It’s coming, like icicles melting on eaves.
The season’s only a month old, but the thaw is eminent. I wish I could retrace its steps—how did I come to wake up in the bleak midwinter?
I was sure I needed space, quiet, alone time. Isn’t introverted the new awesome? You know how creative types can get–dark and twisty. Give me a wide berth, with writing and books, hearth and home, tea and sympathy.
The berth became too wide.
So, in the spirit of if it ain’t fixed, break it, I switched strategies. I launched an unofficial operation, Project Pour. I’m only about a week in.
It started with small gestures at home: a bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal, laced with warm milk and brown sugar, for a daughter’s second supper, forfeiting my bath to conserve hot water for my aching ballerina, jumping up to fling wide the door instead of shouting, “Come in. Duh! It’s unlocked.” I even washed the dishes when it was someone else’s turn.
There was a dance party in the kitchen that night.
I have a bad telecommunications rep—I forget my phone, buried in my oversized bag, exists. No one else seems to forget. Friends scold.
But I dusted off my device and pinged a few folks who could use a hello, a word of encouragement, an offer to send over soup. I resumed my lunch ministry. I showed up, talked more, tried an open countenance on for size. A little less Grace Kelly, a little more Katherine Hepburn. (As if I could channel either!)
And the result of these tiny efforts? Multiplied, of course, by the great Mathematician.
There’s an awful lot of talk about community. Who doesn’t crave it–those hearts that know you, like the same stuff, get it. But there’s the other kind of community, the one that’s in our face each day, and I think we need this, too.
When Terri at the bread shop asks about my Leaf, parked outside, I offer her a test drive. She lets me drive the anti-electric car, her Dodge Charger, which roars. We laugh at the contrast, introduce ourselves, and I smile long after we’ve said see ya next time.
There’s always room for widening the circle. If there’s not, something’s a little off. We’re a little off.
So the spouse and I drive into town for a dinner party, armed with chocolates and a Sinatra CD for our hosts. I don’t know these folks. I crack my knuckles, stretch my neck by moving my head in circles–I’d better bring it.
The evening, it has me at soft lighting and a plate of parmesan crisps. There are two Greek-Americans, a Dutchman, a stunning Turk. We eat; drink; sit, like Europeans, long into the night; save the world; eat some more. I learn the Turkish way to toast: serefe, which means to your honor.
I love that.
When I was a school kid in Connecticut, on bitter days after we came in from recess, we lined up our wet mittens on the classroom’s old iron radiators, making sure there was room for everyone’s. An outward outlook can defrost the numbness, maybe not every time, but it can be just the thing when isolationism policy fails. It’s hard to know which meds to self-prescribe. You have to play with the dosage, wait, tweak some more.
To your honor.