I have three little stories today, which have no real significance other than they have served to remind me that when traveling, being flexible and expecting the unexpected is the best policy, and above all, to be thankful for what I have.
Yesterday morning I noticed a very odd thing: one of my running shoes and one of my friend’s Birkenstocks were missing from where they had been lined up neatly, if a bit muddy, on the garden patio the evening before. Their lovely garden is surround by a high fence with a locked gate at the back. I wondered if it could be the neighborhood teenagers who sometimes take a short cut along the top of the garden wall to get to the road on the other side, thinking it would be hysterically funny to steal people’s single shoes, thereby rendering the other useless. But that would have been some serious trespassing. I wondered about Bohmar, the family dog, though he has as little interest in shoes as a trip to the vet. Squirrels? I was flummoxed. I finally noticed one of the sandals in the neighbor’s gardens, shredded. I went round to knock on their door.
A very little old lady cracked the door, one eye peering out. I explained the situation. “Ahhh, foxes no doubt. Come in, dear.” And I was led through the house to their garden to collect the tattered shoe and look, hopelessly, for my lost and expensive running shoe. Damn foxes. In the Midwest, our neighborhood animals to contend with tend to be limited to raccoons and deer. It had never occurred to me that my shoes left outside would be in danger from urban foxes. It’s the unexpected which gets you every time, which brings me to my second story.
The other day I was jogging, trotting really, in my own world, on my way to my real run in Regents park at which point I was vowing to start sprinting majestically around the sport pitches, impressing no one in particular with my athletic prowess. Having just had the power in our flat go out an hour before, I was running along and thinking to myself, ‘you have to remember that life interrupts sometimes and you just have to go with the flow’ which is precisely when I heard a scream and looked up to see a cyclist knocked off her bike in the middle of the roundabout. The bike was halfway under the car and she was hopping around screaming and holding her leg, more in shock and upset, than seriously hurt, luckily. I helped her to the curb with her bike and tried to calm her down. As things settled and she and the driver exchanged heated details, I resumed my jog, still struck by the incredible synchronicity of the moment and wondered what exactly ‘The Universe’ was trying to tell me?
My third and final story for the day is that as I write this, sitting at a tapas bar in the middle of a crowded mall in west London, I am forced to listen to a God awful date the couple next to me is carrying on. The guy is being an incredible tool and boasting about his money-making prowess, his dedication to charity (“I’ve set up two orphanages in the Philippines”), and why he doesn’t have time to call her despite his two mobile phones sitting on the bar. She is commensurately simpering, apologizing for herself and to him every time he says something particularly inane, which is every 2 ½ minutes at a stretch, and I’m sitting there, wondering if they might thank me later if I just leaned over and said “Look folks, pack it in, this relationship is going NOwhere!” But instead I sip my wine and write. Finally, they get up to leave and as they go I cast them a long, well deserved stare. As it turns out, I was not the only one repulsed by their date, the women sitting on the other side of them did the same as me and we caught each other’s eyes in one of those ‘Heaven help us’ moments. It was worth the price of admission as we confessed we were all thinking the same thing the whole interminable 20 minutes and had a very good laugh about it. Circling back to my earlier post about the discomfort of dining alone, I was suddenly so very thankful I am just me and happy in myself, most of the time anyway, and I’d do anything sooner than opt for that train wreck of a date or relationship. Perspective is everything.
writer-director-actress, author, improviser, mother, traveler, digital nomad