I was looking at cookies and glanced up as someone was approaching and I just got that feeling. So I turned around in the other direction and became engrossed with chips. But. I heard the voice anyway. Still halfway down the aisle. I didn't look up and it was repeated more loudly.
"You'd be happy if you were wearing roller blades!"I looked up to see a tall thin figure dressed in green t shirt and shorts, tennis shoes and a fedora. Just being friendly? The figure was adjacent to me now and I recognized what I was dealing with. Missing teeth. Sun baked skin. Worn about the edges. The voice just so slightly slurred though the jaunty walk was still stable. Someone must have given him a couple bucks and he missed the beer aisle by one. It's best to keep it short but not be rude. Besides my first thought was, "He's right. I probably would be happy if I was wearing roller blades." So, I said so, and turned back to the chips hoping he would move along, but no, he was in full swing.
"You know, if you never grow up you never get old."I looked up again at the head to toe green and narrow fedora. Peter Pan?
I gave a quick smile but in that instant I recognized all. There is some truth in this statement as well. Being young at heart can lighten your life. Sometimes I get tired of being a grown up and lately I have been very tired of being a grownup. But I do what I have to do. This person was right about keeping sight of the lighthearted. He was also a lesson in what can happen to life when you run away from reality. He grinned with the brown stumps of a few teeth still left to him.
"Really, he said, I'm forty five and look", He tipped his hat and lowered his head to show a balding top like I would be shocked to find that he wasn't really twelve.
He said, "It's mostly doorways. And ceiling fans. Not so much the ceiling fans but the doorways"....he was losing track of his train of thought.
This poor man was exactly my age. He wasn't showing any signs of moving on having captured an audience, so I said, "ok, well you have a good day," and turned away to walk in the opposite direction. I thought I heard a mumbled, "run away, everyone always running away from me." Sad. It was sad.
But as I moved through the store away from Never Never Land and back to the Real World I took stock. Yeah, things are hard. Sometimes it makes me weary that everyone is running 'toward me.' For support. For answers. For accountability. For clean laundry....
Thank God. Otherwise what might my life be? It's all in how you view it, isn't it?
I felt pretty happy pushing that cart around the store. It felt light as a feather and seemed to glide with no effort along the floor. Because in my heart...
I was wearing roller blades.
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