(archive) – curve ball

11/01/2011 § Leave a comment

Standing in the back of the coffee shop, I stood lining up paninis to be pressed. From left to right, I buttered and spread pesto, lay down some cheese and vegetables. Half-way through the process, my friend sat down on a chair across from me and ate his own concoction of turkey, stuffing, cheese and gravy squished between two slices of fresh bread. I continued on the line while making casual conversation.

“So, how you doing?”

“Not bad, b.”

Then, out of left field, I asked “Man, you ever just feel like crying for no reason?”

“Yeah. I used to just curl up into a ball and cry. Sometimes you just gotta get it out.”

I remember baseball being an important part of my childhood. My parents played on an intramural team through my dad’s work. We used to drive to the diamond and I would hang out with the other kids or play with a stick in the dirt or wander off to find a jungle gym to climb on. Once, I remember seeing my dad with his arms stretched behind his head on a knoll beside the pitch quietly observing. Curious, I left whatever I was doing and ventured over to sit with him and ask him why.

I remember my dad teaching me how to hit the ball when we lived on the farm. It would be a hot summer day and the grass was yellow and crispy. You could hear the grasshoppers twitching and the horses’ tails swishing, batting away the flies. The chickens would be running around the lawn pecking and scratching at the sandy soil.

“Now, keep your eye on the ball.”

I would wind up and swing as hard as I could.

“Don’t try to hit the ball hard, just hit it.”

“But I want to hit it far!”

“You can’t hit it far if you don’t hit it at all. Just keep your eye on the ball.”

Last night, I had no plans. I sat and sipped soup with my friend, Hannah. We watched a movie. I napped. I started a load of laundry and figured that the night would be what it would be. Then, out of nowhere, I got a text asking if I wanted to go out. I got another text asking if at some point I wanted to go for a drink. We made a collaborative plan to meet at the Crooked Star around ten-ish.

I was ready to go and Hannah stirred from a nap on our pull-out-futon-boudoir.

“Girl, I’m going out. You want to join?”

“Maybe, but I think I might head to Sneaky Dee’s.”

She looked so comfortable so I crawled under the covers and curled myself into a ball facing her.

“That movie was a good one. All about suppression and control,” I said.

“Yeah. I remember my mom telling me about control and just letting people be…” and we talked and talked and talked. Hitting all aspects of life. She looked at her phone. It was ten-o-six.

“Love you girl, but I am going to make my way to the bar.”

“Yeah, no problem. It was nice to chat, though.”

“Yeah, girl. It was awesome.”

Apparently, our ideal selves formulate a curve over a lifetime. According to a study of Self-Concept Differentiation, we begin life by thinking we are many things. Growing up, I remember playing volleyball, riding horses, math class, history, geography, art, French, Spanish, political science, psychology, shop, building benches, castles made of sand. I could be anything.

And then, according to the statistics, we slowly take some things away that we do not associate with our “selves” and when we hit forty-five-ish, we peak. I hear about this phenomenon all the time: “you know, one day you will begin to surround yourself with only the literature and people that you can associate with.” I wonder if it’s true.

But, according to the graph of SCD, after the age of forty-five-ish we regress. Our self-concepts become disorganized again. We begin to scratch our toes and dig our sticks into various mounds of dirt. Now, I wonder why. Do we hit a mid-life crisis and have an epiphany about what it really means to be, well, just being? Do we become tired of always doing and swing back to our childhood?

Perhaps and it doesn’t really matter. They are just numbers trying to measure something called “living”. Everywhere I go, I bring with me the wise words of my Mama, “just chill out and enjoy the ride”.

The journey is epic, especially because sitting at the bar of the Crooked Star I received a text about losing track of time and being late, making me laugh because I, too, was late, eventually, meeting up with a couple of people, drinking, laughing, hugging.

And so it was, with a foggy head, this morning I woke to a cool breeze blowing from my open window and thought: The clock continues but, for some reason, time cannot be lost when you keep your eye on the moments with the people you love.

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