Never on a Saturday

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Stepping into the bank as the sliding doors opened I saw this reptilian line of customers and silently mouthed  “S..t”!

Positioning myself at the tail end of it and being temporarily idle, I observed  that every now and then when the sliding doors opened , the next unsuspecting customer would step in, stop and audibly say something like “Oh no”, “Give me a ….ing break”,  “Whaaat?” or simply “F…!” with a slap on the forehead.   Also a very Tall Man with Sunglasses on (TMWS) , about four customers down from me, would punctuate the silence with a loud “Ohhhhh” which startled everyone the first time and then just became part of the scene.

You can be anywhere in the world and this trying situation brings out strange responses from the people involved.     Standing in a long bank line, 20 people deep,  waiting  hopefully until you reach one of the two tellers at the window has got to be a lesson in patience , and fighting a growing impulse to believe that they are purposely dragging their tails.

The lady in front of me vowed    “Never again on a Saturday .  I should’ve known from last time”.  But what did I know?  I usually went on a weekday in the late afternoon.  Engaging in a conversation with her I learned the tips of painlessly depositing your cheques.  She was happy to educate me .  “I usually do my depositing through a bank app on my phone. “ She proceeded to list the steps and it seemed logical to me…except what did she do with the actual cheque?  “I keep it with me and note the confirmation number I get after the transaction is over.”  Somehow to me it was not as reassuring as watching the teller physically taking the cheque from me to deposit.

Lady in Tweed Coat jumped into our conversation and said “That is why I hate this bank!”  She obviously had a story to tell.  When she went up to the teller, the conversation went something like this. “I need to have such and such happen and the lady who is here during the week told me thus and so.”  “Well” said the teller, “You have to come back when she is here.”  LITC was livid.  “Oh, so I have to come back next week to speak with her because she is the only one who can help me in this entire branch!!  You know what?  That is why I hate to bank with you especially with this kind of money involved.”  All eyes are now on LITC.  What kind of money is she talking about?!  Looks of awe are shot her way.  Maybe she is someone important…   Just then TMWS decided to break the silence with a loud “Ohhh”.

I had just inched to the front of the line now and had a smug feeling I would be out of here soon.  Felt sorry for the others behind me.  Just then, the female teller shut her window, displayed the “CLOSED” sign and with the 50th flick of her hair, which was totally covering her left eye,  and walked off with heels clicking.  She dared not look at us because tempers were being held in check and she sensed a mutiny.  After 15 minutes she returned and I was next .   I held down my frustration, got the cheques deposited and swore to myself “Never again on a Saturday”.

 

 

 

 

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Opaque ( Daily Prompt)

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We were on a family trip to Napa Valley, California and after touring that beautiful wine country we did the round-trip on the Skunk Train and were heading back to Los Angeles by car.

My sister-in-law loves board games and brought some along to pass some time in the car. She introduced me to a new one called “Mastermind”.   If you are not familiar with it here’s how it goes.  She would set up 4 different colored marbles in a certain order behind an opaque divider.  Then I had to guess the order of the marbles she had set up according to color, i.e. blue, green, yellow, red .

After a few wrong guesses on both our parts I realized that when the sun hit the car from a certain angle, I was vaguely able to see the colors in a hazy fashion through the opaque divider.  I was on to something!  Since I was getting a little bored in the car, I decided to make it interesting…for me, not for her!  I also have to admit to having some psychic prowess (hit and miss variety) of which she was aware so I started making these predictions about the color order of the marbles stating every once in a while “Wow, I think I’m feeling psychic!”

She was impressed and for the next 3 – 4 years she spread the word about that incident!  Until one Christmas Eve when everyone was warmed and happy with the wine we played a game of “Confession”.  You guessed it … my Mastermind game with the opaque divider on that trip was my confession.  Someone was not happy!  Mea Culpa.

 

 

 

 

 

Connections

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March 16 … was feeling depressed.  I note the date, realizing it is the anniversary of my mother passing away.  No wonder.  I am sure that my two sisters are experiencing this too.  We mourn her absence in different ways that are meaningful and special to each of us.  I remember her by lighting a candle near her photograph, put a flower from my garden in a vase and light an incense stick.  For many years I relived the moment when I heard of her passing suddenly in India …  I was in the U.S.A.   In more recent years I recount the close and happy times, our last conversation and the times we laughed and joked together.

At one time each of our umbilical cords, my sisters’ and mine,  were connected at different periods to the lady who carried us for a total of twenty-seven months between the three of us.  At each birth these cords were physically cut but remain connected yet to her and to each other.  We shared the same womb at different times and left it through the same place to enter the world.  We three know the same space, the quiet and hush of sloshing fluid which sustained us for nine months.  These cords have been stressed and tight sometimes but the tension collapses over and over again to bring us even closer. That is what she would have wanted and we feel each time that we have not failed her faith in us.

We miss her but lately I found solace in a beautiful passage in a book “Nothing Special” by Charlotte Joko Beck.  The essence of our mother lives on.

