Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Wouldn’t you like to get away?
I want to run away.
Well, drive away. I want the pavement to whisper in my ear, want to feel the curves of the road hug my shivering soul. There’s a magic that finds me when my hands rest upon the cauldron-like wheel, soaking into my skin like a healing tonic.
What is it I’m running from? Maybe from the helplessness in my husband’s eyes as he watches me move about aimlessly, a forlorn mouse in a maze. All of this cheese dangling, any way I turn, and yet the appeal just isn’t there to take a nibble.
Probably because I’ll end up with my head caught in the steel trap.
Life inside the maze can be chaos of its own. Blind corners, hard cold walls. Okay, maybe I’m trying to outrun the misperceptions that plague the world. How am I to know the poison from the provolone? To counteract the dismal society that I bury myself in every day, I often take my little computer and hide away somewhere.
There’s an old saying; “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” I was 11 years old when I fell hard for Sam Malone. The hair, the laughing brown eyes, and oh so tall. Did I mention the hair? From the day he first appeared behind the bar of a little tavern by the name of Cheers, I’ve been claiming that some day I’ll have my own quiet seaside dive or a rowdy little neighborhood pub to call home.
I heard a story that JK Rowling gave birth to Harry Potter while haunting cafes as a young mother. I wonder if she were encouraged at all by the kindness of strangers who may have become friends along the way? I know I am. Listening to random table conversations is a great source of inspiration, but becoming part of the establishment is an honor that doesn’t come around too often. A random smile can be the sparkle in a day, a "hello" is worth its weight in gold, but kind words to go with it are rare gems.
That’s why, when I’m welcomed time and again to a watering hole or lunchtime favorite, I make a point to keep coming back. It takes a special talent to put on a face for the public, fill their every request, and lure them back for more. I know, I’ve had to do it; these men and women who pull it off get my respect by the plateful.
For all of those who quietly brighten the days for the familiar faces they see, I thank you.
For Josh, who has taken on the role of BFF, and Paul, who remembers my name, Miguel who stops by to say hello and chat about working his way through school, Gabriela and her angelic smile, Jasmine with her wicked sense of humor. There’s Wayne, who is a saint with my difficult requests; Sabrina, who never loses her grace; Adam who strides around the bar like he actually wants to be there.
And John, who three years ago when I asked “Why is ‘no onions, no peppers, and all sauces on the side so difficult to understand?” never blinked an eye but answered sincerely, “I don’t know, because that seems simple enough to me.” And he made everything right. John makes a point to not just glide through with a half-hearted “How’s everything?” but makes us believe he really wants to hear the answer.
So, when there’s no time to grab the old girl and head for the highway, I settle for these mini-vacations of long, lingering sandwich sessions. If I could gather up these favorites and give them a new home, we’d all be serving smiles and spirits and singing around the piano tomorrow.
You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name...