So Many Things

Not having a working car is driving me nuts. What happened to me? How did I become so car dependent? Okay okay, I’m not exactly in a convenient location. I mean, I am, where we live is, but the trouble is that school drop-off is at one end of the city, and my work is at the other. I knew when I moved here that I would need a car once school started.

So, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and grumpy.

Schlepping all over the city by bus the week it decides to snow, back with stinking people, rude people, grouchy bus drivers…


There was the woman who sat next to me on the sky train. It took a moment. Then I recognized the scent tickling at the back of my memory. Shalimar. My grandma’s scent. Suddenly I was six, sitting on the end of her bed, watching her pouffe her face with powder, and spritz herself with perfume. I couldn’t help but relax a bit, and smile, enjoying the memory.

After stopping at the chiropractor’s office on Wednesday (did I mention this? He’s done far more for my neck than acupuncture and massage therapy did that’s for sure!) I went grocery shopping. Leif was picking up Cameron, so I was up for groceries. We didn’t need much – milk, yogurt, stuff for beef stroganoff for dinner. I got onto the crowded bus, and with a swoosh and a thump, the handles of the cheap plastic bag I’d used (forgot my fabric ones, don’t yell at me) stretched and broke. I gathered everything up, and held it together with the broken straps. Next to me, on the bench, two women shared smiles. It’s the grocery store’s fault, one said. They should make their bags better, after all, they’re charging for them now! The other joined in. I laughed, and shrugged. Nah, it was my own fault. I’ve got so much stuffed in here it was bound to break, but I took the chance to try to keep it at one bag. The second woman offered me her seat, smiling at me. Don’t worry, she said, I’m off at the next stop. I thanked her, and sat down, balancing the clutched-together bag on my knees. Knees that were soon to be soaked with leaking milk, but oh well. I chatted with the woman next to me, saying, I’ve got two kids at home, six and almost-eight. I have to make myself take responsibility for my own mistakes, to set an example. She laughed, nodding. I know! I’ve got two boys, and it’s the same. Only they’re forty three and forty seven. It never changes. I thanked her as she got off the bus, and told her that she’d given me a great gift – laughter.

Oh, and then there was the bus driver. Young guy, the sort that greets everyone with a smile. Oh hi, he said, grinning as I got on. He looked familiar. How’s your son? Cameron? He held out his hand to roughly the right height. Turned out he remembered us from last summer, when Cameron often rode the bus with me, on his way to summer camp.

Now. Where was I? Oh yeah. Grouching. About my commute.

So today I hadn’t been at work long, and had a list as long as my arm of things I had to accomplish, when I got the call. Hi, I’m calling about Cameron. I’ve got him here in the office, and he’s not feeling very good. He should really go home. All afternoon it was pretty clear that he wasn’t ill at all. I was a little grumbly about it, but he was in such a good mood for the most part, how could I be mad? At dinner I asked him about today, and suggested that if he was sick again on Monday we might have to visit Dr. H. And he might need a shot for whatever is making him sick. His eyes got wide, but he said, So long as it’s Dr.H. He does them fast. Wow, I thought. Maybe he is sick. Testing, I tried, Maybe he’ll need blood work. Cameron’s eyes bugged out. Uh. Mama? You know I’m not really sick, right? I tried to not laugh. Yeah, kid. So, want to tell me what today was about?

He paused a moment, seeming to gather his thoughts.

I just missed you Mama. I wanted to be with you. All morning long, I wanted to be with you. I didn’t want to go out for recess, I didn’t want to play, I just wanted to be with you.

I have ever so many things to be happy about. Small things. Big things. Cameron, Leif, Kate, my whole family, chance encounters with total strangers.


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