I need time, really need it, spent doing nothing more than contemplating a flower: the lines, and the color, and the sweetness.
Or breathing in the scent of my back yard. Or studying my son's face while he sleeps, and trying to commit every contour and shadow to memory, perfectly.
I need scheduled, regular time to spend just staring off into space and. . . thinking about things.
It recharges my batteries, to let my mind wander. It is when I feel the most like me. And I feel like the world could use more of it, honestly. (I'm not even gonna get started on this subject, because I could probably prattle on about it for an hour or more, and look up and half of my day would be gone. So I'll just say that I think kids need it maybe the most.
A wandering mind can be a wonderful, beautiful, creative thing, and I shudder to think that future generations may become so distracted by other things that they entirely lose the things that can happen, and the glorious things that might be created, when the mind is let loose to ramble down pathways of its own.)
I'm saying all this basically just to establish that I am, for lack of a better word, a home-body. I like my peace and quiet, and I don't get out and socialize with brand-spanking-new people that often, due to personal preference and some legit nerves.
Occasionally, however, I do venture out for social events and happenings, and do stumble across Brand New People (henceforth to be known as BNP). And there invariably comes the part of the conversation where they say:
"So. . . what do you do?"
. . . .
And what I REALLY want to say is:
"I don't really feel the need to quantify it. I try to let life happen to me. I try to be available for it. I look for beauty, and get really happy when I find it. I listen to music, and I seek out funny things, and about 5 times a week I make grilled cheeses for two boys, and then I spend 15 or 20 minutes trying to get them to EAT said cheeses, before our resident geriatric cat does. Because the cat LOVES cheese, but it upsets his stomach. So he'll snatch a grilled cheese in the blink of an eye, then instantly regret it, and then spend the rest of the afternoon trying to hack it up on the carpet.
Ummm. . . and I also play with Hot Wheels a lot, and I enjoy at least one game of Uno every night, and I can recite 'If You Take A Mouse To School' without even looking.
Also: Interpretive dance."
Unfortunately for me, this is not exactly the kind of torrent of words that you can just unleash on an unsuspecting new person. (Believe me: I've tried.)
You spew out this much unfiltered TRUTH on someone that doesn't know you well enough to understand how completely and deeply weird you are yet, and what you're probably going to get is a blank stare, an "Ohhhh-kayyyy", and a quick change of subject.
And so I've learned to filter what I say a bit, to make it a little more digestible for my peers. So usually my already-ready answer is:
"I'm a stay at home mom. . .
. . . and sometimes I paint.
And I write a blog.
. . . but nothing professional."
And then I smile nervously, and take a sip of my drink, or shove some food in my mouth and hope desperately that someone else says something (anything) before I finish chewing.
(Sidenote: From time to time, I meet BNP that I deem to be either awkward enough, or genuine enough, or damaged enough (or all three), in just the right sort of way that, even social anxiety withstanding, I manage to maintain a good relationship with them for years. . . . and I credit the longevity of these relationships entirely to massive veins of patience running straight through these folks.)
But I'm in a mood where I refuse to second-guess myself.
Besides, I feel that these examples adequately illustrate my point, so I'm just going to move on now.)