Like old Hollywood screenplays, the scripts of our lives are never the work of a single source, but are cobbled together by many hands, and sometimes quite disparate sensibilities. Yesterday, mine was Tennessee Williams, at his best, (momentarily off the sauce), or more likely Blanche DuBois. So much of it had to do with the kindness of strangers.
The day glistened with a luster of encouragement from the moment I opened my eyes. Deep Spring, with lighting that flattered lawns and softened shadows. Nothing had fried or frazzled yet, just primeval green everywhere, with not a split end of grass to be found. The breeze caressed the skin like the breath of a playful friend, and, despite the intensity of the sunlight, the temperature, far from withering, stimulated.
The doctor’s appointment I thought might tie me up all morning (last time, I waited over an hour to be seen) was done in a matter of minutes and most reassuring (nunya). I was dispatched before I could complete my crossword puzzle. Instead of driving home, I went to Van Kelker nurseries for more plants. They had a lovely Martha Washington, white with maroon tracery, and the trailing snowstorm vine and dark and light geraniums with which John always liked to fill the wall pockets by the gazebo.
What I had really come looking for, though, was a variety of trailing plants for the urn that sits high atop the sycamore stump. Enter kind stranger number one, a uniformed employee, busy with watering. She remembered me and asked about John. It pains me to say I didn’t remember her. As to how someone could recall a once-a-year customer, John used to say that we must have three heads or something. I explained about him, and she commiserated. She had already dropped what she was doing, and was steering me toward sweet potato vines, (eggplant and key lime), green and white wojo, and an enchanting flower called Tropical Sunset with delicate rings of all the colors such a name suggests. All that remained was to find a spike for the center. I’d taken so much of her time that I asked her just to tell me in what aisle I’d find one, but no, she came along, produced three quite different spikes and said, “Now, let’s go back to your cart, group everything around them and see which one works the best.” Buoyed by the unexpected sweetness of the encounter, I memorized her face for next year.
Back at home, I tried to access John’s Spothero account to get a parking space near Steppenwolf where I have tickets for a farce Sunday. If you don’t know Spothero, you should. It is the least expensive way to park, and they have spaces all around the city. That said, I was having trouble. John’s password wasn’t working, or I wasn’t reading it properly, and when I tried to set up my own account, they kept wanting to do it through apps. I’m not an appy person. I found a phone number for Spothero. Enter kind stranger number two. He was the soul of patience without ever letting it seem that he was being so. He talked me through every step, and stayed with me to make sure I had it right. Several times I didn’t. Had he been sighing or gnashing his teeth at my ineptitude, or simply tossed me to the wolves, I would have understood. But he didn’t. He really wanted me to be able to do it. It was as though he were dealing with his saintly grandfather, not some exasperating doofus stranger. And, at length, I dood it.
I’d been in good hands all day, and there was yet another pair to come. Greg, a friend and masseur, had been under the weather. He called to say he was now available, and I wasn’t about to say no. Greg is a wizard when my back, or leg cramps are bothering me. When they aren’t, he is a purveyor of deep tissue, muscular bliss. He makes house calls, and doesn’t watch the clock. Who could ask for anything more? Well, yes, but I don’t.
When he was through, I was ready to sleep, not that I wanted this golden, well scripted day to end. On to tomorrow, with the hope that Edgar Allan Poe has not been taken on as a temp.