There are times when I’m pulled from my comfortable life by uncertain events. I’m no longer running on autopilot, which is how we all live when things are going well.
A few months ago I was flying to Winnipeg and ready for take-off when the flight attendant approached me. She spoke in a low tone, like we were both spies for the same organization and couldn’t let on that anything unusual was happening.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said. “I need you to move to the very back of the plane. It’s a matter of weight.’ Let me be clear. There were eight of us scattered around the plane at that point. I stared at the others who pretended they hadn’t heard. Then I got up and took the walk of shame to the very back, not my favourite spot to sit, because it gets cold when they open the door.
I wanted to say, ‘Why me and not that guy?’ But then, that guy was moved from his spot to one across the aisle from me. We exchanged sheepish looks and joked about how we were really trying to get our weight under control but it just wasn’t working. The same thing happened to me on an Air Canada flight where I was the only passenger asked to move. You kinda feel picked on at that point.
Another reality-altering moment happened after we’d performed our Community Choir’s spring production of Mary Poppins. My musician billet had returned to Winnipeg, I’d sorted out my neglected house, and was finally in the middle of a decent sleep when I was awakened by the sound of a Banshee. It was haunting…kind of a high-pitched wail that had me bolting out of bed and spinning in every direction. While feeling discombobulated, I also felt proud of myself for not hiding under the covers.
The haunting noise went on and on, and once I realized I was alone in the room, I was able to locate the source of the sound. It came from a dresser drawer, top left. Feeling disoriented (can you blame me?) I bent my head and said, ‘Hello?’ Then I opened the drawer and fell back to earth. My life slid into place…no Banshee…just an old Sony voice recorder I’d used for recording some of my alto parts for the musical.
It had tipped over in the drawer and turned on, but the battery was dying so my very high alto part, not pleasant at the best of times, sounded…well. Like a banshee. I was so mad that I’d woken myself up, I couldn’t even laugh about it until the next day.
Something else I’m up in the air about is how I talk to my outside plants, especially the trees. I do it, but I feel a bit foolish. ‘I’m sorry I chopped off those branches last summer…did I kill you? Try not to die. You were expensive.’ Something along those lines. Or, with a small plant, I might give it a light caress as I pass by, and whisper, ‘I hope your day is going well. How is everyone getting along?’
I figure that plants might be like people. There are those they want to grow next to, and those they’d rather leave behind. It’s a lot like politics, which also leaves me up in the air. I meet people who say the kookiest things on Facebook but discover that they’re kind and helpful to others. It’s discombobulating. Why can’t terrible people wear tee shirts that say, ‘Bad to the Bone,’ to let the rest of us know? But that’s not life.
We’re all a mixed bag, and though we basically want the same things….peace and safety for ourselves, our loved ones,and the world, we all have different ideas of how to get there. I might not like your way, you might not like mine. That’s why being kind is so important. Because, as bad as it is to be a world leader with sinister intentions, its just as bad to be an asshole. That’s another tee shirt people should have to wear. Although wer’e all human and we all take a turn at being that from time to time.
I’m not up in the air about this next part. Let’s be our best selves, even if we don’t vote the same. Even if we don’t have the same belief system. I attend church. You might not. That shouldn’t make me a kook (I go to such a nice church!) and it doesn’t make you any less in God’s eyes. Let’s wish each other well, be grateful for our good lives, and spare a bit of time and money for those who are not as fortunate. It’s pretty simple, after all. And for those of you who, like me, occasionally talk to the trees, here’s a song by Dirty Harry himself. I’m pretty sure he was shocked to find himself in a musical. He’d fit in well in Flin Flon.