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March 3, 2010

Tonight, after work, I went shopping.  Somewhere between the wool slacks and the round-toe pumps, I had one of those moment of perspective that I do not pause to have frequently enough.

I was looking for a couple of specific things — work clothes, mostly, as I am no longer allowed to dress like a bum on a daily basis — but I wasn’t in any real rush.  It was the kind of store that has precise stacks of sweaters laid out on polished tabletops, a cashmere checkerboard of lavender, taupe and dove grey.  I picked out a few things to try on, and just as my arms were getting full, a saleswoman materialized to carry everything for me.  In the dressing room, sparkling with mirrors, I pulled things on slowly.  Took my time.  The saleswoman came back, just when I was thinking it would be nice if she would, to bring me a different size.  The store was cold, really cold, and it made everything, even the fabric of the clothes, feel crisp.

Does it ever strike you, the incredible luxury that you live in?  The lucky number that you drew, just by being born in your particular time and place?  I’m several reincarnations away from being Brooke Astor.  But here I am, with hours on my hands, able to drive down the street to the mall on a Tuesday night and look at the pretty things.  If there’s something that strikes my fancy (and it’s on the sale rack), I can buy it.  There is air conditioning, and everything is glazed with light.  I’m not hungry; I’m not sick; my worries are mostly of the manageable kind.  At times like this, my life feels so undeservedly easy.

It’s the same feeling that I had a few weeks ago, one sunny Friday, when I was out on my lunch break running errands.  There’s a McDonalds just a few doors down from my office, and on a whim I pulled into the drive-through,  thinking of something sweet.  Their drive-through is the old-fashioned kind, where you pay at the first window and get your food at the second.  So I paid, and as I was pulling forward, a hand appeared out the second window ahead of me, balancing one perfect ice cream cone.  Just at that moment, it seemed like a sort of magic trick.

And I thought, you know, it is a damn fine world I am allowed to live in, where all you have to do is pay 95 cents, and someone will hand you a perfectly coiled ice cream cone to enjoy on a breezy Friday.

Too often, I forget.  Buy the slacks, and have the ice cream.  But be grateful, be grateful, be grateful.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bryan Farris permalink
    March 3, 2010 1:42 am

    Yes! Be grateful…AND do something to help those who aren’t so lucky.

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