Saturday afternoon

My evening plans have changed but I’m flexible. I figured it was an excuse to go to one of my coffee haunts and get some writing done. I haven’t written much lately, my commitment to write something twice a week blew up the first week. It’s like my mind rebels the moment I set an expectation. I’m not an artistic or creative person by nature, my stories just appear out of nowhere. This is an exercise called “write whatever comes into your mind until something someone actually wants to read shows up.” So … enjoy?

This morning I woke up and stretched and immediately realized two things. One was that my water bottle lid was not tight and at some point during the night it had fallen onto my bed. My mattress was a little wet which I don’t have to tell you was a little disturbing until I located the culprit. The other thing I realized is when I stretched I had no spasm, no pain. “What no pain?” you say with an entertained chuckle and a smug eye roll. YES no emefing pain! I can’t remember the last time I actually woke up and was able to stretch without thinking about it. I found a new doctor and although it’s kind of soon to tell I really think this might be the beginning of a really beautiful friendship. Oh that reminds me gotta send the info to my friend be right back……

Okay thanks for waiting. I know you didn’t have to wait I’m just feeling kind of silly today. Speaking of my friend I have to share this with you. I’m forty nine years old (just) and in the last few years I have met some of the neatest people. I have made some really good new friends and renewed some old ones. There is something to be said for old friends. They know you best and they’ve seen you at your worst but they still want you in their lives. That’s pretty special. I have not always been the best person (I know I know shocking) but I do try my very hardest most of the time. I have to say though, my friends old and not so old aren’t afraid to put me in check if I’m out of line and although I might resent the hell out of it at the time I do eventually appreciate it…. sort of …

Anyway, I digress but then what else is new right? Today I met a new friend for lunch in Clayton and then after we went to catch a movie. “The Family” not great but good, just good. It has Quinn from “Glee” in it and she’s really hard not to look at isn’t she? She is ethereal. I don’t know her real name and don’t want to stop the flow by looking it up and anyway if I did you wouldn’t know who I was talking about anyway so :::taking a breath::: “Quinn” played Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer’s daughter. I’m a preview geek, I love to get there early and watch the trailers for the movies that are coming out. Oh I did it again, wow I really am all over the place aren’t I? In this coffee shop I’m in there is this song that I LOVE. “I missed you more than I missed you before and where I’ll find comfort God knows because you left me just when I needed you most”. It used to make me cry when I was a big old sap … or … yesterday. SO back to my story. Are you still with me or are you googling Randy Van Warmer? HA! Surprised I knew the artist’s name? Well don’t be, I looked it up. Shhh a little secret, I know so much about random stuff because (a) I’m a Przyzycki and that’s kind of our stock in trade and (b) I read a lot. Okay enough nonsense back to the story! We met for lunch at Protzel’s Deli in Clayton (thank you Andy) today and had lunch outside with the flies. The best, and I mean it too, BEST Reuben Sandwich I have ever eaten in my life but it’s not just the sandwich, it’s the feel of the place and the story behind it. I’ll tell you the story in a minute. We had our Reuben’s and slaw and pickles and Fitz’s bottled sodas (yes that’s right don’t hate) and then we decided to go catch a movie. I met my new friend at a craft class and we just hit it off. I decided then and there that I wanted to get to know this lady better and she was game so we immediately facebooked each other. I’ve heard that’s a verb now.

Anyway, all kidding aside, how cool is it that at our ages we were able to meet and talk and become acquaintances. I like this lady, she’s no nonsense and smart and those are good qualities. I have always envied the ability of children to make instant friends. Any parent or caregiver who has ever taken a child to a strange playground or McDonald’s playpit can attest to this. At first they are reluctant to enter the domain of the children who are already there but they can’t resist the smelly primary colored plastic play equipment so they venture in putting one toe in literally and figuratively ostensibly intensely interested in what is happening around said toe but really and plaintively looking up through a fringe of hair at the little girl or boy just their age who has just jumped from the monkey bars. Seemingly seconds later your charge is running back to you, arms pumping with a huge smile on his or her face smelling of wet dog and introduces you to his/her new best friend. You smile at the children and say “It’s nice to meet you Josh” and off they run arms around each other to another adventure in the sandpit at the bottom of the slide. When do lose our ability to do that?

