t get any cuter, look at what I saw from the tram.

Do you see what I see? A rainbow!

Fast-forward a couple of days: I’m back at OHSU’s Center for Health & Healing, this time for an appointment with a really cool eye doctor who sounds like Joni Mitchell. At the end of my appointment, I am offered another tram pass, which I take. Then, I notice a basket of freebies and grab two of whatever prize is in there while the person at the front desk isn’t looking. I inspect the freebies in the elevator: roll-up sunglasses. I pat myself on the back for grabbing two and think they are way cool. This time I don’t have time to ride the tram, so I head home where I have a brilliant idea—-taking Photobooth pictures of myself in the cool sunglasses I got for free at the doctor.

They stay up like magic, no weird things behind your ears.

Then, I had an even more brilliant idea. I should give the sunglasses and two tram tickets away—-to you, lucky reader! I mean, the tram and frameless sunglasses are made for each other: sleek, geometric, futuristic. After realizing this, I couldn’t possibly advise riding the tram without the lenses. You could make a nice date out of these items, possibly involving Dipping Dots; or you could make two nice dates with yourself. The possibilities for fun with the tickets and the lenses are finite, but there are some.

I told Devin about my big idea to do a super cool future-as-imagined-by-the-Sixties giveaway (like a legit blogger!), and he pointed out that the roll-up sunglasses were not, as I thought, prizes from the eye doctor but rather, important tools for helping patients who’ve just had their pupils dilated so that they can see. You know what? That just makes the giveaway even better because the tram tickets say ‘Patient’ on them (they never expire; I checked). You can use the lenses if you want to pretend to be an OHSU patient or as a conversation starter with your fellow Tram-travelers (‘I just got my pupils dilated! Craaaazy stuff, man!’).

To win, simply comment and tell me whether you were a Jetsons kid or a Flinstones kid and why, along with why you want (deserve?) to win these inexpensive items I got for free. Entries shall be judged on creativity, level of detail, and—-above all—-syntactical complexity. The winner will be announced this weekend.

Good luck!