I’m in St. Louis, Shakey Graves in the car’s CD player and my son at the wheel. Questions about my life remain unanswered but right now the air is cool, the signal is strong, and I just took a couple of Tylenol for my headache.
We’ve seen a cousin, a friend and my sister. I’ve listened to the cars on the highway, and the stories at the dinner table. I’ve broused the half-off sweaters at Value Village and talked about the orange freezes from Steak n Shake that our mother loved so well. My sister found a Baby First Steps from 1964 for $2.10 and I found a pair of jeans for $7.00. We feel pretty good about the value, the smiles, the hugs, and the caramel apples that I got as a side at breakfast.
At dinner last night, we talked of my quest to move away from the state of complaining. My friend, the Puma, a strong and steady woman, thinks some things merit complaint. She tells a story of a company whose customer service people sent her time and again to an extension that was out of order, “this number no longer in service”, followed by the sound of a dial tone. She’s ready to call the CEO and scream. I tell her about my own experiences with an insurance company, and how I tried to remain calm. My son observes that I’ve just traded complaint for passive-aggression, and maybe I have. I can’t say which is worse.
I’m striving for kindness. Even if something needs to be changed, the request can be made in considerate tones. I haven’t quite gotten it all figured out, but I’ve still got more than eight months in this journey. And a lifetime to live what I learn.
We just crossed the bridge. Clouds gather in the sky. The Tylenol is taking hold, and the music no longer jangles my nerves. My breathing slows. A hawk swoops across the highway; and in the distance, I see a low-flying plane, moving towards the south. As it passes, I wonder where it’s bound, and if those aboard are finding their own way home.