Sometimes I would love to be normal. Although, I do hear it’s overrated. Many times I do things and have no idea why I do them. I think the bible even mentions that so at least I’m not alone in that respect. You know, if it’s a big enough of an issue for G-d to talk about and all.
But then other times I don’t do things I really want to do. It can be for a bevy of reasons. And by “reasons” I mean, excuses.
Under the third category of doing things I don’t want to do but force myself to do anyway, I’ve been running again. This, after a nasty fall back in May that in retrospect, should have had a Doctor look at it. I’m waiting for the day in some inadvertent exam when a physician will inquire as to how I “broke my leg that time.” I have a deep aversion to Doctors. I blame my mother who viewed going to the Doctor with the same fervor as going to Disneyland.
So for a couple months I’ve been walking around my quaint little new city of Sacramento California. I live in the midtown area.
It’s very simple. You have downtown = politicians & ghost town at night. You have East Sac = Where the wealthy politicians go home. And midtown = an eclectic mix of everyone else and a lot of dogs. But I’ve loved every minute. I snap photos along the way because I’m always discovering something new. Like a collection of purple houses I began noticing was a “thing” here.
So to break my creature of habit status I force myself to take different streets every night as I explore the “grid”. You can’t get lost. Numbers one way. Letters the other. I like to think it was Lewis & Clark’s idea. I’m constantly discovering a new street, or a new cat.
But somehow no matter which way I go I end up passing a quaint little local place called Karma Brew. It’s open doors and hanging golden lights on the patio shout, stop running, come in and have a drink. That may be the alcoholic lazy side of me, but I like to think it was more of a beckoning. The last thing however, I ever want to do, is take my stinky apres run self in to the adorable little eatery.
So last night, I had pretty much just had it. I had had it with the day. The week already, yes I know it was just Monday. I’m just having the worst time getting over something. I don’t want it to be hard. But it is. And I wanted my balance back. I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t been to this place I kept wanting to go in to. So instead of putting on running shoes, I slipped on some flip-flops determined to get myself some good Karma and some Sangria that the locals have been yelping about.
I marched the several blocks and then in to the little corner cafe and immediately found a place that warmed your soul. The bubbly blonde behind that bar asked me for my order and didn’t appear surprised I said Sangria. Evidently, that’s what you do here. She steps over to this antique table with a large, beautiful glass jar and spoons out the Sangria into what I swear is the same glasses my grandma Turnbull had. There’s so much fruit in it they add a little antique fork instead of a straw.
I made my way to the patio area that faces a park and started people watching all the other runners foolish enough to be running on a Monday night instead of drinking. And then, being a Gemini, I just started thinking. About everything. It’s hard enough turning my brain off in the middle of the night. So I figured maybe I’d get a jump start. There was a young man sitting reading. And a couple “eating” their Sangria facing the street. I took the last remaining bar/table that actually seats four.
So when I saw someone out of the corner of my eye approach the deck area in an obvious attempt to scout an outdoor seat, I quickly said feel free to sit here. And I moved my purse.
With a thick accent, I couldn’t first identify, the man said politely, “I don’t want to intrude” But I’m very European in my love of communal tables. Conversations with strangers are among my favorite things.
He sat down and we began to chat. As it turns out, he owned the place. He was older than I, maybe by about 10 years or so. But we rattled on about, well, everything. He had been a photographer by trade. His father was Iranian and his mother British. He had been married to a Swedish woman and they had two grown children who were very successful.
He told me stories about his father and how when he was studying graphic design many years earlier at the college he attended. He said the staff continued to tell him, you’re not a designer. You are a photographer. They believed in him so much, they offered him the chance to continue on at the school even after he had graduated to study photography. He told me it was the most difficult time because here he was studying photography and he was the only one who didn’t have a camera.
He said one day he was passing through this tunnel lamenting over his poor fortune and he ran into an old man. He began apologizing profusely and he said the man turned to him and he immediately realized he was blind. He said it was a huge lesson falling in his lap. He thanked God for his sight and stopped worrying about a camera.
Eventually, he said his father came to get him and take him shopping for a camera. They had 3 addresses of camera shops in London and when they came to the first they failed to find a parking place anywhere close. He said he almost became panicked asking his dad to continue trying to drive around and find a place to park. His dad said if it was that difficult it wasn’t meant to be. They carried on to the second address and upon arriving found a parking spot immediately in front. They walked in and there happened to be a suitcase full of equipment that the owner was simply trying to get rid of. It had belonged to a friend of his who passed away. He said the equipment was likely worth 30,000 pounds at the time. And his father was able to purchase it all for under 1,000.
Sometimes I think it silly I can find such profound beautiful moments in the middle of seemingly nothingness. But what I’m learning is, those moments when you get still and listen, are where life really lives. But the biggest lesson I learned was that my need to control everything and every moment in my life has the ability to suck all the joy that was so intended for me.
You can’t force things.
We agreed the key to life was in the letting go but finding the balance and knowing when to also persevere. Things will happen the way they are supposed to happen. We just have to show up. And never give up. And then let go.
It sounds complicated. But it’s not. I just have the uncanny ability to complicate the hell out of anything.
We ended up sipping earl grey and talked about spices like the cardamon he adds to the Sangria. He said since he was Persian I couldn’t refuse tea. I didn’t know that was a rule. But, okay.
I went home. And I slept so peacefully mostly, because I was just so grateful for the good “Karma”.