Trust Your Gut

I really thought I had posted this before, but found it in my drafts folder.

This was a brief moment in time but chock-full of unanswered questions and potential menace where my gut intelligence sussed out something so weird and so random. It was like a scene on a TV show.

A while back before the pandemic stopped most travel, I was taking a short flight. I had an aisle seat. As this was a smaller aircraft, there were only two seats on either side; window or aisle.

A man walked by and said his was the window seat. I got up so he could squeeze in. He was a big man, not really obese, but close to it. His bulk took up the entire seat. Thank you, he said several times, although I’m not sure why he kept repeating himself. He was looking at me as if he wanted to strike up a conversation and I wasn’t really feeling particularly chatty so I began to read a book. I could feel his eyes on me, though, and I felt a creepy vibe.

Here’s where the first strange stirrings of anticipatory dread occurred.

In the periphery of my mind, or maybe it was my gut, I had an odd feeling. That’s the only way I can describe it. Odd. Nothing tangible to point my finger at, nothing out of place, nothing I could see with my eyes, but a real feeling that something was wrong with this person flitted through my mind and my gut. In fact, I was on high alert for any gesture or words or behavior that might be inappropriate.

It’s unusual to have a first impression like that, don’t you agree?

I’ve been learning to trust my gut even when there might be nothing definite to satisfy my need for facts that I can see or hear or touch.

Luckily for me, as I was planning to dread the next few hours, a flight attendant stopped by and asked me if I’d like to move to another row by myself as the plane wasn’t full. I jumped at her suggestion and enjoyed the peace and quiet, all the while wondering what made me feel like there was something wrong with that man.

When we arrived at our destination, I grabbed my suitcase from the overhead bin and impatiently waited my turn to disembark. I didn’t give that man another thought as I was focused on a stop at the nearest restroom.

The next few moments were like a scene out of a TV crime show and it happened SO FAST, almost too much to process.

I noticed a man standing near the place where we all exit from the jetway to the flight waiting area. He had an intense gaze as he watched all the arriving passengers. That means that he obviously had to go through security.

Apparently I was right behind the man I had originally sat with. He was walking as fast as his size would allow. He spotted the waiting man too, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to escape.

The man stopped him, said in a VERY STERN VOICE, “You know that you violated your parole, don’t you?”

The big man stuttered, “Yes.”

“Well, then there’s nothing left to say. You knew what would happen. I’m here to take you back to prison.”

I was gobsmacked (another one of those great descriptive Brit words).

I thought it prudent to extricate myself in case I became an unwilling participant in some sort of dangerous situation. Although I wanted to watch the rest of the show, I continued to the restroom, shaking my head and praising my gut instincts once again.

I KNEW something was off about that man, but I had no idea that he was a criminal.

I want to know the rest of the story. What was he on parole for? What crimes had he committed? Why didn’t TSA do a better job of screening?

And most of all, I’m thankful that for whatever reason, the flight attendant (and the Universe) moved me to safety from any potential harm. Maybe I’m being melodramatic and maybe I’m not. Maybe I really do live an enchanted life. Maybe there ARE angels protecting me.

How crazy is that????

Cinderella

My son is funny. Snarkywittyfunny.

He comes out with the most apt observations in such a deadpan, low-key way that you never see it coming.

I had been cleaning up after dinner and decided to get down on all fours to wipe up a smashed blackberry off the tile floor in the kitchen.

Fam had been walking past me, in and out of the garden, enjoying the still warm and sunny early evening while I was happily toiling away.

My erstwhile son came in from the deck and as he passed me on the floor, paused and delivered this perfectly timed line,

“How’s it going, Cinders?”

I had been so engrossed in my task that this unexpectedly struck my funny bone so hard and I gufffawed.

“Cinders! Oh good one, J!”

Trust my boy to assess the situation and release such an accurate quip.

There was no malice, no disrespect intended, no offense taken — he knows that I can take a joke and this was one that unerringly hit its mark.

I am a volunteer Cinderella; it’s a labor of love, I don’t mind at all.

Famous (Almost)

So…sitting right behind me is a SEMI famous local personality who has a cooking show on community television. Somebody else recognized him and said hi or I wouldn’t have even noticed.

I really really want to tell him to include more vegan dishes, that there’s a huge demographic out there that would love him if he included cruelty-free recipes, but he’s totally self absorbed and constantly texting on his phone. Additionally, he’s not THAT famous or he wouldn’t be sitting in the cheap seats, right?

His style of cooking isn’t my cup of tea, but I support his “I’m just a regular guy” niche of encouraging everyone to cook with the ingredients already on hand in the pantry.

So far I haven’t annoyed him, but I’m not at all a shy, timid forest creature. I have zero problem approaching anyone. For any reason. No matter who they are.

On the other side of me is a young man wearing a Stanford Medical School sweatshirt. He’s starting med school in the fall. (I asked.) How awesome is that! I told him I was proud of him. I’m sure you might think…who am I to share unwanted praise, right? But I did. Bright children who follow their academic/life dreams need our support and encouragement. It takes a village, yes it does, and it only takes a minute to utter a few positive words.

I was trying to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm but for some reason I couldn’t get my phone to enlarge to full screen, so a kind stranger directly to my right (an obvious techie) took my phone and messed around with it until he figured out what the problem was.

As terrible as the stories are on the news, in spite of the violence and Covid variants and all the rest, there are still kind and helpful people in this world.

Not a bad way to spend 2 1/2 hours. Not bad at all, especially when I arrive to THIS:

And this:

A Light Bulb Moment

Literally.

Photo by Luca Nardone on Pexels.com

I don’t know how long it’s been since I needed to buy light bulbs; maybe five or six years, something like that.

I can’t remember exactly, but I had so many of them go out at the same time that I was compelled to navigate the light bulb aisle at a local home and hardware store.

I must have looked sufficiently confused because an employee walked over to me and said, “I’d ask you if you need help, but I can tell you do!”

I DID need help!

Apparently, I’ve been on another planet because the entire light bulb industry has changed while I’ve been gone.

Weird shaped bulbs, lumens, CFL, LED, halogen, incandescent, wattage, energy saving, HID, voice-enabled, smartphone technology–pretty soon even the light bulbs will be listening to our conversations like Alexa and Siri. It’s a whole new world.

I paid no attention to the lesson he gave me (sorry, nice man) but I told him what I wanted or what I used to have in the good old days, and let him choose the appropriate replacements.

They’re also way more expensive than they used to be, also a shock, but when I got home and restored illumination to previously darkened rooms, I was grateful for his kind assistance.