Staying Awake in Seattle, Day 18: Into every life, a little rain must fall

I suppose it’s a sign of how fantastically, beyond-my-wildest-dreams awesome this trip has been that the little bit of rain I got sprinkled with today so thoroughly dampened my spirits.

Truth be told, I didn’t have too many dreams coming up here. Expectations, either. I suspected that this would be a trip that would give me some perspective, and it has. I suspected that it would force me out of the rut I’d gotten into, and it has: in a thousand tiny ways, I’ve been forced out of my comfort zone.

In a thousand other ways, though, I’ve felt myself slipping back in.

Witness the red* card in the picture above.

I’ve been here, in Seattle, for 18 days now. Hawk-eyed viewers will note there are 12 punches on the card; I turned it in today for my 13th cup, free. That’s 13 cups of coffee at the same place 18 days.

Yes, I’ve sampled coffee in lots of other Seattle establishments. A couple of Portland ones, too. That’s still 13** cups of coffee in one place, in a town that’s lousy with exceptional coffee.

I’ve eaten at proportionally more places, but have still managed to eat the same (fantastic) Greek salad topped with gyros from the same neighborhood restaurant three times now***.

The forces of habit are, shall we say, exceptionally forceful. You can run from them, but you cannot hide; they run faster, and I’m pretty sure they all have GPS. So it was with a sick sense of recognition that I felt fury rise in me this afternoon when confronted with what is, in the face of all the horrific shit going down in the world today, a ridiculously small disappointment: The BF has to cancel his trip up here.

It means no BF until I get back, and very little of him before he heads to the Midwest for his selfless volunteer tour of duty as Driver-of-Early-Voters-to-the-Polls-in-a-Swing-State (plus seeing his kids who, let’s face it, really need to see him much more than we need to see each other.)

It means the happy pictures I’d painted of us tromping around Seattle for a couple of days are melting away like so many (fairly elaborate, but still) chalk paintings on the sidewalk. It means being apart on his birthday. It means driving the 1,100 miles back home alone.

It means things changed, just like things change all the time. Just like things have changed moment to moment, day to day on my entire trip. Only instead of rolling with the changes like I’ve been doing so far, turning into them to see what new fabulosity lies around the corner, I have, for some reason, clung stubbornly to my vision of how things were supposed to be.

Supposed to be? Nothing on this trip so far has unfolded like it was supposed to: that is what’s made it so fantastic.

The good news here (among much other good news received today, including the speedier-than-expected recovery of a dear friend from a serious surgery, while we’re putting things into perspective) is that I was able to deploy my ninja skillz of bullshit-dispelling to great effect, with relative ease. I leaned into the disappointment hard, then took my sorry, self-pitying ass for a vigorous, uphill walk. By the time I’d reached the top of the hill and headed back, I had things back in their proper perspective. Well, pretty much.

I still don’t know what will happen next, but I know I will not cling to what I believed might happen before.

It is harder to be in flow than you think.

It is easier to get back in than you give yourself credit for.

It’s good to remember both of those things.

xxx
c

*Which, shot as it was with the world’s greatest handheld computational device, admittedly looks more orange than red. The iPhone makes a much better computational device than it does a camera.

**Maybe more. I had a several cups at this place before I discovered they had punch cards, and while I did ask for a few retroactive punches, I was too embarrassed to ask for all of them. Junkies get defensive and shit.

***And have the ill-fitting pants to prove it.

8 comments

  1. A shrink taught me a 4-step way to handle anger that works for me:

    1) feel the anger; you’re entitled to it
    2) figure out why it’s so strong – does it remind you of some earlier event?
    3) stay with it for a while
    4) Then do something to displace it, like yoga or a walk. I don’t think throwing things counts here, but whatever.

    Sounds like you followed the formula.

  2. You know, I dimly remember being taken through the steps. Must have sunk in on some level way, way back, b/c you’re right, I actually did go through the steps and they actually did work.

    For me, the trick is always reminding myself to take control of the process, i.e. to consciously feel the anger instead of being ruled by it like a three-year-old.

    And god bless that acting training. It’s almost impossible *not* to know where that crap came from.

    Thanks, Jean.

  3. OMFG! I have been away from your blog for too long! You are in my city and I didn’t know?? Waa. I would love to meet you and treat you to coffee or tea or wine or cocktails. Seriously! I love your blog and would love to get together. (is that too weird? I’m just a fan who can’t contain herself).

  4. Let’s see. I just left an incredibly lame post that I think the Universe deleted to save me from embarrassment.

    The jist of the post is that I am so bummed that I haven’t caught up with your blog until now! Because I live in Seattle and you are in Seattle and I would love to meet you. I will even introduce you to my chickens if you want to meet them (weird, but some people really want to see them).

    I realize this all sounds super-lame. Forgive that. Just know that I am a big fan.

  5. Joyce – Heeeey…are you accusing me of marking my territory!?

    Jeanne – Not you, and not lame. I need to figure out what keeps the blog from updating comments right away. There’s a lot of ganky code under the hood. And we will meet up eventually. Just not this trip, alas…

    Jen – Yes, Pema is most eloquent on the topic. Thank you for the reminder, and for the kind words.

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