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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

35 Monkey Suit

35 Monkey Suit

     It has been months since I posted last on my blog. I wrote many essays since that I cannot post since there is much that is being saved for my book. I can say from this point that I am at now…life has taken so many significant twists and turns I have no idea where to start.

     Tonight on my drive home I burst into tears as I drove up to “my home.” I was borrowing my good friend Mike’s truck and wearing what I lovingly call my Monkey Suit.

     I am employed at a job at a grocery store and back in my real “home” of Tuolumne County. I have not been back here to live for 4 years and it feels like it has been a lifetime. My Monkey Suit is my uniform as a “checker” and actually brings me much security as I don the silly thing. I have spent over $150 on the clothes for my suit and I make a point of ironing and washing my pants and shirts often, wanting to show the same love and care for this job as I would if I was working in an embassy or for an international organization which are my “Dream Jobs” at this point. I wear a white collar shirt and colorful scarf, or tie as well as black pants and an apron.

     I love people and love the job…the co-workers are good fun people and the customers are simply wonderful. I look forward to almost each and every interaction I am fortunate enough to experience in that building.

    I also am amazed at how gleeful my home life is at the present. I showed up, literally homeless, jobless and feeling for all the world like the biggest loser at my friends’ home. I had only called them a few hours before. Of the two places I really wanted to crash and land, they were the ones who answered the phone.

     By the time I showed up at their house after having tracked my poor old car all over Northern California, it had gotten rather worn looking and could not take speeds over 55 mph without drastically quaking and proving its intense need for a wheel alignment. I knew I was going to have to simply give up and trust when I heard my tire pop on the last couple of miles of the drive to their home.

      I drove it on a flat tire until I reached gravel, locked up the car, (a silly thing to do in the outback of the countryside!) and grabbed my suitcase to yet again drag it to my latest destination. This had become the drill anyway for both my son and I and this particular case was not more difficult from all the rest of my travels. Spencer and I had taken to calling ourselves “turtles” since we had gotten so accustomed to carrying all of our clothes and belongings around in our bags almost all the time. I could not drag my bag on this road as I had done in Rome, Florence, Heathrow, Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, Munich, Porth, Wales and San Francisco since this road was dirt and rock. I realized as I lugged the suitcase that I had grown very strong on our travels and it was a piece of cake to carry it up the steep hill to Ann and Mike’s house.

     My friends greeted me with open arms and obvious trust that I was not the biggest failure in the world. They instead saw me as a capable world traveler like my friends in Italy or family in Wales seemed to see me. They instantly made me feel welcome and asked me to consider staying.

      I cried myself to sleep in their cavernous upstairs, which already had a bed made up in it.
      I should give a bit of background information. I am not the sort of person with lots of friendships. I have many people that I love who are unaware of my affections and many acquaintances that I value deeply. But those that I love are people I trust with all my heart and soul. Ann and Mike have always been in the “love” category. Ann always has gotten me since we first met. We instantly understood one another. She is a calm and beautiful version of Anne of Green Gables. She is a better housewife and better at keeping her priorities in order but never makes anyone feel even the slightest bit of intimidation about her abilities. Instead she nurtures all around her and reminds me of a Snow White where all in her presence grow.

      Mike, her husband, has been amazingly like a brother. I can dress and be as schlocky and stupid as I desire around him and I feel comfortable. We have matching senses of humor, matching high blood pressure issues and matching attitudes about life in general. I have this desire to torture him and irritate him but also I understand him completely since he seems like me only the grownup and masculine version……or I guess he could be what I would be if I applied myself more…I find both of them to be role models as well as buddies. Their son, Lars, is a person I find myself learning from and admiring as well. He holds himself at healthy distance from bitterness as life swirls around him.  I need to learn to do just that.

      Tonight on the way back home from a shift as a supermarket checker, I found a deep and profound joy fill my heart. The countryside I drove through and fields with livestock looked much the same as it did in 1979 when I was learning to drive on these roads so long ago. I was carefully negotiating the curves and twists in a borrowed truck as the music combined with the setting sunlight to make the home I was heading towards stand out on the hill. A conversation with a beloved friend from the morning drifted through my mind making me smile...Sandy always has that effect on me…and I was happy to know who was at home waiting for me to return. Two dogs rushed out to greet me as I drove up wearing my Monkey Suit.

       No wonder I felt so happy and emotional. I was “home” for the first time in so, so long.


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