There’s a woman who works at our post office downtown.
She’s tall, strong looking, blonde/grey, and has a good, big mouth and therefore a good, big smile. She’s missing at least one part of one finger.
You probably know her.
At some point during each trip to the post office, it occurs to me that I hope she’s working because of the way her wide open friendliness makes me feel like a human being. She’s alive.
It also occurs to me as I turn the corner on Worthington each time that she once mentioned having survived a tragedy. I suspect it was her kid. I suspect there was a death. She didn’t spell it out, but that was what hung in the air during one over-the-counter chat. I fell in love with her that day. It was something about the way she shared herself and her history for a moment and then moved on. How can you not love that?
During this week’s visit, we laughed about what it is to live in Northern Ontario: the short summer, the relentless bugs, the different ways to combat the relentless bugs. (I moved to the country last year. The bugs are formidable. I look for tips.)
She mentioned two things which, in combination, crack me up. The first is that she stuffs Bounce sheets (things that go in a clothes dryer) under her bra straps. Mosquitoes hate them, she said. The other thing she does when the bugs are particularly bad is to wear a baseball cap and to stick a green mosquito coil on the brim and light it. Between the smoking hat and the smelly dryer sheets, she can enjoy being outdoors in the summer even if she looks like a total lunatic.
It makes me aware that you can try to be someone other than who you are and be somewhere other than where you are, both of which make you look like you’re in a witness protection program, which makes you and everyone around you slightly uncomfortable and less alive.
Or you can say yes to who you are and exactly where you are in life and be singularly radiant.
That’s what she is.
Go there. Meet her. Tell me what you see. Better still, tell her what you see.
Thanks for the conversation.