You’ve gotta walk

A few years ago, I was visiting my grandma in her assisted living center. We were making our slow way to the dining room when a woman called to us from a second floor landing.

“I’m always telling them,” she says brightly, “you’ve gotta walk!” She may have chastised my grandma lightly

I haven’t been able to do much exercise the last few weeks, but I do try to get a few good strolls in every day.

I’ve been hearing that voice in my head. You’ve gotta walk! You’ve gotta walk!

Because the alternative isn’t cute.

Bumper

My car got hit by another car on Monday.

It’s not a unique experience, and no one was hurt, so it was just an annoying one. Could’ve been worse, all that.

But what I keep thinking about is how the pickup bumped into my parked van, bounced off, and started rolling back into me again. There was no one in the pickup, but that took me a minute to process.

So I was sitting in my van, laying on the horn.

Honking like hell, to an empty pickup truck.

The more you think about it, the funnier it is.

That was unexpected

I  was feeling pretty low the other day — for valid reasons, I guess, but the persistent Portland grey wasn’t helping.

“Can I ask you something?”

A man was parked half in the street, leaning toward the passenger side of his rattling truck to call to me, the only person walking down the street. I came closer, but not much.

“I won’t bite.”

I’m trying to be more open to strangers, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I stepped one half step closer, wary of what would come next.

“I only have one leg. Do you see those balloons?”

I was ready for a couple of statements or questions, but not those two, together.

“Right in front of my truck. I don’t want them to cause an accident.”

On the curb, between two parked cars, was a bunch of about ten green balloons tied together in a bundle. “I see it.” I grabbed them and smiled at the driver.

“Do you you want them?” he asked.

“Oh, I’ll pop them and toss them,” I offered.

“Will they fit in the window?”

I gently fed the balloons through the open passenger window. He smiled.

“Thank you!”

So I walked on my way down the street. About a block later the man with one leg drove back by in his clattering pickup, cab half full of green balloons.

I threw my head back and laughed.

About the weather

I finally figured out that a change in the weather legitimately makes me feel like garbage. If it’s sunny for a stretch, and then the rain rolls in, I feel like I’ve had too much coffee and not enough food.

Confirming symptoms is not particularly satisfying. It’s out of my control.

It’s also true that I’ve learned another thing about my body over the last six months or so: my skin is way better when I steer away from sugar and alcohol.

Also not satisfying information. It’s in my control.

I liked it better when I ate a whole thing of cookies and had a great roller derby practice, but I wasn’t 39 then.

Just leave

There were three different lunch periods in my high school. At one point, I got first lunch, and all my friends had a different time. Not only did I not have anyone to eat with, but it also started at 11am or something stupid.

It was a big problem for a 15-year-old.

Eventually, I noticed something. Some kids in my math class would turn in their homework and then… leave. Just leave. And not come back. The teacher was too meek to say anything, and there didn’t seem to be any consequences.

So one day, I just turned in my homework and left. My friends were having lunch in the hallway in the math building.

Problem solved.

One day, the teacher caught my attention. “You… left before I handed back tests the other day.” She was more nervous about it than I was.

Sometimes, it’s better to cut your losses. Just leave.

I probably got a B.

Strawberries rolled in sugar

I know I’m not a particularly relaxed parent, but I don’t think I’m that uptight, either.

Like, I don’t mind my kids having a little sugar. They get a tiny bit of ice cream or a cookie if they eat their vegetables at dinner.

But I wasn’t expecting to walk into the cafeteria of my kid’s new school, see him with the school lunch, munching down on glittery fresh strawberries.

“Wow,” I said, neutrally. “Are those rolled in sugar?”

“Yeah.”

The lunch attendant brought him a plastic bag full of plasticware, so he could have a straw for his chocolate milk (second ingredient: liquid sugar).

I expected so much to be hard about this transition, but I didn’t expect that.