22 August, 2012

Back to School - 2012

On my way home from an early morning track walk at the nearby high school, I found myself grumbling that I had forgotten today was the first official day back to school for students.  It wasn't even 7:30 a.m. and the kids were starting to amass on the field and around the campus on their way to class.  That was not as annoying as the knee-deep line of traffic around the school as parents dropped off their young cargo.  I had to wait a full two minutes before I could cross the street to my car.  Then in my wisdom (ha!) I thought that by going slightly out of my way, I would avoid the long line by  going up to the end of the block and using an alternate street. Little did I know that the street ahead was only a three-way intersection. That meant that I had a stop sign allowing for the onslaught of more cars turning left to get to the high school.  I ended up at the intersection for over three minutes before I made a dash for it and turned onto the other street two blocks away hoping for swifter navigation. Alas, not. I quickly learned that the alternate street was sandwiched between the back of the high school campus and the front of the elementary school grounds, so I was again in a long line of cars.  Argh.

After the black SUV, stopped and the door flew open dumping its contents into the street, the young girls loped across the street to class, I saw to my right bunches of little kids skipping along the street as they eagerly were aiming for their destination and playground. Since I was moving so slowly I had time to watch the youthful parade and then I saw them.  Two little girls together. One in a pink parka that had the hood positioned over her head instead of wearing it as a coat which kept me from seeing  her hair or face; and one tousled blond in nondescript attire. The tykes were holding hands, giggling and skipping joyously together up the street to the school.

A deep emotion suddenly clenched my body and hot tears popped out of my eyes. I was startled by my own reaction.  Perhaps in that micro-second of observation, I was a swirl of emotions in remembrance to a time of such innocence.  The depth of my response was tinged with feelings from  with having just gotten of the phone talking to my girlfriend. My friend, who I miss greatly because she no longer lives in the same city I do, is also having serious health challenges and I feel bereft in our distance. Or perhaps a deeper emotion was triggered because I have had open a mental 'school' file this week because my beloved high-school drama teacher and now, dear friend is in ICU in a hospital in Los Angeles and I doubt I will get to see her and say goodbye. I understood that I was longing for that simplicity and camaraderie again.

All that in a blink of an eye and a detour.

So I wended my way through the traffic and onto my local Starbucks, where everybody knows my name. The school start had the staff struggling through the longer than usual morning line.  In an odd appreciation and celebration of those two young girls, I decided to eschew the wrath of gluten and order a breakfast sandwich wrap with my morning beverage.  Allison even noted that I was twisting things up a bit with this order and with the addition of sugar-free hazelnut syrup in my extra hot soy latte. Yes, I agreed it was time to stir things up a bit-- even if in a subtle and personal way.

When I got home to enjoy my breakfast, I happily noted that on my sandwich bag and my coffee cup, both baristas had actually spelled my name correctly! (There is no 't' in Duchess...)

Perhaps things were changing in a more obvious way after all.

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...