My first grade teacher sat down beside me in the church pew, gave me a big hug filled with more than two decades of love and said, “Merry Christmas! It’s so good to have you home for a few days and back at church! Sooo…is there a special someone? When are you getting married? You know, time’s running out if you want to start a family…”
If an air conditioner falls out of a 10th floor window and hits me on the head, like I’ve expected for years now, or if I get distracted looking at John Legend’s Instagram feed and step in front of a bus outside my job on Lexington Avenue: before that happens I really need to figure out who can log into my Gmail and delete all of the 70+ items in the Draft folder. He or she also needs quick access to a) the Notes app on my iPhone and b) a half dozen partially written journals scattered around my apartment. A full scale purge would be in order. Because I write a lot of dumb shit.
(author’s note: this is a word-for-word email I typed to my friends after an awful night. footnotes added after 5 long years of soul-searching and self-reflection. please disregard inappropriate language and content. but this is what decision-making at 27 looks like.)
From: Jessica Scott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 3:30 PM
Subject: listen to this shit
To: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw the tall man in the suit walking towards me from 100 yards away. He was handsome and fit with an edge of intimidating sexiness in that older man, I’ve-got-my-life-totally-together-and-you-don’t kind of way. His eyes were locked on me as he navigated through the crowd of Christmas shoppers grabbing for the cheap stocking stuffers that were arranged near the entrance of the store. I wiped down the counter and arranged the paper cups in a neatly stacked row while I waited for him to reach the counter and place his coffee order. Which would most likely be for a caramel macchiato or maybe a peppermint latte if he was feeling frisky. I’d worked at Starbucks for more than a year – I could sniff out a customer’s order with just one glance.
I’m sitting on my stoop and I’ve got a large iced coffee with milk, a biscotti and The New York Times. My Sunday morning ritual. By far, it’s the part of my week I look forward to the most. The birds are chirping, the kids are playing, the sun is shining, there’s a cool breeze blowing through my ponytail. I’m feeling my heart swell with the goodness and gratitude that only comes in this magnitude on quiet Sunday mornings.
1. “Excuse me, do you have any peanuts in your bag or on your person?” the Delta ticket agent asked me as I handed over my boarding pass. She continued to ask every person in line to ensure that no one was walking around with pants full of Planters. Once we were all stowed and seated and tucked in for our 6 hour flight across the country, the head flight attendant announces over the PA system, “If any of you have peanuts in your luggage – please deplane immediately. We have a customer with a severe food allergy.”
“In college, I was the only female on an all-men’s lacrosse team,” said the woman pouring us drinks behind the bar. Friday night, Mexican restaurant, West 4th street. She wore a grey v-neck t-shirt and black suspenders. She was kind of manly. Okay, very manly. And hilarious. And awesome.
“The funny thing is,” she continued, “my last name is Hoar. Yep sure is. Spelled H-O-A-R. So – I’d be running down the field and all you’d hear is ‘HOAR! HOAR! PASS THE BALL HOAR!’ I can’t make this up.”
I met a Rastafarian at the Broadway-Lafayette station when the F train was delayed for 45 min. He had long grey dreadlocks, wrapped up underneath a torn off sleeve from a faded brown t-shirt. He was wearing a green Brazil shirt in honor of the World Cup that began a day earlier. He told me he was on his way home from Uniqlo in Soho, where he’d bought some clothes for his special lady. Below ground it was humid and smelly and very uncomfortable, and people were so cranky while waiting and waiting and waiting for a train that never arrived.
Today I stumbled across this beautiful, moving letter written by John Steinbeck in 1958. It was sent to his son Thom, who had written to his father earlier, confessing he’d desperately fallen in love with a girl named Susan at school.
It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever read about having patience and trusting in the universe when it comes to your heart. We’ve all been there. Love is invigorating. It is terrifying. And I can think of several people I love who, right now, can benefit from reading such wise words about such a complicated, wonderful subject:
The tiny woman in the tight black Lululemon pants and tighter purple tank top strolled past me entirely too fast for an area with such a small square footage. She counted out six towels from the towel bin and carried them back to her locker. I watched as she spun the lock combination around a few times before revealing another tall stack of towels waiting for her behind door number 77 in the women’s locker room at New York Sports Club on 51st and Lexington Avenue.