Each Wednesday (or thereabouts) I’ve been recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the previous week using these tag words: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing. Sometimes I mix up the order, just to keep you on your toes.
Care to join me?
No time for reading this past week—I was too busy responding to life’s curve balls.
I’m starting research for an article and retyping an old manuscript.
It’s easy to think I can’t do something, especially when the task falls outside my skill set and life experience.
When called upon, however—when the need arises or duty calls—I’m discovering I can do far more than I think I can.
If you need someone to staunch a wound, for example, just call me. I have experience.
(There’s a story behind this, of course, but I’m not at liberty to share details. Sorry.)
I stood in a line at the post office, holding an envelope that needed to be weighed. While estimating how long it would take that one lone clerk to process the people’s packages in front of me, I glanced back at the long row of men and women behind me, their faces and stances exhibiting various states of anxiety. They repositioned boxes and fidgeted with padded envelopes. In front of me, people inched forward as the calm, methodical clerk called them up, one by one. To avoid eye contact with any of these strangers, I fiddled with my phone. No need to make someone uncomfortable. Besides, I just wanted to run my errand and get back home.
As we inched forward, the two women in front of me struck up a conversation, chatting about their work. June, directly in front of me, a retired teacher, described a book she was writing. The other woman, Kelly, said she worked at a school for kids with Asperger’s. Kelly complained about her tight shoulders.
“It’s from hunching over a computer all day,” she explained. “I’m the school receptionist. I love it, but it’s tiring.”
June plopped her box and padded mailer on the counter, then reached over and began massaging Kelly’s shoulders, explaining she’d traveled to South America and trained under a well-known massage therapist and knew proper technique to release tension. Kelly grinned and accepted this spontaneous gift from a stranger.
Soon, the clerk at the counter motioned for Kelly to come on up. June grabbed a scrap of paper and scribbled out her name and number. “I can teach you an exercise that will transform your body and keep you from holding in all that stress.”
“Thanks!” Kelly didn’t commit to following up, but took the paper and tucked it into her purse.
“Call me,” June said. “Seriously. Call me and I’ll meet you to show you that move. You can do it anywhere—while you’re outside on a walk or on the dance floor. It’ll transform you.”
“Sounds great,” Kelly said as she left, waving goodbye. June scooped up her packages and took Kelly’s place at the front counter.
I stood there, next in line, marveling at how quickly two strangers transformed from nameless faces to two very real people. I looked down at my package and wondered how many people yearned to be known, and how many preferred to be left alone.
I glanced back at the line again. A woman caught my eye and shook her head. I didn’t know if she was communicating frustration over the long wait or astonishment over the exchange between Kelly and June.
I smiled and nodded, then turned back to the post office clerk. He was motioning for me to come up; soon I’d be back in my car, driving home.
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