I was sitting in Starbucks, downing an orange juice and water while checking my email and thinking about the day to come.
He walked in, an acquaintance from the past, from that part of my life that was full of kids and Nutcracker rehearsal and makeup and costumes and Happy Meals and hours spent out in the house watching dress rehearsals. It was a good time, a time that revolved around the kids and their activities. Any parent will know exactly what I mean. A frantic, chaotic, bustling, crazy time that bleeds into holiday time until the boundary between one and the other is no longer distinguishable.
He has worked tech at the theater for many years, in the back of the house, on the big board, or backstage, or elsewhere in the cavernous building doing things that the folks who make a theater hum in the background, out of the spotlight, do.
We exchanged pleasantries. How’s the family? Kids?
All successful, yes, in Spartanburg and Chattanooga and Denver, thanks for asking.
Upcoming holiday? What show are you doing now? Oh, yes, A Christmas Carol, then another Nutcracker, and of course The Roar of Love in the Bell and the…
So many shows, so much work, so much fun for those who perform and for those of us who have watched the final product over the years.
We talked. I sipped. He waited for his order at the bar.
And then he asked me a question that I was not prepared for.
“And have you found happiness for yourself yet?”
It took me aback. It really did.
My OJ-fueled mind, clicking along quite well now that glucose levels were high and attention was sharp, had to do a double take. Had to really think about this question that had no ready, reflexive answer.
“Yes, yes I have,” I answered after a split-second hesitation that was more a product of surprise than lack of an answer.
“Yes, thanks. I am happy.”
“Good,” he answered. “I’m glad.” Smiling. Turning to get his coffee from the barista.
“Good to see you.”
“Nice to see you again, too.”
“Have a good Christmas.”
What a good feeling at this time of the year, so filled with laughter and light and joy.
Yes, I am happy.
I hope, dear readers, that you are too.
This has been a killer week.
I have lost count of how many patients I’ve seen in two clinics and in EDs around the state of South Carolina for Telepsychiatry. There have been children out of control, threats to shoot, stab, hit, bite, run, rape, murder and commit suicide.
There have been too many notes to type, too many prescriptions to call in, too many records to review.
There have been justifications for drug abuse and justifications for abusing your wife. There have been people so psychotic that they didn’t even believe that they had a mental illness, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
There have been scammers and sweet talkers and threateners. There have been people I met for the first time and people I saw again for the first time in a decade. There have been people who professed love for me and people who couldn’t wait to get away from me.
There have been gratitude, happiness, sadness, regret, fear, irritability, guilt, anger, jealousy, worry, concern, disbelief, joy, anticipation, longing, love, hate, impatience, inquisitiveness, impulsivity, plodding, planning, perusing, predicting, fantasizing, and calculating.
I have used my brain, my iPhone, my fingers, my iPad, my hands, my MacBook Air, my feet, my scanner, my eyes, my camera, my ears, my earphones, a notebook, a pencil, a pen, paper, tape, boxes, folders, file cabinets, hard drives and flash drives.
I have driven a car. I have walked. I have flopped down flat, so tired that I thought I should set two separate alarms just to be sure. I have sat under a blanket. I have become intimate with the markings…markings…markings…markings on the belt of a treadmill. I have smelled the leather of the recliner and wondered why I don’t spend more time in that wonderful chair. I have ventured out on the porch, saying hello to the tiny feathered couple who occupy the nest above my rocker.
I have listened to music and podcasts, read a book, perused a paper publication, downloaded and read a PDF, held a real newspaper in my hands and smiled at the little known fact that ink smudges are still seen in the wild.
I have created.
I have destroyed.
I’m happy about the one, but not about the other. I’ll let you guess which is which.
I have felt-viscerally.
I have spoken-harshly.
I have cried-softly.
I have laughed-often.
I have remembered the past through songs and stories and pictures.
I have envisioned the future through day dreams and night dreams and plotting and planning and scheming and hoping and yes, even praying.
Things are never tidy. Things are never neat. Things are never orderly.
Actually, things are just things.
Feelings are just feelings.
There will be more of all of it.
There will be less of some of it.
I’ll be here.
Maybe the next post will be about something.
When it writes itself, I’ll share it with you.
Photo taken February 15, 2014, on the South Rim Trail of Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls, GA, USA, with an iPhone 5s.