Friday, September 13, 2013

Random Observations While Waiting


Hi, Guys!

I spend a lot of my life waiting.  When Ron and I were first married we worked together at the Los Angeles Times and rode to work together.  I was always ready thirty minutes before he was - even with a girdle and pantyhose!  He'd shout questions to me from the bedroom.  "Did you give the cat water?" "Did you remember our lunches?" "Did you grab my camera?"  Yes, yes, yes.

These days, I wait because the neuropathy has made him slower than a snail in molasses (it's okay - we both laugh about it) and because he doesn't get out much and loves words and artwork, he reads every flyer in every window on our walks, and every sign anywhere.  When he's using the walker, I have to carry his cane, which has a sort of cudgel handle.  The other morning, we were walking from the bank to the coffee house to have breakfast.  I was a little behind him in the crosswalk to make sure no one runs over him, and a driver pulled up and leaned out his window to ask if I used the cane to beat him to keep him moving.  Ha, ha.

I wait in the doctor's office, in the therapy office, in front of restrooms, while he talks to other Navy veterans who also wear caps with their ship's name on them so other veterans will stop them and ask when and where they served.  Because I'm always worried about getting my daily writing quota done, I make a point of observing while I'm waiting.  It helps me mellow out so Ron can enjoy his time out without me rushing him, and it makes me feel as though I'm working even if I'm not writing.  Because our youngest grandchild is now a very mature eight, I love to watch children.

One of our favorite little haunts is a little vegan place run by a collective and in one corner is a little toy kitchen with benches for children to use while their parents linger over coffee.  While waiting for Ron to come out of the restroom, I watched a little girl playing with the tiny stove.  When she opened the oven, she found pots and pans in it - and a rubber dinosaur.  She was first horrified, then took it out, salted it, and put it back in.  That's going to be one resourceful woman.

After church, while Ron was talking to a friend, I observed a little girl about four in lavender tights and tutu, wearing a tiara.  In one hand, she held a figure of Batman, and in the other, a cowboy.  I suggested to her parents that she was a complex woman.  They laughed and agreed that she was.

Near our home in a westerly direction (opposite from the walls with the roses and the dog that wants to kill us) is a neighborhood playground across the street from a daycare.  Ron loves to stop and watch the children at play, but I can't stand it.  That's why young people make good daycare staff.  The children hang from the monkey bars, from the very top of the slide, and swing from one place to another without concern for life and limb.  They go down the slide backwards or head first, and swing so high they should employ an air traffic controller.  My nerves can't take it, so Ron tells me what they're doing and I take notes.

Where Ron has therapy, there's a seven-year-old girl who's there because every time she sits down to write, the hand holding the pencil begins to shake.  Her mother has three other children who write and color easily, and she's very worried.  The doctor believes it's something neurological, but has no answers yet.  I'm praying that she has no such problems on the computer and becomes a romance writer.

Isn't it wonderful that everything and everyone in this world is so useful to those of us who can watch them and try to see their stories?  I observe those children and wonder about the romantic moment that brought them about, and where their lives will take them.  I pray that they're all as loved as they should be and that they will love in return.  And that one day, the little girl with the shaky hand will watch other children from her perspective as an adult, and plot a story.











18 comments:

  1. Your posts always make my day, Muriel--kinda like your books. :-) Have a joyous weekend.

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    1. Hi, Liz! You're just a book junkie all around. But, thank you! Happy weekend to you, too.

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  2. You made my day too, Muriel. I adore children and their fresh perspective on things. Salting the dinosaur and popping it back in the oven made me laugh. And I do hope that little girl overcomes her barrier and succeeds. I love the idea of her becoming a writer ;).

    Have a great weekend (and take it easy with Ron and that cane lol ;)

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    1. I am careful with the cane, but there has to be some fun in this for me, too. Happy weekend to you!

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  3. Muriel, you're a beautiful person, inside and out, lady. As the Navajos say, May you always walk in beauty.

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    1. Thank you, Aimee! That's a lovely thought.

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  4. I love to people watch. My favorite spot is the airport - and I hate to fly.

