Five Words

“Today…”, meaning yesterday, “started out real weird”.

It was barely 2:00 in the afternoon when my most wonderful friend, Mike, squeaked open the door to my favorite hotel cafe. My moments were few and a bowl of turkey noodle soup just arrived. Any lengthy conversation – a usual fare with him – wasn’t going to happen as I needed to be elsewhere at 2:45. So, a short visit. Politics, the weather, and food. These are the facts. Dry, rather uninteresting, tidbits of information.

Unaware of Mike’s future attendance, I assumed a half hour of right index blogging while, simultaneously, left-handedly mastering the art of non-drippy soup tasting. This circus act I’ve done in the past when challenged by time. It is a necessary, arguably life-affirming, skill those of us who can’t settle into one-task-at-a-time groove mastered early in life.

I began … five words with intention: “Today started out real weird.” With two slurps of really good soup, the tap of a napkin to ease slow moving broth escaping down the lower corner of a dry mouth, and a swig of over carbonated Pepsi, my blog for the day was on its way. So I thought. Five words. Then, of course, Mike walked in. Love the guy. No complaints. I’d rather visit with him than write, anyway.

Eighteen hours later, soup well digested and Mike’s conversation with me gone into the clouds of remembrances, I have time to finish. Time to use both hands. It’s 4:00 a.m. No clanging silverware or waitresses bantering about skimming for orders. No Mike. Better moments now, in a way, to look back. A quieter time. Only the hum of the furnace accompanies my words to paint a morning that was … before I opened the glass doors of my favorite cafe yesterday slightly before 2:00.

I’ll look back. Spin the hours. Assume the warp of time-space and finish my thoughts. Five words.

“Today started out real weird. I don’t know why. I know all of us have days like these. If you don’t, there’s a mis-step in your gait somewhere. This is a day to sit. Just sit.

Earlier, I sat … and listened. Well, partially listened. A skill I’m not too fond of doing. Probably better at double souping and texting than lending an ear for my benefit. Having a tendency to be dug-in, aka male trait syndrome, I’m not likely to be wrapped in conversation with someone – over an hour- listening to their advice. Such was the case, however, this morning. It kinda just happened.

These are the unplanned conversations we trip over. Not only trip over, but the top half of our foot gets stuck in the crack of one issue and it takes an hour for us to figure out how to twist our way out. In the process, a good person, standing by our side, isn’t helping the actual problem, but is gently talking us through life. Such is what happens when we don’t watch where we are going. Guys like me …. sometimes. Like today, for example.

I certainly didn’t listen the whole time this morning. There’s a better chance of a powdery Whig party reunion than my complete silence during a conversation. But, I did sit and listen. We talked back and forth. Most certainly an unplanned exchange of ideas, proposals, and hypothesis designed to alter the course of humankind as we know it. Two adults engaged in the highest levels of verbal repartee.

All I know? I was in the process of a one mind-set, mental Lego mansion-building idea of a morning when I stepped on a rogue out-of-the-box block. Initially, it hurt. Not gonna lie. Minutes into the dialogue, pain subsiding, I began to realize happenchances isn’t just a fancy 13 letter word used flippantly to describe mundane events. It is, maybe, a good thing. A great thing. A thing happening by chance bringing joy to life.

Back (mostly) and forth words were exchanged as ideas and thoughts passed through filters of theology, idealism, and reality. Personal histories folded into current events while present ideas projected hope onto screens of future unsurety. Seventy-five minutes of this-and-that. Almost 1-1/2 hours of words causing me to miss an ugly friends 🤣 meet-up breakfast meeting in the very cafe I now sit.

They probably didn’t miss me, my sarcasm, or eloquence. No worries of any retribution either because none of them, fortunately, read this blog. I’ve enjoyed this time. Soup wonderful as always and the company of myself solitarily, texturally complete, I end as I began … All of us have days like these.”

All this to say I’m happy for three reasons. One, the Whig party is no more. Two, unplanned conversations can be a wonderful, inviting experience if we’re open to them … and willing to, uhm, listen. And, three, I’m so glad I have friends. Friends who interrupt texts at 2 pm on a Wednesday …. and friends who take time to talk with me when my day starts out real weird.

Keep those humans in your life if you have them. They’re the weird ones that will always be here for you.

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