When do we put up the walls? I daresay that women learn it earlier than men. Girls are just mean little things and it starts much earlier than I remember. My daughter wasn’t a mean girl, or at least I don’t think she was. We moved in kind of a formative year to a new part of town and she had some trouble adapting and I maybe caused some collateral damage in my attempt to get her into a better school district. Girls were a little mean to her but she came through it alright. She made some good lasting friendships that she still cherishes today.

Which really brings me back to my first point. Old friends. Now I’m not talking about the acquaintances here, I’m talking about the real live honest to goodness skin and bones no holds barred friends who have been in the trenches with you. I have one friend who I have known since Kindergarten. We met when we were little and then lost touch until some years ago when her Mom passed away. I loved her Mom, she was wicked funny and there was no way that me and my Mom were going to miss her visitation. So we became reacquainted after her mother passed and have not lost touch since. She’s a treasure and she doesn’t even know it. She keeps me grounded and she makes me laugh and she doesn’t let me feel sorry for myself. I have another friend I met in high school who has been my rock, my very best friend in the world until we are old and crabby and beyond. Man, I don’t know what I would have done without her. We have never lost touch completely although there have been some somewhat large gaps between conversations. We raised our girls together and we grew up together and learned how hard life can be and how important it is to have people who know you … the real you … to get through the worst of it. They are family. I have friends I met through work or through their ex-husbands that have become integral to my life. I love them to death, I love their children, we give each other advice and we cry together and sometimes we fight but most of the time we don’t. These people are so important to me and I love them to pieces.

Friendships are important to me. Too important? I don’t know maybe. I’ve been hurt by friends in the past and I share the blame but it’s still hard to lose someone you felt that friendship connection with. I’m a pain in the ass sometimes, I know that. I try to temper it with humor and earnestness and genuine, honest affection but occasionally my impulsive, irrational, insecure side rears it’s ugly head. What can I say? I’m flawed but I am a work in progress.

I have to tell you that this is the hardest thing, not going back to edit this but it’s part of the exercise. I’m just supposed to type what I’m thinking and it’s supposed to get the creative juices flowing. I’m kind of a perfectionist and it is causing me near physical pain not to go back and check spelling, grammar and punctuation. I’m going to do it though because I need to open my mind up so I can bring my imagination back to life.

That’s another thing I envy about children. I know that searching for monsters under the bed every night or convincing them every single time that there is no shark in the deep end of the pool can be exhausting but really how COOL is that? I love to watch a child’s face when he is telling a story and making it up as he goes along. They are so animated and beautiful in their exploration of their world and the foray into the imaginary one they envision in their heads. Bedtime when Anne Marie was a toddler was my favorite time. She would be all clean smelling and damp from her bath and we would snuggle in her bed and she would read to me. Even before she knew how to read she would sit with the big book of Nursery Rhymes my Dad gave me about a hundred years ago and she would make up the story. Her little finger with the tiny pink translucent fingernail would run under the words and her long damp blonde curls would trail on the book as she concentrated on the words she imagined in her head. I would just sit with my back against the wall and marvel at her amazing mind. I will probably give her that book to read to her children someday if I can stand to part from it and the memories it holds.

I remember throwing a birthday party for her tenth birthday. We invited seven girls and they spent the night. We made homemade Chef Boyardee pizzas and iced our own cupcakes and made a huge mess. At some point during the rolling of the pizza dough someone started a flour fight. Oh my heavens I had flour everywhere!! I had to clean it out of the VCR in the living room! They had fun though, or at least I hope they did. Being a child is about adventure and imagination and fun.

I love kids, bet you couldn’t tell! It doesn’t matter how young or old they are kids are fascinating and fun and excellent people to have around. Who of us has not uttered the words “From the mouths of babes” shortly after being pulled up short by some fount of wisdom spewing forth from a child we know? I sometimes think if life had been different for me I would have loved being a foster mother but then I remember that you have to let those children go and I’m not sure how I could have done that. I know a man, an acquaintance, who was a foster father for a lot of children over the years and I am in awe of him, honestly. It must have been so difficult to send those kids back out there. I remember a foster mother telling me that the toughest ones were the ones that were put back into the custody of the people they were taken away from. You really want the best for the children and you want it to be okay but statistically you know it probably won’t be and that is complicated and frustrating and frightening.

Woohoo I just stretched and no spasms! Need a coffee refill be right back.

Yeah I know that’s silly we’ve already gone over that right?