    I'm convinced, from my children watching, that my son will be the next Shaun White or Michael Phelps.

    And, I understand that dinosaur tastes like chicken. Me, I'd add ketchup along with the salt.

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    1. Oh, Pam! If Mike is going to be the next Shaun White, I hope you're well-supplied with Xanex. As fascinating and amazing as that young man is, I can't stand to watch him flirt with total paralysis. Maybe Dinosaur en croute would be good?? Happy weekend!

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  5. Hi Muriel,

    I have to visit you someday:) I feel like I get to know more about you every time I read one of your posts and you are definitely someone I would love to sit and chat with over coffee:) Children are incredible and I love watching my son, especially interacting with other children. I'm so excited to see who he becomes as a teenager, an adult, a husband and hopefully a father:)
    And I love the little girl who salts the dinosaur-perfect!

    xo
    Jen

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    1. Hi, Jen! You have so much good stuff ahead of you with your son. How wonderful that he has the perfect ground in which to grow with you an your husband and the rest of your family. I have two little girls in the book I'm working on, and that glimpse of salting the dinosaur was a gift from heaven. I'm keeping the cane handy to keep Ron walking so we can go to San Antonio next year!

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  6. Like all of you, I love to watch people. I think that goes with being a writer. And I can attest to the fact Pam would put catsup on a dinosaur. Brand specific too. In so many ways it's lovely that Ron gives you this lazy time to hang back and observe. Too often we writers who have busy lives in other areas run too fast keeping up to have the moments you so eloquently describe. Savor every one, Muriel.

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    1. I will, Roz. Enjoy the weekend. It seems all the science in Jurassic Park is about to be put into practice somewhere. (Can't remember which country was trying to get an okay to clone a dinosaur.) Anyway - the good news is, just one beastie would allow us to test all our recipes! And we could feed thousands. I wonder if that's the solution to world hunger? As long as it didn't eat us first. Think about that.

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  7. Lovely post! Kids in the playground are amazing to watch. I pick up my great nephew from school fairly often. i can't get over the new style of playgrounds and the "life-threatening" feats of daring the kids perform on them. Sure beats the swings and seesaws I grew up with. Had to laugh at my great nephew as he put his tongue on cold metal. Been there, did that in spite of being told not to.

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  8. Oh, shades of Ralphie in the Christmas Story. Is he okay? It is a good thing those little bodies are so pliable and resilient when you see what they do to them! Thanks for checking in Kaelee.

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  9. Muriel, reading your posts makes me smile and start my day out right :)

    I'm a people watcher too. My husband and I like to sit on our covered porch and make up stories about the people who walk by. And don't take me to the mall because my writer's brain will explode with ideas! I love to watch children too, but my favorites are the older couples. Some of them crack me up by the way the bicker and argue over every little thing, and the ones who still hold hands after years of marriage make my heart melt.

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  10. Hi, Syndi. You're right - "children" of all ages have so much to teach us. My parents were the "Bickersons" come to real life, and while that drove mild-natured me crazy, I knew they'd have died for each other in a minute. Ron and I are the handholders (though that could be because he's trying to neutralize the cane.) Happy weekend!

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  11. Hi Muriel! I'm sorry this is coming a day late but yesterday was one of those days... But I'm so glad I treated myself to reading another of your amazing posts. Like you, I am a people watcher. As a child, I used to write stories in my journal about some of the people in my school and now I make them up in my head whenever I'm waiting too... The nuances are always what makes me want to whip out a pad and pencil and jot them down- like the girl in the tutu carrying the action figures... I love her and see so much of a character in her already! When I taught middle school children, I was easy to imagine stories for them because I listened to them and the experiences they shared with me. I'm a character-driven story-teller rather than a high-concept plot-driven novelist. It's six of one half dozen of the other, I suppose. I find people endlessly fascinating so they will always be my focus as a contemporary author :)

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    1. My thoughts exactly. And I can't plot anyway, so I just try to create characters as interesting and real as possible and just record what they do. And children do such fascinating things.

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