Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Books, Coffee, and Calamity

The last three months have been extremely stressful for John and I. My surgery coupled with the loss of his parents has left both us feeling vulnerable and bruised. Right on the edge of every morning is the feeling that depression would be the easy way to deal with what life has handed us, but so far both of us have been able to find ways to circumvent giving in to the ’easy way’.

Yesterday was a difficult day ... we were both feeling a bit like ‘a motherless child’. But, as we were getting ready for bed John said, “Would you like to go to the bookstore tomorrow?

For some people, depression knocking on the front door might mean a trip to the local tavern and while I have no desire to condemn another’s means of chasing depression away I do have serious worries about what would happen to John and I if that was what we decided to do. The mental picture of John pushing his Rollator and me wheeling my wheelchair after we had downed a couple of drinks makes me laugh so hard I have to hold my sides.

I once had a neighbor that was in a wheelchair. She used to tell me about her excursions to the local pub. She said that she would stay until the place closed and if she was too drunk to find her way home she would just hold on to the dogs leash and he’d always find the front door. She claimed she always woke up on her own front porch. But I have serious doubts that the beagle would agree to such an arrangement. He would probably jump in my lap and take a nap until I got HIM to the front door. And John and his Rollator? He would probably stagger to the nearest DISABLED PARKING slot behind the bar and dare anyone to try and make him and the rollator roll out of there. And ... when the police showed up he would yell at the cop that he was legally parked and he’d see him in court!

One of the things that attracted me to John was his love of books. He’s almost as addicted to them as I am. A visit to a building full of books that I haven’t read is the closest I have ever come to heaven on earth. And John wanted to go to a bookSTORE! Not a library, where the books had to be returned, but a bookSTORE, where the books get to come home with you and stay with you forever.

“I’ve got enough money for each of us to buy 2 (two) books,” he said in a cautionary voice. Obviously he didn’t want my enthusiasm to get out of control.

“Two books! Two books that I’ve never read! Two books! What time do you want me ready?” I answered, while I was quietly calculating that I had enough money for us to buy 2 (two) books too. Two books from his wallet and two books from my purse = 4 (four) books apiece ... my enthusiasm was already out of control!

So this morning bright and early John and I were up, dressed, and SMILING. We decided that we would go to the bookstore that had the Seattles Best Coffee Shop in the far corner. We could spend as much time as we wanted meandering through the bookstore and then get a cup of coffee. There are nice umbrella covered tables outside on the patio and the beagle would be able to put on his designer leash and sit with us as we drank our designer coffee. We even grabbed some of the beagle’s favorite snack, beef jerky. While we smacked our lips in coffee joy he could smack his in jerky joy.

For the first time in several months John and I were filled with the joy of anticipation. We let the heaviness leave us and the eagerness of browsing among aisles of unread words overtake our emotions. When we entered the store John took his Rollator and headed toward the political/historical area. I headed for the paperback area. Several books that I really wanted to read had finally made it to paperback and besides I can get twice as many books in the paperback section (they’re cheaper). And guess what I found over there ... a sale! Buy two paperbacks and the third book was free. OK, John said 2, I can surprise him and say I can afford 2 too and the free one = 5 books (for me).

John eventually wound his way upstairs where the books are more expensive. More expensive = 2 books (for John) even with my 2 books surprise.

And that is how it would have worked out except as John was going toward the cashier he happened to tell me that he hadn’t been able to find the book that he had really, really wanted.

Never tell me that you really, really want a book. I will find a way, somehow, to get you that book. I went on a search.

“John, I found it. Here it is!” I yelled over to him.

“I’ll have to wait until next time. I’ve already paid for these,” he whispered back. John gets embarrassed when I raise my voice in public. That’s the primary reason that I had yelled in the first place ... I love to get my pay backs (for the blonde jokes and meatloaf cracks).

Giggling I took the book and went to the end of the line and bought it for him. So the final tally was John, 3 books, Pennie, 5 books. Not bad for a 2 book a piece day!

We ordered our coffee, Cinnamon Latte for me and Mocha Supreme for John, and took them outside to one of the tables. While I sat and protected our precious purchases John went and got the beagle from the car. Life had a smile in it. The day was overcast and there was a bit of wind, but that couldn’t dampen the high John and I felt. We were both happy and relaxed.

The beagle was munching his jerky and John and I were quietly exchanging our joy over our books when a big gust of wind came around the corner of the building and spotted us. It had to be deliberately planned by nature. No random gust of wind could have pulled that prank in such perfect fashion.

The gust of wind started with the napkins. When it blew them all off of the table my hand automatically reached for the wandering pieces of paper and the wind went for my unattended cup of Cinnamon Latte. See the perfect timing? It couldn’t have been better planned. It didn’t just tip my large cup over. It gracefully tipped it to one side, lifted it a bit, and swung Latte over my chest and arm then twisted around and came back and gracefully dumped Latte over my lap, and then for an encore it ended the Latte dance by spilling what was left all over my legs. It was graceful, it was hot, it was sticky, AND IT WAS ALL OVER ME! I was Latte from my breasts to my ankles. And all we could do was laugh. Nature may have planned it, but it forgot how high the two of us can get over books. We laughed as we mopped up the table, and we laughed as we threw the cups in the trash.

Now was the beagles chance to prove he was as resilient as my ex-neighbors dog. I grabbed his leash and waited for him to pull me and my Latte splattered body to the door of my car. He apparently thought I had gone wacky, he sat down on his back legs and looked as though he considered the whole thing laughable too.

John? He wandered into the store to use the restroom to wash his hands. He had Latte on his hands, the poor baby. By the time he was headed to the car the beagle and I were already in the car and ready to go home.

As John approached the car two women came out of the store to the left of him.

He looked at me with a smile on his face and said, “Hi, I’m coming as fast as my legs will get me there.”

I looked at him and asked, “Why are you flirting with me? Honestly, I have no interest in middle aged gimps,” and started the car as if I was going to leave.

I wish you could have seen his face ....... I remember all those blonde jokes he has told this year (and the year is only 3 months old). I remember all the times he has compared my meatloaf to cement.

Well, I’ll wager he’ll remember the look on the faces of those two women too.

What a nice day we had!

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