I am having a really nice day today. The weather is amazing and I’m taking advantage of it as much as possible. Well I was but I just moved inside the coffee shop while I was getting a refill because a fly was driving me nuts. I read somewhere that if you hang bags of pennies around then the flies won’t come. My Mom said it’s true. Maybe I should suggest that to the people here at the coffee shop. I think they already think I’m the crazy lady. I come here and type 60 WPM while talking to myself and singing off key to their AWESOME TUNES and whistling softly to myself when I don’t know the words. I think if I ever looked up from this thing I would catch every other patron in the place looking at me with amusement or revulsion depending on how they perceive me. Am I quirky or crazy? Personally I’d rather be quirky although crazy might have it’s advantages. Man am I glad my plans changed. I’m not hungry although I feel like I could run a half marathon after the three cups of java mocha (omg so good) with a splash of half and half and half a stevia packet. If my plans hadn’t changed this evening I would not be sitting here debating on whether I should have dinner here or go somewhere else. They have pretty good food here but my friend in Chicago and I were talking about Ranoush the other night and that sounds pretty good too. Nah, too far to drive and it’s not as much fun sitting on the Delmar Strip and people watching by oneself.

My cousins and I are going to a place where you drink wine and paint on canvas! How fun does that sound? I’m hoping my sister can come too although she’s a pretty amazing artist herself so it might not be as much fun for her as for us novices. I’ve never painted anything although I have taken some drawing classes and do okay there. I like to draw sculptures of people. I can’t draw real people because they move and that throws me off. Sculptures just sit there and they’re there when you go back again. I particularly love Grecian sculpture. The women are soft and feminine and the men are strong and fierce. I am a huge fan of Degas. He loved painting and sculpting the female form and did so voraciously. There is a sculpture at the Art Museum called “The Little Dancer” that I have been trying to draw for years. Well I was but I haven’t been back in a while. There’s also a sculpture of a family playing at Missouri Botanicals that I love to draw. My mother is an artist. She draws so incredibly well and her drawings are fluid and real. My sister as I said above is a painter. She also could be a chef, she has the knack for what goes well together and melds flavors and textures so well. My brother Tom is also an amazing cook although he won’t admit it. He is meticulous and thorough and dedicated to what he is preparing and the end result is nearly always the best you’ve ever had. My brother Michael is a carpenter. He creates the most stunning woodwork. He had a workshop set up at his old house but he moved and doesn’t have the space for it where he is now. My daughter is a wordsmith. I am in awe of her talent and can’t get enough of it. I know she’s my daughter and I’m going to be biased but trust me when I tell you that she is a brilliant writer. She has a great eye for what looks good and I daresay if she had any interest in it she could draw or paint as well. She drew beautifully when she was little.

“You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon is on now. I know right? Awesome tunes! There is a man drumming the tune on the table behind me and it’s slightly annoying but I will let it pass since he has had to listen to my off tune singing/humming/whistling for the last hour or more. Coffee shop people. What can I say? We are a loving and tolerant lot.

OH yeah the story about Protzel’s Rueben Sandwiches! I almost forgot! So it was opened in the 1950s by the current owners’ grandparents. One day an older deli owner came into the shop and pulled the young Protzel aside and told him he was getting ready to retire and he wanted to pass his recipe for the best corned beef over to someone young and eager. The older man gave the younger man his recipe with the understanding that when he was ready to retire he would pass it along to another young eager Deli owner. A tradition was born. How cool is that? I’m so not kidding if you haven’t tried it you need to go because the Rueben is phenomenal.

I had to park in the second parking lot today because the lot at the side of the building was full. Oddly there was hardly anyone in here so I guess those cars belonged to people who live in the apartments adjacent to the shop. I love coming here. Panera is cool because I can tuck myself in the corner and write (or not) for hours and no one disturbs me but there is something comforting and homey about coming to an independently owned coffee shop and tucking away on the rickety wooden chairs and tracing the scarred wooden tables with your fingernail while you desperately search your mind for a story idea. I do feel like my brain has “warmed up” now actually and I haven’t stopped typing once to surf the web or check facebook. It’s nice to have a flow going. Now I think I’ll end this particular post and focus on creating a piece of fantasy fiction. Wish me luck! If it’s good I might even let you read it.

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3 Responses to Saturday afternoon

  1. Debbie says:

    I love reading your work. Thanks for posting this. I hope I pass as one of your old friends. Have a great Sunday.

  2. Kat Lawson says:

    Too complicated to sign in and simply say, “LIKE”. Great flow of thought. I love your sincerity.

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