“We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life.  
In flowing forward, a river or stream may hit rocks, branches, or irregularities in the ground, causing whirlpools to spring up spontaneously here and there. Water entering one whirlpool quickly passes through and rejoins the river, eventually joining another whirlpool and moving on. Though for short periods it seems to be distinguishable as a separate event, the water in the whirlpools is just the river itself. The stability of a whirlpool is only temporary. The energy of the river of life forms living things—a human being, a cat or dog, trees and plants—then what held the whirlpool in place is itself altered, and the whirlpool is swept away, reentering the larger flow. The energy that was a particular whirlpool fades out and the water passes on, perhaps to be caught again and turned for a moment into another whirlpool.

 

Connections

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March 16 … was feeling depressed.  I note the date, realizing it is the anniversary of my mother passing away.  No wonder.  I am sure that my two sisters are experiencing this too.  We mourn her absence in different ways that are meaningful and special to each of us.  I remember her by lighting a candle near her photograph, put a flower from my garden in a vase and light an incense stick.  For many years I relived the moment when I heard of her passing suddenly in India …  I was in the U.S.A.   In more recent years I recount the close and happy times, our last conversation and the times we laughed and joked together.

At one time each of our umbilical cords, my sisters’ and mine,  were connected at different periods to the lady who carried us for a total of twenty-seven months between the three of us.  At each birth these cords were physically cut but remain connected yet to her and to each other.  We shared the same womb at different times and left it through the same place to enter the world.  We three know the same space, the quiet and hush of sloshing fluid which sustained us for nine months.  These cords have been stressed and tight sometimes but the tension collapses over and over again to bring us even closer. That is what she would have wanted and we feel each time that we have not failed her faith in us.

We miss her but lately I found solace in a beautiful passage in a book “Nothing Special” by Charlotte Joko Beck.  The essence of our mother lives on.

“We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life.  
In flowing forward, a river or stream may hit rocks, branches, or irregularities in the ground, causing whirlpools to spring up spontaneously here and there. Water entering one whirlpool quickly passes through and rejoins the river, eventually joining another whirlpool and moving on. Though for short periods it seems to be distinguishable as a separate event, the water in the whirlpools is just the river itself. The stability of a whirlpool is only temporary. The energy of the river of life forms living things—a human being, a cat or dog, trees and plants—then what held the whirlpool in place is itself altered, and the whirlpool is swept away, reentering the larger flow. The energy that was a particular whirlpool fades out and the water passes on, perhaps to be caught again and turned for a moment into another whirlpool.

 

Why do you write?

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An exercise at the end of the first chapter of a book entitled Writing Creative Non-Fiction required me to answer this question – Why do you write?  My then handwritten response to that question in my journal is produced below.

I express myself best through the written word.  I write when there is an unceasing flow of thoughts.  Many times I want to write at moments which are not really conducive to writing … in the shower, in the car … for it is then that my mind is free and deep thoughts come flooding in.  Despite capturing those moments later on the page I found that the essence was weaker … the intensity of the moment was gone.

I write when I feel the words are too many to carry inside and need to spill out on the page, thus making room inside me for more to come in … like Feng Shui the space is cleared and the energy flows.

I write to share my thoughts.  I write to thank when I really mean it.  I write to console when someone’s loss resonates so deeply within that I need to speak through my felt pain which connects us for one timeless moment.

I also like to write I am angry.  It helps to sort my emotions.  Years later I get to read and savor these rantings and wonder where I was at that past point in my life, what has changed, how I’ve changed (hopefully for the better).  I write because when I read my old journals I notice the rare depths I experienced in those jottings of long ago.  At times I laugh at my past naivete and childlike nature which was yet untainted by life’s sometimes tough experiences.

I love the feeling of a smooth pen nib on paper, the swirls and formations of writing that are physical interpretations of my nebulous thoughts.  I like to write because our written words become a part of a record, perhaps casting light on situations shared by us all.  I like to write because it is an act of creation.

My deepest connection with any human being would be through my writing.  It would be only for that person and for one moment in time that special feeling would be worth it, for the words, content and delivery are unique to that person alone and I am not afraid then to speak with my soul because the words are unfiltered.  It is pristine because that’s just what it is … without a thought to diction, tone or volume.

I connect through writing.

Pattern

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via Daily Prompt: Pattern

Right off the bat an image of my dear mother appeared.  One line of purl, one line of plain stitches or variations on the number of lines of purls and plains….her knitting needles clicking away, while she would deftly insert the needle over the previous stitch or under the stitch, without glancing down and carrying on a conversation all the while.

From the first casting on of stitches which looked awkward and showed no promise of the finished garment, to the final row when the pattern was revealed was a labor of love. There was the basket weave pattern, the cable stitch pattern, the chevron pattern …she knitted them all.

 

 

Nuance-a subtle difference in shade

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I first learned about nuances in shading when I took sketching classes.  My teacher Tim would stand behind each of us and suggest squinting to observe the subtle shades of black and grey in the sketch we were copying.

There were the darkest areas, easy to observe.  Within each dark area were medium and light shades, almost fading to a grey white.  I got lost in these nuances of color , alternately keeping my eyes wide open and squinting to catch the subtlety of the shades.

I remember thinking about life and how nothing is really black and white or even grey for that matter.  Everything seems to be shaded, nothing carved in stone.  As I stood back and looked at my sketch Tim came over and said “Frame that one”.  It was satisfying on both the level of accomplishment as well as embracing life as it is … nuanced.