Thursday, October 11, 2012

the universe has got tricks.

The other day I went for a walk to the park to do a little reading and writing. This is not uncommon. First, I went to the trendy, super intimidating coffee shop to get a beverage. I thought I was being super innovative when I ordered half hot chocolate, half coffee. Turns out that's called a mocha or something and I'm just an idiot. Whatever, I'm honestly proud of myself for not crumbling over the intense anxiety that comes from not being a coffee connoisseur whatsoever and patronizing establishments where that seems to be the norm.

The coffee part is totally irrelevant.

So anyway, I walk my happy ass to the park and I compose not one, but TWO, potentially award-winning emails to dear friends. And I'm taking in the afternoon light and I'm breathing the air in really deep and really realizing how much I love Saturday afternoons before the Saturday night transition comes and changes the energy in the air. I am so content. Then it starts to get really cold and dark and my fingers start getting really stiff from the chilly air, so I head back home, which isn't super far, but you know, it's a walk. A several block walk.

And I walk up the sidewalk and mount the stairs to my lovely brick apartment building, so ready to take a pee and take a load off- and I suddenly no longer have my keys. And I suddenly have no clue when I saw them last.

So I start rifling through my bag and I eventually just empty the whole thing out and now it's starting to actually be dark out and it is at that moment that I also realize I have no cell phone either. In fact, I am a mess. I have a full bladder, no keys, and no cell phone.

And suddenly, for the very first time since I moved here, Missoula, Montana seemed like something other than this sleepy, funky, little town. It seemed like just another place that can be cold and impersonal and unbelievably big during desperate moments of need. It was a moment. Just one of those moments the universe stores up to say "Slow down, girl," or, "Catch your breath," or "Maybe you need a new perspective, just for a minute. Just so you know you're not dreaming."

And so in my mind, I started mapping out my options. Places I could go. People I could find to help me. And honestly, one of those ideas was to go to a bar and that the bartender would help me. But there were other solutions, other options, there usually are.

I ended up cramming my hands into the pockets of my fleece and hoofing it back to the coffee shop, where asking if you left your keys is infinitely more embarrassing then not knowing what coffee drink to order, but also much less embarrassing than many other things in life. And you know what? I'm kind of on an expresso kick these days, which I really don't hate. Anyway, my keys weren't there, so I spent the next several blocks staring at the sidewalk as I retraced my path exactly and willed my keys to show up beneath my feet.

And when they didn't, instead of the panic escalating, a clearer plan started forming. How the maintenance guy in my building has spares for all of us. How I have a spare set of car keys. How I have friends that live close. How I can walk over to the police station and see if anyone turned in my keys. How I'll be fine. How I am fine.

I finally trudged across the park, toward the picnic table where I spent my afternoon, and there sat my stupid set of keys, metal teeth grinning in the last shards of daylight. I picked them up like I was mad at them, manhandled them into my pocket and cursed my awful, beautiful luck.

And then I walked home smiling, because I am here and I am alone and I am okay. I am okay.

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