Thursday, July 19, 2012

...with you tonight

(Morning. Writing on the porch.)

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Yesterday I was taking out groceries at the checkout counter in Whole Foods. I lined up next to a  certain cashier – one that I like. He’s my age, with a pony tail of graying hair. He’s not too friendly and I like that too. No bubbles and smiles. It’s grim when you watch the totals add up at the register. Not a time for small talk and chuckles.

Whole Foods lets those who work there pick their music and this time I recognize the song playing over their sound system. I sing it to myself as I put out my groceries. Peaches, carrots, lettuce... just hold me close, don’t ever let me go... chicken, cherries, cheese...please go all the way, it feels so right...

Singing that out loud is almost like acting out an orgasm at Katz’ Deli in the "When Harry Meets Sally" movie. It’s a very suggestive little ditty.

But this is not what flashes through my mind. I'm thinking, instead, about days when this played on the radio, again and again. It was July 1972 and I was a nanny in New York. I’d finally gotten my driver’s license -- having taken a lesson or two from one of those outfits that advertised on the back of a book of matches.  American highways were new and exhilarating and somewhat frightening to me, but my charge had lessons and it had to be done and very quickly it became second nature to turn on the radio, roll down the windows and join the stream of cars, while the songs played on.

The seller at Whole Foods comments – you know the lyrics, but do you remember who sang it?
I don’t.
Think of a fruit. One that you didn’t buy.
You got it.

Those kinds of inserts into a day – a song maybe, a fragrance sometimes – send me spinning. It’s not hard then to put yourself into your nineteen year old head. Sometimes when I think about things I did then, I’ll shake my head and mumble  – what was I thinking! At other times, like this time, I just smile gently at the recollection. 

When you’re nineteen you pretty much believe you’ve got a lot of life figured out already. Oh, there are the questions – will I marry, who will I marry, where will I live, what will my job be, will I travel? Will I travel?? But the basics – who you are and how you relate to the world – that stuff seems clear (before it becomes cloudy again, but that comes later – a life’s surprise: you never really know who you are until the next set of issues comes along, and then the next one after that, and so on).

So here I am in line, thinking back to the music played loud in the car – a yellow convertible no less – my charge’s mom liked to zip around in it during the summer months – and I remember the pleasure of hearing these songs and, too, the deep sadness, because so far, love for me had been a big waste of time. At nineteen, I was quickly losing hope. It feels so right, being with you tonight...That was someone else's lyric, not mine.

Ed and I play tennis this afternoon. (Here we are, biking to the courts.)

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It’s been a while and so of course I’m terrible and he’s okay, but the good side to this inequality is that I chase more balls and get the better workout.

Other highlights – I’m downtown this evening, eating dinner with my daughter (the one who is getting married in exactly two months and three days).

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The skies are gray all day and it’s cool outside. I miss the heat even as I know that this is not a sentiment shared by most here in the Midwest. Most certainly, I’m thrilled that the change in weather is an uplift for the farmers.

Hi Lee! Rain! -- I shout as I pedal past our resident farmer.
Yes! Yes!!
That says it all.

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